KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University's Caleb Corprew looks like he's saved his very best for last.
The senior track and field standout turned in his best career performance in the 400-meter hurdles on Saturday at the Tennessee Challenge, re-setting his own Bruins record ahead of the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships next week. Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.) broke the 52-second barrier for the first time to finish in 51.90 and take gold at the small University of Tennessee meet.
Only a handful of Belmont athletes competed at the Tennessee Challenge as the Bruins looked for one last tune-up before the conference championships begin next Thursday. Corprew certainly took advantage of the extra opportunity.
Huge school record for Caleb Corprew in the 400 hurdles today!— Belmont Runners (@BelmontXCTF) May 5, 2018
His 51.90 at the TN Challenge ranks 21st in the East all but guarantees him a spot at NCAA Regionals! Way to go @iamcxco!#ItsBruinTime pic.twitter.com/aqz6yB46Si
"The time was solid, but like my last few races it wasn't very technically sound," Corprew said. "That's actually a good thing though. It means I can put down a faster time when I run a clean race at conference and regionals."
Corprew's 51.90 surpasses the 52.28 he ran at last year's OVC Championships as the best mark in program history. It's the top time in the OVC this season and the first under 52 seconds in the conference in the last six years.
Among 400 hurdles marks in the NCAA's East Region entering this weekend, the last before conference meets begin, 51.90 would rank as No. 21. Such a time all but guarantees Corprew a place in the NCAA East Preliminary meet in Tampa, Fla., later this month. The top 48 in each half of the country qualify.
Corprew qualified for Regionals last season in the event as well.
"After Auburn two weeks ago, Caleb said the next time he stepped on the track he was going to run 51. I didn't doubt him and sure enough he did that today," said Belmont Associate Head Track Coach Cameron Harvey. "He tried a more aggressive start today that really payed off. We have a bit to clean up on the front half, so there is more time to be had."
The Belmont hurdler was one of two event winners for the Bruins with junior Karly Hibbard (Edmonds, Wash.) taking the women's javelin gold with a throw of 43.18 meters (141-8). Freshman teammate Jessica Mattsson (Tierp, Sweden) was second in the women's hammer throw in 54.20 meters (177-10).
Senior Caleb Corprew has some golden expectations in the twilight of his @BelmontXCTF career at the upcoming @OVCSports Championships!— Belmont Runners (@BelmontXCTF) May 1, 2018
����@GoBelmontBruins #ItsBruinTime https://t.co/GRSyCrSTCM pic.twitter.com/uz3G6xDsgI
Back on the men's side, junior Nate Nammour (Tampa, Fla.) ran a season-best 47.57 in the 400 meters to place fourth. That time is the second best in the OVC this spring by a just 0.02 seconds.
"Nate had a good day today; this race was more about getting a competitive race in after his race at Auburn," Harvey said. "He finished strong and felt comfortable, so mission accomplished."
Junior Corey Claiborne (Alpharetta, Ga.) finished second in both the discus and shot put and was fifth in the hammer throw. His discus toss of 47.98 meters (157-5) was one of three PRs for Belmont throwers in the event. Freshman Cal Widener (Elmhurst, Ill.) was third in the shot put and fourth in the discus just behind Claiborne.
The Bruins will now turn their focus to the season's ultimate meet. The OVC Outdoor Championships run next Thursday through Saturday at Tennessee Tech's track in Cookeville, Tenn.
BELMONT WOMEN'S RESULTS
2. Jessica Mattsson, fr. — 54.20m (177-10)
1. Karly Hibbard, jr. — 43.18m (141-8)
BELMONT MEN'S RESULTS
4. Nate Nammour, jr. — 47.57
13. Ryan Teague, so. — 49.53
-- Taylor Vroon, fr. — DNS
-- Matthew Blivin, sr. — DNS
-- Taylor Vroon, fr. — DNS
1. Caleb Corprew, sr. — 51.90*^
(Record: Corprew, 52.28, 2017)
8. Christian Crenshaw, sr. — 55.34
10. Khristian Vickers, fr. — 57.70*
4. Stephen Gibson, jr. — 52.19m (171-2)
5. Corey Claiborne, jr. — 47.44m (155-7)
7. Ryan Sheldon, 43.37m (142-3)
8. Cal Widener, fr. — 42.28 (138-8)
2. Corey Claiborne, jr. — 15.80m (51-10)
3. Cal Widener, fr. — 15.35m (50-4.5)
4. Stephen Gibson, jr. — 15.20m* (49-10.5)
2. Corey Claiborne, jr. — 47.98m (157-5)*
4. Cal Widener, fr. — 44.35m (145-6)*
5. Ryan Sheldon, fr. — 43.19m (141-8)*
-- Stephen Gibson, jr. — FOUL