MOSCOW, Russia – Stanford rising sophomore Steven Solomon ran a 45.4-second opening leg in the preliminary heats of the 4x400-meter relay Thursday to boost Australia into the final at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships.
The Aussies ran 3:02.48 to finish second to Russia (3:01.81) in the third heat and advance automatically to the final Friday at 10:30 a.m. PT. Australia was the eighth and final qualifier, with the United States running the fastest time of 2:59.85.
Solomon is among three current or former Stanford athletes competing in the meet. On Saturday, Chris Derrick ’12 of the United States was 18th in the men’s 10,000 final in 28:04.54 and Arantxa King ’12 of Bermuda was 23rd overall women's long jump qualifying (20-10½) and did not advance to the final.
Solomon was eighth in the 2012 Olympic 400 final, having advanced with a personal record 44.97. This year, Solomon overcame a pre-season injury to set a Stanford freshman record of 46.12 when he finished third in the Pac-12 Championships behind two other 2012 Olympians. It also was the third-fastest time in school history.
He went on to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships and earned second-team All-America honors.
Solomon’s 45.4 is evidence of his improved fitness and would be superior to Stanford’s school record of 45.85 set in 1994 by Rene Rodriguez if it had been in an individual event.
A text to Stanford sprints coach Jody Stewart revealed Solomon’s post-race mood.
“He’s excited,” Stewart said.