Despite running into a ridiculous headwind, Moravian freshman Zion Howard, a Moorestown graduate, posted the second-fastest qualifying time in the 200-meters Thursday in the NCAA Division 3 national championships.
Howard ran 21.79 into a 5.0 meters-per-second headwind.
That was just 1-100th off the fastest qualifying time in Thursday’s trials at La Crosse, Wisc. Jordan Johnson of Benedictine College in Illinois ran 21.78 into a 3.5 miles-per-hour wind.
Only three other sprinters were under 22 seconds on a day when the headwinds for the 200 trials were all over 3.5.
Howard ran within a quarter of a second of his PR of 21.52 set back in April at a meet at Muhlenberg College in Allentown that was run with a 1.5 meters-per-second assisting wind.
Howard finished first in the third of three heats of qualifying rounds, earning an automatic berth in the final.
Howard was only seeded 20th coming into the meet, making him the final entry in the event.
But he’ll be in a center lane for the final and only needs to beat one runner to earn All-America honors as a true freshman.
Howard didn’t run a lot of 200s at Moorestown. His fastest was a 22.32 at Central Jersey Group 3 sectionals last spring in Bernardsville.
The 200 final is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. Saturday at Roger Harring Stadium on the Wisconsin La Crosse campus, just across the Mississippi River from Minnesota.