HOUSTON -- Senior sprinter Elijah Hall put on a sprint clinic at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships, winning a pair of national titles en route to leading the Houston Cougar Men's Track & Field team to its highest point total in program history at the meet.
Hall opened the day in the 60-meter dash, where he qualified with the second-fastest overall time at 6.58 on Friday. Hall started slow but used incredible top-end speed to close the gap and edge Auburn's Raheem Chambers 6.52 to 6.53. Hall's mark is a personal best and improves on his second-best time in program history.
The championship for Hall marks the first for the Cougars in the 60-meter dash and is the 14th all-time for the Cougar men. The Championship was also Houston's first on the indoor circuit since Errol Nolan claimed gold in the 400-meter dash at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Hall returned nearly an hour later to turn in one of the top 200-meter dash races the world has ever seen. After qualifying with the fastest overall time on Friday at a school-record 20.26, Hall burst out of the blocks with an incredible start in the final. The Katy, Texas, native took the gold in 20.02, which ranks as the second-fastest indoor 200-meter time in world history.
Hall's time broke the American Indoor Record as well as the Collegiate Record and the NCAA Championship Record, which were set by Wallace Spearmon (20.10) of Arkansas at the 2005 Indoor Championships.
That championship for Hall gives Houston 15 all time and was Houston's first indoor 200-meter dash title in program history. Hall became just the fourth sprinter in NCAA history to win both the 60- and 200-meter dash championships in the same season and was Houston's first multi-event National Champion in the same meet since Carl Lewis won the 55-meter dash and long jump championships at the 1981 meet.
With his performance, Hall earned NCAA First Team All-American honors in each of the 60 and 200. Hall is Houston's ninth All-American in the 60, while he becomes the second Cougar to claim the honor in the indoor 200.
Junior Kahmari Montgomery also picked up First Team All-America honors with a fourth place finish in the 400-meter dash. After qualifying with the fifth-fastest time in the preliminary rounds on Friday, Montgomery returned to finish the 2-lap race in 45.24 to break his own school record and pick up five points for the Cougars.
Montgomery's First Team All-America honors are the third all-time for the Cougars in the event and first since 2013.
Sophomore Nathaniel Mechler made Houston history by becoming the first All-American in program history in the heptathlon. Mechler entered the day in 13th after scoring 3,158 points over the first four events on day one.
Mechler would go on to post personal bests in all three of Saturday's events, opening with an 8.29 in the 60-meter dash to score 910 points. Mechler would follow with another best of 15-3.5 (4.66m) in the pole vault, picking up 807, before closing the performance with a run of 2:39.11 in the 1,000-meter run, scoring 883 points.
Mechler finished the seven-event competition with a school-record 5,758 points and placed eighth to pick up one point for the Cougars overall. The eighth place finish earned Mechler First Team All-American honors.
On tired legs, Hall and Montgomery teamed with Amere Lattin and Mario Burke to run 3:08.86 and finish 13th in the 4x400-meter relay to cap the championship meet. The squad earned Second Team All-American honors for the performance, Houston's fourth such honor in the event all time.
The Cougars combined to score 26 points at the 2018 NCAA Championships, the most in program history. The seventh-place finish overall is Houston's 10th top-10 finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and marks their highest finish since placing seventh at the 1982 Championships, where they scored 22 points.
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