North Carolina A&T track star Trevor Stewart secured a bronze medal for the United States in the Olympics’ inaugural mixed 4×400-meter relay in Japan.
Stewart, 24, of Lorton, Virginia, is also the first historically Black college or university athlete to medal in the 2020 Olympics. He led off for a team that included Kendall Ellis, Vernon Norwood and Kaylin Whitney. Together, they ran a 3:10.22 behind the goal medalists for Poland and finishing .01 behind the silver medalists for the Dominican Republic.
Next up for Stewart is round 1 of the men’s 4×400-meter relay, where he will be joined by U.S. Olympic and Aggie teammate Randolph Ross Jr. on Friday, Aug. 6.
Stewart finished fourth in the 400-meter Olympic trial race with a time of 44.90 on July 27 in Eugene, Oregon, to earn his place on the U.S. track and field team. Ross Jr., 20, of Raleigh, North Carolina, finished third in that event with a time of 44.74.
With the top finishers in the Olympic trials moving on to represent Team USA, Stewart and Ross Jr. joined World Champion Michael Norman (44.07) and three-time World Champion silver medalist Michael Cherry (44.35).
Ross posted a 45.67 in his first Olympic event in Tokyo, but Norman (45.35) and Cherry (44.82) advanced to the 400-meter semifinals after the open race in six heats on Sunday.
“It’s a special class that you’re in when you can say you’re an Olympian,” said Duane Ross, father of Ross Jr. who has coached North Carolina A&T’s track and field teams since 2012.
Ross knows firsthand – he competed in the 110-meter hurdles in 2004 when the Olympics were held in Athens. He also won a bronze medal at the world championships the previous year.
Both Stewart and Ross Jr. headed to Tokyo as NCAA champions.
Ross Jr. won the men’s 400-meter title at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships where he ran the world’s fastest time – 43.85 – and the second-fastest ever for the NCAA race to win the Aggies’ first national championship in an outdoor event. He is the third-fastest 400-meter runner in NCAA history.
Likewise, Stewart has had a stellar athletic career that includes a second-place finish in the 400-meter race at the 2019 NCAA championships.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA’s 2020 outdoor season was canceled and the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed a year.
But that did not stop Stewart and Ross Jr., who along with Akeem Sirleaf and Daniel Stokes, captured the 4×400-meter relay NCAA national championship in June with a time of 3:00.92 for the Aggies.
The last Aggies to compete in the Olympics were Troy Douglas and Ruth Morris for the games held in Barcelona in 1992.
Courtesy: North Carolina A&T Athletics