North Carolina A&T national champions Trevor Stewart and Randolph Ross Jr. have led the United States to the medal round of the men’s 4×400-meter relay in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
It marked the first time two Aggies have competed on the same team for a single Olympic event.
Stewart ran the first leg of the race and Ross Jr. ran the second, followed by Bryce Deadmon and Vernon Norwood to post a time of 2:57:77 and win the first of two heats in round on Friday.
The medal race is scheduled for 8:50 a.m. EST Saturday.
Ross’ father, Duane Ross, who has coached North Carolina A&T’s track and field teams since 2012, said this is a dream that was spoken into existence.
“The rest of the country wants to overlook our program all year long, but then here we are with two of the best 400-meter runners in the world here on the relay,” said Ross, who competed in the 110-meter hurdles in 2004 when the Olympics were held in Athens.
“It is a big deal. I’m proud of it. I hope everyone else is,” said Ross. “It’s exciting. But it’s something we’ve been preparing for all year.”
Stewart, 24, of Lorton, Virginia, already made history as the first Aggie to earn a medal in the Olympics, securing a bronze medal for the United States in the inaugural mixed 4×400-meter relay in Tokyo on Aug. 1. He was also the first historically Black college or university student to medal in the 2020 Olympics.
Stewart led off for the team that included Kendall Ellis, 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.
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. 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 Jr., 20, of Raleigh, North Carolina, 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 Sunday, Aug. 1.
Both Ross Jr. and Stewart headed to Tokyo as NCAA champions.
Along with Akeem Sirleaf and Daniel Stokes, Ross Jr. and Stewart captured the 4×400-meter relay title for N.C. A&T at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June with a time of 3:00.92.
Additionally, Ross Jr. won the men’s 400-meter title at the NCAA 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.
Courtesy: North Carolina A&T Athletics