Kori Carter did not get a chance to compete for a national title last year, despite having the fastest time in the world. She made up for it on Sunday in the USA Track and Field Championships at Sacramento State.
Racing against her favorite rival in Arizona grad Georganne Moline, Carter went 53.84, the fastest time run by an American this year. She edged Moline by .16 seconds.
Moline, who went 54.00, held the fastest time in the country entering Sunday's final and would have lowered her mark had it not been for Carter.
Stanford sophomore Valarie Allman placed 12th in the discus throw with a best of 170-1, more than 17 feet off her personal best, which set a Stanford freshman record (187-7) this season.
Carter, a nine-time All-American with the Cardinal, was unable to compete in the semifinals of last year's USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa because of an intestinal virus.
Carter won the NCAA title in the 400 hurdles last year with a 53.21. She also finished second in the 100 hurdles. She then signed with agent Wes Felix at last year's USATF outdoor championships, giving up her final year at Stanford.
"I got a little shady over hurdles five, six and seven but with eight to go I just decided to go for it and got into Kori-Monster mode," Carter said. "I gave it everything I had, and luckily today it was good enough. It was awesome. My family is here so it was awesome; it was amazing."
Carter left the program with 11 school records and three Pac-12 titles to go with her All-American status. She turned 22 earlier this month.
"I think I should have kicked it right before hurdle five and not put myself in that position when I'm already tired," said Moline, who was second to Carter in the NCAA meet and had the world's second-fastest time. "I was just trying to give it everything I had and it felt really good."
Allman recorded two throws of 170-1 at Hornet Stadium and fouled in each of her other attempts. She finished second in each the Pac-12 championships and NCAA West Prelims and was 21st at the NCAA championships.
Allman was the national high school leader in the discus with a best of 184-2 at the Texas Relays in 2013, where she set the meet record by 34 feet.