The 100 meters was supposed to be missing so many that it was not to be relevant. Ah, silly human, that is not possible in the United States. Consider this: 1.6 million boys and girls compted in high school track in the U.S. this year. 200,000 competed in Junior college and college and University track this year. The U.S. simply has the best farm system for athletics in the world. Even with the destruction of physical education in US schools, track and cross country continue to grow.
In the men’s 100 meters, Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin pulled out, with injury issues. In the first round, MIke Rodgers ran a 9.89, the fastest time in the world. Noah Lyles, the new sprint sensation, ran 9.92 wind aided, as Isiah Young ran 9.93 (legal wind) and Ronnie Baker ran 10.00 (legal wind). Ronnie had won Prefontaine and Rome over Christian Coleman.
In the semi Finals on Friday, Mike Rodgers did not show up. Calls to the coaches and agent of Mike Rodgers were not returned. We were told, unofficially, that Mike was never planning to run the semi-finals or final, but there was some mystery when he did not show up. Noah Lyles shook all up with his PB 9.89, equalling the world lead. Ronnie Baker looked great, running 9.94, just behind his 9.93 from Rome!
In the final, Noah Lyles had a modest start. Ronnie Baker had a fine start and was running great. By 30 meters, Lyles had corrected his errors and was back in the race, but Ronnie Baker, as he did in Pre and Rome, was pushing his advantage, and by sixty meters, Ronnie Baker was the man to beat. This is where Lyles really got moving. Noah Lyles focused and ran Ronnie Baker down, catching him just before the line. Lyles won his first title and ran 9.88, the fastest time in the world and PB. Ronnie Baker ran 9.90, and took second, in his PB. We have two new fine American sprinters to excite the fans! After the race, Noah did an intricate dance to indicate his satisfaction with his win.
In the women’s 100 meters, again, proof positive that American sprinting is in fine shape. Allyson Felix was not here (she would have probably run 200 meters or 400 meters), and Tori Bowie (World champion) was not here as well. No matter, as we had fine sprinting.
In the first round, Ashley Henderson of San Diego State ran 10.91, wind aided, but it opened some eyes. Aleia Hobbs ran 10.97, Dezerea Bryant 10.99 and Jennifer Prandini ran 10.95. The battle lines were drawn.
In the semi finals, Jennifer Prandini ran 11.00 to win over Ashely Henderson’s 11.03. In the second semi final, Aleia Hobbs ran 10.89 to Mikiah Briscoe’s 11.04.
The final was fierce. Aleia Hobbs got out hard, with Jennifer Prandini battling. Ashley Henderson made a fine mover near the end of the race and tried to steal, but Aleia Hobbs was just too strong, winning in 10.91, with Henderson, 10.96 and Jennifer Prandini, 10.98. Aleia Hobbs became the first collegian since Carlette Guidry in 1991 to win the USATF 100 meters! Aleia Hobbs has won every championship he ran in 2018 so far!
So much for USATF missing top sprinters, the athletes who ran in Des Moines should remind the world just how strong the US is in sprinting.