As the temperatures got hotter in Eugene on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the sprint times got hotter and hotter. Bryan Sutton, of SOJC Track Bureau, put this piece together on hot times and hot weather, and how fast sprinters were this weekend!
Bryan Sutton writes for the SOJC Track Bureau, did this piece for RunBlogRun.
Lori Shontz and Larry Eder edit all pieces by SOJC writers.
Hot temperatures in Eugene and sprinters are even hotter!
By Bryan Sutton
SOJC Track Bureau for RunBlogRun
As temperatures rose on Saturday, the race times got faster.
Temperatures were 103 degrees as Eugene hit a record high for the month of June. The sprinters weren’t bothered. They set meet records in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, men’s 400 hurdles, and women’s 200 meters, along with three world-leading times. Then in the men’s 200, the sweating fans at Hayward Field saw a new junior world record.
Hurdler Grant Holloway nearly broke the 110 hurdles world record with his time of 12.81 in his semifinal race, a time that was .01 off the world record time of 12.80. He backed that time up in the finals, winning in 12.96 as he secured his spot on the U.S. team.
“I got off the blocks and just kept going all the way through,” Holloway said. “I definitely felt that something big was gonna happen after the prelim Friday.”
In the 400 hurdles, Rai Benjamin ran 46.83, a meet record, the fastest time in the world this year and only .05 off of the world record of 46.78.
“I looked at it and I was like daaaang … .05 isn’t anything in the grand scheme of things,” Benjamin said. “I was training my butt off during COVID during 2020. … It hurts a little bit that it was right there and I couldn’t grab it, but it’s just more fuel for the fire.”
Not to be outdone, four women ran sub-22 in the 200 meters, a time that now only six women in the world have done at this point of the season: four sprinters from the United States and two sprinters from Jamaica.
Winner Gabby Thomas stole the show with a 21.94, making her the second-fastest woman in history. Only Florence Griffith Joyner has ever run faster.
“I know beforehand I wanted to focus on accelerating through the first 100 and keep the momentum. Come off the turn feeling really good,” Thomas said. “They found a tumor in my liver. At first, I wasn’t too worried about it, but the more I kept talking to doctors, they kept saying cancer. Fortunately, they found out it was benign just a couple of days before I left. I remember telling God that if I am healthy, I am winning Trials.”
Jenna Prandini finished second with a new personal best time of 21.89, and Avania Battle finished third with a personal best time of 21.95. Although Tamara Clark also ran sub-22, 21.98, she will not join Thomas, Prandini, and Battle on the U.S. team.
To cap off the night, 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton set a new world junior record of 19.88 in the 200-meter semifinals, beating the previous record of 19.93 set by Usain Bolt in 2004. Knighton advanced to Sunday’s final and is a real threat to make the Olympic team.
(Editor’s note: Erriyon did make the Olympic team, running 19.84 and break Usain Bolt’s U20 best).
“Did what I had to do. I shut it down the last 20 meters, as you can see,” Knighton said. “It gives me a lot of confidence, but at the end of the day, you’ve got finals tomorrow. I plan on making the team, so that’s what I’m going to do.”