The USATF Championships always bring out some huge surprises. The athletes everyone thinks are going to make the team, show that they are, actually human. And young athletes, who have had some challenges, get it together and show the world that they better be recognized.
Both happened in the Women’s 100 meters.
In the first heat, round 1, of the women’s 100 meters, Aleia Hobbs showed that she is on fire, running 10.88 in the heat, after her PB of 10.83 at the NY Grand Prix on June 12, 2022. Aleia was followed by Tamara Clark, 10.94, Mary Beth Saint Price, 10.98, and Javianne Oliver, 11.02.
The second heat was won by Twanisha Terry in 10.92.
In the second heat, the easiest of the heats, Tamari Davis, 11.04, Jenna Prandini, 11.18, and Shania Collins 11.24.
However, the woman who followed Aleia Hobbs in New York, in 10.85, and who then ran a 22.38 for the win in the 200 meters, Sha’Carri Richardson, did not fare well in heat 3. It was as if a different Sha’Carrie Richardson was running in the US Champs.
Sha’Carrie Richardson, in heat 3, ran 11.31, finishing fifth, and was nowhere near moving onto the next round. She just looked slow, and her patented last 50 meters were not there. She ran out of gas.
In the mixed zone, Sha’Carrie did not speak with anyone, and that lead to many unfavorable (and unfair) comments on social media. First of all, as good as Sha’Carrie is, this is all new to her. Her social presence last year, and her DQ in the Trials all made her a media darling. I am not sure that she appreciates how to handle it. At the end of the day, the notoriety comes, welcome or not. And when one has a bad performance, the social media minions come crashing down on an athlete, and Sha’Carrie experienced that in droves after the 100 meters. Sha’Carri was out in round 1 of the women’s 100 meters.
Another athlete who had a big change was Melissa Jefferson, who finished 8th in the NCAA final of the 100 meters. Melissa went home, fixed some things and came back fighting in the heats of the 100 meters.
Melissa Jefferson ran 11.04 to win heat 4, with Brittany Brown, 11.06, Kayla White, 11.08, and Cambrea Sturgis, 11.19.
In the semi-finals, it got serious.
Aleia Hobbs ran 10.81 PB, and Melissa Jefferson ran 10.82 PB, Tamara Clark, 10.88 PB and Javianne Oliver, 10.94 PB! All four ran PBs to make the damn final. That is how tough it is to make a US women’s 100m final!
In semi 2, Twanisha Terry ran 10.87 PB, Tamari Davis, 10.92, Celera Barnes, 10.94 PB, and Brittany Brown, 10.96 PB.
Seven of eight in the Women’s 100m finals had to run PBs just to make the final!
The women’s final was spectacular.
Aleia Hobbs got out well, but so did Melissa Jefferson, Twanisha Terry, and Tamara Davis. The race was oh so close, from 30 meters to seventy meters, and that is when Melissa Jefferson pulled an afterburner and battled away from Aleia Hobbs. Mind you, Aleia Hobbs was not giving up, and all three, Jefferson, Hobbs, and Terry battled to the finish.
As one looked at the finish live, it was oh so close, but Melissa Jefferson has learned from her 8th place at the NCAAs and run a near perfect race, running a wind-aided (2.9m/s ) 10.69 to Aleia Hobbs’ 10.72 and Twanisha Terry’s 10.74.
What followed is also historic: Tamara Davis, 10.78, Tamara Clark, 10.82, Celera Barnes, 10.86, and Javianne Oliver, 10.94 with Brittany Brown at 11.04.
One of the fastest Women’s 100m finals in US history, and a continuing reminder that one does not know who will win, in the 100 meters until the races are actually run.
And that is what I love this sport!