This is the final reprise by Dave Hunter on the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships, held June 23-26, 2022. We delayed the post as we are completely moving our blog and upgrading the technology. Moving 21,000 plus stories and photos, dating from 2007 to the present was mastered by my partner, Brian Eder, and his team. Brian is my partner and co-founder of RunBlogRun. He is also my brother. We have worked together for three decades on various projects. He is a very patient man.
Dave Hunter’s finest comment of the meet came in the last line, of this last feature on the USATF Champs: Dave said “Sometimes the unwavering objectivity of track & field can be painful,” that is one of those deep thoughts that comes from Dave that reminds me that I owe the guy several adult beverages. Well said, Dave!
In these most brutal and honest to Trials, many fine athletes did not make the team. Surprises abound, as this challenging, painfully honest (like an ee cummings poem), process of athletic battles works itself to the honest, but many times, agonizing conclusion.
I must say, that I am in awe of these athletes who run, jump and throw. We try to honor them by writing, posting, and commenting about them.
Thank you for reading RunBlogRun.
Oh, Nice job, Dave Hunter.
USATF / Day Four: USA’s Assembled Team Is Ready!
University of Oregon / Hayward Field
June 26th, 2022
As is often the case, the final day of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships offered a crescendo of performances as the USA assembled its best to represent America in the World Championships to be held on this same Hayward Field track in mid-July.
w5000m: USATF was wise to recalibrate the start list for Day Four to begin at an earlier time. But it was still hot, and getting hotter. 25 athletes answered the starting gun and began at a most cautious pace: 79.5 for the first 400m. NCAA cross country champion Weini Kelati stepped up to take the reins as the field strolled along through the first kilometer in 3:24. With Karissa Schweizer, Elise Cranny, and Eleanor Fulton tucked in behind, Kelati pushed onward, crossing 2K in 6:45 and the halfway point in 8:29. Just before 3 kilometers (10:08.35) the racing got serious with Schweizer throwing down a 66-second lap, a move that only Kelati, Cranny, and Emily Infield could cover. When Kelati fell back at the bell, it left the remaining trio to fight for the places on the podium. On the homestretch Cranny, the ’21 Olympic Trials champion, had a gear that others lacked, driving on for the win in 15:49.15. Schweizer was right behind her to take second in 15:49.32. Infeld held on to 3rd in 15:49.42. That trio will represent the US in next month’s World Championships.
m5000m: Starting more quickly, the 24-man field clocked 62.4 for the opening 400 meters – perhaps a signal of what would be forthcoming. Hillary Bor, who would later step off the track, set the early tempo, and crossed the 1st kilo in 2:36. After the 2nd kilo in 2:39, Grant Fisher moved up as did Evan Jager, who had made the US team in the steeplechase just the day before. A 2:40 3rd kilo (7:56) set the stage for what would prove to be an invigorating finish. Just inside 3 laps to go, Fisher took off, immediately distancing himself from the field. With 2 laps remaining, Fisher would not relent, further distancing himself from the chasers with a 58.5 penultimate lap. With the crowd roaring, Fisher would race on for the win in 13:03.86 – a new meet record. Meanwhile, Woody Kincaid, who had been working his way up, exploded over the final circuit, clocking 54.2 to climb his way into 2nd in 13:06.70, followed by Northern Arizona athlete Abdihamid Nur crossing in 13:08.63 for 3rd. That trio will represent the USA at next month’s World Championships.
w3000mSC: The women’s steeple lined up as a fascinating three-way battle among the veteran Emma Coburn; the American record-holder Courtney Frerichs; and the upstart Courtney Wayment. Since the rising heat demanded an easier opening pace, the 14 finalists were cautious in the early going, with Wayment leading the way and passing the first kilometer in 3:04. With 5 laps remaining, the foursome of Wayment, Frerichs, Coburn, and Gabbi Jennings separated from the rest. With 2 laps to go, Coburn, a sly strategist, went to the lead and finished with two 70-second laps to sail on for her 10th American steeplechase championship victory in a season’s best time of 9:10.53. Wayment, who two weeks ago won the NCAA title on this same track in a collegiate record time of 9:16.00, finished 2nd in a personal best 9:12.10 while Frerichs (a season’s best 9:16.18) finished 3rd to grab the last WC berth.
m800m: As almost always is the case, the final of the men’s 800m was a spirited affair. Bryce Hoppel led the bunched pack through the first 200m in 24.8. Texas A&M’s Brandon Miller took the bell in 51.5 with all 8 still in contention. On the backstretch, Hoppel made the first move and reclaimed the lead as he passed 600 meters in 1:18.06 and would sprint on for the win in 1:44.60, with Jonah Koech crossing 2nd in 1:44.74. Meanwhile, Clayton Murphy, who had been mired in the pack swung wide as they entered the final straightaway, pushing hard and gaining ground. With Murphy closing on him, Miller (1:45.19) made a desperate dive at the line to snatch the final World Championship berth while Murphy finished 4th in 1:45.23.
w800m: There was no surprise when, at the crack of the starter’s pistol, Athing Mu charged into the lead as the women’s 800-meter final got underway. The two-time Olympic champion (W800m, 4x400m), who has never truly been challenged as a professional, led the finalists through 200 meters in 27.3, closely followed by Olivia Baker and Ajée Wilson. Mu took the bell in 57.25 with Baker and Wilson still close. On the backstretch Wilson, the reigning world indoor 800-meter gold medalist slid into 2nd and positioned herself well as the leaders passed 600 meters in 1:28.2. Racing on the homestretch, Wilson was closing well – and with a slight lead at 40 meters looked like she might pull the upset. But Mu, unaccustomed to such challenges, upped her pace and held off Ajée for the victory clocking 1:57.16. Wilson, a half step behind, crossed next in 1:57.23 (WL #3) while Raevyn Rogers finished a close 3rd in 1:57.96 (WL #5). All finalists broke 2:00. The WC-bound trio will be a strong contingent in women’s 800 meters at the World Championships in mid-July.
mTJ: Donald Scott’s first attempt jump of 17.07m/56’0” was good enough to give the Olympic finalist the win. Venerable Will Claye, a 9-time global medalist and a 5-time world championship medalist, racked up a 3rd round jump of 16.93m/55’6½” to snare 2nd. Christian Taylor, coming back from an Achilles tear a year ago, finished 5th with a best mark of 16.54m/54’3¾”. But the 2-time Olympic gold medalist and 5-time World Championship gold medalist was able to grab the 3rd and final World Championship berth and will compete at Hayward Field next month.
mHJ: Shelby McEwen and JuVaughn Harrison were the only competitors with the WC standard and the only athletes still in the competition when the bar went up to 2.30m/7’6½” – a height they both cleared on their first attempts. Harrison, a Tokyo Olympian in both the high jump and the long jump, was 3 and out at 2.33m/7’7¾”, making McEwen the victor. The winner had two unsuccessful attempts at 2.36m/7’8¾” before – what the heck – moving the bar up to 7’10½” – an American record height. While that record attempt was not successful, McEwen, along with Harrison, will compete in the World Championships here at Hayward Field next month.
mJV: Michael Shuey was the sole competitor with a qualifying standard. Shuey, who finished 7th with a best mark of 73.96m/242’8” will compete in the World Championships next month.
wSP: In the second round, world indoor silver medalist Chase Ealey got the ball out 20.51m/67’3½” – a world-leading mark, a meet record, a field record, and a personal best. In the third round Ohio State’s Adelaide Aquilla threw 19.45m/63’9¾” which was good enough for the Olympian to finish 2nd. Jessica Woodward snagged 3rd place when she threw a personal best 19.40m/63’7¾”. Olympic silver medalist Raven Saunders finished 4th (18.95/62’2¼). Maggie Ewen finished 5th (18.78/61’7½) but Maggie will nonetheless be eligible to join Ealey and Aquilla and compete in next month’s World Championship by virtue of her Diamond League shot put championship last fall.
m200m: Noah Lyles is the captain of his ship. He does things his own way. While several others with automatic qualifiers into next month’s World Championships elected to DNS out of their final, Noah relishes the opportunity to get a “big stage” opportunity. Noah also likes to send messages – like his 19.81 clocking in handily winning his semi-final round. In the final, teenage wunderkind and Tokyo Olympic finalist Erriyon Knighton got out well and had the upper hand with 50 meters to go. But Lyles, closing like a freight train, caught and passed the youngster just a step before the line, and even had time to “pull a Cole Hocker,” moving his forefinger to his lips to shush the youngster. Fred Kerley, coming off this total dominance in the rounds and final of the 100 meters, got up for 3rd in 19.83. This trio – ranking 1-2-3 on the world list – represents a strong furlong contingent for next month’s World Championships.
w200m. The women’s 200 meters – loaded with talent – provided an impressive showcase in the final. Puma athlete Jenny Prandini got off to a great start and roared around the curve and into the homestretch with the lead, with Tamara Clark in 2nd and Abby Steiner in 3rd. In the final 50 meters, Steiner – still in 3rd – had work to do. No problem. Steiner, who won the NCAA 200-meter title on this same track earlier in the month, downshifted, passed first Prandini (3rd in 22.01 / #7 WL) , then Clark (2nd in 21.92 / #4 WL) with ease on her way to victory. Steiner, coming in this meet with the 21.80 world leader, eclipsed that mark with her 200m winning time of 21.77. This should be another strong trio for next month’s World Championships.
m110H: On the last event of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships some of the luster affiliated with the men’s 110-meter final disappeared when Grant Holloway DNS’d. The former Florida star, who is #2 on the all-time world list, has an automatic berth in next month’s World Championships and elected to pass on this hurdle final. The final race was electrifying as the top 5 finishers (of the remaining field of 7) were separated by only 0.11 seconds. Aided by a great drive phase, Daniel Roberts (13.03) crossed first followed by Florida State phenom Trey Cunningham (13.08). The crowd was hushed as the officials worked to determine the correct order of the remaining finalists. The partisan spectators exploded when the Experience Board displayed that finishing 3rd was former Oregon Duck and #3 on the all-time world list Devon Allen in 13.087. Among the packed hurdle finalists was Jamal Britt who clocked 13.090 to finish 4th in 13.090, a mere .003 seconds behind WC-bound Allen. Sometimes the unwavering objectivity of track & field can be painful. / Dave Hunter