The USATF Indoor Champs was held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, at Albuquerque, New Mexico from February 16-18, 2023. This is our coverage of day 3, links on days 1 and days 2 at bottom of this article.
Aleia Hobbs sets AR at 60m, Sam Prakel doubles, Katie Moon wins on two continents, Joe Kovacs gets his first title on the Day 3 of the 2023 USATF Indoor Champs!
Eleven athletes won their first US Indoor Champs this weekend. One WR set at the meet (DeAnne Price in the weight throw), ARs set in the pentathlon (Anna Hall), weight throw, and women’s 60 meters(Aleia Hobbs). An off year in the US Indoors, but some spectacular races, and wonderful performances. Also a strong broadcast by Ato Boldon, Kara Goucher, Pete Swanguard, Trey Hardee, and as always, Lewis Johnson.
I have to say, Freddie Crittenden III had the best interview, as he let us get into his head about what he did wrong and right in the interview. Lewis Johnson is incredible in those interviews. It is like he gets into their heads, and does a mind freeze. Freddie sounded great, just after a 7.49 for the 60m hurdles.
And Trey Hardee! I met Trey in 2007 in Osaka, my first interview with him. Always liked his demeanor. Trey gets the field events, and he and Paul Swangard are the perfect duos for the field events. They did a wonderful piece on Chase Ealey and Lewis’s follow-up was perfection.
Men’s Pole Vault-Sam Kendricks is BAACK!
The two-time World Champion, and Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks first had COVID, and then, an injury, and he has been coming back this season. I miss Same, wonderful interviews (see here), and thrilling competitions. In this one, Sam cleared 5.46m, 5.61m, 5.71m, on first attempts, then, 5.81m, on two, two misses and a pass at 5.86m, then, 5.91 on his first attempts, two misses at 5.96m, and then, called it a day. Jacob Wooten was 2nd in 5.86m, a PB, and KC Lightfoot, 5.86m, in third.
Men’s HJ-Shelby McEwen
Shelby McEwen took the win at 2.24m. Shelby cleared 2.10m, 2.15m, 2.18m, 2.21m, on first attempts, and took two to clear 2.24m. He missed three times at 2.27m. Darius Carbin, NIKE, was 2nd in 2.21m, and Jordan Wesner, was third at 2.21m.
Women’s Shot put-Chase Ealey dominates
World Champ Chase Ealey, of NIKE, continues to dominate, leading from throw 1 in 19.54, with the big one, 19.87m, in sixth round. Chase was hoping to get past her WL of 20.03 meters, but just not there on Saturday. Maggie Ewen of NIKE, 19.41m, in silver, and Jessica Woodard, Iron Wood TC, in third, 17.67m.
Women’s 60m, first round
Aleia Hobbs, adidas, ran 7.02 unpressed, Destiny Smith-Barnett in 7.16. In heat 2, Mikiah Brown, adidas ran 7.09, with Marybeth Sant Price, 7.11, Celera Barnes, adidas, 7.18, and Brittany Brown, adidas, 7.27, all moving on.
Men’s 60m, first round
JT Smith won heat one in 6.55q, with Kendal Williams, 6.66q, Sam Blaskowski (WI-La Crosse), 6.67q, and Jalen Drayden, Arizona State, 6.69q.
Noah Lyles, adidas took heat 2, with a modest start, in 6.56, with Isaiah Trousil, Northern Iowa, 6.62q, Cravon Gillespie, NIKE, 6.66q and Colby Hilton, 6.67q.
Noah is the 2019/2022 WC at 200 meters, Ar holder at 200 meters, and ran a 6.51 PB in NB Indoors on Feb. 4, then false-started and ran under protest on Feb. 11 at Millrose. In USATF, Noah looked okay but felt a tightness in his hip flexors during the semi-final cooldown, and Coach Braumann determined it was time to withdraw from the final and not chance an injury in 2023.
Noah came out on TV and told the audience, and Ato Boldon, commentator, explained that Coach B was making a very important determination, race now and chance a season-ending injury or be careful.
Women’s Pole Vault-Katie Moon wins on two continents
Katie Moon had a busy week. She won in New York on February 11 with a 4.81m jump, then flew to France and won in Lievin with a 4.83 WL on February 15, and then, on February 18, Katie won the US indoor title at 4.80m
Katie Moon, formerly Katie Nageotte was married on New Year’s Eve and shared IG pictures from her honeymoon. A meet on February 4 at NB Indoor ended in an upset, and then, Katie went on a tear, winning 3 meets in 3 tries.
At the USATF Indoors, Katie passed at 4.26m, and 4.41m, took two attempts to clear 4.51m, passed at 4.61m, cleared 4.66m on first attempt, passed at 4.71m, cleared 4.80m on attempt 2, and then, made three attempts at 4.90m, without success.
She must be exhausted. To check our interview with Katie Moon from 2021, see here.
Emily Grove Sr. was silver in 4.66m PB, and Bridget Williams, who won at NB Indoor in PB 4.77m, and cleared 4.76m at Millrose was bronze here, in 4.61m.
Triple jump-Owned by Keturah Orji
For nine years in a row, Keturah Orji, Mizuno, has won the USATF Indoors, and her jump of 14.31m, in first round, gave her the win. Imani Oliver, Tracksmith, 13.13m, in silver, and Cierra Pulliam, 12.99m.
Men’s Long Jump-William Williams Jr goes 8.20m for gold
William Williams won the LJ on his first attempt, in 8.04m, then, 7.94m, 8.20m was his biggest, 7.84m, foul and a final 8.13m. He would have won with any of his five legal jumps. Jalen Seals was silver in 7.69m SB.
Rayvon Grey, 7.66m in bronze.
Women’s 400m- Anna Hall makes history
Anna Hall got the break and did not let up, the five events from Thursday giving her a special feeling those last 50 meters as she put a second on Na’Asha Robinson (52.30 SB) and Brittany Aveni, 52.67 in bronze.
Anna Hall ran 51.03 PB to take gold in 400m, a nice improvement from her previous 51.41.
We can not find anyone who has done this double before, 400m and pentathlon.
Anna Hall reportedly asked manager Paul Doyle about one more pentathlon this year to go after the WR. He suggested that focus should be on Budapest 2023.
Women’s 800 meters-Nia Atkins gets her title
Nia Atkins has been running the 800m for several years, showing much promise. In this 800m final, she showed the race savvy of a vet and impersonated Olympic champion Steve Ovett, who could run and win from the inside lane.
Kaela Edwards, adidas was leading, and with 50 to go, Allie Willson, Atlanta Track Club, challenged on outside, and Nia Atkins went by on inside, taking the win in 2:00.16 PB, with Allie Wilson, silver, in PB of 2:00.33 and Kaela Edwards, adidas, PB in bronze of 2:00.52.
Nia was as shocked as anyone. My guess is that coach Danny Mackey of Brooks Beasts TC was not. He has known Nia Atkins has some serious wheels.
Nice one Nia!
Men’s 800 meters-Bryce Hoppel wins with intention
Bryce Hoppel has had a weird indoor season. NB Indoor was okay, and at Millrose, he got roughed up and ran a subpar 1:54.
Not so in Albuquerque.
Isaiah Harris went by 400m in 51.63 and pushed into the lead with Bryce Hopple on his shoulder. Bryce waited until the last 30 meters, with Mr. Harris experiencing that lovely feeling of lactic acid and no oxygen at 5,320 feet above sea level.
Bryce Hoppel went by, but not without a wagging finger, nudge, comment, or all of the above. Bryce Hopple won in 1:45.92 SB, Isaiah Harris, 1:46.42 in silver, and Vincent Crisp in bronze 1:46.74. Clayton Murphy finished sixth.
Men’s 400 meters-a big win for Justin Robinson
All watching expected Noah Williams to take it, but Justin Robinson, Arizona State, came from the outside and took his first title at 400m in 45.40, with Noah Williams, adidas, silver in 45.69 and Craig Allen in 46.11.
Men’s Shot Put-Joe Kovacs wins his first indoor champs
Joe Kovacs has won two World Champs golds, two WC golds, and two WC silvers. He had not won a USATF Indoors until now. Jordan Geist made Joe fight for it, each time, Joe would throw, Jordan would up the ante, leading with a 21.36m over Kovacs with one throw to go. Joe Kovacs went 21.55m, and Jordan did not answer, so Joe took the title home with his wife, also his coach, and their twins.
Jordan Geist in silver in 21.36m, and Adrian Piperi III in 21.05m.
Women’s 1,500m-Nikki Hiltz gets their first title
Nikki Hiltz has been a fine miler for some time, their fast finish reminding many that Hiltz is not a middle distance running to trifle with.
Sage Hurta-Klecker, fresh off a fast 800m, battled Hiltz to the finish, with Nikki using a 28.47 to blast that last 200m to take the win in an altitude-influenced 4:17.10 to 4:17.26! It was a spectacular battle over the last 200 meters!
Men’s 1,500m-Sam Prakel gets his double!
Running at a four-minute mile pace at 5,320 feet is a bit of a challenge. One must keep the pace under control and know that one has one or two bursts in a high-altitude race. Drew Hunter lead early on, until 900 meters, hit in 2:17.Kasey Knevelbaard got that, and between 900-1100m ran 29.41, moving from 11th to first! Kasey shook the race up. Sam Prakel had just moved up from 10th to the front pack, and Josh Thompson was there.
Kasey Knevelbaard had the lead with 200m to go, as Prakel stayed in 4th, Josh Thompson was in 3rd, and at 3 minutes into the race, surprised all and ran into the lead. Right behind him, Sam Prakel, Josh Thompson, and defending champ, Henry Wynne was moving hard, as was John Reniewicki, who moved from 10th to fifth and then, third!
The last 800m was run in 1:53, with the last 400m in 52 points and the final 200m covered in 26.57 by Sam Prakel and Josh Thompson. In the TV broadcast, Josh Thompson was given the win, but post-broadcast, Thompson was DQed for impeding Henry Wynne with 400m to go.
The final results have Sam Prakel as the winner in 3:42.62, Henry Wynne in silver in 3:42.90, and John Reniewicki in 3:44.09, with Josh Thompson getting the DQ.
Indoor races in the middle distances can be roller derby and ice hockey combined. Sam Prakel completed his double, winning the 3000m on Friday night and 1,500m on Saturday.
Women’s 60m hurdles–Alaysha Johnson takes the title
Alaysha Johnson ran 7.83 to take the win in the 60-meter hurdle final. In silver, Tonea Marshall, NIKE, ran 7.85 and in bronze, Amber Hughes ran 8.01 PB. Taliyah Brooks hit the last hurdle and did not finish.
Men’s 60-meter hurdles-Freddie Crittenden III in a close one!
The 60-meter hurdles is a fast race, with five hurdles. No room for mistakes. Precision and focus is needed. Freddie Crittenden III, Phoenix Track Club-Tracksmith, took the win over Robert Dunning, adidas, both times in 7.49. In the bronze position, Louis Rollins ran 7.63.
Women’s 60 meters-Aleia Hobbs sets AR
Aleia has had a tremendous season. She ran a 6.98 early in the season, at the Razorback Invitational final, after running 7.05 in the qualifying (January 28). On February 4, Aleia dominated the NB Indoor GP field with a 7.02 in the final and 7.08 in the heats. The following week, at Millrose, she ran 7.04 in the final, on February 11.
On February 18, Aleia Hobbs ran 7.02 in the first round, and came back in the final, and ran 6.94. Aleia Hobbs had a fine start an just powered away, dominating the race as she has all season. She hit the padding post-Finish so hard that she fell pretty hard, such was her speed.
Aleia Hobbs ran a facility record, National Record, World Leader, and PB of 6.94, which makes her the second-best performer EVER over 60 meters. Marybeth Sant Price took the silver in 7.09, and Destiny Smith-Barnett, running 7.11 for the bronze, equaled her PB.
Aleia Hobbs was overcome by emotions, appreciating the quality of her performance and the gravity of her performance. She told Lewis Johnson of NBC post-race that she was getting out of the blocks well and that signaled to her a strong race. She also said, in answer to Lewis Johnson’s query on how her season would be outdoors with this indoor season: “Outdoors will be lit.”
Aleia Hobbs is now the American record holder at 60 meters. We look forward to seeing her compete over the 100 meters outdoors! As Ato Bolden noted, Aleia Hobbs looks to be in medal contention in Budapest this coming August 2023!
Men’s 60 meters-JT Smith takes the final!
Football player JT Smith of Texas A & M Commerce won his first US indoor title in the 60 meters. JT ran a fine 6.53 for the win. In silver was Kendal Williams, adidas, in 6.59, and Isaiah Trousil of Northern Iowa, running 6.61, took the bronze.
What made the race a little less anxious for JT Smith was the absence of Noah Lyles, who felt a tightness in his hip flexor post-race in the semi-final and his coach made the call to pull him from the final.
The NBC crew landed on their feet, as the producer, wanted to keep the Men’s 60 meters at end of the program, with Noah Lyles rocking the casbah were probably shocked by Noah’s DNS, but they delivered. Ato Boldon announced the issue and Lewis Johnson did the interview with Noah, who showed much class in explaining the issue and staying around to be seen. A nice touch.
It is an off-year at USATF Indoors, and NBC did a great job in highlighting the stars, plus the WR by Ryan Crouser in Pocatello, Idaho in the morning prior to the broadcast. NBC Sports did its homework!
Check out our USATF Indoor Coverage:
USATF Day One: Anna Hall leads day 1 at 2023 USATF Indoors with 5,004 points AR, in the pentathlon, https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/02/anna-hall-leads-day-1-at-2023-usatf-indoors-with-5004-ar-in-pentathlon.html,
Anna Hall breaks AR for pentathlon with 5,004 points, misses WR by nine points: https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/02/anna-hall-opens-usatf-indoor-champs-with-ar-in-pentathlon-scoring-5004-misses-wr-by-nine-points-2-performance-ever.html
USATF Day Two: DeAnna Price breaks WR in Weight Throw twice, to highlight 2023 USATF Indoors Day 2! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/02/deanna-price-breaks-wr-in-weight-throw-twice-to-highlight-2023-usatf-indoors-day-2.html
USATF Day Three: Aleia Hobbs takes 60m in 6.94 AR, Joe Kovacs wins first indoor title, Sam Kendricks back, clears 5.91m, Sam Prakel doubles 1,500m/3000m: https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/02/aleia-hobbs-sets-ar-at-60-meters-sam-prakel-doubles-at-1500m-3000m-joe-kovacs-gets-first-indoor-title-on-day-3-of-the-2023-usatf-indoor-champs.html
2023 USATF Indoor Champs, Day 1-3, February 16-18, 2023, Compiled results: https://results.usatf.org/
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