USATF Outdoor Championships, Day 4: Knighton calls for another American sweep
By Sam Fariss
EUGENE – 19-year-old Erriyon Knighton won his first national title in the men’s 200 meters on the final day of the US championships. Directly after the win, Knighton predicted that the American men would repeat a sweep of the podium at the world championships.
“We got us a good squad going over there,” Knighton said. “And hey, we gonna try to make the same thing happen as last year; we gonna get a sweep.”
Knighton finished second at USAs in 2022 behind only Noah Lyles, who won the world title a few weeks later. Lyles was followed closely by fellow Americans Kenny Bednarek and Knighton to take 1-2-3 at the Eugene championship.
“I feel like I’m always an underdog, so I feel like I gotta prove myself every single year,” Bednarek said. “You know me. I trust my training, my coach, my support system, and I got it done, and I’m just glad to be on this team.”
The teenage star outkicked Bednarek, Courtney Lindsey, and Fred Kerley to win in 19.72 seconds, his season best and the new U-20 world record. Knighton, Bednarek, and Lindsey will join Lyles in Budapest to represent Team USA at the World Athletics Championships.
“It was a very good race, I came here and executed right. Did what I had to do. These two men right here came and did what they had to do,” Knighton said.
Bednarek finished at 19.72, followed closely by Lindsey just 0.03 seconds later. Kerley, the defending world champion in the 100-meter competition, fell short of qualifying for Budapest in the 200, finishing at 4th in 19.86 seconds.
“This means everything; I prayed for this man,” Lindsey said. “Coming out here and competing with the best guys. It was tough coming out after the NC[AA]s, so I had to recover after the NC[AA]s and come out here and show them I’m a dog, so that’s what I did.”
Lyles entered into the 100 meters at the USATF Championships, not his usual forte because he has a bye in the 200 due to his possession of the world title. He landed himself on the podium in 3rd place after running 10 seconds flat. Lyles was kept out of the top two spots by Cravont Charleston and Christian Coleman.
Knighton turned pro straight out of high school, forgoing his collegiate eligibility to sign a sponsorship with adidas.
“I think it’s good. I started off at 19.8, 19.9, and 19.7,” Knighton shared earlier this weekend on his progression this season. “All my recent are under 20, so I’d say it’s been consistent so far.”
The opening heats for the men’s 200m at the Budapest World Athletic Championships are set for day five of the competition, August 23rd.