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The USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon have finished and the athletes set to represent Team USA at the World Athletics Championships have been decided. Over four days, there was a world record set and plenty of great battles for the limited spots on the world team.
The World Athletics Championships will be back at Hayward Field from July 15 to July 24. It will be the first time the United States is hosting the meet.
Here are the highlights from the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.
Cranny wins a close one in the 5,000 meters
After a schedule change to avoid hot conditions, the women’s 5,000 meters opened the final day of the USATF Outdoor Championships. Unfortunately, the women couldn’t completely escape the heat—the temperature on the track read 82 degrees.
As a result, the women dawdled, running most of the race in a tight pack. With 1600 meters remaining, Karissa Schweizer—who placed fourth in the 1500 meters on Saturday—picked up the pace. With two laps, four women separated themselves: Schweizer, indoor American record holder Elise Cranny, world championships bronze medalist Emily Infeld, and Weini Kelati. Kelati fell off the group by the bell, and the top three were set. Now, it was a battle for place.
Schweizer, Cranny, and Infeld battled down the final straightaway, trading leads multiple times. When the dust settled, Cranny earned the victory, with Schweizer and Infeld less than a half second behind in that order.
Each woman completed their own unique narrative coming into the race. Cranny scratched from the USATF 10,000-meter championships on May 27, saying in an Instagram post she hadn’t been feeling like herself in training. Schweizer, who did qualify for the 10,000 meters, also placed fourth in the 1500. With this 5,000-meter performance, she completed one of the best championship runs in U.S. history. Finally, after just missing out on qualifying for the 10,000-meter world team, Infeld earned a spot on her first global championship team since 2017.
Fisher takes down 5,000 meet record, Kincaid unleashes furious kick for second
Conversely to the women’s race, the men’s 5,000 meters went out hard. Hillary Bor, who qualified for the steeplechase team on Saturday, kept checking his watch—apparently pacing the race. Multiple time global medalist Paul Chelimo and Bowerman Track Club teammates Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid held position right behind Bor.
Bor dropped out at 1800 meters after splitting 4:12 for the mile. Evan Jager, who also qualified for the steeplechase world team, led the men for another mile. Fisher, Emmanuel Bor, and NCAA indoor 5,000-meter champion Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona quickly separated from the group after Jager dropped out.
Over the final 1200, Fisher put on a clinic, squeezing the pace over each lap until he was all alone. He won the race in 13:03.86, a meet record.
The most exciting portion of the race occurred offscreen. After trailing the top three by five seconds with 400 to go, Kincaid unleashed a monstrous 54.24 final lap to take silver in a time of 13:06.70. Nur held on to earn his first world championship berth, running 13:08.63. Emmanuel Bor faded to fifth.
Coburn claims eighth straight U.S. steeplechase title
After a moderate first 1,000 meters, four women were clear of the pack in the women’s steeplechase: recent NCAA champion Courtney Wayment, Gabi Jennings, six-time U.S. champion Emma Coburn, and Olympic silver medalist and American record holder Courtney Frerichs.
That group whittled down to Wayment, Coburn, and Frerichs by 800 to go. Half a lap later, Coburn quickened her pace. Wayment and Frerichs, perhaps surprised by the move, didn’t go with Coburn, who put more and more distance on them over the final lap. Coburn notched her eighth consecutive U.S. title in a season best of 9:10.63. Wayment finished second, and Frerichs took third.
Ajeé Wilson nearly upsets the defending Olympic champion The women’s 800 meters promised to be the event of the meet, and it didn’t disappoint.
Athing Mu, defending champion, jumped off the line hard to take her traditional spot in the lead. Olivia Baker and indoor world champion Ajeé Wilson were right on her heels while Olympic bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers hung around mid-pack.
All of the women were still together with 200 to go. The broadcast commentators predicted that Mu would break the race open before the end of the bend, but spectators were treated to something more interesting: Wilson was right on Mu’s shoulder with 100 to go. With gritted teeth, the two athletes dashed neck-and-neck down the straightaway. It looked as if Wilson had the upper hand, but the Olympic champion pulled through in the final meters to snag the victory in 1:57.16. Rogers slingshotted out of the pack to pass three runners for third.
Bryce Hoppel earns first outdoor national title
The men’s 800 meters featured a consequential last 100 meters. Texas A&M’s Brandon Miller set a fast early pace, crossing the 400-meter mark in 51.62. He fell to second as Hoppel took control on the final bend.
It wasn’t over yet, as the entire field was still in striking range with 100 left. But Hoppel and Jonah Koech surged ahead, while Miller duked it out with a late-charging Clayton Murphy for the third qualifying spot. Miller overtook the two-time Olympian with a dramatic dive at the line, securing a trip to worlds. Hoppel’s winning time was 1:44.60, a season best, while Koech’s ran a personal best of 1:44.74.
Noah Lyles charges late to overtake 18-year-old star Erriyon Knighton
After 100 meters, it looked like 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton was on his way to his first national championship. But that’s why there’s another 100 meters in this event, because defending world champion Noah Lyles found another gear. With a smile and finger pointed at Knighton, Lyles broke the tape first in 19.67. Knighton finished second, while 100-meter national champion Fred Kerley nabbed another world team spot. Because Noah Lyles has a bye to the world championships, fourth-placer Kenny Bendarek also qualified.
NCAA champion Abby Steiner becomes U.S. champion
With defending U.S. champion Gabby Thomas in poor form this year, the gate was open for a new women’s 200-meter champion. Abby Steiner, who won the NCAA title two weeks ago, capitalized on that opening. She won the title with a world lead and personal best of 21.77. Tamara Clark and Jenna Prandini qualified as well with their respective second and third place finishes.(06/27/2022) Views: 609 ⚡AMP
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