This is David Hunter’s final piece on the 2023 USATF Champs, held July 6-9, 2023, in Eugene, Oregon. Watch for David Hunter to be writing at the 2023 World Champs in Budapest, Hungary, for RunBlogRun.
USA Track & Field Is Ready For Budapest!
Final Day World Leaders For Katie Moon, Gabby Thomas, and Rai Benjamin
Day Four of the 2023 USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships featured an all-final card. And the competing athletes did not miss the opportunity to perform at their highest level.
wHT: The final day got underway with the women’s hammer throw. It was a showdown between ’19 world champion DeAnna Price and reigning world champion Brooke Andersen. Price’s early lead didn’t last long as Andersen’s 4th round heave of 78.65m/258’0″ sealed the win. Price finished 2nd (SB 78.18m/256’6″), while Janee Kassanavoid ( 76.44m/250’9″) grabbed 3rd. And with Andersen as the reigning world champion, 4th place finisher Jillian Shippee (74.93m/245’10”) also earned a ticket to Budapest.
wPV: The final of the women’s vault was a marquee event as Katie Moon dominated the field, clearing a world-leading and season’s best clearance of 4.90m/16’0 1/2″). Sandi Morris was 2nd with a top mark of 4.61m/15’1 1/2″. And high school phenom Hana Moll made the team with a personal best clearance of 4.61m/15’1 1/2″. With Moon as the reigning world champion, 4th place athlete Bridget Williams (4.61m/15’1 1/2″) also will be going to Budapest
wDT: Valarie Allman got right down to business with a 2nd round throw of 65.46m/214’9″ that would prove to be the winning heave. Lagi Tausaga-Collins finished 2nd, and her 6th round throw of 65.46/214’9″ was a personal best that earned her the standard to also compete in Budapest.
mSP: Ryan Crouser’s opening throw of 22.82m/74’10 1/2″ would have been sufficient to clinch a victory for the 2-time Olympic Champion. But for good measure, the reigning world champion got out a final throw of 22.86m/75’0″. Josh Awotunde (22.10m/72’6 1/4″) finished 2nd, and Payton Otterdahl (22.09m/72’5 3/4″) was 3rd. 2019 world champion Joe Kovacs finished 4th (21.90/71’10 1/4) and will also compete in Hungary.
w800m: Nia Ali ran a savvy race and came up with the victory in 1:59.50. Armed with the standard, 4th place Sage Hurta-Klecker (2:01.19) and 5th place Charlene Lipsey is positioned to be on the US team. Multiple-time world championship participant Ajee Wilson was 8th in 2:05.88.
m800m: The men’s 800 final was a turbulent affair, with crowded bumping disturbing the finalists. As anticipated, Isaiah Jewett raced out to an early lead and led the athletes through the first 400m in 51.84. Jewett kept the heat on as Bryce Hoppel, Clayton Murphy, and Isaiah Harris stayed in close pursuit. On the home stretch, Jewett began to slow. Sensing the opportunity, the chasing trio slid by a withering Jewett to earn the three tickets for Budapest, with Hoppel (1:46.20) getting the win, followed by Harris (1:46.68) and Murphy (1:46.82).
w400H: Shamir Little ran a perfect race and was the surprise victor in the women’s 400-meter hurdles final. Pre-race favorites Dalilah Mohammed and Anna Cockrell battled coming into the final straight. But Little, a 2015 400m hurdles medalist, had the superior lift down the homestretch and captured the win in a season’s best of 53.24 while Mohammed (53.53 SB) grabbed 2nd and Cockrell (54.24 SB) hung on for 3rd.
m400H: Rai Benjamin, who quietly played possum during the men’s 400 hurdles opening rounds, let it all out on Sunday’s final. Benjamin, who is #2 on the world’s all-time list in this event, dominated from the gun, ran a clean race at a torrid pace and set a new meet record to finish all alone in a season’s best 46.62. CJ Allen (48.18) got up for 2nd while 2022 world championship bronze medalist Trevor Bassitt captured 3rd. The trio will represent the USA in Budapest.
m5000m: The dynamics of this final changed when Grant Fisher was forced to DNS with a stress fracture. 23 athletes responded to the opening gun as Conner Mantz, Emmanuel Bor, and Paul Chelimo joined Isai Rodriguez up front to set the early-race tempo. The pace was measured as the pack hit one kilo in 2:39 and 2K in 5:23. The race pace accelerated as the athletes passed 4 kilos at 11:00. Shortly thereafter, Abdihamid Nur pushed into the lead as the race pace quickened. Responding quickly, Sean McGorty and Chelimo gave chase. But Nur, racing the next-to-final lap in 59 seconds, was not to be denied. Nur’s final lap was covered in 53.6 as he sailed on for the win in 13:24.37. Next was Chelimo, authoring a final lap in 53.5 to finish 2nd in 13:24.90. McGorty, lacking the standard, grabbed 3rd in 13:25.98. Fourth place finisher Joe Klecker, who has the standard, finished in 13:26.94
w200m: With Abby Steiner, Sha’Carri Richardson, Gabby Thomas, and Jenna Prandini in the field, this sprint final showcased a star-studded cast of athletes. Running out of lane 8 and unable to spot most of her competitors, Thomas roared around the curve and headed into the home stretch with the lead. The former Harvard athlete’s margin only grew as she raced all the way to the finish line. Gabby’s winning time of 21.60 is a personal best, set a new meet record, and is the fastest time in the world this year. Richardson (21.94) and Kayla White (22.01) ran personal bests, have the standards, and finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. High school phenom Mia Brane-Pederson finished 8th in 22.65 and completed her “high school sprint double.”
m200m: Youth was served in the men’s 200m final as Erriyon Knighton exploded out of the blocks, raced an efficient curve, and shook off all others on the homestretch to cross the line for an impressive win in a season’s best of 19.72. Kenny Bednarek (19.82) got up for 2nd, followed by Texas Tech’s Courtney Lindsey in 3rd with a personal best of 19.85. How deep was this talented field? Christian Coleman ran 19.95 – and was 6th!
w5000m: 24 athletes toed the line for the 5000m final. Alicia Monson jumped up to take the early lead, drawing the pack through the first kilo in 3:05 and the 2nd K in 6:03. Monson was still upfront when the bunched pack went by 3K in 9:00. As the serious running was about to get underway, Monson was joined by Natosha Rogers and Elise Cranny who stayed in close contact with the early leader. The front-running trio was still intact when they reached the bell. But with 300 meters remaining, Cranny, itching to go, took off. The 10,000m champion had a sizeable lead in no time. Cranny kept on driving as she was striving to finish with a standard. With her eye on the clock, she just made it in under the wire, clocking 14:52.66. Monson (14:55.10) held on for 2nd with Rogers 3rd in 14:55.39.
m110H: The final 2023 USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships event was the men’s 110m hurdles. Grant Holloway, the reigning world champion in this event, had competed in the earlier rounds, has an automatic entry into the Budapest world championships, and was elected to DNS in this final. In Holloway’s absence, the final race victor was Daniel Roberts (13:05), closely followed by hurdle upstart Cordell Tinch (13.08) and Freddie Crittenden (13.23). Trey Cunningham finished 5th in 13.29. Devon Allen dropped out of the competition after sustaining a serious ankle injury in the opening round.
/ Dave Hunter /
mHJ: Puma athlete Juvaughn Harrison (2.26m/7’5″) won this event with a clean card and only three attempts. 2nd was Shelby McEwen (SB 2:./7’5″). 3rd was Vernon Turner (2,21m/7’3″)
wLJ: In a close battle, an exuberant Tara Davis-Woodall was the winner of the women’s long jump with a top mark of 6.87m/22’6 1/2″. Quanesha Burks (6.82m/22’4 1/2) finished second, and Jasmine Moore (6.74m/22′ 1 1/2)