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.
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Sunday, June 26
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.
Rai Benjamin Punches Ticket to Worlds
After some stutter-steps on the second hurdle, Rai Benjamin rallied over the latter half of the men’s 400-meter hurdles. The Olympic silver medalist, who is coming off of a COVID-19 infection, finished in an impressive world leading time of 47.04. Second and third placers Trevor Bassitt and Khallifa Rosser both ran personal bests to make the team: 47.47 and 47.65, respectively.
Saturday, June 25
Sydney McLaughlin breaks her own world record
In the women’s 400-meter hurdles final, Sydney McLaughlin improved on the world record she set last year at the Tokyo Games. The Olympic champion was in a league of her own on the track at Hayward Field, where she claimed the national title in 51.41. The performance improved on the previous world record of 51.46.
Behind McLaughlin, Britton Wilson finished second in 53.08, a personal best, and Shamier Little placed third in 53.92. Former world record-holder Dalilah Muhammad is healing a hamstring injury and did not compete, but the 2019 world champion received a waiver from USATF and accepted her bye into the World Athletics Championships.
Sinclaire Johnson wins her first 1500-meter national title
Sinclaire Johnson put herself in perfect position to secure her first U.S. title on Saturday. The Union Athletics Club standout won the women’s 1500-meter final in 4:03.29 after kicking past Olympian Cory McGee on the homestretch. McGee held on for second in 4:04.52. A battle for the third and final spot on Team USA resulted in defending champion Elle St. Pierre (4:05.14) narrowly beating 10,000-meter champion Karissa Schweizer.
The race kicked off at a tactical pace, and a leader didn’t emerge until the 400-meter split. After the runners came through the first lap in a conservative 1:12, St. Pierre surged to the front. The Olympic Trials champion shifted gears dramatically and brought the field through 800 meters in 2:16. On the bell lap, the lead pack of St. Pierre, Heather MacLean, McGee, Johnson, and Schweizer battled for position. McGee attempted to run away on the backstretch, but couldn’t hold off Johnson’s kick.
Cooper Teare wins a tactical men’s 1500-meter final
The former Oregon Duck who turned pro after his junior year won his first national title with expert tactics in the men’s 1500-meter final. After a conservative first three laps, Teare moved through the pack over the last 200 meters and kicked to victory on the homestretch, winning in 3:45.86. Behind Teare, Jonathan Davis of Illinois and Josh Thompson of the Bowerman Track Club emerged to claim second (3:46.01) and third-place (3:46.07), respectively. Eric Holt of Empire Elite Track Club faded to fourth in the final meters of the race.
According to USATF’s athlete selection procedures, athletes who have run the entry standard (3:35.00 for the men’s 1500 meters) for the World Athletics Championships by June 26 are considered eligible to represent Team USA. Of the top three finishers, only Teare achieved the standard within the selection period. Behind Teare, Johnny Gregorek, who placed sixth, and Yared Nuguse, who finished 11th, were the next two finishers with the standard. But athletes who hold a high enough world ranking can also be considered for selection, and Thompson’s pre-race ranking of 39th is high enough to count. If Holt’s performance on Saturday improves his current ranking of 73rd improves to 45th or better when the next rankings are released on June 29, he would bump Gregorek from the lineup. But as of this time, the team will be Teare, Thompson, and Gregorek.
Hillary Bor repeats as steeplechase champion, Evan Jager makes a comeback
One year after securing his first national title in the men’s steeplechase, Hillary Bor defended his crown with a runaway victory in 8:15.76. Behind the Tokyo Olympian, Evan Jager finished second in 8:17.29 and hit the world championships standard to secure his spot on Team USA. Benard Keter finished third in 8:19.16.
After battling injuries for the last four years, Jager’s performance marks a comeback to the top levels of the sport. In April, the American record-holder ran his first steeplechase since 2018 and has been steadily progressing ever since. Next month’s world meet will be the 2016 Olympic silver medalist’s first global championship since the 2017 world championships.
Sha’Carri Richardson recovers, moves on in the 200 meters
Two days after getting knocked out in the first round of the women’s 100 meters, Sha’Carri Richardson advanced in the 200 meters. In heat 1 of the first round, Richardson finished second in 22.69 to Olympic silver medalist Gabby Thomas, who won in 22.59.
After winning the 100 meters at last year’s Olympic Trials and running the fifth-fastest time in the world so far this year, Richardson was considered a favorite to make Team USA in the shorter sprint. Tomorrow, she’ll need to advance through the semifinal and finish top three in the 200-meter final to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in Eugene.
Keni Harrison runs world lead to win 100-meter hurdles
The world record-holder blasted a world lead to claim the U.S. title in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. Harrison finished in 12.34, ahead of Alaysha Johnson (12.35) and Alia Armstrong of LSU (12.47). Johnson and Armstrong both ran personal bests to qualify for Team USA.
Michael Norman breaks facility record in 400 meters
To win the men’s 400-meter title, Olympian Michael Norman ran a world lead and broke the Hayward Field record. The former USC standout won in 43.56. Behind Norman, Florida’s Champion Allison finished second in 43.70, a personal best. NCAA champion Randolph Ross secured the final podium spot by finishing third in 44.17.
NCAA champion wins women’s 400 meters
Two weeks after winning the NCAA women’s 400-meter title, Talitha Diggs won her first U.S. crown. The University of Florida sophomore came from behind to overtake Kendall Ellis on the homestretch and win tin 50.22. Ellis finished in a season’s best of 50.35, and Lynna Irby placed third in 50.67 to secure the final spot on Team USA.
Eleven-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix competed in her last national championship. The most decorated U.S. track athlete in Olympic history finished sixth in 51.24. After competing in her last race—a street meet hosted by her sponsor Athleta—on August 7, Felix will retire from the sport.
Friday, June 24
Fred Kerley commands the men’s 100-meter victory
Fred Kerley made a statement in the first semifinal heat, cruising to a 9.76 personal best and meet record. Last year’s world leader Trayvon Bromell and defending world champion Christian Coleman responded with a 9.81 and 9.87, respectively, in the second semifinal. But when the men lined up for the final, Coleman was absent. He already qualified for the championships by winning the 2019 title, so he chose to scratch the race.
Bromell had the better start after the gun, but Kerley pressed the gas pedal mid-race to blaze away from the pack with a 9.78. Back in 2017, he won his first national title in the 400 meters. Five years later and 300 meters shorter, Kerley adds another gold medal to his collection. Marvin Bracy took second in 9.85, while Bromell finished third in 9.88.
Melissa Jefferson shocks the favorites to win her first U.S. title
After Sha’Carri Richardson failed to make it out of the first round, all eyes were on Aleia Hobbs and Twanisha Terry to win the women’s 100-meter title. But as the women battled down the stretch, Melissa Jefferson of Coastal Carolina University pulled ahead to surprise the crowd with an upset victory.
Jefferson, who was just eighth at the NCAA championships two weeks ago, set a new meet record with her time of 10.69. It’s also the second-fastest time in the world this year behind Shelly-Ann Fraseer Pryce’s 10.67 from May 7. Hobbs took second in 10.72 and Terry third in 10.74—both personal bests, but not enough to earn a national championship.
Allyson Felix perseveres to qualify for her last U.S. final
With 100 meters to go in the first women’s 400-meter semifinal, Allyson Felix looked out of it. But the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history made one final push in the last 50 meters to snatch fourth place. While she didn’t earn an automatic qualifier, her time of 51.32 earned one of the time qualifiers. She’ll race her last U.S. final on Saturday afternoon. NCAA champion Talitha Diggs of Florida was the top qualifier through to the final in 50.88.
The stage is set for another battle between Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs
Olympic silver medalist and American record holder Courtney Frerichs easily won the first semifinal heat of the women’s steeplechase in 9:31.25. A few places behind her, 2016 Olympian Colleen Quigley qualified for the final after battling injuries for the past year.
Emma Coburn began the quest for her seventh consecutive U.S. title by comfortably winning the second semifinal in 9:40.53. Recent NCAA champion for Brigham Young University Courtney Wayment, now competing for On Athletics, finished behind Coburn in 9:41.64.
Rai Benjamin eases into next round of the men’s 400-meter hurdles
With Olympic champion and world record holder Karston Warholm injured, Rai Benjamin—American record holder and second-fastest 400-meter hurdler in history—has an open road to a world championship title. His first stop on that journey is the U.S. championships. Benjamin easily qualified for the 400-meter hurdles semifinal, winning his heat in 48.41. The next round is Saturday, June 25, and the final is on Sunday, June 26.
Similar strategies, different results in men’s 800-meter semifinals
In the first semifinal, Olympian Isaiah Jewitt went right to the front as usual. But instead of opening up the field with a quick first lap, he crossed 400 meters in 52.9, slow enough to keep the entire pack together.
Down the final straightaway, Jewitt would fade and eventually stumble, clipping the heels of Jonah Koech, who qualified for the final in third place. Brannon Kidder and Isaiah Harris went one-two to earn automatic qualifiers.
Brandon Miller of Texas A&M followed Jewitt’s strategy, but took it out slightly quicker to build a gap on the field. He held on to win the second semifinal in 1:46.20, followed by Olympians Bryce Hoppel and Clayton Murphy.
Thursday, June 23
Sha’Carri Richardson gets knocked out in the first round
The biggest shock of day 1 was watching Sha’Carri Richardson fail to advance in the women’s 100 meters. In heat 3, the sprinter finished fifth in 11.31 while heat winner Tamari Davis crossed the line in 11.04. Aleia Hobbs ran the fastest time of the day by winning the first heat in 10.88.
The performance came as a surprise after Richardson ran 10.85—the fifth-fastest time in the world so far this year—on June 12 in New York City.
Last year, Richardson won the 100-meter final in 10.86 at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials but tested positive for THC after her victory. USATF handed Richardson a 30-day suspension for the positive test, which kept her from representing Team USA at the Tokyo Games last summer.
This weekend, Richardson will have another chance to qualify for the U.S. team headed to the World Athletics Championships. She is scheduled to race the 200 meters, which begins on Saturday.
Fred Kerley runs a world lead in the 100 meters
Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley sent a message to his competitors in the first round of the men’s 100 meters on Thursday. The former Texas A&M standout won heat 2 in 9.83, the fastest time in the world so far this year. The performance is a new personal best for the world bronze medalist.
Podium favorites and medalists Trayvon Bromell and Christian Coleman will also advance based on their top finishes in heat 1 and heat 3, respectively. The finals will be on Friday.
Allyson Felix wins first round of her last national championship
The most decorated American track athlete in Olympic history kicked off her final USATF Outdoor Championships with a dominant win in the first round of the women’s 400 meters. Felix finished heat 1 in 52.30, well ahead of the competition at Hayward Field.
Earlier this year, Felix announced that the 2022 season would be her last before retiring from a career that includes 11 Olympic medals. This week, Felix, her sponsor Athleta, and the nonprofit &Mother partnered to provide athlete mothers, coaches, and staff with free childcare at the USATF Outdoor Championships.
Felix and the rest of the women’s 400-meter qualifiers will return to the track on Friday for the semifinal.
Athing Mu looks poised to dominate the women’s 800 meters
To kick off the first round of the women’s 800 meters, American record-holder Athing Mu led heat 1 wire-to-wire. The Olympic champion ran away from the field and eased into the finish in 2:01.24. Mu automatically advanced two weeks after setting a new world-leading time of 1:57.01 at the Rome Diamond League meet.
Fellow podium favorites and Olympians Ajeé Wilson and Raevyn Rogers also easily advanced out of their respective heats. The top three finishers plus the runners with the next four fastest times moved on to the semifinal scheduled for Friday.
Donavan Brazier wins despite battling injury
The first round of the men’s 800 meters saw the favorites plus a high school star advance to the semifinal scheduled for Friday.
In heat 2, 2019 world champion Donavan Brazier ran his second outdoor race of the season while reportedly dealing with a case of bursitis in his right foot. Brazier won the section in 1:46.49, the fastest time of the day. As the defending world champion, Brazier has a bye into the World Athletics Championships in July. But in order to be selected to Team USA, he had to run at least one round at the national championship. Brazier announced that he will not contest the semifinal.
Behind Brazier, high school senior Cade Flatt finished second in 1:46.53 to make his first semifinal at a senior national championship.
Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and world indoor bronze medalist Bryce Hoppel also advanced out of their respective races. Out of four heats, the top three finishers plus the runners with the next four fastest times advanced to the semifinal on Friday.
Dalilah Muhammad skips the meet because of injury
Defending world champion Dalilah Muhammad was notably absent from the first round of the women’s 400-meter hurdles. The former world record-holder is dealing with a hamstring injury and received a waiver from USATF to withdraw from the national meet and accept her bye into the World Athletics Championships in Eugene.
Meanwhile, Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin took care of business on day 1 by winning the first heat in 54.11. The world record-holder is coming off a world-leading performance in Nashville, where she ran 51.61 on June 5.
Cole Hocker doesn’t advance in men’s 1500 meters
Another surprise came later in the men’s 1500 meters when Olympic finalist Cole Hocker faded to sixth in heat 1 and failed to qualify for Saturday’s final. The former Oregon runner, who turned pro as a 20-year-old after competing for Team USA at the Tokyo Games last summer, was leading the race until the last 50 meters where he was overtaken by Yared Nuguse, Eric Holt, Reed Brown, Brett Meyer, and Vincent Ciattei on the homestretch. Hocker’s time of 3:39.57 wasn’t fast enough to advance after the results from all three heats were tallied.
The favorites move on in the women’s 1500 meters
The Tokyo Olympic roster of Heather MacLean, Elle Purrier St. Pierre, and Cory McGee all advanced to the women’s 1500-meter final by finishing top three in their respective semifinal heats on Thursday. MacLean and St. Pierre, who are also training partners in the New Balance Boston group, finished 1-2 in heat 1. MacLean ran 4:07.96, the fastest time of the night. McGee kicked to victory in heat 3 to secure her place in the final.
Three weeks after winning thewomen’s 10,000-meter final at the USATF Outdoor Championships, Karissa Schweizer doubled back to finish second in heat 2 of the 1500 meters. She will also race in the final on Saturday.
Evan Jager makes promising return to national championships
On Thursday, Evan Jager looked in control while competing in his first steeplechase since 2018 at the USATF Outdoor Championships.
On the bell lap of heat 1, the American record-holder made a move to the front of the lead pack on the backstretch and kicked to a runner-up finish in 8:23.57, a season’s best. Daniel Michalski won the section just ahead of Jager in 8:23.39.
After spending the last four years battling injuries, the Olympic silver medalist returned to his signature event in April at the Mt. SAC Relays, where he finished second in 8:34. He’s made steady progress in the last several weeks, collecting a fifth-place finish (8:27) at the USATF Distance Classic on May 19 and a third-place finish (8:28) at the Portland Track Festival on June 10.
Fellow Olympians Hillary Bor, Benard Keter, and Mason Ferlic are among the podium contenders who also advanced to Saturday’s final.