Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley ran the world’s fastest 100m this year and won the USATF Outdoor Championships, setting himself up as the favorite for the world championships in three weeks.
In a span of two hours, Kerley ran 9.76 seconds in the semifinals and, less than two hours later, 9.77 in the final. Those are the world’s two fastest times this year.
“I put the work in,” Kerley told Flotrack. “It’s the day I was supposed to have.”
Kerley is joined on the world team by Rio Olympian Marvin Bracy-Williams (9.85), the world’s fastest man of 2021 Trayvon Bromell (9.88) and Christian Coleman, who scratched after qualifying fourth into the final but has a bye into worlds as reigning world champion.
Allyson Felix extended her farewell season by grabbing the last spot in Saturday’s 400m final. She was in last place coming around the last curve in her semifinal, then surged into fourth place and made it into the eight-woman final on time.
In 2019 and 2021, USA Track and Field put all eight finalists on the world championships and Olympic teams for relay purposes. If that’s repeated this time, Felix will have made her 10th world championships team dating to 2003.
“My legs just didn’t feel the best, but I knew that’s kind of how this season was going to go,” said Felix, whose goal was to make the relay pool.
Melissa Jefferson won the women’s 100m in a wind-aided 10.69 seconds. Jefferson, the fastest collegian this season who was eighth at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago for Coastal Carolina, prevailed by three hundredths over 2018 U.S. champion Aleia Hobbs. Twanisha Terry rounds out the individual 100m team for worlds, which will also be in Eugene.
“One [NCAAs] had to be sacrificed for the other [U.S. Championships],” Jefferson told Lewis Johnson on CNBC. “Had I done good at NCAAs, I might not be standing here right now.”
The race lacked Sha’Carri Richardson, who was eliminated in the first round on Thursday. Richardson ranked No. 3 in the world last year despite having her Olympic Trials win disqualified for a positive marijuana test, ruling her out of the Tokyo Games.
Ryan Crouser, two-time Olympic champion and world record holder, recorded the joint-fourth-best throw in history to win the shot put. He’s joined on the team by runner-up Joe Kovacs, who has a bye into worlds as reigning world champion.
Olympic champion Valarie Allman won the discus, though she also has a bye into worlds as the reigning Diamond League season champion.
Rio Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris won the pole vault with a 4.82-meter clearance, tops in the world this year. Tokyo gold medalist Katie Nageotte was third to join her on the team. London gold medalist Jenn Suhr announced her retirement on Thursday at age 40.
Vashti Cunningham won her 10th consecutive U.S. high jump title (indoors and outdoors).
Rayvon Gray won the men’s long jump with a personal best 8.19-meter leap but doesn’t have the world championship standard (8.22), so he must wait to see if he gets into worlds on world ranking.
JuVaughn Harrison, who in Tokyo became the first American man to compete in the high jump and long jump at the same Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912, was 11th. Rio gold medalist Jeff Henderson didn’t enter nationals due to injury.
In semifinals, Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin easily advanced to Saturday’s 400m hurdles final with the top time (52.90) by 2.12 seconds. Dalilah Muhammad, the 2016 gold medalist and former world record holder, has a bye into worlds as reigning world champion. She didn’t compete at nationals due to injury.
All of the favorites advanced to this weekend’s finals in the men’s 400m (Michael Norman, Randolph Ross), men’s 800m (Bryce Hoppel, Clayton Murphy) and women’s 800m (Athing Mu, Raevyn Rogers, Ajeé Wilson).
Donovan Brazier, who is returning from injury, withdrew after the 800m first round but has a bye into worlds as reigning champ.
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