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Highs and lows of the U.S. World Championship Trials

The good and the bad from the 2022 U.S. Trials

Photo by: Kevin Morris

The top American runners and sprinters landed in Eugene, Ore., over the weekend for a shot at making the U.S. world championship team. If you had missed the action on the track, here is a summary of the highs and lows from the weekend.

Noah Lyles wins the men’s 200m in 19.67 seconds at USATF Track and Field Championships. Photo: Kevin Morris

The highs

Melissa Jefferson

Jefferson pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend, winning the women’s 100m in a wind-aided 10.69 seconds (+2.9 m/s). Jefferson, a third-year student at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, S.C., finished eighth in the 100m at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships two weeks ago. She was the second-fastest qualifier from the heats, which got her in a middle-lane placement in the final.

Melissa Jefferson in the 100m at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field. Photo: Kevin Morris

With her 100m win at U.S. Trials, Jefferson gained an automatic selection to the U.S. team at the upcoming world championships.

Sydney McLaughlin

Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin broke her own world record at U.S. Trials on Saturday evening. She ran 51.41 seconds to break her previous record of 51.46 to successfully defend her U.S. title.

Sydney McLaughlin set a new world record in the 400mH at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Photo: Kevin Morris

McLaughlin was out on her own after the first 100m and did not look back, beating the rest of the field by almost two seconds. She will be the woman to beat in the 400mH at Worlds.

Grant Fisher

Many track and field fans had high hopes for Fisher going into the 5,000m, after setting the American record in the 10,000m this spring. Fisher handled the pressure perfectly, controlling the men’s race from start to finish to win in a meet-record time of 13:03.86.

Grant Fisher in the men’s 5,000m at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Photo: Kevin Morris

This performance will give Fisher confidence before challenging the world’s best over five and 10,000m in three weeks.

Emma Coburn

The 31-year-old 2017 world champion won her 10th U.S. steeplechase title comfortably in 9:10.63. Coburn pulled away from the field over the final two laps, earning her eighth straight national title.

Coburn has medalled at the past two world championships, taking home a gold in 2017 and a silver to her U.S. compatriot, Courtney Frerichs, in 2019. Coburn looks to bounce back in Eugene, after a disqualification for tripping over the barrier at the Tokyo Olympics.

The lows

Sha’Carri Richardson

After talking about running world record times in practice on Twitter, Richardson failed to qualify for the final in the women’s 100m and 200m. The 22-year-old sprinter came into the U.S. Trials in great form, running the season’s best performances at the Pre Classic and New York Grand Prix.

She avoided speaking with the media after the 100m, and had this to say to reporters after the 200m: “Reporters need to be more respectful of its athletes whether they win or lose.”

Richardson has not yet announced whether she intends to compete in any other races this season.

Cole Hocker

Hocker led his heat of the men’s 1,500m on Thursday evening from the start, but his well-known kick was lacking, and he finished sixth, in 3:39.25. There were high hopes for the 21-year-old pro from Indianapolis, after finishing sixth in Tokyo last summer.

Hocker’s agent, Ray Flynn, told the Indianapolis Star that the runner had been battling an injury for the past three weeks, training on a bike for the previous 12 days. The injury was not specified, but Hocker, who was also scheduled to run the men’s 5,000m, did not start.

Christian Coleman

Coleman showed off his talent in the heats and semis (10.07 and 9.87) of the men’s 100m before not showing up to the final. Since Coleman is the defending 100m world champion; he receives an automatic bid into the 2022 World Championships.

Christian Coleman speaking to the press at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Photo: Kevin Morris

The dropout was unexpected from Coleman, as earlier this month he spoke about wanting to race more before Worlds. Since his return from his ban, Coleman won a silver medal in the 60m at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Serbia.

Gabby Thomas

The two-time Olympic medallist looked good in the heats of the 200m, but failed to make the top three in the final. She crossed the line in eighth place, in 22.47.

Before the 200m final, Thomas announced on Twitter that she was battling a hamstring injury. The reigning NCAA 200m champion, Abby Steiner, won the 200m in a personal best and world-leading time of 21.77.

You can view all the results from the 2022 USATF Track and Field Championships here.