Lyles edges Knighton for the national title in the 200
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Noah Lyles pulled in front of teenage sensation Erriyon Knighton at the finish to win the 200 meters at the U.S. track and field championships Sunday.
“I do what it takes to win,” proclaimed Lyles, who cheekily pointed to Knighton as he hit the tape in 19.67 seconds.
Lyles won the 200 at the 2019 world championships in Doha and the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. He’ll be challenged again by Knighton in the worlds next month in Eugene.
“Job not finished,” said Knighton, just 18.
Temperatures in the mid-90s greeted athletes for the final day of the competition at Hayward Field. Events moved to earlier in the day because of the heat.
The top three finishers in each event will be on the U.S. team for the world championships, given they have met the required performance standard.
Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu was challenged the last 100 meters by Ajee Wilson, but pushed to finish first in the 800 in 1:57.16.
“It was a fast field, we were all together kind of throughout the whole race. I felt like we’d still be together the last 100, I just wanted to try my best to finish strong,” Mu said. “Ajee was right on me, I had to push a little harder to get to the line.”
Sha’Carri Richardson did not qualify for Sunday’s 200 final, her only remaining chance to make the U.S. team for the worlds. Her time in the semifinal, 22.47 seconds, put her out of contention. She did not comment to reporters afterward.
Richardson also failed to make the field for Friday’s 100 meter final, which was won by Melissa Jefferson of Coastal Carolina. Richardson’s failure to qualify for the finals in either race was something of a surprise, given her form at recent meets.
With her ever-changing hair color and long nails, Richardson grabbed attention at last year’s Olympic trails with a statement-making win in the 100. But she was suspended because of a positive test for marijuana, which kept her off the team sent to the Tokyo Games.
Abby Steiner of Kentucky, who set a college record in the 200 at this year’s NCAA championships, won the event in 21.77, the leading time in the world this season and a personal best.
Daniel Roberts won the 110 hurdles in 13:03. Two-time Olympian Devon Allen, the fan favorite who ran track and played football at Oregon, finished third to make the team for worlds.
Allen is trying to balance track life and football after recently signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver. At worlds, the 110 hurdles are set for July 17. Eagles players are slated to report for training camp nine days later.
Bryce Hoppel made his second straight U.S. team for worlds in the 800, finishing in 1:44.60. He was followed by Jonah Kowech, who achieved the standard with his finish, and Brandon Miller, who threw himself over the line to secure third.
“I just wanted it so much,” Miller said.
Rai Benjamin won the 400 hurdles in 1:44.60, best in the world this season. Benjamin was coming off a bout with COVID-19 that drained his energy.
“This weekend was a lot on me, I’m kind of banged up, obviously, but I’m just happy to come out and get the win today. Going to worlds,” Benjamin said.
Emma Coburn won her 10th national title in the steeplechase, finishing in a season-best 9:10.63.
Chase Ealey won the shot put at a meet-record 67 feet, 3 1/2 inches (20.51 meters). Elise Cranny won the national title in the 5,000.
On the men’s side, Grant Fisher won the 5,000 in a meet-record 13:03.86. Donald Scott won the title in the triple jump, while Shelby McEwen won the high jump and Ethan Dobbs won the javelin.
Hayward Field, on the University of Oregon campus underwent $200 million in renovations to host the worlds, track and field’s biggest event outside of the Olympics.
It is the first time that the world championships will be held on American soil.