The USATF trials to select the USA team for the 2022 World Athletics Championships are set for Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon from June 23-26. Here are the favourites, according to Track and Field News, in the hottest events by order of collective anticipation:
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The Women’s 100 meters is clearly the headliner, if not for the quality of the field, for the characters involved. Although this race is nowhere as top-heavy as its Jamaican counterpart will be, because Sha’Carri Richardson is in the field, it should be outright compelling. The outspoken US Champion has 10.6 /10.7 potential, as exhibited in her 2021 campaign, and has already run 10.92 legally this season.
In addition to Richardson, the US has young professionals Twanisha Terry, Brittany Brown and Cambrea Sturgis who are all a year removed from the collegiate ranks and have run under 11 seconds so far as well this year. Then there is the crop who are still competing on the NCAA level, like Abby Steiner and Melissa Jefferson who have run 10.92 and 10.88, respectively.
Veterans like Aleia Hobbs, Morolake Akinosun, Janine Oliver and Olympic and World Championship finalists Teahna Daniels, Gabby Thomas, MaryBeth Saint-Price and Mikiah Brisco are sure to add to the field’s combustibility.
The Women’s 400-meter hurdles would ordinarily be the top race, but with reigning World Champion Dalilah Muhammad having a bye to Worlds, the public might not get the fourth matchup between these two in June. There is still, however, the threat of Sydney McLaughlin lowering her own world record to make a statement before Worlds, since she already ran the fastest season opener on history this past weekend. Her 51.61 is faster than the first world-record run of 51.91 she did at US trials a year ago.
Olympian Shamier Little will be looking to make her first World final since 2015 where she got silver. In order to do that, she will have to make the team again. New pro out of USC and Olympic finalist Anna Cockrell, who has a PB of 53.70 will be of consequence to her plans along with Ashley Spencer, Cassandra Tate and collegian Britton Wilson, who has the third fastest time this year of 53.75 seconds.
Little should still have the advantage though, being the fifth fastest woman ever in this event at 52.39.
The women’s 800 is almost a sure-to-be must see. Athing Mu is an established star that is still rising to brighter heights; the 20 year old US champion Olympic champion and American record holder is the unequivocal favorite.
Her competition for the US title includes fellow Tokyo medalist Ravyn Rodgers, whose late kick last year helped her to a bronze medal similar to her silver medal efforts in Doha. Fellow New Jersey girl Ajee Wilson, a two-time World bronze medalist from Doha and London, is having a rebound season after not making the Olympic final again. She is the 2022 indoor World champion at the distance and has run 1:58.06 this year.
This is Allyson Felix’s final year and her swan song would be most sweet if she made her final USA team in the first year the US hosts the World Championships. The cast from 2021 trials is back, including reigning American champion and fellow Olympic finalist Quanera Hayes and third-place trials finisher Wadeline Jonathas – not to mention veteran quarter-mile stars Jessica Beard, Lynna Irby and Kendall Ellis. What really makes this event worth the view is reigning 400 meter hurdles world champion Muhammad dropping to the open 400 in light of her bye to the hurdles. Everyone wants to see what she runs without the hurdles and the pressure.
Athing Mu could make it even more interesting by jumping down from her marquee event to try and make the 400 squad, given she has the NCAA record in that event at 49.57 (of course, that’s just my own selfish desire ).
The 100 hurdles trials still have the world-record holder returning to try and claim her first global outdoor title. Ever since Kendra ran that 12.2 – after not making the Rio Team – she has been pretty consistent in qualifying for US teams and making finals. Despite an indoor title in 2018, however, she is still looking for that ever-elusive outdoor World or Olympic title.
But before she can try to take down the Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Tobi Amusan, Ackera Nugent, Brittany Anderson or Danielle Williams, she must first contend with the likes of fellow US Olympians Christina Clemons and recent college grads Gabbi Cunningham and the fastest American in 2022, Tonea Marshall, who ran 12.46 in April, to make another team.
She lucks out with Nia Ali’s bye as the reigning world champion in the 100 hurdles and with Brianna Rollins-McNeal still in limbo.
The women’s 200 meters is seemingly reigning US champion and Tokyo bronze medalist Gabby Thomas’s race to lose. And with a very similar field to the 100 (minus the Sha’Carri factor) it should play out closely. Although Jenna Prandini is more of a factor in this race, it’s the collegians, Abby Steiner and Anavia Battle who have very strong chances of making the team. Steiner is the new indoor 200-meter American record holder and NCAA favorite in the 200, while Ohio State’s Battle looks to make her second consecutive US team in the 200 meters after making the Olympic team to Tokyo last season.
As far as the newer pros are concerned, outside of Sturgis, Tamara Clark is another young woman looking to prove herself on the world athletics level.
USATF Trials is to pick America’s team for the Eugene 2022 World Championships, July 15-24.
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