TSX BULLETIN: Fisher takes men’s 10,000 in high style as U.S. Track & Field Trials open; Richardson storms to 10.88 heat win in women’s 100

Grant Fisher was the runner-up at the 2021 Trials, but the winner in 2024! (Photo: Adam Eberhardt for Tracktown USA)

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The U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials got underway in Eugene on Friday, but with only one final: the men’s 10,000 m.

Three Americans had gone under the Olympic standard (sub-27:00) this year, with Tokyo Olympian Grant Fisher at 26:52.04, Northern Arizona star Nico Young at 26:52.72 and Tokyo Olympian Woody Kincaid at 26:57.57, all from a March race at San Juan Capistrano, California. Anyone other than those three would have to run sub-27 to get to Paris.

It was hot, with 86 F temperatures for the 23 starters, but the stars were in the front and by 5,000 m, a lead pack of six included marathon Olympian Conner Mantz, NCAA runner-up Young, Fisher, and Kincaid, with 10 in contact.

Sam Chelanga, the 2023 Pan Am Games silver winner, made a break for the front by 6,800 m, with a 66.92 lap, then immediately slowed to a 72.20. Young and Fisher were close behind. Young had the lead with six laps to go, with Fisher just jogging behind, ahead of Ryan Ford.

With four laps to go, it was still 10 together and Young led, but then two-time Olympic 5,000 m medalist Paul Chelimo took over, but with Fisher moving up to second. Then, Andrew Colley made a break and led Fisher, Kincaid and Young with three laps to go.

At that point, Fisher had fooled around long enough and blasted to the front, throwing in a 62.32 lap to blow the race open and was along in front with 800 m left. The lead grew to 15 m on the backstraight and after a 60.49 lap, he took the bell alone.

The race was on for second, with Young, Kincaid and Drew Hunter as 2-3-4.

At the bell, Fisher was sailing, finished in 58.12 and won with ease in 27:49.47 in 84-degree temps. Kincaid finished with his usual sprint for second in 27:50.74, with Young on his first Olympic team at 27:52.40. Hunter was a game fourth in 27:53.35, but did not have the qualifying standard and would not have been able to compete in Paris.

Fisher, 27, demonstrated that he is a serious contender for medals after a fifth in Tokyo and a fourth at the 2022 Worlds. Young, at 21, is the future of this event for the U.S.

There was a lot – a lot – of qualifying, in a session that began at 3 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m.:

Men’s 400 m: The first event of the afternoon began with 86 F temperatures and the running was hot, with Quincy Hall getting a seasonal best of 44.60 to best Matthew Boling (44.94 PR) in heat one. Prep Quincy Wilson won heat two in a lifetime best of 44.66 – now no. 8 all-time on the world U-20 list – ahead of Chris Bailey (44.86).

USC star Johnnie Blockburger and defending national champion Bryce Deadmon were a more reasonable 45.08 and 45.21 in heat three, and Vernon Norwood and Khaleb McRee went 45.40 and 45.54 in heat four. U.S. leader Michael Norman cruised heat five and won in 45.31.

It took 45.83 to get out of the first round, with two who ran faster – 45.51 and 45.55 – eliminated as not being the next two fastest behind the top five in each heat.

Men’s 1,500 m: Rio 2016 Olympic champ Matthew Centrowitz scratched after his comeback attempt from injury fell short. Youth was served in heat one, as Colin Sahlman of Northern Arizona won in 3:38.67, with U.S. no. 2 Cooper Teare qualifying in fifth in 3:38.74. World Road Mile champ Hobbs Kessler won heat two ahead of U.S. leader Yared Nuguse 3:37.50 to 3:37.61. The third heat was the fastest by far, with World Indoor runner-up Cole Hocker leading from the start and winning in 3:34.54 – a season’s best – ahead of a lifetime best from Luke Houser (3:35.24).

Men’s Steeple: The two heats were won by Matthew Wilkinson in 8:20.61 and Kenneth Rooks in 8:26.90, with American Record holder Evan Jager second behind Rooks in 8:27.07.

Men’s Vault: A major disappointment at 5.60 m (18-4 1/2), as American Record holder KC Lightfoot failed to clear and was eliminated. Safely through at 5.65 m (18-6 1/2) were two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks and Olympic silver winner Chris Nilsen.

Men’s Shot: Just one throw each was enough for two-time World Champion Joe Kovacs (22.13 m/72-7 1/4) and world-record holder Ryan Crouser (21.44 m/70-4 1/4). Payton Otterdahl, having a career year and no. 3 on the world outdoor list for 2024, qualified second at 21.70 m (71-2 1/2) on his second throw.

Men’s Javelin: Tokyo Olympian Curtis Thompson led the qualifiers at 79.64 m (361-3), ahead of Jordan Davis (77.14 m/253-1).

Decathlon: Michigan State’s 2023 All-American Health Baldwin won the shot and the high jump to lead at 4,508 after the first day, ahead of Tokyo Olympian Zach Ziemek (4,477) and Kyle Garland (4,456). Ziemek won the 100 m (10.46), while Devon Williams took the long jump (7.56 m/24-9 3/4) and Harrison Williams led in the 400 m (46.56).

Women’s 100 m: Four heats and World Champion Sha’Carri Richardson confirmed her favorite’s status with a 10.88 (wind: +0.3 m/s) win in heat four, ahead of Tamari Davis (11.01). Ole Miss star McKenzie Long, the NCAA champ, won heat one in 10.94 (+0.4), just ahead of Aleia Hobbs (10.97). Melissa Jefferson was also impressive with a 10.91 (+0.9) win in heat three, with Jenna Prandini second (11.03). Heat two was wind-aided at +3.1, but the slowest with Florida State’s Dajaz Defrand winning in 11.05 over Mikiah Brisco (11.07).

Women’s 400 m: Lynna Irby-Jackson (50.89), Aaliyah Butler (50.44), Shamier Little (50.13), Alexis Holmes (51.05) and Rachel Joseph (50.92) were the heat winners, with Little getting a seasonal best.

Women’s 800 m: Stanford’s Juliette Whitaker won heat one in 2:01.70, setting the stage for the return of Olympic champ Athing Mu, last seen on a track on 17 September 2023, when she won the Pre Classic in the Diamond League final at Hayward Field. Mu settled in behind U.S. Indoor champ Allie Wilson by 200 m and continued through the second lap, passed by McKenna Keegan for second, 2:01.57 to 2:01.71, with Mu an easy third in 2:01.73.

LSU’s 2023 NCAA champ Michaela Rose won heat three in 1:59.57, with two-time Olympian Ajee Wilson second with a seasonal best of 2:00.96. Nia Akins, the 2023 U.S. indoor and outdoor champ, took the lead into the final straight and won heat four in 2:01.18.

Women’s 5,000 m: Heat one started in 88 F temps, with World Indoor 3,000 m champ Elle St. Pierre winning easily in 15:13.82, over Karissa Schweizer (15:15.42) and Florida star Parker Valby (15:17.56), who led for most of the race.

The second heat was much slower, with Elise Cranny a clear winner in 16:02.33, ahead of Ella Donaghu (16:05.84).

Women’s Triple Jump: U.S. leader and Tokyo Olympian Jasmine Moore rose a 2.1 m/s wind to 14.03 mw (46-0 1/2w) on her second jump, best of the day. Fellow Tokyo Olympian Tori Franklin was next at 13.86 m (45-5 3/4), trailed by two-time Olympian Keturah Orji (13.75 m/45-1 1/2).

Women’s Hammer: World leader and 2022 World Champion Brooke Andersen led the qualifying at 76.25 m (250-2), ahead of 2019 World Champion DeAnna Price, at 75.52 m (247-9).

Saturday’s final session starts at 4:45 p.m. Pacific and includes the last five events of the decathlon, the men’s shot, women’s triple jump and women’s 100 meters.

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