TSX BULLETIN: Ka-pow! Holloway blasts world-leading 12.86; 21.78 world leader for Thomas, 19.60w for Lyles in semis at U.S. Trials!

No doubt: Grant Holloway takes the Olympic Trials in 12.88! (Photo: USATF)

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Friday’s session of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon had only one final: the men’s 110 m hurdles. That meant Grant Holloway, looking for his second Olympic berth and first gold medal.

The world leader in 2024, Holloway was brilliant in the first two rounds, running a world-leading 12.92 and then 12.96 in his semi. He was in lane six for the final, with world no. 2 Freddie Crittenden to his right in seven, and three-time national champion and Tokyo Olympian Daniel Roberts in four.

Off the gun, Holloway got his usual bullet start and he and Roberts were together through three hurdles and then Holloway – the Big Flamingo – took off. He raced to the lead and ran away, winning in a world-leading 12.86 (wind: +2.0 m/s). He hit the eighth hurdle, but was hardly bothered on the way to his second-best time ever.

Crittenden came on in the last half of the race to pass Roberts and got a lifetime best of 12.93 for second (now equal-13th all-time), with Roberts third in 12,96, another lifetime best. Cordell Tinch, who made the Worlds team in 2023, was fourth in a lifetime best of 13.03.

The U.S. is now 1-2-3-4-6-7 on the 2024 world list. Wow. Holloway’s time was the no. 4 performance of all time and it was the first-ever race with three men under 13 seconds. A classic.

Beyond the hurdles, there was qualifying and a lot of it:

● Men’s 200 m: Worlds silver winner Erriyon Knighton ran his first race of the season in the heats and won in 20.15, but after a sluggish start, he roared down the straight in the first semifinal, then eased up with 25 m to go and ran 19.93 (+0.3), equal-sixth in the world for 2024! Kyree King was second in 20.25.

World no. 1 Kenny Bednarek and no. 2 Courtney Lindsey were in lanes 7-8 in the second semi, and Bednarek blew by everyone on the turn and rolled to the finish in 19.96 (+0.7). Lindsey was a clear second in 20.05 and easily into the final.

World Champion Noah Lyles was in lane seven in the third semi, with 100 m star Christian Coleman one lane inside and younger brother Josephus Lyles in lane four. Noah and Coleman were out best and both cruised to the tape in a clear 1-2 in a wind-aided (+2.5) screamer of 19.60 and 19.89! Josephus was fourth in 20.37 and did not advance.

● Men’s 800 m: Penn State’s Darius Smallwood led at the bell in semi one, but there was a lot of traffic into the final turn, but then Rio 2016 bronze winner Clayton Murphy turned on the jets and moved up to second to automatically qualify, just behind Josh Hoey in 1:45.73 and 1:45.76. Murphy lost his bib in a tie-up with Tokyo Olympian Isaiah Jewett, but had speed when he needed it in the final 100 m.

Brandon Miller, a member of the U.S. team at the 2022 Worlds, grabbed the lead on the final backstraight in semi two, with World Road Mile champ Hobbs Kessler trailing. They broke away on the straightaway and raced together to the line, with both getting lifetime bests: 1:43.71 for Kessler and 1:43.73, with Abraham Alvarado getting third in a PR of 1:44.44.

In semi three, World Indoor champ Bryce Hoppel was at or near the front and led into the final backstraight and led into the final turn. He pulled away on the straightaway and looked supremely confident in 1:44.01. Jonah Koech was second in 1:44.47 and NCAA winner Shane Cohen of Virginia got a PR of 1:44.92 and qualified for the final.

● Men’s 400 m hurdles: Alabama’s Chris Robinson, the 2023 NCAA winner, led around the second turn, but was passed by Trevor Bassitt, the 2022 Worlds bronze medalist, into the straight. Bassitt held on to win in 49.02, with Robinson easing into second at 49.34. NCAA champ Caleb Dean ran away with heat two in 48.92, ahead of Khallifah Rosser (49.72); prep Vance Nilsson (Gilbert High School in Arizona) got another lifetime best, this time to 49.77, equal-fourth all-time among U.S. preps with … Rio Olympic champ Kerron Clement, back in 2002! But Nilsson did not advance to the final.

Rai Benjamin cruised semi three and still timed 47.97 (!!!) to win, with CJ Allen coming on for second on the straightaway in 48.16. Wow.

● Men’s Triple Jump: Miami’s Russell Robinson got a lifetime best of 17.13 m (56-2 1/2) for second at the NCAAs and improved that to 17.14 m (56-2 3/4) in the qualifying to lead the field. NCAA champ (and U.S. leader) Salif Mane of Fairleigh Dickinson had two fouls, but then got out to 16.97 mw (55-8 3/4w) to move to second.

Two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor, battling back from injuries and who has said this is his final season, was 10th at 15.93 m (52-3 1/4) and made it to the final. Two-time World Indoor champ and twice Olympic silver winner Will Claye also made it to the final in 11th at 16.08 m (52-9 1/4).

● Men’s Hammer: American Record holder Rudy Winkler was the qualifying leader at 77.08 m (252-11) on his third try, followed by Justin Stafford with a lifetime best of 76.12 m (249-9) and 2023 Pan American Games runner-up Daniel Haugh at 74.94 m (245-10).

● Women’s 200 m: Sha’Carri Richardson moved to no. 2 in the world in the heats and was even better on Friday. She was just behind Jenna Prandini off the turn, but ran away on the straight to win in 21.92 (+1.8 m/s), still no. 2 this year and equaling her lifetime best. Prandini was second in 22.26, a seasonal best.

World leader and NCAA champ McKenzie Long got off well, but 2019 Worlds silver winner Brittany Brown was leading off the turn. But Long put on the speed in the final 50 m to win in 22.01 (+0.6) to 22.08 for Brown and 22.10 for Tamari Davis in third.

Worlds silver medalist Gabby Thomas ran a hard turn and got past 2022 NCAA champ Abby Steiner and powered through the straight, winning in a world-leading 21.78 (+1.4), with Steiner second in 22.03. Thomas looked fabulous.

● Women’s 1,500 m: The World Indoor 3,000 m champion and 5,000 m winner, Elle St. Pierre, was in front by 800 m in semi one and led a group of six at the bell. St. Pierre pulled the group of five qualifiers along and 2024 Worlds 1,500 silver winner Nikki Hiltz took the lead off the straight and won in a fast 4:01.40, with 2022 national champ Sinclaire Johnson at 4:01.68, Heather MacLean third in 4:02.09, Cory McGee in 4:02.09 and then St. Pierre at 4:02.14.

Semi two had Tokyo Olympian and 5,000 m runner-up Elise Cranny out front, but passed at the bell by Addy Wiley. There were six in contact coming into the straight, and Emily Mackay, the Worlds Indoor 1,500 bronzer, pushed through in the final 50 m to win in 4:02.46, with Cranny at 4:02.56; Wiley qualified in fifth in 4:02.92.

● Women’s 100 m hurdles: Due to a couple of scratches, no one was going to be eliminated and the races were only for seeding. That changed things considerably.

Two-time LSU All-American Tonea Marshall rocketed out of the blocks in heat one, was never headed and finished in 12.41 (+1.7 m/s), a lifetime best by 0.01 and still no. 4 in the world for 2024. The second heat was even faster, with Masai Russell and Alaysha Johnson finishing 1-2 as Russell came on during the run-in to get a lifetime best of 12.35 (+0.2) and 12.37, now nos. 2-3 in the world for 2024!

Heat three was wild, as 2019 World Champion Nia Ali just jogged through the race, since everyone was advancing; she said afterwards that her warm-up “did not go as planned” so she “did what I had to do.” Injury, perhaps. Christina Clemons won in 12.56 (+0.1) with Ali seventh in 20.38, perhaps the slowest qualifier in the event’s history?

Olympic silver winner Keni Harrison looked good in heat four, winning in 12.49 over NCAA champ Grace Stark (12.52). Hurdles legend Lolo Jones also qualified in a relaxed sixth at 14.86.

● Women’s Vault: Qualifying was completed at 4.50 m (14-9), with 10 over and three more at 4.35 m (14-3 1/4). Defending Olympic champ Katie Moon and two-time World Indoor champion Sandi Morris each qualified with one jump.

● Women’s Shot: The suspense ended in the first round, as two-time World Champion Chase Jackson got the lead at 19.66 m (64-6) and qualified easily, as did Tokyo silver medal winner Raven Saunders at 19.54 m (64-1 1/4).

Fellow Tokyo Olympian Adelaide Aquilla qualified easily at 19.25 m (63-2), but was passed for third by collegiate record holder Jaida Ross of Oregon at 19.46 m (63-10 3/4).

● Women’s Javelin: The Kara Winger comeback continued, looking for a fifth Olympic Games and a 10th U.S. national title. The 2022 Worlds silver winner retired, but is now back and led the qualifying at 63.01 m (206-8), trailed by two-time Olympian Maggie Malone Hardin at 62.40 m (204-9).

Saturday and Sunday are mostly finals, with tomorrow’s program featuring the 20 km walks in the morning, then the men’s 200 m and discus, and the women’s 200 m, 10,000 m, long jump and shot in the evening. .

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