TSX BULLETIN: Lyles, Bednarek and Kerley take 100 spots, as Kendricks and Ellis shine at Track & Field Trials

Noah Lyles winning the men's 200 m at the 2022 World Championships (Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images for World Athletics)

The Sports Examiner: Chronicling the key competitive, economic and political forces shaping elite sport and the Olympic Movement.★

To get The Sports Examiner by e-mail: sign up here!

Friends: You care! Now 21 donors have covered 50.9% of our technical costs for the rest of 2024. If you can support our coverage, please donate here. Your enthusiasm is the reason this site continues. It is. ★


The men’s 100 m semifinals were the first event on the track at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon in the evening session, scheduled for 5:48 p.m.

There were no surprises for the favorites, with 2023 NCAA champion Courtney Lindsey edging an oncoming Fred Kerley – the 2022 World Champion – in the first semi, 9.88w to 9.89w (wind: +2.6 m/s), then reigning World Champion Noah Lyles got a good start and breezed to a 9.80w win in semi two (+3.0), ahead of Tokyo 200 m silver winner Kenny Bednarek (9.82w). Finally, 2019 World Champion Christian Coleman blasted from the blocks and won in 9.86 (+1.5), ahead of Brandon Hicklin (9.95).

Lyles lined up lane seven for the final, with Kerley to his outside and Coleman in four. And it was Coleman who got to an early lead at about 40 m, but only slightly. In the final 40 m, Lyles was moving up as was Bednarek in lane six – running together – and Kerley moving well in eight. In the final 10 m, Lyles got to the front and was celebrating, winning in 9.83, equaling his lifetime best (+0.4). Bednarek gave away nothing and got second in 9.87, a lifetime best and Kerley leaned in lane eight to make his second team in 9.88. Coleman was overhauled and was fourth in 9.93, headed now for relay duty in Paris. Prep Christian Miller was fifth in 9.98 and Lindsey sixth in 10.02.

Lyles was great, but Kerley’s recovery to form after an unsettled spring and splitting with his sponsor ASICS, then wearing Nike spikes in Eugene, was amazing.

It was a slow start to the men’s Steeple final, and eight were in contact until two laps to go. Then, Kenneth Rooks surged and opened a 10 m lead at the bell. He could not be caught and won in 8:21.92 to defend his 2023 national title! Matthew Wilkinson tried to break with Rooks and ran away from everyone else on the back straight and was second in 8:23.00. BYU’s James Corrigan came up on the final straight and got third in 8:26.78, ahead of American Record holder Evan Jager in fourth in 8:28.73.

None of the top three have the Olympic standard of 8:15.00; their invitation to Paris will depend on the world rankings, where Rooks is in good position, currently 24th. Wilkinson is 36th and Corrigan is not in the top 100. Jager is 46th.

Four men cleared 5.82 m (19-1) in the men’s vault, with two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks – who said he might not go to Paris if the makes the team (!) – clearing his first five heights, including 5.87 m (9-3) on his first try. Tokyo silver winner Chris Nilsen and Jacob Wooten both cleared 5.87 m as well, with Kentucky’s Keaton Daniel and Matt Ludwig passing to 5.92 m (19-5) to try and stay in. Ludwig missed once each at 5.82, 5.87 and 5.92 and finished fifth; Daniel got a lifetime best at 5.82, but missed once at 5.87 and twice at 5.92 and the Paris team was set.

Kendricks made 5.92 m on his second try, but Nilsen and Wooten could not, and after an Olympic bronze in 2016, Kendricks can compete in Paris after being removed from the event in Tokyo due to a Covid diagnosis few days prior to the event. If he wants to; afterwards, he said he would go. 

Curtis Thompson ended the men’s javelin final early, sending an 83.04 m (272-5) bomb in the first round for a season’s best. He doesn’t have the Olympic standard of 85.50 m (280-6), but is ranked 11th worldwide and should be in Paris. Capers Williamson was second in 79.57 m (261-0), also without the Olympic standard and ranked 50th worldwide.

In the women’s 400 m, star Arkansas frosh Kaylyn Brown had the lead at 200 m, but it was ex-USC star Kendall Ellis – a 4×400 m gold winner in Tokyo – who came best in lane eight and won in a lifetime best of 49.46! She took over from Georgia soph Aaliyah Butler, who didn’t make it to the NCAA final, but is on her way to Paris with a lifetime best of 49.71, followed by Alexis Holmes, who also got a lifetime best in third at 49.78. Brown held on for fourth and is on the relay after a 50.07, and Quanera Hayes should also be on her second Olympics on the relay squad after a 50.55 in fifth.

The women’s hammer final was a stunner. Annette Echikunwoke, 12th at the 2022 Worlds in Eugene, took the lead with a big throw of 74.68 m (245-0), followed closely by DeAnna Price, the 2019 World Champion, at 74.49 m (244-4). Neither improved and they finished 1-2 and on the team. But behind them was chaos. World leader Brooke Andersen had three fouls and was eliminated. World no. 4 and two-time Worlds medalist Janee Kassanavoid had two fouls, got a fair third throw, but managed only 69.46 m (227-11) for sixth.

Instead it was Erin Reese – who does not have the Olympic standard, and is world-ranked no. 42 – in third at 71.21 m (233-7); Rachel Tanczos – who has the standard – finished fourth at 70.98 m (232-10). This is not what was expected; Reese could be selected, but some calculations will be necessary.

There was also more qualifying, especially for some event finals on Monday:

Men’s 400 m: Former Georgia star Matthew Boling went out hard in lane eight in semi one and held the lead into the final straight. But Quincy Hall, the 2023 Worlds bronze medalist, steamed into the lead and ran strongly to the finish to win in a seasonal best of 44.42. Boling was passed by Chris Bailey in the final 10 m, 44.82 to 44.91, a lifetime best for Boling and enough to qualify for the final.

The crowd was wild for 16-year-old Quincy Wilson (Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland), who set a world U-18 record in the heats, but it was reigning national champion Bryce Deadmon who moved up and was chasing Virginia Tech’s Judson Lincoln into the straight. Deadmon took over and was chased by 2016 World Indoor champ Vernon Norwood to the line, in 44.44 and 44.50. Wilson, unfazed, moved up from fourth and passed Lincoln to get third in another lifetime best (and world U-18 record) of 44.59 in third, and qualified for the final.

Michael Norman, the 2022 World Champion, took the lead on the backstraight, blew away the field on the turn and cruised home in 45.30; no trouble. A furious fight for second had Alabama’s Khaleb McRae edge USC’s Johnnie Blockburger, 45.59 to 45.63.

Women’s 800 m: Michaela Rose, the 2023 NCAA champ for LSU led through the bell in semi one, with Tokyo Olympic champ Athing Mu second. Rose opened a huge lead on the back straight, and led into the straight, but Mu moved up as she was challenged by 2016 U.S. Olympian Kate Grace. Mu moved by Rose on her outside to win in 1:58.84, with Grace pushing by Rose for second in 1:58.97, then taking a tumble into a field scoreboard past the finish line.

The second semi saw Sage Hurta-Klecker running hard from the start and leading at the bell and onto the backstraight. It got more crowded off the turn, but Hurta-Klecker was still in front with Olivia Baker second. But in the final 50 m, former U.S. record-holder Ajee Wilson came up as did Tokyo bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers. Baker gave ground with 20 m left and then Rogers found a little more speed, passed Wilson and just got past Hurta-Klecker at the line to win in 2:01.08. Hurta-Klecker timed 2:01.11, and Wilson was eliminated in 2:01.25; Baker faded to fifth in 2:01.50.

Allie Wilson had the lead at the bell in semi three, and continued right to the finish essentially unchallenged, in 2:00.29. Nia Akins emerged into second on the final straight and stayed there in 2:00.87, with Sammy Watson a non-qualifying third in 2:01.01.

Women’s heptathlon: U.S. seasonal leader Michelle Atherley won the 100 m hurdles in 12.73, but favored Anna Hall – the 2023 Worlds silver medalist – took the high jump at 1.82 m (5-11 1/2), and then NCAA fourth-placer Jenelle Rogers of Ball State won the shot at 15.76 m (51-8 1/2).

In the 200 m, Hall won her heat and ended the first day in front at 3,884. Atherley had the 200 m best time and was sixth overall (3,735). Chari Hawkins, no. 12 in the world rankings and eighth at the 2023 Worlds, stands second with 3,874 points. Taliyah Brooks, who was carried from the field in Eugene in 2021 due to the heat – and has sued USA Track & Field about it – stands third at 3,861, just 23 points behind the leader. Atherley is seventh at 3,735.

Monday is another busy day, before two off-days. Finals are in the men’s 400 m, 1,500 m and long jump, the women’s 800 m, 5,000 m, high jump and the heptathlon.

You can receive our exclusive TSX Report by e-mail by clicking here. You can also refer a friend by clicking here, and can donate here to keep this site going.

For our updated, 547-event International Sports Calendar for the rest of 2024 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!