EUGENE, Oregon — The crowd at Hayward Field witnessed awe-inspiring performances on the third day of the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. Among the notable highlights were Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone’s masterful 48.74s in the 400m, as well as outstanding displays from Sha’Carrie Richardson, Nia Ali, Kenneth Rooks, and Nikki Hiltz.
Kenneth Rooks’s Incredible Comeback in Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase
Kenneth Rooks of BYU staged a remarkable recovery after a mid-race fall to secure a sensational victory in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, clocking an impressive lifetime best of 8:16.78. Despite falling at a barrier on the backstretch with six laps remaining, Rooks displayed tremendous resilience by working his way back into contention. He steadily moved up from 14th to 12th, then ninth, and eventually sixth. As the race approached its final curve and water jump, Rooks cleared the water with finesse and summoned his inner strength to pass Benard Keter in a breathtaking sprint to the finish line. Keter, who finished 11th in Tokyo, claimed the silver in 8:17.19, while Isaac Updike secured the bronze in 8:17.69.
Nia Ali Triumphs in Women’s 100m Hurdles
In a highly competitive field featuring eight women who could stake a legitimate claim as medal contenders at a world championship, Nia Ali, a 34-year-old mother of three, emerged victorious in the women’s 100m hurdles with a gold-medal-winning time of 12.37. Ali, the 2019 world champion, clinched her first USATF outdoor title with the second-fastest time of her career. Former world record holder Keni Harrison put in a solid performance, securing the silver medal in 12.42. The battle for bronze came down to a photo finish, with Kentucky’s Masai Russell edging out Alaysha Johnson by a razor-thin margin of .002 seconds, as both athletes were timed at 12.46.
Bryce Deadmon Shines in Men’s 400m
Bryce Deadmon, a gold medalist in the 4x400m relay at the Tokyo Olympics and Oregon22, made a significant individual breakthrough at the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. Deadmon produced a convincing performance, clocking a personal best of 44.22 to claim a resounding victory in the men’s 400m. Vernon Norwood and Quincy Hall took home the silver and bronze medals, respectively, with times of 44.39 and 44.41. Deadmon maintained a commanding lead from the 200m mark, displaying exceptional speed and determination to slice .22 seconds off his previous lifetime best. Norwood narrowly missed his personal best but settled for a strong second-place finish, while Hall shaved off .12 seconds from his own lifetime best, securing the bronze. Justin Robinson also achieved a personal best, crossing the line in fourth with a time of 44.47.
Nikki Hiltz Secures Gold in Women’s 1,500m
Nikki Hiltz delivered a stunning victory in the women’s 1,500m final, claiming her first outdoor USATF gold medal with a flawless performance in 4:03.10. Hiltz outpaced Athing Mu, the 800m world and Olympic champion and American record holder, who had led the race until the final lap. Mu displayed impressive strength and resilience, finishing with a huge personal best of 4:03.44 to secure the silver medal. Cory McGee, who recently moved up to the third spot on the all-time U.S. performer list in the mile, finished third in 4:03.48, just ahead of Sinclaire Johnson by a mere .01 seconds. Laurie Barton set the early pace, passing the 400m mark in 63.8 seconds and the 800m mark in 2:12.3. However, Mu and several others surged past Barton in the later stages of the race. Mu led the pack at the bell with a time of 3:04.09, but Hiltz unleashed an impressive final lap of 58.81 seconds to secure the victory.
Yared Nuguse Claims Victory in Men’s 1,500m
Yared Nuguse, the American indoor record holder, showcased his exceptional speed in the men’s 1,500m, winning his first USATF outdoor gold medal with a time of 3:34.90. Nuguse led the field through 800m in 1:58.96 and passed the bell at 2:41.58. On the backstretch, Washington’s NCAA silver medalist, Joe Waskom, made a surge to the front. However, Nuguse responded with determination as he entered the final stretch, retaking the lead and securing the victory with a swift 53.33-second final circuit. Cole Hocker, who finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympics, unleashed a powerful finish to claim the bronze in 3:35.46.
Other Standout Performances
Courtney Wayment set the pace in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, with Emma Coburn and Marisa Howard closely trailing her. Coburn eventually took the lead in the final lap but was overtaken by Krissy Gear, who clinched victory in 9:12.81, a significant lifetime best. Coburn secured her place in Budapest with a runner-up finish in 9:13.60, while Wayment settled for third place in 9:14.63.
Maggie Ewen, the world leader in shot put, demonstrated her dominance in the event, recording a stellar series of throws. Ewen’s best effort came in her final attempt, reaching an impressive distance of 19.92m/65-4.25, securing her victory by nearly three feet. Adelaide Aquilla, the NCAA indoor champion, claimed the silver with a throw of 19.02m/62-5, while Jalani Davis of Mississippi took home the bronze with a mark of 18.62m/61-1.25, tying reigning world champion Chase Ealey.
Marquis Dendy, a former USATF outdoor long jump gold medalist, triumphed once again with a first-round jump of 8.14m/26-8.5, winning by a mere one centimeter over 2017 champion Jarrion Lawson. Olympian JuVaughn Harrison secured the bronze with a wind-aided leap of 8.08m/26-6.25, narrowly defeating Steffin McCarter by one centimeter.
In the men’s javelin, Curtis Thompson, the 2021 Olympic Trials champion, delivered a clutch performance in the sixth round, throwing a season-best distance of 80.92m/265-6 to claim victory. Capers Williamson, who had held the lead until that point, settled for second place with a throw of 78.91m/258-10. Marc Anthony Minichello of Georgia secured the bronze with a best throw of 78.07m/256-1, while last year’s champion, Ethan Dabbs, finished in 14th place.
Maria Michta-Coffey and Nick Christie, two highly accomplished race walkers, added to their impressive resumes with victories in the 20,000m race walk on the track. Michta-Coffey secured her ninth career outdoor 20K crown, crossing the finish line in 1:38:37.5. In the men’s race, Christie claimed his fifth consecutive USATF title, completing the event in 1:25:30.4.
In the women’s 400m hurdles semifinals, Dalilah Muhammad, the Olympic and World Championships gold medalist, showcased her prowess as she won the first semifinal in a season-best time of 54.17. Cassandra Tate and Shani’a Bellamy secured the other two automatic advancement places. Shamier Little overtook Anna Cockrell in a fast-paced second semifinal, winning in 54.84, while Cockrell finished second in 55.44. Lauren Hoffman secured the third automatic qualifying spot.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, U.S. leader CJ Allen comfortably won the first semifinal in 48.51, followed by World Championships bronze medalist Trevor Bassitt in second place with a time of 48.82. In the second semifinal, American record holder Rai Benjamin cruised to victory, clocking 48.26. Khallifah Rosser and James Smith secured the second and third automatic qualifying spots, respectively.
The men’s 200m first round featured three sprinters who won medals at the World Championships last year. However, it was NCAA fourth-place finisher Robert Gregory who recorded the fastest time of the day, clocking 20.00 in the final heat. Christian Coleman, the reigning world 100m champion, finished second overall with a time of 20.06. Fred Kerley, the world 200m bronze medalist, comfortably won his heat in 20.23, while Erriyon Knighton, another standout from the World Championships, emerged victorious in the first heat with a time of 20.33. Kenny Bednarek, the silver medalist in the 200m at Oregon22, also advanced with a time of 20.45.
Sha’Carri Richardson continued her impressive form, blazing through the second heat of the women’s 200m with a wind-aided time of 21.61 (w+2.6). Richardson’s performance equaled the third-fastest time ever recorded by an American woman, matching Gabby Thomas’ time. Tamara Clark won the third heat in 22.05, while TeeTee Terry took the final section in 22.38. McKenzie Long and NCAA silver medalist Courtney Lindsey also advanced.
Cordell Tinch, a cell phone salesman turned athlete, dominated the first heat of the men’s 110m hurdles, finishing in 13.07. Freddie Crittenden, the NACAC champion, secured second place in 13.32. Grant Holloway, a two-time world champion, matched Tinch’s time in heat two, with Eric Edwards finishing second in 13.25. Defending champion Daniel Roberts won heat three in 13.12, followed by Jamal Britt and world silver medalist Trey Cunningham. In the final heat, 2021 NCAA champion Robert Dunning claimed victory in 13.33, and Devon Allen advanced as a time qualifier in fourth place at 13.51.
The 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships and USATF U20 Championships will be broadcast live from Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from July 6 to July 9. The event will be available for streaming on USATF.TV+, CNBC, and Peacock. CNBC and Peacock will provide coverage from 10:00 p.m. to midnight ET on July 7 and from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET on July 8-9.
USATF.TV+ will offer comprehensive coverage of every jump, throw, and race (outside the TV window) throughout the championships, including the multi-events. The entire USATF U20 Outdoor Championships will be streamed exclusively on USATF.TV+.