A Week in Review: A huge week of Track and Field

Trackstaa takes a look at a huge week of Track and Field, reviewing some of the biggest performances of the year.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, center, competes in the second heat of the men’s 100-meter dash prelim during the USATF Golden Games at Mt. San Antonio College Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Walnut, Calif. At left is Felipe Bardi Dos Santos and at right is Abdullah Mohammed. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

USATF Golden Games

With just six weeks until the US Olympic Trials, competition has been heating up in America and many of their athletes put on a specular performance at this eagerly anticipated event. Perhaps the most awaited event of the day was the men’s 100m where DeKaylin (DK) Metcalf, a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, toed the start line to run amongst a field of world class calibre in his first competition since high school. Whilst he placed ninth out of nine in his heat, he still ran a very respectable 10.37s which considering he weighs 104kg at a height of 1.93m (for reference Bolt weighed 94kg at 1.95m for his world record) is even more impressive. The final was won by Cravon Gillespie an ex-Oregon Ducks runner in 9.96s just 0.03s ahead of Nike’s Isiah Young to finish for second. 

Noah Lyles returned in a baptism of fire for his first outdoor 200m of the season, managing to steam past Kenny Bednarek in the last 10m of the race to win in a time of 19.90 just four hundredths of a second ahead of Bednarek who, interestingly, is the first American athlete to break 20s in the 200m and 45s in the 400m on the same day.

In arguably the most impressive performance of the meet, Sha’Carri Richardson demolished the competition in an astonishingly quick final 30m, winning in an incredible 10.77 only two hundredths of a second slower than the world lead which she set back in April despite the heavy head wind of -1.2m/s. This puts her in very good stead for the Olympic Trials and she will certainly be one to watch.

It was also a superb day out for the British women’s team with a 1,2,4 in the 800 and all managing to run sub-2: Jemma Reekie 1:58.27, Laura Muir 1:58.46 and Adelle Tracey 1:59.50 giving them all Olympic qualification times. Jessica Judd and Eilish McColgan also achieved qualification times in the 5000m (15:06.02) and 1500m (4:03.89) respectively.

In other stand out performances, the men’s 800m final was won in 1:44.94 by Bryce Hoppel who led a number of athletes to Olympic qualification time. The often-forgotten man, keeps impressing and he could be the main challenger to Donovan Brazier’s erstwhile dominance. In the 1500m, the final, a crazy race which went out at world record pace, was won by Australian athlete Ollie Hoare in 3:33.19, from second place Justyn Knight, with many athletes running season and personal bests.

Out in the field there were certainly some eye-catching performances such as Christopher Nilsen who set a new outdoor world lead in the pole vault with a huge 5.91m and Katerina Stefanidi with a height of 4.80m who is now placed 2nd in the world rankings. Darrell Hill threw well in the shot put to rank him 5th globally with a distance of 22.34m. The top two athletes in the men’s and women’s triple jump achieved Olympic qualification standards as well as Gwendolyn Berry who threw a huge 73.73m in the hammer to also get the standard.

https://results.usatf.org/2021GoldenGames/

Oregon Twilight

Every year top athletes flock to the Hayward Field setting and this year was no exception. It was made even more special with the breath-taking new $270 million stadium. Whilst in general, the times and distances weren’t as remarkable as at the Golden Games where many athletes achieved Olympic standards there were still a number of impressive performances. 

The evening’s track events began with the 3000m steeple chase which saw the men’s race won in 8:34.40 and the women’s race in 9:40.68 (only 10s off the Olympic qualifying time). The barriers where then removed from the track to make way for some fast 800m starting with the women’s event which was won by Anna Camp in a time of 2:03.37, 1.5s ahead of the rest of the field. In a closely battled men’s race Luis Peralta came away successful in 1:48.82 a mere 0.1s ahead of British athlete George Mills in his first outdoor race of the season and his fastest ever season opener which is very promising. Next on the track was the 110m hurdles which saw Devon Allen set a new meeting record in 13.40s just eight hundredths of a second from the Olympic standard. 

As the meeting drew to a close it reached its pinnacle, the men’s 1500m which had a field ripe with American talent; the Duck trio of Cole Hocker, Charlie Hunter and Cooper Teare as well as the NCAA champion Yared Nuguse and two pro athletes in Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and Rob Napolitano. In a surprising turn of events Teare and Hocker, hitherto undefeated as a duo this season, ended their impressive winning streak to Nuguse who won the event in 3:35.96 one hundredth of a second ahead of Teare to place them 7th and 8th in NCAA rankings. All top 7 finishes ran under the previous meeting record of 3:38.60 which goes to show how high class the field was.

Our video for the 1500m re-cap can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIf4PTzw1KQ

A full list of results for the Oregon Twilight Meet can be found here: https://live.athletictiming.net/meets/9173/events/301395/results

Trafford BMC Grand Prix

Looking ahead at the weather forecast, the athletes attending the Grand Prix held at the Longford park venue were seemingly in for a grim evening of heavy rain and high winds. However, on the day the weather started to improve and by the time the first gun went to start the men’s 400m hurdles it was spitting at most with a light headwind. This event was won by U23 Alex Knibbs in 51.09 to rank him first on Power of 10 and give him Euro U23 qualification. Next up was the flat 400m where Nicolas Baker from Crawley stormed round the track to win in a new PB of 46.37, a top 5 UK performance this year. This was shortly followed by yet another unbelievable race from 19-year-old Keely Hodgkinson who ran in the mixed 400m race coming second in a European under 20 qualification time and personal best of 53.73. 

Then came one of the most anticipated races of the day with a prestigious field of athletes including the likes of Alex Botteril, Ben Pattison and Archie Davis in the men’s 800m A race. The race was taken out by pacemaker Reece Ingley with Botteril tucked in right behind to go through 400m in 51s then at the 600m mark Max Wharton took the lead but not for long as they turned into the home straight four abreast with Davis and Pattison steaming down the outside to take 1st and 2nd in 1:46.65 and 1:46.77 respectively. Botteril just managed to get the dip on Tiarnan Crocken to take 3rd in 1:47.09 and the rest of the field all finishing in sub 1:50 really showing the strength in depth at this competition.

This was followed by the women’s 1500m A race which was won by Irish runner Sarah Healy in 4:11.98 who just had the legs at the end to beat Erin Wallace who ran a Euro U23 qualification time of 4:13 flat. The men’s 1500m was next paced in 58s by James McCrae in a very closely packed race, won in the last 150m by Jeremy Dempsey (3:42.49) shadowed by James Heneghan for 2nd (3:43.10) and Ethan Hussey with an impressive sprint finish for 3rd (3:43.17) to give him the U20 Euro Standard. 

Finally, as the sun started to set, and the floodlights were switched on it was time for the 5000m A races which produced a spectacular atmosphere for spectating athletes. First up were the women who were paced through in 74s courtesy of Emily Thompson. The race was front run by Cardiff athlete Jennifer Nesbitt who crossed the line first in 15:40.10 tailed by Beth Kidger in 15:53.60 which places both ladies in the top 10 UK performances this year. There was yet another U23 qualification standard achieved by Beth Bolton who finished 5th just sneaking under 16 minutes in 15:58.38. 

This led into the men’s race, the most anticipated race of the evening, which produced some world class times. It was clear from the start that Loughborough athlete Tom Mortimer was looking strong, after a good stretch of recent training he was the favourite to win but no one could have predicted how much by. The race was led out by seasoned pacemaker Tom Marshall in blistering 65 second laps which Mortimer hit perfectly. The pack managed to stick with him until about 8 laps where he broke away and ran solo to win and finish in a jaw dropping 13:39.79, 14 seconds back was Reading AC runner Jonathon Davies (13:53.06) who narrowly beat Kristian Jones (13:53.25).

All highlight videos and results can be found here courtesy of Vinco sport: https://www.vincosport.com/event/british-milers-club-grand-prix-trafford-2021/

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