Noah Lyles runs down Erriyon Knighton as rivalry buds at USATF Championships
Noah Lyles reasserted that he is the U.S. 200m king by running down 18-year-old phenom Erriyon Knighton at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships.
The reigning world champion Lyles won in 19.67 seconds, celebrating moments before crossing the finish line two hundredths ahead of Knighton, who tightened up in the final meters. Lyles looked toward Knighton’s lane (and the scoreboard), smiled and pointed.
“I saw him reach his top speed, and I said mine’s faster,” Lyles told Lewis Johnson on NBC while standing next to Knighton at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Knighton, who also qualified for the world championships in three weeks, also in Eugene, then said, “Job’s not finished. It’s never finished,” and walked out of the joint interview that also included third-place Fred Kerley.
Later Sunday, Lyles clarified that the celebration was not meant to show up Knighton.
“It was for everyone who keeps counting me out just because a new player has entered the ring,” he posted on social media, also noting that people doubted him and brought up Knighton running 19.49 seconds on April 30, one hundredth better than Lyles’ personal best. “Erriyon is an incredible talent and he has proven that. But that don’t mean I’m just going to lay down and die!”
USATF OUTDOORS: Results
Sha’Carri Richardson missed the world championships team. After a shock elimination in the 100m first round on Thursday, she was eliminated in the 200m semifinals on Sunday.
“I feel like I ain’t done, and I’m the queen,” Richardson said.
NCAA champion Abby Steiner won the women’s 200m final in 21.77 seconds, which was the world’s best time in 2022 until Shericka Jackson won the Jamaican trials in 21.55, the third-best time in history.
Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas was eighth, missing the team, then said she learned she had a grade two hamstring tear two weeks ago.
Daniel Roberts captured the 110m hurdles in 13.03 after reigning world champion Grant Holloway scratched out of the final, his world spot already assured. Devon Allen, who two weeks ago ran the third-fastest time in history (12.84), placed third to get the last spot on the world team by three thousandths of a second.
Chase Ealey won the shot put with the second-best throw in American history -- 20.51 meters. American record holder Michelle Carter, who in 2016 became the first U.S. Olympic women’s shot put champion, finished eighth in her last nationals before retirement. Raven Saunders, the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist, missed the team by one spot.
As expected, Olympic champion Athing Mu topped the 800m. Ajeé Wilson nearly did the unexpected, coming seven hundredths shy of handing Mu her first 800m defeat since 2019. Raevyn Rogers grabbed the last world spot as the Olympic team repeats.
Emma Coburn won an eighth consecutive national title in the 3000m steeplechase, extending the longest active streak in any event, and 10th overall.
Coburn, who earned a medal of every color among the 2016 Olympics and 2017 and 2019 Worlds, is again joined on the national team by Courtney Frerichs, who took silver in Tokyo. Frerichs, who was second at nationals in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021, dropped to third behind Courtney Wayment.
Olympic silver medalist Rai Benjamin took the 400m hurdles in 47.08 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. He may be headed toward another showdown with world record holder Karsten Warholm of Norway at worlds, though Warholm suffered a hamstring injury in his lone race this year on June 5.
Clayton Murphy, the 2016 Olympic 800m bronze medalist, missed the world team by four hundredths to a diving Brandon Miller. Olympian Bryce Hoppel won the 800m, followed by Jonah Koech and Miller, who are going to their first worlds. Donavan Brazier has a bye onto the team as reigning world champion.
Grant Fisher earned his first national title, taking the 5000m after placing second in the 5000m and 10,000m at Olympic Trials. He’s joined on the world team by Olympic teammate Woody Kincaid and Abdihamid Nur, a rising Northern Arizona junior who was born in Somalia.
Paul Chelimo, silver and bronze medalist at the last two Olympics, was 11th and will miss his first global championship since 2015.
Elise Cranny repeated as U.S. 5000m champion. She’s joined on the team by Karissa Schweizer, who qualified for the 5000m and 10,000m as she did last year, and Emily Infeld, the 2015 World 10,000m bronze medalist who made her first global championships team since 2017. The three were separated by 27 hundredths.
Shelby McEwen relegated Olympic teammate and favorite JuVaughn Harrison to second in the high jump.
The track and field season continues with a Diamond League stop in Stockholm on Thursday, live on Peacock.
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