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June 22, 2017

2017 USATF Outdoor Championships: DAY 1 FULL RECAP

Hello Citwits, Ryan Sterner here to bring you live updates and results as I sit here trackside at Hornet Stadium for the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, California.

We’re bringing you some great commentary and banter here but if you want to watch on television, the online broadcast will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET and can be viewed with the NBC Gold Pass.

It will be shown on television on Friday, June 23: 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Then on Saturday, June 24: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET on NBC. It concludes Sunday, June 25: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC

A full list of entries can be found here:

Live results are located here.

Finally, it’s not too late to brush up on the drama that’s about to go down this weekend, featuring Molly Huddle and a whole lot more. Download The Citius Mag 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships Zine for an event-by-event preview, and get live updates throughout the meet through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Onto today’s action!

Weather update at 12 p.m. PST: It is steaming and we could see record-breaking temperatures for the meet. Will check back in later with more updates so stay tuned.

4:16pm: Hello folks. We just got to the track. As predicted, it’s hot. I spoke briefly with a volunteer whose job it was to make sure only VIPs (CITIUS MAG) used the designated elevator. He said what we were all thinking, “it’s hot in the sun.”

4:30pm: We’re about 30 minutes away from the start of the women’s triple jump and javelin finals. We currently have some women down near the sand pit trying to get acclimated to the temperature of the sand.

4:51pm: The men’s 800m heats (pun!) start in ten minutes. We’ll have five rounds and a whole cast of interesting characters. Here are a few story lines to follow: will 20-year old 1:43 man, Donavan Brazier redeem himself after a poor showing at last year’s trials? Will Nick Symmonds make it out of the first round? Can Clayton Murphy complete the historic 800m/1500m double? Does anyone remember Boris Berian?

All things to consider.

5:00pm: Still hot out. About 108 degrees as the first heat of the men’s 800m goes off.

Heat 1

It was 52.79 through the first 400m, with Garn taking it at the line in 1:46.76. It goes Garn, Manahan and Brazier. Top two will Big Q qualify, while the other six will advance on time (little q).

Heat 2

Low takes the first lap in a pedestrian 54.37 with Loxsom in tow. Loxsom will overtake Low on the backstretch as NCAA Runner-up Isaiah Harris moves into third with Walker in 2nd. Harris and Walker will take it down to the wire. Harris negative splits the race and wins the heat in 1:48.09. Loxsom will finish 3rd in a a very slow time, playing the agonizing game of waiting to see if he qualifies on time.

Heat 3

This heat is already moving a little faster than the previous. Murphy sitting in second to last as we go to the bell in 52.33. Despite the temperature he looks cool as a cucumber. They’re bunching up a little bit as they hit 200 to go with some people trying to make elbow room. Murphy Miraculously parted the sea and came around the final curve in the lead. He’ll take the heat in 1:47.88.

Heat 4

Nick Symmonds got a nice little introduction before the start of this heat, and the few people here that are braving the heat acknowledged the 6-time US Champ’s accomplishments.

Symmonds known to take it out conservatively goes straight to the back. The rest of the pack, lead by Dinkins goes through the 400m in 52.89. Symmonds about a second and a half back. Let’s see if he has the signature kick in his system. It looks like his goose is cooked, as the race is up front with Rutto, Dinkins and Ibadin.

Ibadin wins in 1:47.24. Windle is your other auto qualifier as Symmonds waves goodbye to his fans, finishing in dead last, 1:51.52.

Heat 5

Old college rivals Charles Jock and Ryan Martin are in this heat, along with your favorite Iowan 800m runner, Eric Sowinski.

Sowinski, Martin, and Jock take it out HOT. Sowinski looks like he’s trying to run them out of their shoes. Hits the bell in 51.69. Down the backstretch, Sowinski is uncontested. Can he take it wire to wire? Looks like he might, and drag Martin and Jock along with him.

It goes Sowinski, Martin, and Jock. Jock likely in on time. Sowinski’s 1:46.55 is the fastest of the day. Probably a few time qualifiers will get out of this heat, benefitting from Sowinski’s aggressive running.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The heat didn’t seem to affect these 800m too much. Eliud Rutto’s 1:47.95 was the slowest time qualifier to get in. This also looked to be Symmond’s swan song. Sowinski looked great, Brazier didn’t look so tough. A lot to look forward to leading up to the semi finals.

5:26pm Women’s 800m

Heat 1

Martinez, as well as a pregnant Alysia Montano in this heat. Martinez will go out conservatively, as Chambers takes the women through 400m in 1:00.08. Chambers is distancing herself on the backstretch, as Martinez and Mecke decide to give her a run for her money. Martinez, Mecke and Collinsworth overtake Chambers in the final moments of the race.

Martinez and Collinsworth will be your auto q’s. Montano gives a nice post race interview talking about how the running is great for her baby and being an ambassador for women everywhere. She’s doing great work.

Heat 2

Lipsey leads a big pack of women through the first 200m in 29 seconds. Lipsey keeps the lead through the 400m. A gap now developing on the backstretch and it has become a three woman race: Lipsey, Richards, Fields.

Lipsey still hanging on to the lead, looking very comfortable. She’ll take the heat in 2:03.27. I just figured out, because I’m slow, that top three advance in the women’s 800m. So the auto qualifiers are Lipsey, Fields and Richards.

Heat 3

Some fast teens and an Olympian in this race. Let’s see how it plays out. Paul Snyder thinks “it’ll be fast.”

Green, Kopp, and Rogers lead through the 400m. But it’s all bunched up so it’s basically a crapshoot. It’s anyone’s game as they go through 400m in 61. Too many women to really make any accurate guesses as to who will walk away with this, so I’ll wait for them to finish. Looks like: Rogers, Sam Watson, and Chrishuna Willaims are the top three.

A few people will advance on time on from this heat for sure.

Heat 4

Can I make some predictions before this starts? It’ll go Ajee Wilson, Laura Roesler, and Ce’ira Brown. Let’s see how I do:

Ajee Wilson and a Boise St. runner go through in 62.3 with a whole lot of ladies in tow. Roesler makes a move on the backstretch to put her behind Wilson. It goes Wilson and Roesler and Ce’ira Brown. Looks like I was right, because I am a track genius.

Let’s take a look at who we will see in the women’s semi-finals:

5:46pm: It is still very hot outside. They’re serving barbecue out back, so if you’re into eating hot meat in 108 degree heat, come on down to Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, because it’s currently the hot beef/hot day capital of the world.

5:51pm: We have some hot athlete takes from our mixed zone wizard, Kevin Liao.

Don’t worry guys, looks like Nick Symmonds was goofin’. This wasn’t his last race:

The immaculate Alysia Montano:

Y’all like vertical video? Here’s a vertical video of Ajee Wilson:

6:06pm: Women’s 100m

Heat 1

They’re introducing the first heat. We have eight very fast women. Also we have Olympian’s Jenna Prandini and Tianna Bartoletta. Bartoletta is also an accomplished long jumper. A true track jack of all trades.

I closed my eyes for exactly 10.99 seconds and I missed Barbara Pierre winning the first heat out of the 4th lane. Top 3 are Pierre, Duncan and Prandini. Bartoletta, a representative for team USA in Rio, will have to see if she’s one of the 4 to qualify on time.

Heat 2

Hey there! Tori Bowie goes very fast. 10.90. She’s up to number five in the world with that one.

Heat: great for sprinters.

Heat 3

There are three current Oregon Ducks in this heat, as well as Oregon alum English Gardner. Would be great if all of them made it to the next round, mostly for headlines like “Ducks Fly Together.”

WHAT DID I SAY, IT’S A DUCK HEAVY HEAT AS THEY OREGON RUNNERS AND ALUMS FINISH 1-4.

Sorry for the caps lock spash. Deajah Stevens was your winner in 11.01.

Heat 4

Household name/American Treasure Allyson Felix is in this heat. The crowd goes absolutely silent out of respect.

Akinosun takes the heat in 10.98. Felix second. Hobbs of LSU in third.

THOUGHTS: No big surprises here. A good mix of veterans and young, exciting talent. That’s not to imply that the veterans aren’t exciting, but I feel like there were a lot of college kids in this one. Anyway. Moving on to the men’s heats.

6:35pm: men’s 100m

Fun stuff going on here. I just noticed there’s a guy in the 3rd heat names Just’N Thymes. That might be the funnest things I’ve seen all day.

Heat 1

A false start here from Alabama’s Tony Brown. They give him a red card and he’s DQ’d.

But even after they’re collegiate comrade gets DQ’d, two college kids get the auto bids. Jaylen Bacon and Christopher Belcher, of Arkansas St. and NC A&T are your auto qualifiers. Bacon and Belcher. A great 100m duo.

Heat 2

World leader Christian Coleman takes it easily in 9.93 and your part time NFL player/Gator standout and track and field runner, Jeff Demps takes 2nd.

Heat 3

Cameron Burrell and Just’N Thyme are in this heat. Burrell is on the forefront of sprinters wearing short shorts. Just’N Thyme has a great name. Ronnie Baker, a very fast man with absolutely no relation to the New York Knick Ron Baker, is also in this heat.

Isiah Young, a 2012 Olympian breaks 10 seconds and takes the heat, that’s a world no.8.

Heat 4

Starring the ageless wonder, Justin Gatlin. Let’s see how his 35 year old bones handle the heat.

They bring the field back, but no one is DQ’d on false start charges. The field is safe.

Justin Gatlin runs 10.00. Mike Rodgers ties him in 2nd.

Gatlin: “I haven’t been here since 2004.”

Heat 5

Trayvon Bromell in this heat, running his first race since coming off achilles surgery last year. He finishes in third, 10.22. Doesn’t look like he’s going to advance. Kyree King was the winner of that heat.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Tyson Gay failing to advance might be the headline. We also would have liked to see Trayvon Bromell make a triumphant return but alas, he couldn’t do it. All the others make it through just fine.

7:04pm: A fun aside: Justin Gatlin told the mixed zone that he and Christian Coleman talk to each other weekly, and Gatlin is trying his best to mentor Coleman. Coleman is currently a Tennesee Volunteer, the same place Gatlin went to school.

7:06pm: A little update from Cas Loxsom after failing to advance in the 800m.

7:12pm: Some updates from the mixed zone:

7:19pm: Women’s 400m

The ol’ one lapper, as they like to call it. We have three heats to look forward to of one of, in this man’s humble opinion, the best races in track and field. Top 3 advance and next four fastest times. Let’s see how it unfolds.

Heat 1

Hayes, Wimbley and Muscaro are your top three. The top four all running the spectrum of the 51-second range.

Heat 2

I’m still trying to figure out how to write about the 400m  as it happens. It’s one lap. Someone is going to make up the stagger, and they’re all going to hang on to the finish. Just insert a random name from that heat anywhere at the beginning of those statements.

With that being sad, Courtney Okolo, an Olympian and 4x400m gold medalist, wins that heat in 50.91.

Heat 3

Is this a known rivalry? Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings are bitter rivals. They are going head to head in this prelim. If memory serves, they went silver and bronze at USAs in 2015, and then in 2016 swapped places. It’ll be interesting to see who goes out on top this year, with Felix sitting out due to an auto qualifier.

7:45pm Men’s 400m 

From the air conditioned press box, the temperature outside finally looks tolerable. Let’s see how these men do sprinting from the twilight 400m.

Heat 1

Cherry of LSU has a beautiful, loping stride. He looked comfortable the whole time, came out of the final turn in first place, and eased up at the finish. He wins the first heat in 45.08.

Heat 2

Monteo Mitchell is in this heat. He’s the guy that ran the 2012 London Olympic 4x400m on a broken leg. Also in this heat is Bryshon Nellum, Long Beach native and USC grad who got hit by stray bullet and was told he’d never run again. He’s an Olympian.

Gil Roberts, he’s got a gold medal from Rio, and Nellum are your auto qualifiers. Nellum finished strong at the line. Roberts had it in the bag from 100m left.

Heat 3

Close finish in this heat. Top-4 only separated by .3 seconds.

Heat 4

Blake Leeper, a dominant paralympian, will be in this heat.

McQuay, Kerley and Leeper all take it down to the line. I was not aware that we had a very fast Paralympian in the USA and now I feel ignorant, but also inspired because I love that kind of stuff.

Heat 5

We have the newly minted collegiate record holder in this race, Fred kerley. He’s the brother of Mylik Kerley who was in the previous heat. I’m told that there’s also a Kerley sister who will be attending A&M next year. What do they have in the water over there?

Well. Kerley was using the classic “look at the jumbotron” strategy and then stopped to walk his last two steps. I’d like to assert right now that if he had not started his slowdown at the 100m to go mark, he’d have broken the world record. I said it. I said it and I won’t take it back. That was a work of art.

8:13pm Women’s steeplechase

I didn’t even look at the schedule before typing this header. I looked at the track, noticed that there were huge barriers being wheeled to the designated barrier areas, and that a slew of photographers were assembling near the water pits. I put two and two together and said to my friend Paul who is sitting next to me “must be the women’s steeple.” Only time will prove whether or not this guess was accurate.

Heat 1

8:19pm: The field is fairly stretched out already, with your American and Meet Record holder Emma Coburn up front with Quigley and a group of other women who have the hubris to think they can hang out. I suspect this will soon become a two women race that will dwindle down to a friendly thumb wrestling match once the auto spots are locked in. It should go Coburn and Quigley, then a toss up for the next three spots.

8:21pm: Emma Coburn moves to the lead, and that’s where she’s going to stay. Two laps to go. They’re running 9:34 pace.

8:23pm: No doubt about it, it’s Emma Coburn. Quigley a few seconds behind. Megan Rolland of Oiselle finishes third, Alex Wilson also of Oiselle 4th, and a dear friend of the site Sarah Pease gets the last auto qualifying spot.

Heat 2

8:28pm: This one lacks a clear favorite, so let’s try some speculating: Mel Lawrence has ran well this year. She could sneak onto the team. Courtney Frerichs is an Olympian, so she could do well. Rebeka Stowe isn’t a name that I’ve seen since 2012, so that’s a fun development. Stephanie Garcia is always in contention, so expect her to make it through. Did I miss anyone? There’s a division II athlete in this race, which I find tremendously exciting.

Whoops, let me look up from my keyboard: looks like Garcia, Howard and Frerichs are your early leaders, but unlike the first heat, every lady is still in contention in this race. I’ll update again in two minutes. Hold tight everyone.

8:32pm:  Frerichs, 2016 USA runner up moves into the lead, but every single person is still in this race. If I were a favorite in this race, I don’t think I’d allow that to happen. Running slow is a good way to ensure someone runs up behind you and pickpockets your easy ticket to the finals. If someone in the field is reading this, I implore you to make this a race.

8:34pm: Someone heard my cries, because the field is now strung out and the early favorites are taking their places. It’s Garcia, Frerichs, Mel Lawrence and then a few women duking it out for those last few qualifying spots.

8:36pm: Oh no! Garcia takes a water tumble! But she gets up and she’s charging back to the front. She’s already retaken her place in 2nd. This is impressive.

8:37pm: Holy crap that was wild. Stephanie Garcia got a little gun shy after the fall and was very tenderly approaching the final two barriers. She basically climbed over the final water barrier, and then tip toed over the final one. This caused her to drop from 2nd to 5th. She made a push in the last 5 meters and got her auto qualifying spot. Oh yeah, and Frerichs won the race. But that wasn’t as dramatic.

8:44pm men’s 1500m

Heat 1

The gentlemen here are going out very conservatively. It was 60.xx at the first lap. They are all bunched together running a full two lanes wide. Engels has put himself in a scary position. Merber is in a good spot. Going into the last lap everybody is in it. This will be a scary fast lap.

Blankenship hits the bell lap in first place and they’re cooking with grease now. Merber is giving them a run for their money and Engels has put himself in a good position.

Blankenship closes well. So does Engels. The wheels fell off for Merber, and he’s going to have to wait to see if he goes through on time.

Heat 2

8:53pm: If you are reading this and you ran in the first heat and you’re wondering whether or not this heat will be fast because you are trying to qualify on time, don’t worry. You’re safe. They take it through the first 400m in 62 seconds.

Actually, I take that back. They went through the bell in 2:38. Some people’s pipe dreams of making it out of the first heat on time might be going up in smoke as Soratos takes the heat in 3:42. I guess that’s not as fast as I was anticipating.

Heat 3 – the final heat. a very fast heat. it should be fun. 

Have you spotted the blonde haired Matt Centrowitz? You probably confused him for Justin Bieber. Don’t be a dolt. You know that Bieber is Canadian and we’re currently at the USA Track and Field Championships.

Anyway. They’re off.

Wheating has to be like 7ft tall.

The field is reasonably stretched out and the stadium can all but hear Centro plotting in the third position.

Gregorek looks darn good and tries sticking it to a blonde haired centrowitz. Oregon’s Prakel actually sneaked up on them at the line and took the dang heat! Looks like all the people that were supposed to advance did, and Prakel snuck in there. Overall, an exciting race. Would watch again.

9:06pm Final Thoughts: What an exciting race. I guess the biggest upset is that we will have a Merber-less final, which seems like a crime. All the usual suspects are there and I think we will be looking at a fast (or tactical, and thus, entertaining) final.

9:08pm women’s 1500m

Heat 1

Women all bunched up. We have a fast heat here. A lot of women capable of going dangerously close to that 4:00 barrier. But they’re all smart enough not to do that tonight. It’s too hot to play silly games like Run As Fast As You Can.

Back to the race: Kate Grace, Eccelston, Efraimson and Lipari in the lead. I’m going to go ahead and say it: this is the most dangerous heat to be in. Too many fast variables.

It’s Grace in the lead going into the bell, but there are four women still in contention for 1st.

Grace, Efraimson, and Lipari sneaking past Eccleston. She’ll have to sit on her hands and watch the jumbotron.

P.S. All the women are giving Gabe Grunewald (AMERICAN HERO, PEOPLE’S CHAMP) a group hug. A very touching moment.

Heat 2

Due to a t-shirt related fiasco, Sterner had to run down to the mixed zone so it’s Paul bloggin’ and tweetin’. Simpson led from the gun to win it, ahead of Vaughn and Rainsberger. I don’t know how he takes screen shots of results so I’m not gonna do it.

Heat 3

Ryan is back. It me. Here to blog. I’m a little lost. Who’se up front? Looks like Johnson and Rowbury. We have a Citius connection in this race so all of our bias will be strapped to Eleanor Fulton’s shoulders.

Fulton moving up to 3rd. She’s not playing games. Rowbury and Johnson still duking it out, but plenty of women in the race. It’ll come down to a hard finish.

Dominique Hiltz goes from 5th to 2nd over the course of the last 50m. She almost took Rowbury at the line. A very exciting finish. Fulton will be the last to qualify for the final out of this heat!

Let’s get to the results.

9:37pm women’s 10,000

We are exactly ten minutes behind schedule. But they got the gun off, and all the women are running, and U2 is playing over the stadium PA system. Early leader looks like Shalane. Molly Huddle is behind her.

9:46pm: I’m going to jump to conclusions here and say that this is the first time that Shalane and Natosha Rogers are racing each other since the 2012 Olympic Trials where Rogers, as a senior at A&M snagged the champ at the line. I wonder if she still dreams about that.

They have 17 laps to go. There are still six women in this race, and this is a final, where glory and a World bid is on the line. I expect this to be dramatic and very entertaining.

9:51pm: Shalane. Huddle. Sisson. Infeld. Rogers. And then Conley falling off pace. They’ve slowly been whittling the pace down. Started at 76s and now running 73s. They are running like women possessed and are looking to crush the standard.

9:53pm: 15:47.1 for Flanagan and company at the halfway mark.

9:58pm: We have less than 10 laps to go here. Conley has stepped off the track and there are five women in it. Looks like Huddle is going for it. She just went shoulder to shoulder with Flanagan. Just kidding, she’s now in the lead. She’s a wily veteran.

10:00pm: it should be noted that Erin Finn of Michigan is currently putting on a gutsy solo effort back there in 6th place. She will not give up. Will be interesting to see if she can catch anyone falling off the pace during the final stretch of this race.

10:01pm: Rogers is also running a gutsy race. She’s back there in 5th and seems to be running with a continually cooked goose. But she’s hanging on and it’s impressive.

10:08pm: Huddle. Infeld. Sisson. With 600m to go Huddle dropped the field and Infeld tried going with her. Sisson went too and Shalane was left in the dust. They rounded the final straight and Infeld closed hard, but didn’t have enough to gain an inch on Huddle. The top six women in the field all dipped under the standard. But they all had it anyway, so it doesn’t matter. A great race.

Very Late pm men’s 10,000m

10:22pm: First 1k in 3:09.

“What do we want!”

“SLOW RACES!”

“When do we want them!”

“IN EVERY CHAMPIONSHIP RACE!”

10:25PM: 5:08.72 for the first 1600m. They’re giving the crowd what they want. The crowd is responding with ravenous cheers and blood thirsty screams. It’s borderline out of control as the stadium has descended into full blown soccer hooliganism.

10:28pm: Here we go. Old college rivals finally duking it out. There’s unfinished business, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a little bad blood between Chelanga and Rupp. Chelango is giving the field a run for his money. The crowd has quieted down because they were hoping for a slow, methodical race.

10:32pm: Chelanga has made another big surge and he’s about ten meters ahead of the field. Followed by a hatless Rupp, Chris Derrick, and Hassan Mead. Hassan Mead is a Minnesota boy and we love him dearly.

10:33pm: Chelanga is running a fartlek right now. He’s been surging on the home straight and letting the field catch up with him the following 300m. Maybe he’s pulling the old boy who cried wolf strategy. At a certain point he’s going to go and then never come back.

10:39pm: Chelanga with the elead with 2 miles to go. Estrada leading the chase pack with a whole bunch of guys in tow, a handful of them dangerous. This is proving to be the race of the night, mostly because of how strange and entertaining Chelanga is running.

10:45pm: This extremely bizarre race continues to play out the same as before: Chelanga surging and then coming back. We have four laps to go. They are letting everyone back into the race. This is bonkers. IT could really be anyone’s race unless the pull the trigger.

HASSAN MEAD MY BEAUTIFUL MINNESOTA BOY IS YOUR 10K CHAMPION AND GALEN RUPP HAS LOST HIS FIRST 10K TITLE IN 9 YEARS

Chris Derrick made a beautiful move with 800m to go. His 2nd to last lap was 61, but he didn’t have enough left in the tank. Kipchirchir and Korir ran great last laps as well and looked strong at the finish. Here’s the results:

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