2023 USATF Outdoor Championship Day 2 Recap: Sha’Carri Is Better Than Ever

By David Melly

July 8, 2023

Heading into Day 2 of the 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships, fans wanted fireworks from the finals of the men’s and women’s 100m, and boy oh boy did they deliver. As expected, Sha’Carri Richardson won the women’s final, but the excitement she generated before, during, and after the race exceeded all expectations. On the men’s side, not many picked Tracksmith amateur Cravont Charleston to win his first U.S. title… but one of the few who did was our very own Kyle Merber.

Anna Hall stayed golden, chaos broke out in the women’s 800m semis, and Sydney has looked better and better every time she tackles the flat 400m. Catch up on all the action with us over your weekend brunch below!

Here’s what you need to know about the women’s 100m final:

– The biggest news from the semifinal earlier in the day wasn’t who made the final; it was who didn’t. Unfortunately Aleia Hobbs, who’d been on fire all spring, faded in the second half of her race and only managed a 11.25, and high schooler Shawnti Jackson’s bid to make her first senior World team came to an end with a 5th place 11.18 finish in her heat.

Before the final even started, Richardson turned heads, including her own, by shedding a bright orange wig in the favor of long braids before getting into her blocks. It appeared to be a symbolic homage to leaving the 2021 version of herself behind in favor of new, improved Sha’Carri. Not since the days of Usain Bolt has an athlete so clearly understood the entertainment value that racing can provide!

Sha'Carri Richardson TweetSha'Carri Richardson Tweet

@RGIII on Twitter

– In the final, Richardson’s start was not as crisp as it was in the first round, but she is simply on another level of fitness this season and the race was over by around 40 meters. She clocked her “slowest” time of the three rounds but her 10.82 was still faster than any other American has run in 2023, and her series (10.71 in the prelims, 10.76 in the semis, and 10.82 in the final) shows impressive consistency, a characteristic that has evaded Richardson in past years.

– After the race, Richardson initially opted to celebrate with friends and family in the stands rather than speaking with NBC’s Lewis Johnson after the finish. Richardson, who has been vocally critical of the media, USATF, and online streaming services, did ultimately return to speak briefly with Johnson and in-stadium interviewer Carrie Tollefson, but it’s clear that she’s committed to engaging with her fans outside conventional lanes.

– Richardson will be joined in Budapest by Brittany Brown, who ran a lifetime best of 10.90 to take second, and Tamari Davis, who missed the team by 4/100ths of a second last year, but this time around she got her bronze medal in 10.99. High schooler Mia Brahe-Pedersen, who signed a groundbreaking NIL deal with Nike earlier this week, finished 7th in the final in 11.08.

Listen to the CITIUS team break down the women’s 100m here (12:16):

Here’s what you need to know from the men’s 100m final:

– Unlike the turbulent preliminary round, where reigning silver medalist Marvin Bracy-Williams was eliminated, the semifinals went largely according to form, with all the major players making it through. Noah Lyles, still on the comeback from catching COVID two weeks earlier, clocked the fastest time of the field in any of the three rounds with a 9.94 season’s best.

– The final crammed about as much drama between start and finish of a 10-second race as possible. Fast starter Christian Coleman, the 2019 U.S. champ, got out well and seemed to be well positioned to claim his second title, but the top-end speed of Noah Lyles kicked in and it seemed like the 200m world champ was about to pick up his first 100m title. But in the last few steps of the race, a late burst and a well-timed lean by Cravont Charleston allowed him to pip Coleman at the line, 9.95 to 9.96.

– Charleston, who had never made a NCAA or U.S. final before yesterday, does not have a shoe sponsor currently and runs under Tracksmith’s Amateur Support Program. His red-and-white striped singlet was conspicuous in an event that has historically been dominated by Nike and adidas athletes.

– Sadly, two-time World medalist Trayvon Bromell told us after the final that due to a bone spur in his right leg, he’ll be shutting down his season and getting his second surgery of his professional career to address the issue. Wishing him a speedy recovery!

– One member of the CITIUS family was feeling particularly good about this one as Kyle Merber has been singing the praises of Charleston since April in the Lap Count and on the podcast. After the semifinal, Kyle texted us “Charleston didn’t have a great start and still was there. He’s gonna win.” Watch out world, there’s a new sprints expert in town!

Multi-event madness!

Anna Hall was open with her intentions to play it safe in defending her U.S. heptathlon title heading into this weekend, so we didn’t get the exciting highs and slew of PBs we’ve come to expect every time she competes. But we still got a dominant performance out of the adidas star, with 6677 points scored and a 358-point margin of victory.

– There was more drama in the decathlon, as 2022 runner-up and NCAA indoor heptathlon champion Kyle Garland had a bit of an off day and only finished fourth, while NIKE’s Harrison Williams continued his successful comeback from hip surgery with 8630 points and a new personal best. En route, Williams notched PBs in the shot put, the 400m, and the javelin throw.

– The big drama on the U.S. podium was the battle for third place as Austin West of the University of Iowa, who finished third behind Garland at the NCAA championship, passed his rival in the final event by clocking a lifetime best of 4:20.98 in the 1500m, 32 seconds faster than the Georgia Bulldog. In fact, West finished first in the 100m, the 400m, and the 1500m - talk about a versatile runner!

– Once again, we’re left to parse out the complex combination of world ranking and qualifying standards to figure out who will end up on Team USA. Behind Hall, Taliyah Brooks and Chari Hawkins in 2nd and 3rd don’t have the heptathlon World standard, but Hawkins will definitely be able to qualify on ranking and if Brooks’s ranking updates the way we think it will, she’ll have a shot. Similarly, West was only ranked 40th headed into the weekend, which would put 4th-placer Garland in line to represent Team USA, but if his ranking skyrockets after this weekend in the rarely-contested decathlon he may find himself in line for a spot.

Report from the infield:

– There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and Vashti Cunningham winning national titles. Cunningham picked up an incredible 13th U.S. title (6th outdoors) with a 1.91m clearance in the women’s high jump, clinching victory on her fourth jump of the competition and only taking seven jumps total. The last time Cunningham lost a national meet (taking 2nd at the 2016 Olympic Trials), she was only 18 years old and had just finished high school.

Vashti Cunningham - 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships Vashti Cunningham - 2023 USATF Outdoor Championships

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Donald Scott may only be #3 on the U.S. all-time list in the men’s triple jump, but in recent years, he’s become increasingly reliable as the top American in the event. The 31-year-old picked up his 4th national title with a season’s best of 17.22m on his fourth-round jump and showed impressive consistency, with three jumps north of 16.90m.

– The rocky comeback from Achilles surgery continued for American record holder Christian Taylor, who snuck into the final with his third round leap of 16.12m but could not improve on his mark and ended up 8th in the competition.

We’re halfway through the competition and things will really pick up now as we get our first middle-distance finals of the weekend tonight along with the highly-anticipated women’s 400m final featuring Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Britton Wilson. Keep sticking with CITIUS for updates and analysis and tune in live after the action as Chris and friends break it all down for you on CHAMPS CHAT on Youtube. We love track and field!

David Melly

David began contributing to CITIUS in 2018, and quickly cemented himself as an integral part of the team thanks to his quick wit, hot takes, undying love for the sport and willingness to get yelled at online.