Who is Cravont Charleston? The Biggest Surprises From Day 2 of U.S. Championships

By Owen Corbett

July 8, 2023

For a second straight day at USATF Outdoor National Championships, the final events of the night brought some chaos. Both the men’s and women’s 100m finals closed Day 2 with a bang, one from a contender everyone was in agreement on, and another from an athlete that had been flying under the radar. Elsewhere in yesterday’s action, big names took care of business simply by advancing, confusion over the world rankings and team selection process continued to plague fans and analysts, and people were finally able to watch USAs on their televisions. With all of that said, here were the five biggest surprises from the second day of USAs action.

A Totally Fresh Team in the Women’s 100m:

There will be some new names racing the 100m for the U.S at Worlds this year. Sha’Carri Richardson taking home a national title last night may have been the furthest thing from a surprise, but now she should get to put on the USA kit on the world stage for the first time. Behind her, 2019 World silver medalist in the 200m Brittany Brown made her first team at the shorter distance by way of a personal best, and 20-year-old Tamari Davis moved up the all-important spot from her 4th-place finish last year to get on the podium and make her first World team. The biggest surprise of the event took place one round earlier however when Aleia Hobbs failed to advance finishing seventh in her semi-final - the first race placing outside the top two all year - with her slowest time in her last twenty races. And before we move on, we need to shout-out high schooler Mia Brahe-Pedersen for making it all the way to the final in front of a home crowd. The Oregon native has gone from lining up with her high school prom date to being one lane over from Sha’Carri Richardson in a matter of weeks, and she has a fresh Nike NIL deal to show for it.

Sha'Carri RichardsonSha'Carri Richardson

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Upset in the Men’s 100m Final:

The theme of fresh faces continued into the final race of the night. We have been riding the Cravont Charleston bandwagon here at CITIUS MAG, and I liked him as an underdog pick to make the team, but U.S. champion? Even his biggest fans (Kyle) might not have predicted that. Christian Coleman grabbed second place as the only one of the six athletes punching tickets to Worlds in the 100m who has done so before. Coleman expressed his hopes for another U.S medal sweep at Worlds this year in his post-race interview, and this time he wants in on the fun after finishing 6th in Eugene. With his third place finish, Noah Lyles has turned his “flirtation” with the 100m into a serious relationship. The reigning 200m World champion will continue his pursuit of double gold in Budapest after making his first U.S 100m team.

Christian ColemanChristian Coleman

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Collegians Struggle in the Rounds:

It was a tough day for reigning NCAA champions. Last month’s men’s 400m hurdles champ Alabama’s Chris Robinson failed to advance out of the heats running the second slowest time of the day, and his slowest performance of the year by almost four seconds. The NCAA’s fastest man this outdoor season, 100m champ Courtney Lindsey of Texas Tech, was the first man out of the final last night. NCAA indoor 800m champion Roisin Willis of Stanford and New Balance ran a season’s best in the heats on Thursday but didn’t line up for the semi-finals as a late scratch. Although none of these athletes were favorites to make their respective teams, each one had a shot. One NCAA champion who came in favored for the podium however is Georgia’s Will Sumner. The true freshman Bulldog did advance through to the 800m final by finishing third in his heat, but he had to dig deep to do so. Initially touted as a popular pick to snag one of the three spots on the U.S team, he comes into the final on Sunday as the slowest qualifier. On the other hand, seasoned pros Bryce Hoppel, Clayton Murphy, and Isaiah Harris finished 1, 2, 3 in their heat, each easing up once their spots were secure and all looking like they could have run their best time of the season if they needed it. LSU’s Michaela Rose broke the trend one event later, advancing to the women’s 800m final with the second fastest time of the night.

Michaela RoseMichaela Rose

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Garland Misses Decathlon Podium:

Last year, Kyle Garland bounced back from a narrow third-place finish at NCAAs to with a big personal best and runner-up finish at USAs. This year, he came into both meets with title aspirations. After settling for second back in June behind a phenomenal performance from Leo Neugebauer, he was looking for a repeat of last year - an improvement on his collegiate finish, which would mean becoming a national champion. When all was said and done, improving on his score from NCAAs would have given him the victory, but his below-par performance in the 1500m allowed Iowa’s Austin West to pass him and push him out of the top three. Garland, who has the third highest decathlon score in the world this year, now ends up leaving his status for World Championships up to West’s ranking points.

Christian Taylor’s Comeback Woes Continue:

Christian Taylor has jumped farther than anyone except the triple jump world record holder in his career, but at 33 years old and on the comeback from Achilles surgery, he is a few years removed from his peak and just didn’t have it last night. He came into the meet ranked tenth in the world in the event and finished only eighth in the weekend’s competition. After his shortest performance of the year, it’s likely that Will Claye and Chris Benard in second and third will have the ranking points to make the World Championship team, and Taylor will be denied a spot. That will not be the question however for Donald Scott who wrapped up his fourth national championship in the triple jump by becoming the first American this year to hit the 17.20m World standard in the event

Owen Corbett

Huge sports fan turned massive track nerd. Statistics major looking to work in sports research. University of Connecticut club runner (faster than Chris Chavez but slower than Kyle Merber).