2017 USATF Outdoor Championship: 400 meter dash preview

By Ryan Sterner

June 21, 2017

Men’s 400 Meters

It’s safe to say that we were all pretty shook up after watching Wade Van Niekerk run 43.03 in Rio. Was there anything we could witness outside of another world record that would impress us? Enter Fred Kerley. The 22-year old A&M senior will arrive in Sacramento with the fastest qualifying time (this year) by more than a second. His 43.70 broke a 25 year old collegiate record and has run the fastest time by an American since 2013.

Star/Favorite to watch

There are probably plenty of people out there that want to see Fred Kerley’s name at the top. He’s young. He broke the collegiate record. He’s .05 seconds off of LaShawn Merritt’s personal best. But there’s a little something called old man strength. What does old man strength mean? It means that no matter how much you can bench press, if you challenge your old man to an arm wrestling contest, the 65-year old will do everything but flip you over the table. That old man is LaShawn Merritt.

Dark horse pick

Tony McQuay. He’s been a staple on US relay teams in the past, earning himself two WC gold medals in the 4×400 in 2013 and 2015. He qualified for the 2012 Olympics after winning the NCAA title that year, and followed that up with a 2013 silver medal. He PR’d last year after a three year drought, and is coming off two top-5 Diamond League finishes.

Fun fact/Stat

Bryshon Nellum is on the declared list. Nellum has enjoyed a world class career as a 400m specialist, which is made all the more impressive by the fact that in 2009 he was the victim of a drive by shooting that left doctors telling him he’d never again achieve the success he previously had.

Predictions of who makes the team

  1. LaShawn Merritt

  2. Fred Kerley

  3. Vernon Norwood


All three women from Rio’s team, and the 2015 Beijing team will be on the line in Sacramento. But just like every other sprint event, they’ll be joined by some young college talent that could threaten to dethrone the two year reign Felix, Francis, and Hastings have enjoyed. On top of that, veteran Quanera Hayes is currently sitting on the no.2 time in the world, having already run 50.04.

Star/Favorite to watch

Allyson Felix has won the last two US titles in the 400m and is fresh off a silver medal in Rio. We don’t expect her to give up the title easily despite some early season struggles. We’ll see how much attention she gives the event as well because she already owns the wildcard for the world championships and only has to participate in one round and could focus her attention on the 200 meters for the double.

Dark horse pick

Quanera Hayes. Hayes is a former DII standout that has enjoyed a quietly successful career thus far. In only her second full year as a pro, she set the 300m American Indoor Record and last year ran sub-50 for the first time in her career.

Fun fact/Stat

Allyson Felix won her first World Championship medal in 2005 at the age of 19, taking home a gold medal in the 200m.

Predictions of who makes the team

  1. Allyson Felix

  2. Phyllis Francis

  3. Natasha Hastings

  4. Quanera Hayes

Ryan Sterner

Hobby jogger and soup enthusiast whose work has appeared in a number of highly esteemed publications such as Flotrack, The Howard Lake Herald Journal and Ebaum's World. Currently a resident of Los Angeles, where he spends most of his time indoors.