What to Watch on Friday at the USATF Championships

By Jesse Squire

June 22, 2018

Today is the second day of the USATF Championships, and national champions will be crowned in six events. Here’s your quick-and-dirty guide to the action.

Depending on what device you’re on, our handy visual schedule is either above or to the left. Blue is men’s events, pink is women’s.

If you’re curious on how things shaped up yesterday, our comprehensive recap by Chris Chavez and Kevin Liao is now available.

Live results link
USATF Championships home page

TV coverage will be live on the Olympic Channel from 7:00pm (EDT) to 10:00, and tape-delayed on NBCSN from 11:00pm to 1:00am.

Online coverage will be via NBC Sports Gold, with separate feeds for field events and track events.

Today’s Finals

Women’s 100 meters (8:22pm EDT)
We don’t yet know who the finalists will be – semis are scheduled for 6:30pm (EDT) – but we are guaranteed to have a new national champion. No previous USATF 100 meter champion entered the meet, and it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if no previous Olympic/Worlds team member made the final. This is not terribly odd; an “off-year” championships is where we learn who the new stars will be.

The strong favorite is Aleia Hobbs, the LSU senior who ran through an undefeated outdoor season and stomped the field at the NCAA Championships.

Men’s 100 meters (8:30pm EDT)
If you think the absence of well-known names such as Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin makes this a less-than-thrilling event, think again. This is going to be a fantastic battle between a wily veteran and several up-and-coming stars.

Mike Rodgers (NIKE) ran a quick 9.89 in yesterday’s heats to stamp himself as the favorite. No surprise there, he’s been a stalwart on US national teams for over a decade and already had the 2018 US leader (9.92) before the meet started.

20-year-old Noah Lyles (adidas), better known as a 200 meter star, broke his PR with 9.92 in his heat and is a serious contender for the win. Newly-crowned NCAA champion Cameron Burrell (Houston) tied his PR as well. But my money is on Ronnie Baker (NIKE), who is undefeated in the 100 this season, including a pair of Diamond League wins. He played it close to the vest and expended no extra energy winning his heat.

Decathlon (all day)
Zach Ziemek (adidas) leads the competition and is favored to hold on. The pole vault is the event where athletes can make it or break it on the second day, and that’s where Solomon Simmons (unattached) is probably going to drop out of second. Harrison Williams (Stanford) was a DNF at the NCAAs two weeks ago after being disqualified from the hurdles, and he and Tim Ehrhardt (Michigan State) are likely to battle it out for second.

Men’s Triple Jump (6:30pm EDT)
Christian Taylor (NIKE) is an overwhelming favorite to win since Will Claye, his only American equal, is not entered. The real drama will be in the battle for second. Four other men have gone over the magic 17 meter distance this year: Chris Benard (NIKE), Omar Craddock (adidas), Omar Craddock (unattached), and Donald Scott (unattached).

Men’s Hammer Throw (4:20pm EDT)
Defending champion Alex Young (Velaasa) is undefeated against US competition this year and rates as a slight favorite over Sean Donnelly (Iron Wood TC) and Rudy Winkler (Rutgers). Colin Dunbar (Iron Wood TC) rocks some of the best hair on the US circuit.

Jesse Squire

I was second in the 1980 Olympic* long jump. (*Cub Scout Olympics, Pack 99, 9-10 age group.)