2023 USATF Outdoor Championships: Sprint Events, Athletes and Storylines to Follow

By Owen Corbett

July 3, 2023

The best track and field athletes in America will come together in Eugene this weekend for the first time since the whole world convened in Tracktown, USA last July.

Coming off a World Championships on home soil where the U.S took home thirteen gold medals - more than three times as many as any other nation - they will be looking to replicate that success in Budapest in August.

But for all of the athletes that did not earn World Championship gold last summer, their journey to Hungary starts this weekend where they will look to finish within the top three of their event to make the national team.

So buckle up and get ready for four days of outstanding performances, heated rivalries, and top-level showmanship, in other words, let’s watch some track and field! Below you can find out everything you wanted to know about the events this weekend, and probably a little more.

The full CITIUS MAG team will be on-site in Eugene, Oregon Thursday to Sunday. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram for live updates. We will be uploading interviews with athletes to the CITIUS MAG YoUtube channel. Join us there at the end of every day of competition for our official post-race show, which will also be available to listen to each morning on The CITIUS MAG Podcast feed.

For more info on the rivalries and match-ups to follow, you can check out our distance preview here and our throw, jumps, and multi-events preview here.

Fred Kerley wins the 2022 USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships 100m.Fred Kerley wins the 2022 USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships 100m.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Men's 100m

Who made the team last year: Fred Kerley, Marvin Bracy-Williams, Trayvon Bromell, Christian Coleman

Contenders: Thanks to Fred Kerley’s gold medal and a U.S podium sweep at last year’s World Championships, the Americans will be bringing four runners and high expectations to the 100m in Budapest. The rest of last year’s team will be returning with an eye on Kerley’s top spot: 2019 World Champion Christian Coleman was left out of the U.S sweep last year but will look to return to medal contention, Marvin Bracy-Williams has been racing himself into shape with eight races and a few wins under his belt already this season, and Trayvon Bromell hasn’t broken 10 outdoors yet, but can’t be counted out after a blazing indoor season. It is also worth keeping an eye on the double pursuits of reigning World Champions Noah Lyles (200m) and Michael Norman (400m) with byes into their signature events at Worlds.

Underdogs to Watch: Some fast collegians will be looking to extend their seasons into August, including both Florida’s Pjai Austin and Texas Tech’s Courtney Linsdey who both ran under 9.9 at NCAAs, good for the second fastest wind-legal time of the year by an American just behind Kerley. One dark horse contender to consider is Cravont Charleston who has legally run under 10 three times this year - the only American to do so besides Kerley. He has won six of his eight races - as well as second and third-place finishes - and hasn’t lost to an American all year.

When is the final? The final will be contested on Friday, July 7 at 10:02 p.m. ET.

Twanisha Terry, Aleia Hobbs and Melissa Jefferson celebrate their top 3 finish at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.Twanisha Terry, Aleia Hobbs and Melissa Jefferson celebrate their top 3 finish at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Women’s 100m

Who made the team last year: Melissa Jefferson, Aleia Hobbs, Twanisha Terry

Contenders: Unlike their male counterparts, the U.S. women come into this summer as underdogs in the 100m and seeking to put together a team that will break up the Jamaican trio that swept the event last year in Eugene.

Their best chance to do so might be the headliner of the event Sha’Carri Richardson whose 10.57s back in April was the third fastest time in all conditions in history - her best wind-legal time this year is also good for the U.S lead. From last year’s team, Aleia Hobbs has not missed a beat from her stellar indoor season, while both

Twanisha Terry and Melissa Jefferson will be in the mix - although they have yet to break 11 on the year. Other names to keep an eye on include 20-year-old Tamari Davis and LA Grand Prix champion Morolake Akinosun.

Storyline to Watch: While Sha’Carri Richarson has had her moments in the spotlight with fast times and a personality that transcends the sport, she has not gotten a chance to shine on the national stage yet in her young career. After getting bounced out in the first round at this meet last year, and the widely publicized controversy surrounding her omission from the Olympic team in 2021, Richardson will be looking not only to make the team this weekend but to make a statement in the process.

When is the final? The final will be contested on Friday, July 7 at 9:53 p.m. ET.

Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton at the finish line of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton at the finish line of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Men’s 200m

Who made the team last year: Noah Lyles, Erriyon Knighton, Fred Kerley, Kenny Bednarek

Contenders: The U.S. men’s sprint dominance was not limited to the 100m last summer. The Americans will likely bring four medal contenders to Budapest coming off of a sweep of the event at last year's World Championships. With a bye into the 200m, Noah Lyles will focus on his shorter distance this week at USAs. 19-year-old Erriyon Knighton will be the favorite after Lyles tracked him down on the straightaway last year. With Fred Kerley’s bye into the 100m at Worlds, he will look to start his double gold campaign by making the team at 200m. And Kenny Bednarek will look to get another crack at gold on the world stage after taking home silver the last two years.

Storyline to Watch: Proven past vs. promising potential. Although Kerley and Bednarek are regulars on U.S teams, neither has raced a 200m in over two months and Bednarek hasn’t broken 20 since World’s last year. In addition, reigning 400m World Champion Michael Norman will line up despite running the distance only once this year where he finished an underwhelming eighth place, and short of the world standard. He committed to off distances with his bye into the 400m at Worlds but hasn’t yet had the success he imagined. On the other hand, athletes like Texas Tech’s Courtney Linsdey and Florida’s Robert Gregory both ran under 19.9 snagging the top two spots at last month’s NCAA Championships.

When is the final? The final will be contested on Sunday, July 9 at 10:20 p.m. ET.

Sha'Carri Richardson before the 200m at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.Sha'Carri Richardson before the 200m at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Women’s 200m

Who made the team last year: Abby Steiner, Tamara Clark, Jenna Prandini

Contenders: In her first full season as a professional, Abby Steiner will have much fresher legs late in the summer and comes in as a favorite to make the team and a serious contender for a medal later in the summer. Steiner has only lost one 200m since her fifth-place finish at World’s last year by coming in second to Gabby Thomas’s U.S. lead at the Paris Diamond League. Sha’Carri Richardson will be the most prominent athlete attempting the 100m/200m double this weekend as well as Tamari Davis.

Tamara Clark made the World final last year but only opened her season a month ago. Is she ready to run a time that will put her top three in this elite field?

Storyline to watch: Jenna Prandini just keeps producing. In an event where 35-year-old Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won silver last year, Jenna Prandini seems like a veteran on the U.S. side at just 30 years old because she's been making teams since 2015. Could she take home her first individual world medal in Budapest? A two-time national champion in the event, Prandini has made four World and Olympic teams for the U.S at 200m, and if she can finish high in a competitive field and make her fifth, she can provide experience to a team that won’t have anyone else with more than one appearance on the world stage.

When is the final? The final will be on Sunday, July 9 at 10:12 p.m. ET.

Michael Norman at the 2022 USATF Outdoor ChampionshipsMichael Norman at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Men’s 400m

Who made the team last year: Michael Norman, Champion Allison, Michael Cherry

Contenders: Reigning World Champion Michael Norman has a bye into the championships this year but has not raced a full lap of the track this season in his bid to defend his title as he has focused on shorter distances.

The remaining three spots on this year’s team are wide open. Champion Allison finished just one spot off the podium in Eugene last year but has raced just once in his first professional season and then scratched from the event.

The fastest 400m time by an American this year comes from hurdler Rai Benjamin, followed by a few collegians who will be eyeing spots on the team. Among them are Florida’s NCAA champion Ryan Willie, USA Indoor Champion, Arizona State’s Justin Robinson, and Georgia’s Elija Godwin who has already been a part of medal-winning relays in both Tokyo and Eugene.

Storyline to watch: Can relay contributors shine on their own? The trio of Vernon Norwood, Michael Cherry, and Bryce Deadmon have combined for sixteen relay medals between the Olympics, World Indoor, and World Outdoor Championships. Their individual medal tally sits at just one with Cherry’s silver medal from World Indoors in 2018. All three of them know what it takes to compete at the international level and are serious threats to make the team.

When is the final? The final will be n Saturday, July 8 at 9:26 p.m. ET

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapnz

Women’s 400m

Who made the team last year: Talitha Diggs, Kendall Ellis, Lynna Irby-Jackson

Contenders: After no Americans made the final last year in Eugene, the women’s 400m looks a lot different this year.

The biggest change is that the greatest 400m hurdler of all time Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will be trying her hand at the flat race. McLaughlin-Levrone is the second fastest American at the distance this year, trailing only Britton Wilson, who has FIVE times that tie or best that of the star hurdler. Wilson also set the American record for the distance indoors (49.48s) just two weeks after Talitha Diggs ran 50.15s to break Ellis' 50.34 American indoor record.

Others to watch include Wilson’s Arkansas teammate Rosey Effiong and last year’s returners Lynna Irby-Jackson and Kendall Ellis.

Storyline to watch: Impossible double? With a bye into her signature event, McLaughlin-Levrone will run the 400m at USAs but has said she will decide with her coach afterward on which event to focus on in Budapest – ruling out the possibility of going after gold in both events. This is a wise decision after what we saw with Britton Wilson’s double attempt at NCAAs last month. Wilson was the favorite in both the 400m hurdles and the flat 400m but came up short in both. Wilson herself may have learned from that as she is not attempting the feat again, putting everything she has into finishing top three in the flat race.

When is the final? The final will be on Saturday, July 8 at 9:19 p.m. ET.

Men’s 110m hurdles

Who made the team last year: Grant Holloway, Daniel Roberts, Trey Cunningham, Devon Allen

Contenders: This may be the best group of American men over the high hurdles in the history of the event, and that is saying something for a country that has indisputably the richest history of any in the 110m hurdles.

The two-time World Champion Grant Holloway has a bye into the championships in Budapest, and a deep crop of runners will battle it out for the three spots behind him.

Newly-minted pro Cordell Tinch will be coming into Eugene fresh off a collegiate record at Pittsburgh State (yes that’s a DII school) and world lead.

Devon Allen is looking for a shot at redemption at the World Championships after... I don’t have to tell you what happened last year. It was the false start DQ heard around the world.

Although lost in the drama of “False start-gate” last year was that another American got DQ'd two rounds earlier and Daniel Roberts is just as ready for redemption. By the way, the four names just mentioned are all among the five fastest hurdlers in the world this year, and we haven’t even gotten to last year’s silver medalist Trey Cunningham and Jamal Britt who missed last year’s Worlds team by .003 seconds.

Lastly, if one of the top dogs has an off day, veterans Robert Dunning or Freddie Crittenden may have a chance to slip into the top three.

Storyline to watch: Grant Holloway is not untouchable, we saw that in his loss in the Olympic Final two years ago, and have been seeing it slightly more often since. Outside of the trials in 2021 where he ran a stunning 12.81, his personal best is just 12.98, which is a mark that Allen and Tinch have since topped.

Although his gold medal performance in Eugene last year gives him a bye into the championships later this summer, it seems like he will be racing this weekend to evaluate his fitness against his top competitors. Holloway has run above 13.1 three times this year, something he only did once in the leadup to USAs last year. The rest of America is catching up to him and he can prove he can stay ahead. Most people shouldn’t be surprised if Americans sweep this event next month in Budapest, but many will be if Holloway isn’t the one leading that charge.

When is the final? The final will be on Sunday, July 9 at 10:53 p.m. ET.

Keni Harrison at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.Keni Harrison at the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Women’s 100m hurdles

Who made the team last year: Nia Ali, Keni Harrison, Alaysha Johnson, Alia Armstrong

Contenders: Last year at the World Championships, the American women’s 100m hurdlers struggled on home soil. Defending champ Nia Ali was disqualified in the heats and former world record holder Keni Harrison got the same treatment in the final. In the end, three of the four Americans that contested the event were disqualified. Everyone will be looking for revenge and this year we only have three spots to fill.

Everyone from last year’s team will be in the mix again. Harrison, Alaysha Johnson, and Tia Jones have all run under 12.5 multiple times. As has Kentucky’s Masai Russell who finished one spot ahead of LSU’s Alia Armstrong as the top two American finishers at an incredibly fast NCAA Championships final last month in Austin. Last year’s fourth-place finisher at USAs Tonea Marshall will be looking for redemption as well.

Storyline to watch: Ali, Jones, and Johnson will run the heats on Friday exactly seven days after racing in the Lausanne Diamond League meet. No other Americans are contesting track events at the meet in order to rest up for this weekend. Will the close proximity of the race and travel have any adverse effects on them compared to the hurdlers who are a little fresher?

When is the final? The final will be on Saturday, July 8 at 10:55 p.m. ET.

Rai Benjamin wins the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships 400m hurdles.Rai Benjamin wins the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships 400m hurdles.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Men’s 400m hurdles

Who made the team last year: Rai Benjamin, Trevor Bassit, Khalifah Rosser

Contenders: The two Americans to take home medals in this event last year come into this weekend with very different seasons so far. Three-time silver medalist Rai Benjamin ran two fast times early in the season and has been recovering from a minor quad injury. Last year’s bronze medalist Trevor Bassitt who won over the hearts of thousands of U.S. fans last summer, has run the 400m hurdles six times so far this season but hasn’t put out a performance close to his peak last year. The third of last year’s competitors in Eugene, Khalifah Rosser has also yet to find his best this year and will have to fight off red-hot C.J. Allen for a trip to Budapest.

This should shape up to be a four-man race for three spots, but keep an eye on NCAA Champion Alabama’s Chris Robinson, and the NCAA’s most consistent performer Texas Tech’s Caleb Dean.

Storyline to watch: Welcome to the Year of C.J. Allen. Allen was consistently the fourth best in a group of four world-class American hurdlers last year in Diamond Leagues and USAs and he was left off the team the U.S. took to World Championships last year. One thing that fans should love about Allen is that when he is asked to race he will line up no questions asked. Last year he raced the 400m hurdles SIXTEEN times! He has already raced seven times this outdoor season and he has five wins. He also holds five of the eight fastest American times this year under his belt.

When is the final? The final will be on Sunday, July 9 at 9:43 p.m. ET.

Shamier Little at the 2022 USAYF Outdoor ChampionshipsShamier Little at the 2022 USAYF Outdoor Championships

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Women’s 400m hurdles

Who made the team last year: Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Dalilah Muhammad, Britton Wilson, Shamier Little

Contenders: The American women’s dominance in this event has been going on for more than a decade but has never been more evident than last year when U.S. women took four of the top five spots in the World final.

World record holder and reigning world champion Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone has yet to run over the hurdles this outdoor season but has a bye to Budapest if she wants to use it.

As we mentioned Britton Wilson, owner of five of the top seven times by Americans this year, will not be contesting the hurdles to focus on the flat 400m.

Everyone else who made last year’s team is a threat again this year as Shamier Little has the top two not Britton-Wilson-times by an American this year. Even if Dalilah Muhammad can’t reach her peak from the Olympics two years ago, she can’t be counted out to finish top three.

If anyone from that group has an off day, look to someone like Anna Cockrell or Cassandra Tate to take their spot.

Storyline to watch: With Britton Wilson scratching to focus on the 400m, and Anna Hall doing the same to focus on the heptathlon, the field is short two of the three fastest American women at the distance this year. Combining this with the fact that Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone might bypass her signature event at Worlds means one of the most impressive streaks in professional track and field may be in jeopardy.

In each of the last seven consecutive major championship finals, dating back to the 2013 World Championships, the U.S. women have put TWO runners on the podium. 23-year-old Dutch phenom Femke Bol seems to have one of the top three spots in Budapest already locked up, which leaves just two others. Muhammad shouldn't be doubted no matter what form she is in right now as she has found a way to medal every year since her 2016 Olympic win, but she'll need one of her compatriots to step up – perhaps Little or Tate can repeat their medal performances from back in 2015.

When is the final? The final will be on Sunday, July 9 at 9:35 p.m. ET.

We’ll have a full team of boots on the ground for every minute of the action in and around Hayward this weekend, so make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube for expert analysis, live commentary, post-race interviews and more.

We’re excited to be bring back CHAMPS CHAT, a daily podcast through the CITIUS MAG feed giving you an inside look at the championships with insights from Chris Chavez, Kyle Merber, Katelyn Hutchison, Jasmine Todd, and Dana Giordano. Hit subscribe so you don’t miss it!

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).