Saturday highlights from Oregon22 track championships

·9 min read

Fred Kerley led the first American sweep of the 100 meters at the worlds in 31 years, barely edging teammates Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell to stamp a red-white-and-blue exclamation point on the first championships ever in the United States.

Kerley leaned at the line to finish in 9.86 seconds and beat both Bracy and Bromell by 0.02 seconds. The difference between second and third was 0.002.

It marked the first American sweep at worlds since Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell and Dennis Mitchell went gold-silver-bronze at the 1991 championships in Tokyo.

“We said we were going to do it and we did it,” Kerley said in the on-track interview, moments after the crowd finished chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

USA's Fred Kerley, center, takes the gold, and Marvin Bracy, right, the silver in the men's 100 meter finals at
USA's Fred Kerley, center, takes the gold, and Marvin Bracy, right, the silver in the men's 100 meter finals at

This All-American burst of speed came moments after fighter jets presaged the evening's main event by blazing over Hayward Field, the stadium renovated to bring the championships to the U.S. for the first time. The race itself brought back memories of times when the U.S. dominated the track game in the same way Jamaica and Usain Bolt did for nearly a decade starting in 2008.

Kerley, the 27-year-old Texan, came into Eugene as the favorite — the only sprinter to crack 9.8 seconds this year. His reward is a title in an event he didn't start investing time in until the leadup to last year's Olympics.

He finished second last year to Italian Marcell Jacobs, who came from out of nowhere to capture the gold in Tokyo.

But a glute muscle has been bothering the Italian this season, and when a “DNS” — did not start — showed up by his name in the semifinals earlier in the evening, the field began clearing. It opened up further when Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Andre De Grasse, diagnosed with COVID-19 2 1/2 weeks ago, finished fifth in the same heat.

That left four Americans — defending world champion Christian Coleman was the other — in the eight-man final for only the second time (2015 was the other). They were all among the world's top nine this season, with only sixth-ranked Akani Simbine of South Africa looming as a major threat.

Coleman started fast but finished sixth.

— The Associated Press

Slowed by injury, Teare's world meet comes to an end

A stress reaction in his left tibia limited Cooper Teare’s ability to properly train the past three weeks.

That lack of work on the track was all it took to knock the U.S. champion out of the world championship meet.

In contention going into the final lap, Teare faded to 13th place in his 1,500-meter preliminary heat and far out of qualifying position for Sunday’s semifinals.

USA's Cooper Teare grips his face after his finish in the men's 1,500 meters on day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.
USA's Cooper Teare grips his face after his finish in the men's 1,500 meters on day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.

“That’s kind of how it goes and you’ve gotta roll with those punches,” the former Ducks star said. “I’ve been cross training my ass off, trying my best to come out here and get as far as I could, but that’s all there was today. It’s tough to have that be the result on my first really big world stage, especially when it’s here.”

Teare looked sharp early, staying with the leaders until the pace picked up for the final 400 meters. He finished in 3:41.15. The heat winner was Australia’s Oliver Hoare in 3:36.17.

“I just felt so flat,” Teare said. “You can do as much endurance stuff as you want on the bike or in the pool, but just that turn-over stuff is hard when world-class guys are starting to turn it over. It’s hard to replicate that in any other thing than running.”

Former Duck Johnny Gregorek finished sixth in his heat in 3:35.65 to earn an automatic qualifier into the semifinals.

“Survive and advance. It’s about getting the job done,” Gregorek said. “Prelims are tough. You gotta treat it like the end all be all. That’s what (Sunday) will be for me as well.”

American Josh Thompson of the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club and Canadian Will Paulson of Eugene’s Oregon Track Club Elite also earned automatic qualifiers.

Racing in the same heat, Thompson was second in 3:39.10 and Paulson fourth in 3:39.21.

— Chris Hansen

Kemba Nelson competes in the women's 100 meters for Jamaica on day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.
Kemba Nelson competes in the women's 100 meters for Jamaica on day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.

Former Duck Nelson earns another race

Kemba Nelson was back at Hayward Field running on a familiar track but in a different uniform.

And it couldn’t have been more exciting for the former Duck.

Nelson, a member of the awe-inspiring Jamaican women’s sprint team, finished third in her 100-meter preliminary heat to advance to Sunday’s semifinals.

“It’s always a pleasure. I always feel welcome here,” said Nelson, who was the NCAA runner-up in June in her final collegiate race. She received a loud ovation from a crowd that included not just Oregon track fans, but a large contingent of fans cheering for each of Jamaica’s runners.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson each won their heats, while Nelson, the newcomer of the group who was second at the Jamaican Trials three weeks ago, ran 11.10 to get an automatic qualifier.

“The start was there but I don’t think I transitioned very well and that didn’t set me up for the latter part of the race,” she said.

— Chris Hansen

Devon Allen, right, struggles, but still manages to win his heat of the men's 110 hurdles during day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.
Devon Allen, right, struggles, but still manages to win his heat of the men's 110 hurdles during day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.

Devon Allen advances to semifinals

It’s been three weeks since the final of the 110-meter hurdles at the USATF Outdoor Championships, which was also the last time Devon Allen competed.

That’s a long time to go without racing, he said, after knocking off the rust with a 13.47-second win in his preliminary heat Saturday morning during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field.

“Just trying to get into the rhythm and finish my race,” said Allen, the former Oregon Duck great who is heading to NFL training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles later this month. “The goal is to win every heat.”

He’ll get another chance to race Sunday night, when the semifinals and finals both take place.

U.S. champion Daniel Roberts did not advance. He fell after clipping the eighth hurdle, ending his meet.

“Daniel’s my guy, so I feel bad, feel sorry that that happened,” Allen said. “You know, the hurdle event is just that. I mean, it’s much different than the 100 because usually in the 100 the fastest guy’s gonna win. In the hurdles, there’s a lot of things that can happen, a lot of variables.”

Allen, who has the fastest time in the world this season, finished third at the U.S. meet in a race that came just hours after he learned his father had died.

“My goal is to win worlds and I know my dad would be excited for me to win worlds and break the world record and play for the Eagles and catch touchdowns so I’m going to keep doing exactly that,” Allen said.

— Chris Hansen

OSU steeplechaser Fetherstonhaugh enjoys the moment

Grace Fetherstonhaugh was on a family vacation last week, riding horses at a dude ranch with her sister, when she got word that she’d been added to Canada’s roster for the World Athletics Championships.

Just like that, she was out of the saddle and back into track mode.

Canada's Grace Fetherstonhaugh runs in her heat of the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase during day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.
Canada's Grace Fetherstonhaugh runs in her heat of the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase during day two of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon July 16, 2022.

“I was not expecting to be coming here,” the Oregon State junior said with a smile after finishing 13th in her women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinal heat Saturday morning.

Fetherstonhaugh finished in 9:49.85, far off her personal record of 9:37.56 set in June during her 10th-place finish in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which also took place at Hayward Field.

“It was a really cool experience,” said Fetherstonhaugh, who didn’t advance to the finals. “I was very excited to get to represent Canada. The race didn’t go amazing but with the short notice of finding out last week, I did all I could and just tried to focus on what I was doing during the race.”

Beforehand, however, Fetherstonhaugh did all she could to not get overwhelmed by the moment.

“I was looking around going, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s Emma Coburn!’ and all of these people I follow on Instagram,” she said. “But when I got to warming up, I really tried to focus on myself and not be starstruck.”

Coburn, the U.S. champion, ran 9:15.19 to qualify for Wednesday’s final, as did fellow Americans Courtney Frerichs, the U.S. record holder who competes for Portland-based Bowerman Track Club, and Courtney Wayment, the NCAA champion from BYU.

— Chris Hansen

NCAA champ Ross booted from worlds for missed doping test

Back-to-back NCAA champion Randolph Ross was booted from the world track and field championships on the eve of his 400-meter preliminary race, about a month after officials could not locate him to take an antidoping test.

The Athletics Integrity Unit announced Saturday it was provisionally suspending the North Carolina A&T sprinter for tampering with the antidoping process after an unsuccessful testing attempt June 18. The investigation concluded, the AIU said, after officials interviewed him Thursday.

Also ousted from the meet was Kenyan marathoner Lawrence Cherono, who tested positive for a banned substance used to treat chest pain resulting from lack of blood supply and oxygen to the heart. It was the same drug that led to Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s doping case at the Beijing Winter Olympics this year.

Both athletes had been scheduled to compete Sunday.

The AIU said there were delays in the processing of Cherono's test sample, which was taken May 23, that made it impossible for another Kenyan to take his spot.

Ross won his second straight title in the 400 meters at NCAA championships earlier this year,

His father, Duane, won a bronze medal in the 110 hurdles at the 1999 worlds. He later served a two-year suspension related to the case involving coach Trevor Graham and the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative case. Ross coached his son at North Carolina A&T and earlier this year was hired as director of track and field at Tennessee.

Athletes are required to give antidoping authorities detailed lists of where they'll be so testers can reach them with no notice to collect samples when the athletes are not competing. In some cases, three missed tries can result in an antidoping violation.

AIU did not release the specifics of Ross' case, other than to say “the allegation arises out of the athlete’s conduct during the course of an investigation into a potential whereabouts violation.”

— The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Highlights from Saturday's events at Oregon22 track championships