Kerley, Jefferson win at the US outdoor championships

Jun 24, 2022, 9:36 AM | Updated: 9:38 pm

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley flashed a peace sign at the crowd after winning the 100 meters at the U.S. outdoor track and field championships Friday night.

Kerley crossed the line in 9.77 seconds, followed by Marvin Bracy-Williams and Trayvon Bromell. All three earned spots on the U.S. team for the world outdoor championships in Eugene next month.

“It’s all about patience and training, and doing what I’ve got to do,” Kerley said after taking selfies with fans.

Melissa Jefferson of Coastal Carolina, who finished eighth in the 100 at this year’s NCAA outdoor championships, edged Aleia Hobbs for the national title in the women’s event.

Ryan Crouser, the world-record holder and two-time Olympic gold medalist, won the shot put at 75 feet, 10 1/4 inches (23.12 meters). Joe Kovaks, already guaranteed a spot at worlds as the defending champion, was second.

Allyson Felix, the most decorated woman in track history, surged the final 40 meters of her semifinal in the 400, but did not finish among the top three and had to wait to see how her time held up. In the end, she made it to the final Sunday.

“I just appreciate all the support and all the love,” she said.

Athletes were greeted by temperatures in the low 80s and breezy conditions at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus. The top three finishers in each event will be part of the U.S. team at worlds, track and field’s most prestigious international event outside of the Olympics.

Earlier in the evening, Kerley ran the 100 semifinals in a world-leading and personal-best 9.76 seconds. It also was a meet record. Bromell had the second-best time in the semis, at 9.81.

Bromell won the 100 at the U.S. Olympic trials at Hayward last summer. He was widely expected to do well in Tokyo but failed to advance to the Olympic final.

Christian Coleman was a late scratch in the race but he already has a spot at worlds as the defending champion at Doha in 2019.

Hobbs, who won the 2018 NCAA outdoor 100 title as well as that year’s national championship, had the fastest time in the semifinals earlier in the day with a personal-best 10.81.

But Jefferson, who just wrapped up her junior year at Coastal Carolina, pushed at the finish to win the final in 10.69 (2.9 wind), in front of Hobbs in 10.72. Twanisha Terry finished third to round out the world team.

“I did the job that I needed to do at the NCAAs. And I realized that one had to be sacrificed for the other. Had I done good at the NCAAs, I might not have been standing here right now,” Jefferson said. “So grateful.”

The field for the 100 was narrowed on Thursday night in the first round when Sha’Carri Richardson failed to qualify.

Richardson was considered a favorite in 100 after winning the event at last year’s Olympic Trials. But she wasn’t on the team sent to Tokyo because she tested positive for marijuana. She had run some promising times leading into nationals, but couldn’t get out of the heats.

Richardson is also entered in the 200, so she still has a chance to make the team for worlds. The heats for that event are on Saturday, with the final set for Sunday.

Sydney McLaughlin, the world record holder and Olympic gold medalist in the 400 hurdles, easily advanced to Saturday’s final in the event. Her husband, former NFL player Andre Levrone Jr., was on hand to cheer her on.

“It’s been a great season, feeling good and looking forward to tomorrow,” she said after finishing first in the semifinal by a wide margin.

Vashti Cunningham, daughter of former NFL star Randall Cunningham, won the high jump, while world record holder Sandi Morris won the pole vault. Valarie Allman, who won gold at the Tokyo Games, won the discus. On the men’s side, LSU’s Rayvon Gray won the long jump.

The world championships will also be held at Hayward Field, starting July 15.

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Kerley, Jefferson win at the US outdoor championships