Lyles edges Knighton for national 200m title

Noah Lyles edged teenage sensation Erriyon Knighton to the finish to win the 200 meters at the US Track and Field Championships on Sunday.

“I do what it takes to win,” proclaimed Lyles, who cheekily pointed Knighton as he hit the boards in 19.67 seconds.

Lyles won the 200m at the 2019 World Championships in Doha and the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. He will be challenged again by Knighton at the world championships next month in Eugene.

“The job is not done,” said Knighton, just 18.

Temperatures in the mid-90s greeted the athletes for the final day of competition at Hayward Field. Events were moved earlier in the day due to the heat.

The top three finishers in each event will be part of the US team for the world championships, given that they have met the required performance standard.

Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu was challenged in the final 100m by Ajee Wilson but pushed to finish first in the 800m in 1:57.16.

“It was a fast field, we were kind of all together throughout the race. I felt like we would always be together in the last 100 meters, I just wanted to do my best to finish strong,” Mu said. “Ajee was right on me, I had to push a bit harder to reach the line.”

Sha’Carri Richardson did not qualify for Sunday’s 200m final, her only remaining chance to make the US team for the world championships. Her time in the semis, 22.47 seconds, put her out of contention. She made no comment to reporters afterward.

Richardson also failed to qualify for Friday’s 100-meter final, which was won by Coastal Carolina’s Melissa Jefferson. Richardson’s failure to make the finals in either race came as a surprise, given his form in recent meets.

With her ever-changing hair color and long fingernails, Richardson caught the eye on the Olympic trails last year with a notable victory in the 100. But she was suspended due to a positive test for marijuana , which kept her out of the team sent to the Tokyo Games.

Kentucky’s Abby Steiner, who set a college record in the 200m at this year’s NCAA championships, won the event in 21.77, the best time in the world this season and a personal best.

Daniel Roberts won the 110 hurdles in 13:03. Two-time Olympian Devon Allen, a fan favorite who ran track and played football in Oregon, finished third to make the world championship squad.

Allen is trying to balance track life and football after recently signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver. At the world championships, the 110 hurdles are set for July 17. Eagles players are scheduled to report to training camp nine days later.

Bryce Hoppel made his second straight team USA for the world championships in the 800m, finishing in 1:44.60. He was followed by Jonah Kowech, who hit the standard with his finish, and Brandon Miller, who threw himself over the line to secure third place.

“I wanted it so badly,” Miller said.

Rai Benjamin won the 400m hurdles in 1:44.60, the best in the world this season. Benjamin had just come out of a bout with COVID-19 which drained his energy.

“This weekend was a lot for me, I’m a bit stoned, obviously, but I’m just happy to go out and get the win today. Go to worlds,” Benjamin said.

Emma Coburn won her 10th national steeplechase title, finishing with the best time of the season in 9:10.63.

Chase Ealey won the shot put at a meet record 67 feet, 3 1/2 inches (20.51 meters). Elise Cranny won the national title in the 5000m.

On the men’s side, Grant Fisher won the 5,000 in a meet record 13:03.86. Donald Scott won the triple jump title, while Shelby McEwen won the high jump and Ethan Dobbs won the javelin.

Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus has undergone $200 million renovations to host the world’s largest track and field event outside of the Olympics.

This is the first time that the world championships will take place on American soil.

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