• Preview: USATF Golden Games at Mt. Sac Relays

Posted by: Watch Athletics

The renovated Hilmer Lodge Stadium hosts the USATF Golden Games in Walnut, the second leg of the Continental Tour Gold and part of the traditional Mt. Sac Relays. The 200 metres with Fred Kerley, Michael Norman, Raj Benjamin and Christian Coleman, discus throw competitions featuring Olympic champions Daniel Stahl and Valerie Allman, and hurdles races with Kendra Harrison and Devon Allen will be in the spotlight in the Californian meeting. 

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Men’s 200 metres: 

The men’s 200 metres features a clash between athletes, who are specialists over other distances. World 100m champion Christian Coleman will face Olympic 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley, 400m hurdles Olympic silver medallist Raj Benjamin and Olympic 4x400 relay gold medallist Michael Norman and Olympic 4x100 relay silver medallist Jerome Blake from Canada. 

Kerley won the world bronze medal in the 400m in Doha 2019 in 44.17, the Olympic 100m silver medal in 9.84, and two Diamond League titles in the 400m in 2018 and in the 100m in 2021 on the same Letzigrund track in Zurich. Kerley is one of the three sprinters in history to hold PBs under 10 seconds in the 100m (9.84 in Tokyo 2021), under 20 seconds in the 200m (19.76 in Nairobi 2021) and under 44 seconds in the 400m (43.64 in Des Moines 2019). This year Kerley has already clocked 9.99m in the 100m in Coral Gables, 20.04 in the 200m in Tempe and 44.47 in the 400m in St. George. 

Christian Coleman won the world indoor silver medal in the 60m in 6.41 in Belgrade four years after the gold medal in Birmingham. Coleman won two world gold medals in Doha in the 100m in 9.76 and in the 4x100 relay in 37.10. The US sprinter made his outdoor debut this season clocking 20.25 in the 200m in Baton Rouge last week. 

Michael Norman won the 400m in 43.45 at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2019 setting the fourth-fastest time in history. Norman finished fifth in the 400m Olympic final in 44.31 and won the 4x400 relay Olympic gold medal in 2:55.70. In his career, he clocked 9.86 in the 100m in Fort Worth in 2020 and 19.70 in the 200m in Rome in 2019. 

Raj Benjamin won the US Olympic Trials in Eugene in the 400m hurdles in 46.83 and the Olympic silver medal in 46.17 behind Karsten Warholm in the greatest race in history over this distance. Benjamin set his 400m PB clocking 44.31 at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2019 and dipped under 20 seconds in the 200m clocking 19.99 in Paris in 2018. 

Canadian sprinter Jerome Blake showed his great form last week when he won the 100m  at the USATF Bermuda Games in 10.38 against a strong headwind beating Noah Lyles and Erryion Knighton. Blake won the Olympic 4x100 relay silver medal in 37.70 in Tokyo and improved his PBs to 10.06 in the 100m and in 20.20 in the 200m. 

The new name to watch is Nigeria’s Udodi Unwozurike, who won the 200m world under 20 gold medal in Nairobi improving his PB to 20.21. This season the 19-year-old Nigerian sprinter set his lifetime best in the 100m clocking 10.07 on 1 April. 

The line-up is rounded out by Joseph Amoah from Ghana, who clocked 20.08 in Austin 2019 and Jaron Flournoy (PB 20.09). 

Men’s discus throw: 

World and olympic discus throw champion Daniel Stahl from Sweden will face his teammate and Olympic silver medallist Simon Petterson. Stahl produced the three best performances in the world in 2022 with 69.11m in Chula Vista, 68.44m in San Diego and 67.62m in Vaxjo. 

Women’s discus throw: 

Olympic gold medallist Valarie Allman broke her own North American record in the women’s discus with 71.46m in San Diego, setting the best performance in the world in the past 30 years. Allman won the Olympic gold with 68.98m and the Diamond League Trophy with 69.20m. She will face Shadae Lawrence, who finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Olympian Rachel Dincoff.  

400 metres: 

Olympic 200 metres silver medallist Kenny Bednarek will make his seasonal debut in the men’s 400 metres. Bednarek broke the 20 seconds barrier 13 times in the 200m and won the olympic silver in his PB clocking 19.68 before claiming the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich in 19.70. Bednarek set his 400m PB of 44.73 in Hobbs in 2019. 

Bednarek will take on Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos, who won the Olympic bronze medal in the 400m hurdles in a South American record of 46.72, and US Michael Cherry, who finished fourth in the Olympic 400m final in Tokyo and won the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich last year, Will London, who won the 4x400 gold medal in the World Championships in Doha 2019. 

Women’s 200 metres: 

Gabby Thomas will clash against Marie Josée Ta Lou from Ivory Coast in the women’s 200 metres. Thomas won the Olympic Trials final in the 200m in Eugene setting the third-fastest time in history with 21.61 and went on to win the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo in 21.87. The Harvard University graduate clocked wind-assisted times of 10.92 in the 100 metres and 21.69 in the 200 metres at Texas Relays in Austin and finished second in the 100m at the Bermuda Games in 11.49 into a strong headwind of -5.2 m/s. 

Ta Lou won three world outdoor medals (silver in the 100m and in the 200m in London 2017 and bronze in the 100m in Doha 2019) and finished fourth in 10.91 in the 100m and fifth in 22.27 in the 200m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021.

The line-up also features world silver medallist Brittany Brown and Jenna Prandini, who finished second at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene in her PB of 21.89 and won the Olympic silver medal in 41.45 in Tokyo 2021. Prandini came to the fore in 2015 when she won the Mt.SAC Relays in Walnut in the 100m in 10.92. 

100 metres hurdles: 

World 100m hurdles record holder Kendra Harrison will make her second appearance over the 100m hurdles after clocking a wind-assisted 12.32 at Texas Relays in Austin. Harrison won two silver medals at the World Championships in Doha 2019 in 12.46 and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 in 12.52 and the world indoor gold medal in the 60m hurdles in Birmingham 2018 in 7.70. 

Harrison will take on Tobi Amusan from Nigeria, fourth in the Olympic final in Tokyo and Diamond League champion in Zurich in 2021, 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Kristi Castlin, Anna Cockrell, double NCAA champion in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles in Eugene last year, and Cindy Sember from Great Britain, fourth in the Olympic final in the 100m hurdles in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and European Indoor silver medallist in the 60m hurdles in Torun 2021. 

110 metres hurdles: 

Devon Allen will run twice in the 100 metres and in the 110 metres hurdles in his outdoor seasonal debut. Allen finished fifth in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and fourth in Tokyo 2021 in the 110m hurdles. The two-time NCAA champion won the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich and broke the 13 seconds barrier clocking 12.99 in Zagreb last year. Allen has recently announced that he signed up a three-year deal to play for the American Football team Philadelphia Eagles after this season and will have a busy summer of athletics before turning to NFL. 

Men’s shot put: 

Darrell Hill, who won the Diamond League Trophy in Brussels in 2017 and finished fourth at the Olympic Trials, will face Olympian Payton Otterdahl, Josh Awotunde, who finished fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022, Adrian Piperi, fourth in the world outdoor list this season with 21.54m, Italy’s Nick Ponzio, who finished seventh at the World Indoor Championships with 21.30m and is currently second in the early-season world outdoor list with his PB of 21.83m set at the European Throwing Cup in Leiria.   

Men’s 100 metres:  

US sprint veteran Michael Rodgers (4x100 world gold medal and 100m finalist in Doha 2019) will face Frenchman Mouhamadou Fall, who improved his PB to 10.04 in Nairobi and won the 100m at the European Team Championships in Chorzow last year, Japan’s Yuiki Koike, who broke the 10 seconds barrier clocking 9.98 in London 2019, Ameer Webb, who finished fifth in the 200m world final in London 2017 and clocked 10.04 last weekend in Atlanta, Isiah Young, eighth in the World 200m final in London 2017, Demek Kemp, who won the National Indoor title in the 60m in 2019, Kyree King, who clocked 9.97 in the 100m in 2021, Jarrion Lawson, fourth in the long jump at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022, and Ilias Garcia, who clocked 10.16 in Los Angeles earlier this year. 

Women’s 100 metres: 

US sprinter Tehana Daniels will be chasing her second consecutive win in the women’s 100 metres in the Continental Tour Gold this year one week after finishing first at the USATF Bermuda Games in Devonshire in 11.45 into a strong headwind of -5.2 m/s. Daniels, who finished seventh in the 100m at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021, will take on Javianne Oliver, who finished third behind Daniels in Devonshire and won the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Briana Williams from Jamaica, Olympic 4x100 relay gold medallist in Tokyo 2021 and fifth in the Olympic 60m final in 7.04 in Belgrade 2022, Twanysha Terry, who set one of the fastest 100m times in history by an under 20 athlete with 10.99 at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2018 and clocked a wind-assisted 10.79 at the NCAA Championships in Eugene last year, Aleia Hobbs, who won the NCAA and US National outdoor titles in 2018 and has the fastest time in the field with her seasonal best of 11.06 in Baton Rouge, and Michelle Lee Ahye from Trinidad and Tobago, seventh in the 60m final at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade. 

Women’s shot put: 

Last year’s Olympic silver medallist Raven Saunders leads the field in the women’s shot put line-up that also features Swedish record holder Fanny Roos, who won the European Indoor silver medal in Torun and finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Portious Warren from Trinidad and Tobago, silver medallist at the World University Games in Neaples 2019. 

Women’s pole vault: 

Former Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi will compete for the third time this year after clearing a seasonal best of 4.65m in Austin and winning in Waco with 4.50m. The Greek pole vaulter will face Bridgett Williams, who is tied at the top of the world seasonal list with her 4.70m vault set in Austin. 

Women’s high jump: 

World bronze medallist Vashti Cunningham has been competing at the Mt. SAC Relays since she was in high school. Cunningham won the world indoor gold medal in Portland 2016. The daughter of former American Football legend Randall Cunningham will open her outdoor season against heptathlon Tyra Gittens from Trinidad and Tobago, who is currently second in the world seasonal list with 1.95m and finished 10th in the Olympic final in the long jump. 

Women’s triple jump: 

Keturah Orji will compete for the first time since her seventh place in the women’s triple jump with 14.42m at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade last March. Orji finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and seventh at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021. 

Women’s hammer throw: 

Olympic finalists Brooke Andersen and Gwen Berry will clash in the women’s hammer throw. Andersen currently leads the world seasonal list with her recent 77.26m in Tempe last week. The line-up also features Camryn Rogers, who is currently second in the world seasonal list with 74.80m. 

Men’s hammer throw: 

Rudy Winkler leads the entry list with his national record of 82.71m set at the US Trials in Eugene. Winkler finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year. He will take on Daniel Haugh (11th in the Olympic final in Tokyo), Chilean throwers Humberto Mansilla (second at the 2019 Panamerican Games) and Gabriel Kehr (South American champion in 2019). 

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