Six USATF champions crowned on Day One of USATF Outdoor Championships

Six USATF champions crowned on Day One of USATF Outdoor Championships

Provided by USATF

SACRAMENTO, California -- The 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships kicked off at Sacramento State University with upset heats and riveting finals, as top USATF athletes began battling for spots on Team USATF at the IAAF World Championships.

High temperatures resulted in a schedule change for Thursday’s and Sunday’s events. Click here for an updated schedule.

The first senior championship title went to Alex Young (Nashville, Tennessee) in the men’s hammer throw with a winning distance of 73.5m/241-11. 2016 Olympian Rudy Winkler (Sand Lake, New York) started in the lead with a first throw of 70.32m/230-8, yet was ultimately overtaken and finished fourth. Young, the indoor weight throw champion, catapulted to first place in his final throw, defeating second place finisher Johnnie Jackson (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) by 2.06m.

In the women’s javelin throw, American record holder Kara Winger (Seattle, Washington) secured her spot on Team USATF by taking the title with a first throw of 62.80m/206-0.

Keturah Orji (Mount Olive, New Jersey) dominated the women’s triple jump to qualify for London. The 2016 Olympian and NCAA Outdoors Champion won with a jump of 14.26m/46-9.5, followed by Tori Franklin (Westmont, Illinois) at 13.80m/43-5 and fellow Rio teammate Andrea Geubelle (University Place, Washington) at 13.62m/44-8.25.

Recently-crowned NCAA Outdoors Champion Christian Coleman (Atlanta, Georgia) easily took the fastest time in the first round of men’s 100m, clocking in at 9.93 (0.2 m/s). 2015 World Championships competitor Isiah Young (Junction City, Kansas) had the second-fastest overall time in 9.97 (+1.5 m/s). On the women’s side, Tori Bowie (Hattiesburg, Mississippi) bested the competition in 10.90 (+1.6 m/s).

American record holder Gia Lewis-Smallwood (Urbana, Illinois) was trailing for the latter part of Thursday’s discus throw, with 2016 Olympic Trials champion Whitney Ashley (Riverside, California) leading after the third round. Lewis-Smallwood launched the discus 62.65m/205-6 to capture the top spot on the podium, while Ashley utilized her fifth-round toss of 62.20m/204-1 to claim second place ahead of Stanford’s Valerie Allman (Longmont, Colorado). Allman made her first senior national team with her best throw of 57.93m/190-0.

The women’s 10,000m final under the lights put the spotlight on Molly Huddle (Elmira, New York), as she commanded the lead from start to finish Thursday, capturing her sixth USATF title overall and her third in the women’s 10,000m. Staying on her heels for the duration of the race were training partner Emily Sisson (Chesterfield, Missouri) and Olympic teammate Emily Infeld (University Heights, Ohio), who charged over the final lap to secure their spots on Team USATF. Huddle won handily in 31:19.86, while Infeld passed Sisson over the final 400m to take second in 31:22.67. Sisson made her first World Championships team with her third-place finish of 31:25.64.

In the men’s 10,000m, Hassan Mead (Eugene, Oregon) was impressive late in a tactical race, holding off final surges from the chase pack to break Galen Rupp’s streak of eight consecutive USATF 10,000m titles in 29:01.44. Rio Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir (Colorado Springs, Colorado) nearly clipped Mead at the line, coming in just behind in 29:01.68. Rio Olympian Leonard Korir (Colorado Springs, Colorado) captured the third spot on Team USATF, coming through the line in 29:02.64 for third.

2016 World Indoor bronze medalist Erik Sowinski (Waukesha, Wisconsin) turned in the top time in the first round of the men’s 800m, winning the fifth heat in 1:46.55. On the women’s side, Brenda Martinez (Big Bear Lake, California) cruised through in the first heat of the day, winning easily in 2:02.31.

In the women’s 400m, Southern Cal’s Kendall Ellis (Pembroke Pines, Florida) turned in the top time of the day, winning the third heat in 50.81. For the men, Rio Olympic gold medalist Gil Roberts (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) looked to be in fine form to repeat his 2014 Sacramento victory, cruising through his heat in 44.63.

Day 2 of the USATF Outdoor Championships continues tomorrow at 12:55 p.m. PT with the men’s Decathlon 110m hurdles. Watch live without commercials on NBC Sports Gold beginning at 12:45 p.m. PT. Click here for live results.

Fans can follow along with #USATFoutdoors on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

Amanda Brooks