Of the 151 athletes named to the U.S. team for the upcoming Oregon22 World Championships in Athletics, several dozen have a good chance of winning a medal at the 10-day track and field competition that begins Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene.
Here are some of the top contenders in the United States that will be worth watching as Oregon22 unfolds.
Note: stars such as Ryan Crouser and Raevyn Rogers are not listed here, but look for them on our list of over two dozen Oregon and SW Washington-bound athletes to watch at the World Championships in Athletics.
More from Oregon22: Composition of the American team | Calendar of day-to-day events
BEST AMERICAN ATHLETES TO WATCH IN OREGON22
Valarie Allman, women’s record: Allman, 27, is the US disc record holder and already had a bye to the 2022 World Championships after winning the Diamond League overall title at the event in 2021. But that didn’t help. didn’t stop Allman from also winning the competition at the United States Championships at Hayward Field last month. She brings a world No. 1 ranking to Oregon22.
Brooke Andersen, women’s hammer: Andersen, 26, has a world-best throw of 259-foot-3 this year and is coming off a win at the U.S. Championships. Reigning world champion DeAnna Price remains formidable, but Andersen has shown better form this season.
Rai Benjamin, 400 men’s hurdles: Benjamin, 24, won silver at the 2019 world championships and at the Tokyo Olympics last year. He set the American record of 46.17 seconds in the 400 hurdles final in Tokyo, but Norway’s Karsten Warholm broke the world record in 45.94 to win. The two could be set for another showdown in Eugene.
Emma Coburn, women’s 3000m steeplechase: Coburn is a 10-time United States steeplechase champion and the 31-year-old has won gold, silver and bronze medals on the world stage. She is the 2017 world champion, 2019 world silver medalist and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.
Vashti Cunningham, women’s high jump: Cunningham, 24, won the bronze medal at the 2019 world championships. The daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, she enters Oregon22 ranked 6th in the world. His PR is 6-foot-7 1/2 in 2021, but his best clearance this season is 6-5.
Chase Ealey, women’s shot put: Ealey uncorked a 67-foot, 3½-inch throw to win the United States Championships, and the 27-year-old’s second-best throw of 66-3 would also have won the competition. She returns to Hayward Field holding the world No. 1 ranking.
Allyson Felix, mixed 4×400 relay: Before bidding farewell to professional athletics, Felix, 36, has one more chance to add to his record 18 world championship medals.
Anna Hall, women’s heptathlon: Hall, 21, racked up a personal best 6,458 points to win the U.S. heptathlon title in May, then won the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field a month later. In the United States, Hall’s time of 2:03.11 in the 800 m, the last of the seven heptathlon events, marked the third-fastest 800 m heptathlon time on record. Olympian Kendell Williams is another heptathlon competitor to watch for the United States.
Keni Harrison, Women’s 100 Hurdles: Harrison clocked the fastest time in the world this year at the US Championships, winning in 12.34 seconds. She holds the world record of 12.20 in the 100 hurdles, and the 29-year-old won silver at the 2019 world championships and at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Grant Holloway, men’s 110 hurdles: Holloway, 24, is the reigning world champion and also won silver at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He had two times under 13 seconds at the Olympic trials last year at Hayward Field. He missed the 110 hurdles final at the United States Championships last month because he had a bye to Oregon22 as the 2019 world champion. But the final at the world championships could be a showdown between Holloway and fellow American Devon Allen.
Fred Kerley, relay 100, 200 and 4×100 men: Kerley has become a force in the 100. He clocked a personal best and world best 9.76 seconds to win the US title last month and has finished first or second in each of his seven outdoor 100m races this season. Kerley, 27, is the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist in the 100 and the 2019 world championship bronze medalist in the 400. In Eugene, he could also compete in the 200 and is expected to be a key part of the United States 4×100 relay team.
Joe Kovacs, Men’s Shot Put: Kovacs, 33, is a two-time world championship gold medalist, but to claim third place he will need to beat fellow American pitcher Ryan Crouser. And Crouser hasn’t lost a single outdoor shot put competition since finishing second to Kovacs at the 2019 Doha World Championships.
Noah Lyles, Men’s 200m: Lyles is the 2019 world champion and also won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. The United States is loaded in this event and could only bring four of its eight athletes who have posted times under 20 seconds this season to Oregon22. Erriyon Knighton, Fred Kerley and Kenny Bednarek are also worth watching in the 200.
Sydney McLaughlin, Women’s 400 Hurdles: McLaughlin will return to Hayward Field just weeks after breaking his own world record with a time of 51.41 in the 400 hurdles. McLaughlin, 22, has not lost a 400 outdoor hurdles race since finishing second to American rival Dalilah Muhammad at the 2019 world championships.
Sandi Morris and Katie Nageotte, Women’s Pole Vault: Nageotte, 31, ranks No. 1 in the world and is the reigning Olympic gold medalist. Morris, 29, holds a world No. 3 ranking, was a silver medalist at the Rio Olympics and also took silver at the 2017 and 2019 world championships. Either or both could end up on the podium in Eugene.
Athing Mu, 800m women: How dominant was the 20-year-old Mu in the 800? She has won every outdoor 800m race she has entered in the past two seasons, with eight wins in 2021 and another five in 2022.
Chris Nilsen, Men’s Pole Vault: Nilsen ranks No. 2 in the world and is coming off a 2021 season when he won silver at the Tokyo Olympics. The 24-year-old cleared 19-foot-7 in Tokyo, and this season he upped his PR to 19-8 1/4.
Michael Norman, Men’s 400m: Norman, 24, has gone under 44 seconds twice this season at Hayward, first at the Prefontaine Classic (43.60) then at the American Championships (43.56). The only other man to beat 44 seconds this season outdoors is fellow American Champion Allison (43.70).
Donald Scott, men’s triple jump: Scott, 30, is a three-time U.S. outdoor champion and enters Oregon22 ranked 5th in the world. He won the national championship that season with a leap of 56 feet.
Abby Steiner, Women’s 200m: Steiner, who recently turned pro, is the NCAA and United States champion in the 200 meters. The 22-year-old set the college best 21.80 in the NCAA meet at Hayward Field before returning two weeks later to set a personal best 21.77 in the United States 200m final. United.
— Joel Odom; [email protected]