Star-studded fields set for the USATF Golden Games at Mt. SAC
Olympic & world champions, global medalists, rising stars vying for glory and more than $200,000 in prize money; Kerley, Norman, Coleman, Benjamin showdown in men’s 200 meters; live 2-hour CNBC broadcast on Saturday, 2:00pm to 4:00pm PT
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The USATF Golden Games at the Mt. SAC Relays marks the second U.S. stop on the 2022 World Athletics Continental Tour – Gold on Saturday, April 16 at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut, California. Recently renovated from the ground up, the world class facility at Mt. San Antonio College will welcome Olympic and World Championships medalists from around the globe in 11 women’s events and 10 men’s events as the countdown continues to this summer’s World Athletics Outdoor Championships to be hosted for the first time on U.S. soil in Eugene, Ore. Athletes will be competing for more than $200,000 in prize money, along with the all-important World Athletics rankings.
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica along with Tokyo Olympics discus gold medalists Valarie Allman of Team USATF and Daniel Stahl of Sweden are among the top athletes entered. Repeating her 100m / 200m golds from the 2016 Rio Games, Thompson-Herah swept the sprints at Tokyo and added a 4x100m relay gold. She is the second-fastest woman in history in the 100m and 200m, boasting lifetime bests of 10.54 and 21.53.
Last week’s women’s 100m winner at the USATF Bermuda Games, Teahna Daniels, was seventh in Tokyo and leads a large group of Olympic veterans to challenge Thompson-Herah, including Daniels’ teammates from the 4x100m relay that earned silver at the Games, Trials 100m winner Javianne Oliver and Aleia Hobbs. Jamaica’s Briana Williams won Olympic gold on her nation’s 4x100m relay and Britain’s Jodie Williams was sixth in the 400m at the Games.
Allman won the women’s discus last weekend at La Jolla with a 71.46m / 234-5 that was the best throw in the world since March 1992, while reigning world champion Stahl has won both of the American meets he has competed in this month and ranks #4 on the all-time world men’s performer list. Stahl’s fellow Swede, Simon Pettersson, took silver at the Games and has thrown 69.48m / 227-11.
Their top challengers include Jamaica’s Shadae Lawrence, who was seventh in the women’s discus at Tokyo, and Sam Mattis, who was eighth in the men’s event at the Games. Cal’s Mykolas Alekna of Lithuania is the leading thrower in the NCAA ranks at 66.70m / 218-10 and his dad, Virgilijus, is one of the legends of the event after winning two Olympic golds and two world outdoor titles in a lengthy career. Rachel Dincoff finished third behind Allman at the Trials last summer.
Interest in the men’s 200m will be sky-high with an eclectic group of sprint stars lining up. Reigning world 100m champion Christian Coleman has a lifetime best of 19.85 and opened his outdoor campaign with a 20.25 to win at LSU last weekend. He will face three other Americans with sub-20 second credentials, led by Fred Kerley, the 100m silver medalist at Tokyo who currently tops the world lists at 200m and 400m and has run 19.76 in his career. Rai Benjamin set an American record of 46.17 in the 400m hurdles at Tokyo to take silver and has a personal record of 19.99, while his training partner, Michael Norman, was a 4x400m relay gold medalist at the Games with Benjamin and has the fastest 200m lifetime best in the field at 19.70.
Always one of the strongest events for Team USATF, the women’s 100m hurdles will be no different here. World record holder Keni Harrison claimed silver at Tokyo last summer and ran a windy 12.32 in her first outdoor race of the year at the Texas Relays. Harrison’s Tokyo teammates, Christina Clemons and Gabbi Cunningham, are always a threat, and Cunningham was the 60m hurdles bronze medalist at last month’s World Indoor Championships. Anna Cockrell, the NCAA 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles champion last June, was fourth at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021 and Tonea Marshall was fifth. Marshall has a lifetime best of 12.44, while Cockrell sports a 12.54 PR. Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan was fourth behind Harrison at the Games and has a lifetime best of 12.42, while Britain’s Cindy Sember was fourth at the 2016 Olympics and has a PR of 12.53.
Olympic 200m silver medalist Kenny Bednarek hasn’t run a competitive 400m since 2019, but with his 19.68 200m speed and a 44.73 lifetime best in the one-lapper he will be a formidable foe for Michael Cherry, who was fourth in the Tokyo 400m with a lifetime best 44.21 before winning gold on the Team USATF 4x400m relay. Fellow relay gold medalist Bryce Deadmon and 2019 World Championships 4x400m and mixed 4x400m relay gold medalist Wil London have gone faster than 44.50 in their careers. Brazil’s Alison dos Santos, the bronze medalist in the 400m hurdles at the Games and the third-fastest man in history in that event, is opening his 2022 season without barriers.
Raven Saunders took silver in the women’s shot put at Tokyo and is the #6 performer in U.S. history. She will be competing for the first time since that silver medal performance and faces Olympic Trials champion Jessica Ramsey, one of only five American women ever to surpass 20 meters, along with Fanny Roos of Sweden and Portious Warren of Trinidad, both finalists at Tokyo. Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd was the 2019 World Championships silver medalist. Darrell Hill, fifth at the 2019 World Championships, is the #9 all-time U.S. performer in the men’s shot and has a lifetime best of 22.44m / 73-7.5. Tokyo 10th-place finisher Payton Otterdahl has a lifetime best of 21.92m / 71-11, and Josh Awotunde was fifth at the recent World Indoor Championships.
Hoping for friendlier winds than she faced in finishing second in the 100m at last weekend’s USATF Bermuda Games, Olympic 200m bronze medalist Gabby Thomas is the third-fastest woman in history with a best of 21.61 and tops a talented field in that event. 2019 World Championships silver medalist Brittany Brown and Tokyo 4x100m relay silver medalist Jenna Prandini will provide stern competition for Thomas, as will Marie Josée Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire, who was fifth at the Games in the 200m and fourth in the 100m. Tamara Clark is a sub-22 runner who just missed an Olympic berth with her fourth-place finish at the U.S. trials last summer.
Former 400m hurdles world record holder Dalilah Muhammad, who took silver at Tokyo over the barriers and then gold on Team USATF’s 4x400m relay, will go without the obstacles in the women’s 400m and has a familiar hurdler to challenge her in Shamier Little. Little, the 2015 World Championships silver medalist in the 400H, was fourth in the hurdles at the Trials and has also run 49.91 on the flat. Kendall Ellis and Kaylin Whitney went 4-5 at the Trials in the 400m and Ellis has run 49.99 in her career, while Phyllis Francis has the fastest lifetime best at 49.61. Francis won the 2017 World Championships 400m and took gold in the 4x400m at the 2016 Games.
A bronze medalist in the women’s 800m at Tokyo after taking silver at the 2019 World Championships, Raevyn Rogers is the headliner and has a lifetime best of 1:56.81. Her top challengers may be Britain’s Ellie Baker, who ran 1:59.54 in 2021, and Sinclaire Johnson, who cracked the 2:00 barrier last year with a 1:59.91 on the Mt. SAC track.
Fresh off signing a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL last week, Devon Allen is entered in the 110m hurdles, his specialty, as well as the 100m. Allen was fourth in the hurdles at Tokyo and set a lifetime best of 12.99 last year. He will face 2019 U.S. champion and Tokyo semifinalist Daniel Roberts, a 13.00 performer, and Jamaica’s Damion Thomas, who won the 2021 NCAA indoor 60m hurdles title for LSU and has a best of 13.11 in the 110H.
Besides Allen in the men’s 100m, Mike Rodgers is a 9.85 sprinter who is tied for eighth on the all-time U.S. performer list and collected gold on the Team USATF 4x100m relay at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Oregon’s Micah Williams won the NCAA indoor 60m title last year and was fifth in the Trials 100m with a lifetime best 9.91, and 2016 200m Olympian Ameer Webb has the fastest 2022 time with a 10.04. Canada’s Aaron Brown is a three-time Olympian who has a 9.96 PR and two relay bronzes from the Games.
World Indoor Championships 800m bronze medalist Bryce Hoppel was fourth at the 2019 World Championships in Doha after winning the NCAA indoor / outdoor double that year for Kansas. He has a lifetime best of 1:43.23 and will be up against two other men who have cracked the 1:44 barrier. Isaiah Jewett clocked 1:43.85 to take second at the U.S. Trials after winning the NCAA title for USC last year, and Mexico’s Jesús López was a Tokyo semifinalist who has run 1:43.44. Erik Sowinski is a veteran with four career sub-1:45 races to his credit who was the World Indoor bronze medalist in 2016 and has developed into the most sought-after pacemaker on the international circuit. Britain’s Kyle Langford was fourth at the 2017 World Championships.
With multiple international medals and 10 U.S. titles already on her resumé, high jumper Vashti Cunningham is the top woman in a field that also features her training partner, Jelena Rowe, and Tokyo Olympian Rachel McCoy. Cunningham set her lifetime best of 2.02m / 6-7.5 last year and was the 2016 World Indoor champion. She added a World Championships bronze in 2019 and was the national indoor champion in February. Rowe and McCoy both have a lifetime best of 1.96m / 6-5.
The three top finishers from last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials will meet up in the men’s hammer, led by American record holder Rudy Winkler. Winkler had a huge year in 2021 and improved his lifetime best to 82.71m / 271-4 to win the Trials before placing seventh at the Games. Daniel Haugh placed 11th at Tokyo and notched a 79.39m / 260-5 PR to take second at the Trials, while Alex Young was third, also scoring a personal best with his 78.32m / 256-11 effort. Chilean Olympians Gabriel Kehr and Humberto Mansilla and 2018 NCAA champion Denzel Comenentia of the Netherlands are the top international challengers.
Brooke Andersen, the Trials runner-up who was 10th at the Games in Tokyo, has the world’s top women’s hammer mark in 2022 with a 77.26m / 253-6 last weekend in Arizona, and she will face Games teammate Gwen Berry, who was 11th in Tokyo and won gold at the 2019 Pan American Games. Berry has a lifetime best of 77.78m / 255-2 that was the American record at the time. Janee’ Kassanavoid just missed an Olympic berth with her fourth-place Trials finish, but won the U.S. indoor 20-pound weight gold in February. Canada’s Camryn Rogers is the top NCAA thrower for Cal and was fifth at the Olympics.
2016 Olympic champion and 2017 World Championships gold medalist Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece leads two strong pole vault fields. Stefanidi was fourth at Tokyo last summer and has cleared 4.91m / 16-1.25, putting her #7 on the all-time world performer list. Olivia Gruver was fourth at the U.S. Trials and has a lifetime best of 4.78m / 15-8.25, while Sophie Gutermuth was seventh in that meet. Emily Grove and Bridget (Guy) Williams are tied for the outdoor world lead in 2022 at 4.70m / 15-5. In the men’s competition, Matt Ludwig and Jacob Wooten, both of whom have cleared 5.90m / 19-4.25 in their careers, lead an American contingent that has several men who have personal bests higher than 5.79m / 19-0.
In the horizontal jumps, women’s triple jumper Keturah Orji was fourth at the 2016 Olympics and seventh last summer at Tokyo after setting an American record of 14.91m / 48-11. Carter Shell of Arkansas State has the top outdoor performance by an American in the men’s long jump and 2018 NCAA indoor champion Will Williams will be among his top challengers.
Fans can tune in on CNBC from 5:00pm to 7:00pm ET.
A full schedule of events and more can be found HERE.