The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Pre Championships Update

May 3rd, 2022
1:50 pm PDT

This has been one of the hardest seasons to keep up with that I can remember. And that is actually a good thing. Literally every time I’ve tried to sit down and write about my thoughts on the season, news of something faster, further, or higher goes across my screen. Making me feel like I’m always behind. After all, I don’t want to tell you what you already know.

So, given the mercurial pace of this season, I’ve decided I’ll have to spend more time talking about my impressions of what’s been happening. As opposed to reporting on what’s gone on. And even that can be difficult as “The next great thing” can often change perspectives!

With that said, first impressions are, WOW! Everyone thought 2021 was exciting, and it was. But so far, 2022 is shaping up to be even better. Let’s start with the current hottest of the hot – Erriyon Knighton.

Knighton is simply one of the hottest young athletes in the sport. At only 18, he’s had an outstanding beginning to 2022. He opened his season with a 10.04 PB in the 100. Since he’s anchored a 38.09 4×1 and split 45.1 on a 4×4. Nothing prepared us for his latest exploit – a 19.49 opener over 200 meters! A run that immediately screaming about the WR being under attack. While it does make him #4 all time, it is still a bit away from 19.19! Don’t get me wrong, Erriyon is showing all the signs of potentially being a WR setter in the event. But as I always say, potential simply means you haven’t done it yet. And I’ve seen many with “potential” not get there. For now, I want to see how his season plays out. More importantly, I want to see how the competition responds. Erriyon doesn’t run in a vacuum. I don’t think that Fred Kerley, Noah Lyles, Kenny Bednarek, or Andre Degrasse among others, are just going to sit idly by and watch the “kid” do his thing! Expect to see fireworks in the 200.

Speaking of a hot 200, the women have been holding their own. Abby Steiner has picked up outdoors where she left off indoors. After setting an indoor AR (22.09), she’s run 22.05 outdoors. That would’ve challenged the collegiate record of 22.03 if Favour Ofili hadn’t gone 21.96! That’s right, our of nowhere Ofili took down the CR. See what I mean about the men’s 200 record? You never know! Both Steiner and Ofili have run some exciting 100’s – Steiner 10.92, Ofili 10.93. Setting up what could be a pair of exciting sprint finals at the NCAA Championships.

If we’re going to discuss exciting sprints, I have to mention the men’s 100. I’ll start with the new WJR setter Letsile Tobogo of Botswana who ran 9.96 the same day Knighton set his WJR in the 200! Taking down the 9.97 of Trayvon Bromell – and we know how that’s turned out for him so far. What I also find exciting however. Is that, as of this writing, it gives the continent of Africa the top four times in the 100 right now!

9.90 – Benjamin Azamati – GHA
9.94 – Joseph Amoah – GHA
9.96 – Letsile Tobogo – BOT
9.98 – Ferdinand Omanyala – KEN

While Africans have traditionally been known for their prowess over 800 and above. They’ve been improving dramatically in the sprints in recent years. As a matter of fact, there are four others in the current top 20. Giving Africa 40% of the top 20 100 sprinters right now. Don’t sleep on Africa in the sprints. I mean, no one was thinking about Italy last year! Just saying.

Did I say Italy? We’re about to get a big early season match up with Fred Kerley and Lamont Jacobs this coming weekend – in Nairobi Kenya. Kerley calling it a WR attempt! I’m skeptical of a WR attempt in 100 meters. After all you can’t set up a “pace” to go after like you can in a mile or a 10k. But this is Fred Kerley. It’s hard to bet against Fred. Then there’s the presence of Jacobs. Nothing fancy. Just methodically going through his phases and waiting for you to make a mistake. These athletes will get the benefit of Nairobi’s 5,889 feet of altitude. A bit over a mile and quite advantageous in the sprints – thinner air, less wind resistance. Let’s see if they can run faster than Trayvon Bromell’s 9.75 (2.1) opener this past weekend. Which they have to do if they want to get anywhere close to the WR of 9.58! This should be fun!

Like the weekend of the Tom Jones classic on the East Coast. With the MtSAC Relays on the West Coast. This was one of the hottest weekends in recent memory. We got a Micah Williams 9.83 (2.5). Michael Cherry 44.28. Gabby Thomas 22.02 (AL) less than 30 minutes after 10.86 (3.3)! She’s run a windy 21.69 (w). Gabby is ready for a nice sub22 some time soon. A 227′ 11″ from Valarie Allman in the discus! And I have to say that Ms Allman is just at the top of her game this year. She’s thrown 234 earlier and is the best since the Eastern Bloc was dominating the event!

That was on the West Coast. On the East Coast, we got Camacho Quinn 12.39. Cherokee Young 49.89. Matt Boling 9.98 (PB). And Quincy Hall 48.55. The talk of the weekend however, was the men’s 4×4. Adidas 2:57.72, Florida 2:58.53. A world leader for Adidas, and a Collegiate Record for Florida! Splits:

Gardiner – 44.2
Hall – 44.6
Knighton – 45.1
Holloway – 43.8

Patterson – 44.4
Willie – 44.5
Miley – 46.1
Allison – 43.6

This is what the season has been like to this point. Hot, hot, hot. And really, what it’s been doing is setting up the sport for something truly spectacular later down the road. Because as good as all of this is, most of the top athletes are either just getting started. Or they haven’t started yet! So, as exciting as the season has been. It is only UP from here. Get ready for potentially the most exciting seasons of track and field ever! I’ll be back after Fred and Lamont tussle.

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