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

Two Weeks Until Trials

Jun 10th, 2024
11:15 am PDT

As the NCAA Championships end. The European Championships begin to hit their stride. And the New York Grand Prix is in the books. We sit two weeks away from the Olympic Trials! Usually by now, things are pretty solidified as far as who the strong contenders for Team USA are. As I look at my own notes, and graphs, etc however, I’m still hesitant on many many spots for this team. So much so that I’m also hesitant on selecting relay squads just yet! As I see a lot of spots still up in the air this late in the process. Why? Because many athletes have competed so little. For many athletes, their body of work is too small to make judgement. While many fans attempt to judge an athlete’s “fitness” off of a single performance. History says that it takes several competitions before an athlete is actually ready to perform at his or her best. Throw in the fact that the Trials requires the ability to manage competing through rounds, and you find some individuals that perform well in “one off” competitions, not quite ready for championship competition.

So, with so little competitions under the belts of many athletes, predicting finishes in a meet of this caliber can be rather difficult. The one element that will be common through this coming Trials however, is experience. There will be many athletes in Eugene that have been there before. As we have a lot of young (under 30) athletes that have been through the Trials and competed in either Worlds or the Games already in their careers. This is what the collegians that just finished nationals will face when they return to Oregon. That and veterans that have just missed previous teams and are hungry to get to Paris! This is the environment of the US Trials. This is what makes our Trials one of the toughest meets in the world. The depth of competition combined with the cutthroat nature of, “first three across the line”.

So, who IS ready? Who will enter Eugene and leave with a ticket to Paris. Below are my best guesses for Team USA. I’m betting on experience and youthful exuberance in this one.

Men’s 100m – Most of the athletes in this event have under performed this spring. Not to mention several top athletes have been MIA most of the season. Even so, we still have three returning global champions on the track. At least two should represent again in Paris:

Christian Coleman
Noah Lyles
Kenny Bednarek

Men’s 200m – The 200m guys have been on the track this spring and running well. Of all the events to predict, this one seems easy. The only “hiccup” has been that Erriyon Knighton has been missing. So without him being on the track, I have to go with:

Noah Lyles
Kenny Bednarek
Courtney Lindsey

Men’s 400m – Depth. We have sub 44.75 quartermilers by the pound. However we only have one sprinter that can run 43 when ready. So it should be Norman plus whoever is ready on the day:

Michael Norman
Bryce Deadmon
Quincy Hall

Men’s 110H – There are many hurdlers knocking on the door, as we have several guys running under 13.20. I see Grant and the core group that’s represented since 2019 prevailing:

Grant Holloway
Daniel Roberts
Tre Cunningham

Men’s 400H – Rai is easily our best in this event. The question will be the other two spots. I’m going with the latest hot collegian and a very competitive vet:

Rai Benjamin
Caleb Dean
CJ Allen

Women’s 100m – This race should be exciting. While I feel good about my selections, I think everyone in the final will be capable on a given day. However this trio is the strongest in my opinion:

Sha’Carri Richardson
Tamari Davis
Mckenzie Long

Women’s 200m – Our strongest women’s sprint in my opinion. Both veterans and newbies. Expect this final to be hot, with us sending the strongest group ever to Paris:

Gabby Thomas
Mckenzie Long
Abby Steiner

Women’s 400m – I have no idea. Well actually I do. This is difficult because I don’t see any vets in contention. But this event has been weak lately, so seeing collegians step up is good. So:

Kaylin Brown
Rosey Effiong
Aaliah Butler

Women’s 100H – This is one of our stronger, deeper events. On any given day the final, and results, could be very different. In banking that on the day that matters we’ll get a Paris team of:

Nia Ali
Tonea Marshall
Grace Stark

Women’s 400H – A lot of potential finalists have been missing. Making this one of the hardest events to predict. The world record holder has run, and so have several collegians. Using my memory and taking a guess:

Sydney McLaughlin Levrone
Jasmine Jones
Shamier Little

As I said in the beginning, this is going to be a very interesting Olympic Trials. Many individuals that have represented the US as recently as 2022/2023 haven’t been seen much so far this year. Leaving many questions about their level of fitness. This to go with all of the usual gremlins that lurk around during championship events. Illness, injury, bad food, or just a bad day. Regardless if you don’t get it done in Eugene, you watch on TV with the rest of us. So, good luck to all. You’ll need it.

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