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Women’s triple jump, distance events shine on Day 1 of USATF Outdoor Championships


DES MOINES, Iowa -- The 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships kicked off with a bevy of exciting first rounds and intense finals for national titles on the Blue Oval at Drake University.

Fans can watch a replay on NBC Sports Gold and click here for results.

USATF jumpers took flight in the hottest field event of the evening. The back-and-forth between Keturah Orji (Mount Olive Township, New Jersey) and American record holder Tori Franklin (Westmont, Illinois) was captivating. Orji entered the meet owning 7-0 career record vs. Franklin in head-to-head competition, including wins in 2018 the Mt. SAC Relays & IAAF World Indoors.

The Drake Stadium record fell three times while the USATF Championships record fell twice. Orji leapt to a facility record on her first jump, launching 14.34m/47.75. Franklin set the USATF Outdoor record and Drake Stadium record on her first jump with a 14.48/47-6.25 leap. Orji responded with a winning jump of 14.59m/47-10.5, clinching the national title.

On the track, the men’s 10,000m final closed on a nail-biting finish as the sun set on Drake Stadium. Lopez Lomong (Lake Oswego, Oregon), who last won back-to-back national titles in 2009 and 2010 in the 1500, settled in the middle of the lead pack for the majority of the race and moved up steadily from fifth to third, then second. Finally, with a lap to go, Lomong blazed a 54.16 last lap sprint to win the men’s 10,000m in 28:58.38.

Kara Winger (Vancouver, Washington) led for the entire women’s javelin competition on the way to her 8th national title. She threw the farthest of any American this year with 62.88m/206-3, winning by more than six meters. It was her 11th consecutive time on the podium, which is the most for any athlete in her event.

Valarie Allman (Longmont, Colorado) was the first champion of the meet in the women’s discus with a season best throw of 63.55m/208-6. Her fourth round throw increased her lead over Maggie Ewen’s (St. Francis, Minnesota) second place effort of 61.13m/200-6.

Women’s 10,000m winner Molly Huddle (Providence, Rhode Island) led through the first 1,600m with Marielle Hall (Haddonfield, New Jersey) just behind, passing by in 5:15.06 and 5:15.38 respectively. Huddle clinched her eight national title in 31:52.32, followed by Hall and Stephanie Bruce (Phoenix, Arizona).

Nick Christie (San Diego, California) closed Day 1 of competition with the men’s 20K race walk. Christie secured another USATF Outdoor Championships title in a new facility record of 1:24:53, beating Tim Seaman’s previous Drake Stadium record and setting a new PR by three minutes.

Proven veterans, new stars advance to next rounds

Four sub-10 performances highlighted the Nike Men’s 100m rounds. Mike Rodgers (St. Louis, Missouri) set a facility record and new world lead by crossing the line in 9.89. On the women’s side, Ashley Henderson (St. Louis, Missouri) ran the fastest Michelob Ultra Women’s 100m opening race in 10.91.

Olympian Zach Ziemek (Itasca, Illinois) dominated day one of competition in the men’s decathlon, winning four of five events. Ziemek took the lead after one event, winning the 100m in 10.65. He finished the first day with 4169 points, followed by Steven Bastien (Saline, Michigan) with 4115 and Solomon Simmons (Murrieta, California) with 4094.

The women’s 3,000m steeplechase American record holder Emma Coburn (Crested Butte, Colorado) wasted no time advancing to the next round, winning her heat by nearly 100 meters after taking the lead with three laps to go in 9:48.29. 2017 World Championships silver medalist Courtney Frerichs (Nixa, Missouri) kicked up the intensity in the second heat and clinched her spot in the final in 9:42.02.

Rio Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz (Beltsville, Maryland) ran a relaxed 1500m first round, crossing the line in a 3:46.05 to win and advance to the semis. Defending USATF champion Robby Andrews (Manalapan Township, New Jersey) wasn’t able to push through to the next round, citing an “off day” after finishing sixth in his heat although in 3:43.89.


No surprises in the women’s 1500m as Jenny Simpson (Webster City, Iowa) led all qualifiers, running a comfortable 4:07.67 to win in the first and fastest heat. Fellow Iowa-born Shelby Houlihan (Sioux Falls, Iowa) took her heat in 4:14.79, as did Olympian Brenda Martinez (Big Bear Lake, California) in 4:10.51.

The men’s 800m heat winners represented a mix of new and established stars. Rio Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy (New Paris, Ohio), Erik Sowinski (Waukesha, Wisconsin), Jesse Garn (Marcellus, New York) and Penn State’s Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) all earned spots in the next round by winning their respective heats. The women’s 800m saw Ce’Aira Brown’s (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 2:01.48 lead into the semifinals.

The top two qualifiers in the men’s 400m hurdles were TJ Holmes (St. Petersburg, Florida) and Taylor McLaughlin (Dunellen, New Jersey). Holmes had the fastest qualifying time (49.10), finishing first in the third and fastest heat; McLaughlin finished second in the same heat in 49.26. Veteran Olympian Bershawn “Batman” Jackson (Wake Forest, North Carolina) moved to the semifinals as well, finishing first in the opening heat, 50.07.

Olympic gold medalist Courtney Okolo (Austin, Texas), World Champion Shakima Wimbley (Clermont, Florida) and NCAA Championships superstar Kendall Ellis (Pembroke Pines, Florida) took the top three spots in heat two of the women’s 400m first round.

World U20 record holder in the 400m hurdles Sydney McLaughlin (Dunellen, New Jersey), coming off an insanely successful freshman season at University of Kentucky, withdrew from the 400m following experiencing tightness in her quad while warming up.

In an exhibition race, masters dominant force Charles Allie (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) set an age group world record in the men’s 200m in 25.75.

Competition begins again Friday at 11:00 a.m. with more decathlon action. Click here for a full competition schedule and here for live results.

Fans can watch live starting at 11:30 a.m. CT on NBC Sports Gold, followed by 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. on the Olympic Channel (Also streaming on the Olympic Channel app and online here). Coverage will culminate with a broadcast on NBCSN from 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

The USATF Outdoor Championships are part of the 2018 Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity. The champions series showcases numerous Olympic sports throughout the season, highlighting the year-round quest of Team USA athletes to compete at the Olympic Games.

Quotes from national champions can be found via video on USATF’s Instagram page. Fans are encouraged to join the conversation on social media with #USATFoutdoors on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.


USATF Communications


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