USATF Golden Games Recap: Elle Purrier Breaks 4:00, Sha’Carri Richardson Runs 10.7 (Twice) and Says She’s Not Done Yet

By LetsRun.com 
May 9, 2021

The 2021 USATF Golden Games were held at Mt. SAC’s Hilmer Lodge Stadium this afternoon in Walnut, California.

Below we give you the results and quick takes for some of the sprint events and all of the distance events held this afternoon. For complete results, event-by-event with lap splits, go here. For compiled meet results, go here.

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Our recap of the night action is here: Distance Night at Mt. SAC: Sean McGorty (8:20) Dazzles in Steeple Debut as Evan Jager Paces and Molly Huddle Struggles.

Men’s 800m

Final 1

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Bryce HOPPEL 05 SEP 1997 USA 1:44.94
2. Michael SARUNI 18 JUN 1995 KEN 1:45.18
3. Clayton MURPHY 26 FEB 1995 USA 1:45.31
4. Isaiah HARRIS 18 OCT 1996 USA 1:45.50
5. Josh KERR 08 OCT 1997 GBR 1:45.74
6. Erik SOWINSKI 21 DEC 1989 USA 1:46.53
7. Michael RHOADS USA 1:46.73
8. Guy LEARMONTH 20 APR 1992 GBR 1:46.85
9. Kyle LANGFORD 02 FEB 1996 GBR 1:47.08
Cameron LAVERTY USA DNF

Final 2

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Ryan SÁNCHEZ 22 JUN 1998 PUR 1:45.97
2. Rajay HAMILTON 25 AUG 1995 JAM 1:47.14
3. Samuel ELLISON 05 DEC 1992 USA 1:47.31
4. Brannon KIDDER 18 NOV 1993 USA 1:48.15
5. Mitchell BLACK USA 1:48.63
6. Christian HARRISON 27 SEP 1993 USA 1:49.16
7. Carlos VILLAREAL 10 MAY 1997 MEX 1:49.77
8. Brandon LASATER 09 OCT 1992 USA 1:50.12
9. James GILREATH 07 AUG 1989 USA 1:51.08
10. Corey BELLEMORE 01 DEC 1994 CAN 1:51.36
11. Josh HOEY 01 NOV 1999 USA 1:51.61
Cameron LAVERTY USA DNF

Quick Take: The Olympic Trials is shaping up as a four-man race

The biggest news in this race came before a step was run as reigning world champion Donavan Brazier withdrew due to an ankle injury. Brazier’s coach Pete Julian told LetsRun that Brazier’s ankle is “doing better” and that Brazier wanted to run but Julian didn’t want to take any chances ahead of an important summer season.

MB: Brazier Scratches from Mt. Sac – Showdown vs Murphy and Hoppel OFF

With Brazier out, 2019 NCAA champ Bryce Hoppel was the favorite and ran like it, running a savvy race to win in 1:44.94 after taking the lead with 150 to go. The more interesting battle was for third, as Isaiah Harris came from behind to almost nip Clayton Murphy, with the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist holding him off, 1:45.31 to 1:45.50. Right now, Brazier, Hoppel, Murphy, and Harris look to be a cut above the other American 800 runners, but there are six weeks for that to change. Perhaps NCAA leader Isaiah Jewett of USC (1:45.80) will have something to say, but for now it seems to be four men for three spots in Eugene.

Women’s 800

Final 1

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Jemma REEKIE 06 MAR 1998 GBR 1:58.27
2. Laura MUIR 09 MAY 1993 GBR 1:58.46
3. Melissa BISHOP-NRIAGU 05 AUG 1988 CAN 1:58.62
4. Adelle TRACEY 27 MAY 1993 GBR 1:59.50
5. Raevyn ROGERS 07 SEP 1996 USA 1:59.66
6. Heather MACLEAN 31 AUG 1995 USA 1:59.72
7. Sinclaire JOHNSON 14 APR 1998 USA 1:59.91
8. Allie WILSON 31 MAR 1996 USA 2:00.01
9. Lindsey BUTTERWORTH 27 SEP 1992 CAN 2:00.50
10. Madeleine KELLY 28 DEC 1995 CAN 2:00.69
11. Kaela EDWARDS 08 DEC 1993 USA 2:01.26
12. Hannah SEGRAVE 14 APR 1995 GBR 2:01.70
13. Síofra CLÉIRIGH BÜTTNER 21 JUL 1995 IRL 2:01.94
Rebecca MEHRA 25 OCT 1994 USA DNF

Final 2

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Kate GRACE 24 OCT 1988 USA 1:59.72
2. Brenda MARTINEZ 08 SEP 1987 USA 1:59.87
3. Ellie BAKER 03 JUN 1998 GBR 2:00.24
4. Olivia BAKER 12 JUN 1996 USA 2:01.38
5. Rebecca MEHRA 25 OCT 1994 USA 2:02.09
6. Charlene LIPSEY 16 JUL 1991 USA 2:02.55
7. Brooke FELDMEIER 26 JAN 1996 USA 2:02.98
8. Laurence CÔTÉ 09 FEB 1991 CAN 2:05.18
Addy TOWNSEND 1997 CAN DNF

Final 3

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Maïté BOUCHARD 24 AUG 1995 CAN 2:03.74
2. Brenna DETRA 13 AUG 1995 USA 2:04.40
3. Skylyn WEBB USA 2:05.08
4. Andrea FOSTER 12 MAR 1997 GUY 2:05.30
5. Samantha WATSON 10 NOV 1999 USA 2:05.32
6. Samantha MURPHY 18 MAR 1992 CAN 2:06.24
7. Alexa EFRAIMSON 20 FEB 1997 USA 2:06.50
8. Samantha LEVIN 05 NOV 1992 USA 2:08.94

Quick Take: It was not a great weekend for Pete Julian’s crew

Pete Julian, like every other pro coach, will ultimately be judged by what his athletes do at the Trials and the Olympics. But this was a rough weekend for his squad. Craig Engels was 7th (5th American) in the 1500, Raevyn Rogers was 5th in the 800, and Donavan Brazier had to scratch due to injury.

There is bad news and good news about Rogers’ run. The bad news is that she was 5th today in 1:59.66, almost a second and a half behind winner Jemma Reekie of Great Britain (1:58.27), who figures to be one of her main rivals in the 800 at the Olympics. Rogers was horribly positioned — she was 11th with 200 to go — making it virtually impossible for her to win today.

The good news is that Rogers’ kick looked very good. She passed six women over the final 200 and we timed her at 29.5 for that portion of the race — despite running the entire turn in lane two and almost reaching lane three. That’s an improvement on two weeks ago at the USATF Grand Prix, when Rogers closed in 29.38 in a much slower race.

Of course, putting yourself in a good position is part of 800-meter running, but tactical errors are easier to correct than fitness problems. And Rogers’ fitness is trending up.

Quick Take: Kate Grace and Brenda Martinez make the most of being in the B heat

2016 Olympic finalist Kate Grace, the 32-year-old who had run just 2:02.76 and 2:04.55 in her previous two 800s this year, was relegated to the B heat but came through with a 1:59.72 win. 33-year-old Brenda Martinez, the 2013 World Championship silver medallist at 800, was second in the B heat in 1:59.87 – her first sub-2 since 2017.

Quick Take: The top 3 can’t be complaining about the results of this one

Reekie, who only ran 2:03.26 for 2nd in Eugene a few weeks ago, got the win, a world #2 time, and an outdoor pb of 1:58.27 (she has run 1:57.91 indoors). Muir was very competitive and just missed her pb of 1:58.42 with her 1:58.46 and Bishop got a seasonal best of 1:58.62 (previous sb of 1:59.40) – her first 1:58 since 2017.

Men’s 1500

Final 1

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Oliver HOARE 29 JAN 1997 AUS 3:33.19
2. Justyn KNIGHT 19 JUL 1996 CAN 3:33.41
3. Henry WYNNE 18 APR 1995 USA 3:36.86
4. John GREGOREK 07 DEC 1991 USA 3:36.93
5. Samuel PRAKEL 29 OCT 1994 USA 3:37.17
6. Eric AVILA 03 OCT 1989 USA 3:37.20
7. Craig ENGELS 01 MAY 1994 USA 3:37.95
8. Mohammed AHMED 05 JAN 1991 CAN 3:40.67
9. George BEAMISH 24 OCT 1996 NZL 3:41.50
10. Abraham ALVARADO 04 AUG 1995 USA 3:42.65
Craig NOWAK 20 APR 1994 USA DNF

Quick Take: We learned almost nothing from this race.

Coming into this race, we knew Ollie Hoare was in really good form and should be on the Aussie Olympic team, that Justyn Knight was in good form as well, and that the US Olympic Trials men’s 1500 looks like it will be wide open. All of that is still true. The only thing that really changed is that Knight now has the 1500 Olympic standard. That and 2019 US champ Craig Engels was worse than expected.

MB: What the hell is up with Craig Engels?

One bigger surprise to some may be that Moh Ahmed of Canada only ran 3:40. That’s certainly not a great result but we’ll point out that last year, he only opened up at 3:39.84 on June 30 but still ran 12:47 on July 10 before running 3:34.89 on July 21. 

Women’s 1500

Final 1

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Elinor PURRIER 20 FEB 1995 USA 3:58.36
2. Gabriela DEBUES-STAFFORD 13 SEP 1995 CAN 4:00.69
3. Shannon OSIKA 15 JUN 1993 USA 4:00.73
4. Eilish MCCOLGAN 25 NOV 1990 GBR 4:03.89
5. Lucia STAFFORD 17 AUG 1998 CAN 4:05.30
6. Allison CASH 01 NOV 1994 USA 4:05.90
7. Helen SCHLACHTENHAUFEN 14 MAR 1995 USA 4:07.89
8. Natoya GOULE 30 MAR 1991 JAM 4:08.66
9. Holly ARCHER 07 NOV 1993 GBR 4:08.81
10. Nikki HILTZ 23 OCT 1994 USA 4:09.87
11. Hanna KLEIN 06 APR 1993 GER 4:12.38
12. Aisha PRAUGHT-LEER 14 DEC 1989 JAM 4:17.15
Chanelle PRICE 22 AUG 1990 USA DNF

Quick Take: Purrier finally gets her sub-4:00

Ever since her 4:16.85 American record in the mile at Millrose last year, it has been clear Elle Purrier has been capable of breaking 4:00 for 1500 meters (the World Athletics scoring tables converts her mile to 3:57.82). The problem is, she hasn’t had many opportunities to do it. She ran just one low-key 1500 last summer in Massachusetts and hadn’t run a mile or 1500 in 2021 until today.

Purrier finally had the chance to run a fast time at Mt. SAC, and she took advantage, following pacer Chanelle Price early and continuing to push the pace once Price dropped to run a wire-to-wire 3:58.36 to become the sixth-fastest American woman of all time and just the ninth under the magical 4:00 barrier.

Sub-4:00 American 1500m women

Rank Name PB Location Date
1 Shelby Houlihan 3:54.99 Doha 10/5/19
2 Shannon Rowbury 3:56.29 Monaco 7/17/15
3 Mary Decker 3:57.12 Stockholm 7/26/83
4 Jenny Simpson 3:57.22 Paris 7/5/14
5 Suzy Favor Hamilton 3:57.40 Oslo 7/28/00
6 Elle Purrier 3:58.36 Walnut 5/9/21
7 Anna Willard 3:59.38 Zurich 8/28/09
8 Christin Wurth-Thomas 3:59.59 Paris 7/16/10
9 Regina Jacobs 3:59.98i Boston 2/1/03

The most impressive thing about Purrier’s run today was not the time, however. It was her total domination of Gabriela DeBues-Stafford over the final 200 meters. Often in a fast race such as this one, the runner in second or third will come from behind and outsprint the leader since they haven’t been working quite as hard pushing the pace up front. And with DeBues-Stafford, a 3:56 woman who finished 6th at the 2019 Worlds for Canada, just behind Purrier with 100 to go, that wouldn’t have been a bad assumption.

Instead, Purrier proved how good she is by putting two seconds on GDS over the final 100m. To close that well against a woman who was sixth at Worlds two years ago is the biggest sign yet that Purrier needs to focus on the 1500 this year.

That is the direction Purrier and her coach Mark Coogan are leaning — as opposed to the 5k, where Purrier finished 11th at Worlds in 2019 — but Purrier said she won’t make her final decision until after next weekend’s Sound Running Track Meet, where she is entered in the 800. 

The 1500 has one more advantage for Purrier.

“It’s definitely the most fun event,” Purrier said after the race.

Quick Take: Shannon Osika is officially in the Olympic conversation

Assuming Shelby Houlihan — who hasn’t raced at all in 2021 — is healthy, she and Purrier appear to have two spots on the US Olympic team locked up. The third ticket to Tokyo remains up for grabs, however. Jenny Simpson, who has made 10 straight US teams, bombed in her season opener two weeks ago, and Sinclaire Johnson, the 2019 NCAA champ who was 4th at USAs in 2019, has been racing well this year (she ran an 800 pb of 1:59.91 today) but is far from a lock.

Enter Shannon Osika. The Michigan alum, 27, has been 7th, 7th, and 6th at her last three USAs but has yet to seriously threaten to make a team. That may change in 2021 as she ran a pb of 4:00.73 (previous best: 4:01.80) to finish third today, just .04 behind DeBues-Stafford.

If she runs like she did today or at the Texas Qualifier (where she was just .09 behind Johnson), Osika has a shot at the team, but she’s not good enough to finish top three at the Trials if she’s off her game. Just two weeks ago, she was beaten at the Drake Relays by Josette Norris and Rachel Schneider.

Women’s 100

Wind: -1.2

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Sha’Carri RICHARDSON USAUSA 10.77
2 Javianne OLIVER USAUSA 11.08
3 Briana WILLIAMS JAMJAM 11.15
4 Morolake AKINOSUN USAUSA 11.27
5 Veronica CAMPBELL-BROWN JAMJAM 11.31
6 Teahna DANIELS USAUSA 11.34
7 Kortnei JOHNSON USAUSA 11.48
8 English GARDNER USAUSA 11.50
Jenna PRANDINI USAUSA DNS

Quick Take: Sha’Carri Richardson is on the verge of something truly special

It’s not often you see a 21-year-old run 10.77 for 100 meters and come away looking disappointed, but it’s not often you see a talent like Sha’Carri Richardson. After running 10.74 with a 1.1 m/s tailwind (and making it look easy) in the prelims, Richardson was thinking of 10.6 in the final but had to settle for the 10.77 thanks to a 1.2 headwind.

That 10.77 is worth 10.69 in still conditions…and a hard-to-fathom 10.58 had Richardson run it with the maximum 2.0 tailwind. No one has broken 10.7 since Carmelita Jeter in September 2009, and the world has only seen one sub-10.6 — Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49 world record from 1988 (a time that remains suspect over three decades later as many believe it was wind-aided even though the official wind was listed at 0.0).

Given Richardson has now run 10.72, 10.74, and 10.77 already in 2021, sub-10.70 seems inevitable at some point — and it’s a challenge Richardson welcomes.

“I don’t necessarily have a certain time I want to run [this year]; it’s a range I would love to get into,” Richardson said. “I definitely want to get into the sub-10.7 range and from there, just continue to execute and to get faster…Every time I step on the track, it’s going to be history made. Every time I step on the track, it’s going to be an unbelievable presentation…I think we not done yet.”

Men’s 100

Heat 1

Wind: 0.3

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Isiah YOUNG USAUSA 10.09 Q
2 Kyree KING USAUSA 10.14 Q
3 Christopher BELCHER USAUSA 10.17 Q
4 Devin QUINN USAUSA 10.22
5 Bismark BOATENG CANCAN 10.26
6 Kendal WILLIAMS USAUSA 10.35
7 Derick SILVA BRABRA 10.38
8 Maurice EADDY USAUSA 10.44

Heat 2

Wind: 1.0

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Cravon GILLESPIE USAUSA 10.11 Q
2 Michael RODGERS USAUSA 10.11 Q
3 Chijindu UJAH GBRGBR 10.12 Q
4 Chris ROYSTER USAUSA 10.18 q
5 Jaylen BACON USAUSA 10.19 q
6 Bryce ROBINSON USAUSA 10.21 q
7 Felipe BARDI DOS SANTOS BRABRA 10.24
8 Abdullah Abkar MOHAMMED KSAKSA 10.36
9 Dekaylin METCALF USAUSA 10.37

Final

Wind: 1.9

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Cravon GILLESPIE USAUSA 9.96
2 Isiah YOUNG USAUSA 9.99
3 Christopher BELCHER USAUSA 10.01
4 Chijindu UJAH GBRGBR 10.03
5 Kyree KING USAUSA 10.04
6 Chris ROYSTER USAUSA 10.11
7 Bryce ROBINSON USAUSA 10.13
8 Jaylen BACON USAUSA 10.18
Michael RODGERS USAUSA DNF

Quick Take: DK Metcalf’s result was the perfect outcome for everyone

Had DK Metcalf come out and run 10.1 or faster today, it would have looked very bad for the sport of track & field — an athlete from another sport stepping in and immediately becoming one of the best in the world despite limited training. Had he run 10.7 or slower, it would have looked very bad for DK Metcalf — getting dusted and seeming completely out of his depth.

Today’s outcome was somewhere in between — 10.37 — and it was one everyone can be happy about. Metcalf can be proud of being competitive against some of the country’s best sprinters, even though he still finished last in his nine-person heat. He definitely earned his respect from the track & field community today (before the race, Ato Boldon said he thought Metcalf could run 10.5 on a good day). Yet the sport of track & field also came out a winner — even though Metcalf ran well, he still finished last in his heat, proving just how tough it is to succeed at the professional level.

“These are world-class athletes, they do this for a living and it’s very different from football speed, from what I just realized,” Metcalf said. “Personally, it was a good experience. Anybody else who has a different opinion, you’re entitled to your own opinion. But I mean, I think I did very well for myself.”

That mutual respect is a win-win, and the fact that Metcalf’s run created some extra buzz around today’s meet can only be a good thing. When was the last time you saw NFL superstars tweeting about a track meet in the middle of May?

More on Metcalf: LRC DK Metcalf Runs 10.37 for 100 Meters at 2021 USATF Golden Games (w/ Race Video)

Men’s 200

Final 1

Wind: 0.7

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Noah LYLES USAUSA 19.90
2 Kenneth BEDNAREK USAUSA 19.94
3 Jereem RICHARDS TTOTTO 20.20
4 Aaron BROWN CANCAN 20.26
5 Josephus LYLES USAUSA 20.36
6 Vernon NORWOOD USAUSA 20.46
7 Andrew HUDSON USAUSA 20.48
8 Ameer WEBB USAUSA 21.94

Final 2

Wind: 0.9

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Erriyon KNIGHTON USAUSA 20.30
2 Jerome BLAKE CANCAN 20.69
3 Daveon COLLINS USAUSA 20.75
4 Rodney ROWE USAUSA 20.89
5 Jamiel TRIMBLE USAUSA 20.98
6 Remontay MCCLAIN USAUSA 21.19

Quick Take: We could have a great rivalry on our hands in the men’s 200

Noah Lyles maintained his stellar record in the 200 meters — he has now won 18 of his last 19 races at that distance — but he had to work hard for it, overhauling Kenny Bednarek in the final meters after a rocket start staked Bednarek, running one lane to Lyles’ inside, to an early lead.

Few runners in history have held their top speed better than Lyles, and that is what allowed him to defeat Bednarek today, 19.90 to 19.94. But it was nice to see someone at least close to Lyles, who has been so good in recent years that it has drained much of the drama from the men’s 200.

The run was a good sign for Lyles, who said his times this year (10.08 and 10.17 in his two 100’s so far) have been a little on the slow side due to a heavy training block (the 10.08) and cool weather in Eugene (the 10.17). A 19.90 is a step in the right direction. For Bednarek, meanwhile, today’s run was evidence that Lyles is not invincible — if Bednarek can finish his race better.

The men’s 200 could be one of the most exciting events in the sport over the next few years. Lyles is still only 23. Bednarek is 22, as is 2021 world leader Terrance Laird. And high school stars Jaylen Slade (20.20 last week) and Erriyon Knighton (who ran a pb of 20.30 today at Mt. SAC) are both 17. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Knighton, it’s a shame he wasn’t in the ‘A’ heat. Yes, his pb of 20.31 coming in was .01 slower than Vernon Norwood‘s but entertaining the fans should count for something right?

Men’s 400 hurdles

POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Reaction Time
1 Rai BENJAMIN USAUSA 47.13
2 Kyron MCMASTER IVBIVB 47.50
3 Alison DOS SANTOS BRABRA 47.68
4 Kemar MOWATT JAMJAM 48.90
5 Amere LATTIN USAUSA 48.94
6 Kenneth SELMON USAUSA 49.11
7 Quincy DOWNING USAUSA 49.45
8 Khallifah ROSSER USAUSA 49.47
9 Jordin ANDRADE CPVCPV 51.17

Quick Take: The hurdles are starting out hot in 2021

The 400 hurdles has been one of the most thrilling events to watch in recent years, and if today’s race was any indication, 2021 could be the most exciting year yet. Up front, World Championship silver medalist Rai Benjamin cruised to a 47.13 — the fastest time ever run before June. There was depth behind him too as Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands (47.50) and Alison Dos Santos of Brazil (47.68) both ran national records — a good sign for an event where it was a challenge for anyone except Karsten Warholm to break 49 seconds last year.

Talk about the meet on our world famous fan forum / messageboard.

  1. USATF Golden Games at Mt.Sac official discussion thread
  2. DK METCALF 10.37 – Rojo nailed it
  3. What the hell is up with Craig Engels?
  4. Is Pete Julien a bad coach?
  5. Jeff Eisenberg is a Fool– re: Metcalf speed
  6. Ritz Talks A Big Game… Just Like Rosario…..
  7. Brazier Scratches Mt. Sac – Showdown with Hoppel, Murphy OFF
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