Erriyon Knighton 19.49 at 18, Trayvon Bromell 9.75, Penn, Drake Relays, Erik Sowinski Lifetime Achievement Award – The Week in Track and Field

The Week That Was in Running, April 25 – May 1, 2022

By Robert Johnson
May 2, 2022

Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here. Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us, or post in our forum.  

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Performance Of The Week / Erriyon Knighton 19.49 at age 18

Watch this.

What you watched was 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton destroy the field, which included Olympic 5th placer Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida, as well as the world U20 record for 200m by running a 19.49 (+1.4) at LSU last weekend.

For years, whenever a good young track sprinter has come onto the scene, the Usain Bolt comparisons have inevitably been made. And most of the time they were totally unwarranted. Not in this case.

Last year, Knighton had a record-breaking year that began in earnest in Jacksonville on May 31, where he ran 20.11 for 200 meters to break Usain Bolt’s world U18 record. Breaking one Bolt record is cause enough for celebration, but a month later, Knighton broke another, clocking 19.88 in the Olympic Trials semis to break Bolt’s world U20 record of 19.93. For good measure, he broke it again the next day by running 19.84 to finish third in the Olympic Trials final and become the youngest US male Olympian since Jim Ryun in 1964. And then he went and finished 4th at the damn Olympics. So, to summarize: Coming into the year, Erriyon Knighton, who is now nearing the end of his senior year of high school, was faster at age 17 than Usain Bolt was at age 19. Now at age 18, he’s better than Bolt was at age 20.

  Erriyon Knighton Usain Bolt
Height 6’3 6’5″
Age 15 200 pb 21.39 20.58 (+1.4)
Age 16 200 pb 20.33 (0.3) 20.13 (0.0)
Age 17 200 pb 19.84 (0.3) 19.93 (+1.4)
Age 18 200 pb 19.49 (1.4) 19.93 (+1.4)
Age 19 200 pb TBD 19.88 (+0.4)
Age 20 200 pb TBD 19.75 (+0.2)
Age 21 200 pb TBD 19.30 (-0,3)
Age 22 200 pb TBD 19.19 (-0.3)

It will be interesting to see what Knighton does the rest of the year. Will he continue to get faster? Or might 19.49 be as fast as he runs this year? After all, people don’t always get faster as the year goes on and 1.4 is a nice tail wind. Remember, in 2019, Michael Norman ran 43.45 in April but never faster.

One thing that is interesting to note is that taking a big chunk of time off of your 200 PB like Knighton isn’t that unusual. Of the three men history faster than Knighton at 200, all three of them improved by at least 0.42 in a single season. Knighton has improved by 0.35 this year and by .49 last year.

  • Usain Bolt went from 19.75 to 19.30 at age 21 (0.45 improvement)
  • Michael Johnson went from 19.79 to 19.32 at age 28 (0.47 improvement)
  • Yohan Blake went from 19.78 to 19.26 at age 21 (0.52 improvement)

It’s crazy how good the US men are in the 200 right now. Already seven men in the world have broken 20.00 this year and all seven were born in the USA (Joe Fahnbulleh runs for Liberia).

2022 World 200 List
1 19.49 +1.4 WU20R Erriyon Knighton USA

2 19.80 +1.6 Fred Kerley USA
3 19.83 +1.6 Michael Norman  USA
4 19.86 +0.8 Noah Lyles USA
5 19.92 +0.Christian Coleman USA
5 19.92 -0.9 Matthew Boling USA 
5 19.92 +1.4 NR Joe Fahnbulleh LBR
8 20.00 +1.4 Dorian Camel USA
9 20.01 +1.6 Rai Benjamin USA

The US gets 4 spots at World as Noah Lyles is the defending champ. I imagine reigning Olympic champ Andre De Grasse of Canada would be miffed if I give the podium sweep to Team USA right now but De Grasse has his work cut out for him. De Grasse made his individual opener last weekend in Jacksonville, running 10.07 (+2.1, 2nd place, more on first place in a minute) in the 100 and 20.67 (+1.2, 1st place) in the 200.

Speaking of De Grasse and Knighton, in trying to find some video of De Grasse running some 4 x 400s earlier this year, we realized Knighton ran the third leg for the adidas All-Star team that put up a 2:57.72 world-leading time Florida’s Tom Jones Invite two weeks ago. We timed Knighton in 45.1 on the third leg as Grant Holloway split 43.8 on the anchor even though he totally tied up after going out in 20.4 (video here).

MB: Erriyon knighton runs 19.49 wind legal
MB: Noah Lyles 19.86 (+0.8)

Trayvon Bromell 9.75 100m

This one won’t count as it had a 2.1 m/s wind instead of the legal 2.0, but Bromell ran 9.75 to trounce Olympic bronze medallist Andre De Grasse, who ran 10.09. Bromell was one of the feel-good stories of 2021, as he returned from injury and was the world leader before fizzling out in the Olympics. However, he ended the year with 3 of the 4 fastest times of the world in 2021. Marcell Jacobs and Christian Coleman got the attention indoors, but Bromell should not be overlooked as one of the favorites in the 100m in Eugene.

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Penn Relays Returns And Arkansas’ Krissy Gear Outduels Katelyn Tuohy and NC State To Take Down The 4 x 1500 Record

Heading into the weekend, much of the talk about Penn Relays was about the new pro men’s 4 x mile as the On Athletics Club was expected to go for the world record. That certainly never happened as the first half of the first leg went out in 2:08 – talk about a bummer. 

There was plenty of excitement at Penn and plenty of records – just not world records. In the collegiate women’s 4 x 1500, Arkansas and NC State both destroyed Tennessee’s Penn Relays and collegiate records of 17:08.34 which had stood since 2009, as Arkansas’s Krissy Gear, the 2021 NCAA indoor mile runner-up, outdueled Katelyn Tuohy on the anchor to give Arkansas the win in 16:53.87 to NC State’s 16:55.19.

Official splits aren’t listed on the Penn Relays website but Arkansas published the following splits – Isabel Van Camp (4:15.7), Logan Jolly (4:13.7), Lauren Gregory (4:12.5), and Gear (4:12.0). The only problem is those aren’t correct. The first and fourth splits are off. We had Van Camp 1.1 seconds slower (4:16.8) Gear 1.1 seconds faster (4:10.9).

The coaches association (USTFCCCA) has published splits which appear to be correct.

Arkansas 16:53.87 — Isabel Van Camp (4:16.8), Logan Jolly (4:13.9), Lauren Gregory (4:12.9) and Krissy Gear (4:10.7)

NC State 16:55.19 — Anna Vess (4:17.4), Samantha Bush (4:10.9), Savannah Shaw (4:17.1) and Katelyn Tuohy (4:09.8)

Regardless of the actual splits, the Razorbacks showed you why they won the DMR indoors at NCAAs as they were fantastic.

Women’s 4 x 1500 Race Video (Cued to Last 400)

In case you are wondering, the world record for the event is 16:27.02 set by the BTC team of Colleen Quigley, Elise Cranny, Karissa Schweizer and Shelby Houlihan in 2020.

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In other Penn distance action, the Penn State women captured the 4 x 800 (8:24.49) and BYU women the DMR  (10:50.22).

The men from Ole Miss won both the 4 x 800 (7:13.71) and DMR (9:29.45) as NCAA mile champ Mario Garcia Romo anchored both teams while the men from Texas (16:17.45) showed why they won the DMR indoors as they captured a wild 4 x mile where nearly everyone (9 teams) was still in it with 200 to go. (video set to start at bell)

In HS action, Gary Martin gave the sub-4 barrier a real scare once again before settling for a Penn Relays record of 4:01.04 while on the girls’ side Penn Relays records fell in the 4 x 100 (Edwin Allen 43.18) and 4 x 400s (Hydel 3:32.77).

MB: Gary MF Martin – 4:01.05 totally solo into the wind at Penn!!!

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In pro action, Athing Mu made Ajee’ Wilson and the rest of the field look like they were standing still over the final 100 as she won the 600 going away in 1:22.74.

The big pro men’s race at Penn was the 110 hurdles. Devon Allen was fantastic and beat 2016 Olympic champ Omar McLeod with a meet record 13.11 clocking. It was fitting Allen won in Philadelphia because he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent this year. His plan is to run USAs, win Worlds, break the record, and then go to training camp and make the Eagles team (he hasn’t played football since 2016). Grant Holloway might have something to say about that, but the Worlds are early this year (the 110 hurdles end on July 17, the first weekend of Worlds, and the Eagles training camp starts on July 28). Allen didn’t even have the best 110h time of the weekend however for the US as Florida State’s Trey Cunningham ran a 13.10 in Jacksonville (+1.0) to move to #4 on the all-time collegiate list.

MB: 2022 Penn Relays – Official Discussion Thread

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Erik Sowinski Break 1:50 For The 200th Time in His Career At Drake

At Drake, there were plenty of Olympic champs in action as Dalilah Muhammad won the 400H in a meet record and world-leading 53.88, Ryan Crouser won the shot put (21.63) and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn fell on hurdle #1. Mid-d and distance-wise the 4 x 800s and DMRs weren’t as fast as Penn so we’ll focus on Iowa native Eric Sowinski. The 32-year-old broke 1:50 for the 200th time – the most in history.

That’s a lot of fast 800s.

The results database we subscribe to — tilastopaja.eu — lists 187 sub-1:50s for Erik but they are bound to miss a few, and only 6 races over 1:50 – so we’ll take his word for it. But for comparison’s sake, we looked up David Rudisha to see how many he has. It lists Rudisha as having had 110 sub-1:50s and 4 over 1:50.

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Timothy Cheruiyot Gets Beat (Again) in Kenya

Last week, the Kenyan Champs were held but don’t worry they weren’t the Kenyan WC Trials – just the trials for the African Champs. Many big Kenyan stars skipped the meet but not all of them, and the big result for us was who lost – not who won. In the men’s 1500, 2019 world champ Timothy Cheruiyot was just 6th in 3:37.81. World indoor bronze medallist Abel Kipsang, the Olympic 4th placer last year, won the race in 3:36.17.

Before you stick a fork in Cheruiyot, it’s worth noting that Cheruiyot is still only 26. And remember, last year he was just 4th at the Kenyan Olympic Trials in 3:34.36 – some 1.61 off of the lead (he lost by 1.64 this weekend) – but was still pretty darn good at the Olympics (2nd in 3:29.01).

The more troubling result from a former Olympic silver medallist came in South Africa, where Nijel Amos, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist, opened with a fourth place 1:50.71 showing.

MB: Tim Cheruiyot 6th Among Massive Upsets at Kenyan Athletics Championships
MB: Nijel Amos runs 1:50 800m season opener

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Big Road Racing Action

Thumbs up to Ellis Cross. Despite not being comped a free entry, he still outsprinted Mo Farah for the win at the Vitality London 10,000 earlier today, winning in 28:40 to Farah’s 28:44.  “I got turned down for an elite entry and had to sleep in my own bed last night and got up at 6am to get the train in. I don’t have my name on my number either so during the race everyone was calling Mo’s name and no one knew who I was,” said Ellis to Athletics Weekly after the race. In women’s action, Eilish McColgan just missed Paula Radcliffe‘s 30:21 British road record as she ran 30:23.

Thumbs up to 27:52 man Reid Buchanan who almost became the first American winner of the Lilac Bloomsday 12k since 1986, when Jon Sinclair, a former US 12km record holder, got the win. Buchanan had the lead late coming off the final turn and was looking over his should to see how big it was but in the end was run down by Kenya’s Charles Wanjiku as both were given the same time of 35:08. 2:22 marathoner Biruktayit Degefa of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 38:48 as American Makena Morley was second in 40:09.

Kenyan Charles Wanjiku uses late kick to narrowly win Bloomsday men’s title; Susannah Scaroni tops women’s wheelchair division

Thumbs up to 4-time Aussie Olympian Lisa Weightman for setting a new masters 10k world record at age 43. As she ran 31:20 at the Sydney 10 on Sunday.

Thumbs up to US high schooler Kate Peters of Lake Oswego, Oregon for setting a new US U20 half marathon record of 73:22 at the Eugene Half Marathon. That’s definitely equivalent to a sub-16:00 5000. Peters is coached by Steve Edwards, Shalane Flanagan‘s husband, and will attend Oklahoma State next year according to RRW.

Thumbs up to Aliphine Tuliamuk, who in her first race since the Olympics, broke 70:00 (69:56) to finish second at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon to former training parent Caroline Rotich who set a new course record of 69:31. In the men’s race, Wesley Kiptoo, who turned pro in the middle of the track season as he joined HOKA NAZ Elite and became a new dad, was impressive as he too set a new course record of 1:01:26. There was one discouraging result in Pittsburgh. Jordan Hasay, who sports a 2:20:55 pb, only managed a 1:18:35 half marathon that placed her 10th.

MB:  Jordan Hasay at Pitt half marathon – 10th in 78:35
MB: The Jordan Hasay Facade

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At the 2nd Adizero Road To Records event at the adidas headquarters, no major records were set but the times were fast as 7 men broke 60:00 in the men’s half (winner Mathew Kimeli 59:30), five women broke 68:00 in the women’s half (Tigist Assefa 67:28), 5 men broke 27:00 in the men’s 10k (Kibiwott Kandie 26:50), 4 women broke 31:00 in the women’s 10k (Fentaye Belayneh (30:24), three women broke 15:00 in the 5000 (Senbere Teferi 14:37) and two men broke 13:00 in the men’s 5000. The most singularly impressive race for us? The 12:53 win by Yomif Kejelcha in the men’s 5000.

When we last saw Kejelcha, the 2019 WC silver medallist in the 10,000 was being wheeled through the mixed zone of the Tokyo Olympics in a wheelchair after finishing 8th in the Olympic 10,000 final. So it’s was just good to see Kejelcha healthy as officially he’s still quite young – just 24 years of age. And then to top it off he won a competitive race as for the first time in history on the roads two men broke 13:00 in the same race as Olympic 5000 4th placer Nicholas Kimeli was 2nd in a new Kenyan road record time of 12:55.

But to be honest, these time trial type events don’t do much for me. What I’d really like to see adidas do is instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the road race event next year, is spend it on setting up a 200 for Knighton at altitude. If he gets down to the 19.20 range, he could become the first human under 19.00 as 6,000 feet of altitude is worth like roughly .20 in a 200. Yomif Kejelcha (12:53) And Kibiwott Kandie (26:50) Win Adizero Road To Records 5k/10k In Herzogenaurach, Germany

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In last week’s Week That Was, I noted that the men’s and women’s winners of the NYCRuns Brooklyn Marathon each picked up $10,000 for their 2:27:46 and 2:36:20 wins respectively. In today’s era, winning that much money for running that slow is almost unheard of, but this was the first year the race offered good prize money and $5,000 of the prize money was only disbursed if the winner was a NYC resident.

What I didn’t also realize was the race in the spirit of inclusiveness also gave away $10,000 to the winner of the newly created non-binary division, which unsurprisingly was even way easier to win. 2:35:17 earned Jacob Caswell, who was on the men’s track team at Columbia, $10,000 as well as a New York Times and Runner’s World feature.

What’s a bit ironic is that while the race is trying to be inclusive, it actually now is unofficially discriminating against nonbinary people who were born as biological women as they are almost always going to be trounced by nonbinary people who were born biologically male as one’s gender identity doesn’t change biology. If the race really wants to be inclusive, they need to offer two sets of non-binary prize money in 2023 – one for non-binary people who were born as women and one for non-binary people who were born as men.

‘Nonbinary Runners Have Been Here the Whole Time’
*Races Have Begun to Add Nonbinary Divisions. But Is That Enough?
*MBThis is how running gets featured in the NY Times

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Like Father, Like Son

19-year-old Cal freshman Mykolas Alekna came in to the NCAA this year much-hyped. After all, he won world juniors last year in Kenya in the discus and is also the son of two-time Olympic champ (2000, 2004) Virgilijus Alekna. And he’s more than living up to the hype. Over the weekend at the dual meet with Stanford, he put up the farthest throw by a 19-year-old in world history at 67.68 (222’0).

Now some are calling it the collegiate record, but not Track and Field News as UCLA’s Julian Wruck threw 68.16 (223-7) in June 2013 a few days before NCAAs, but since it wasn’t a competition that counted for NCAA purposes some say it’s not the collegiate record.

More: TFN Carrying On The Alekna Discus Tradition

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Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

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