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Noah Lyles edges Tampa’s Erriyon Knighton for U.S. 200-meter title

Both advance to the world track and field championships next month in Oregon.
Tampa's Erriyon Knighton, seen here at the Olympics in Tokyo last year, says, “Job’s not finished. It’s never finished,” after finishing second in the 200-meter final Sunday at the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore.
Tampa's Erriyon Knighton, seen here at the Olympics in Tokyo last year, says, “Job’s not finished. It’s never finished,” after finishing second in the 200-meter final Sunday at the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore. [ PETR DAVID JOSEK | AP ]
Published Jun. 26

EUGENE, Ore. — Noah Lyles pulled in front of teenage sensation Erriyon Knighton of Tampa at the finish to win the men’s 200 meters at the U.S. track and field championships Sunday.

Lyles looked toward Knighton’s lane and the scoreboard, smiled and pointed as he hit the tape in 19.67 seconds, two-hundredths ahead of Knighton.

“I saw (Knighton) reach his top speed, and I said mine’s faster,” Lyles said in an interview with NBC while standing next to Knighton after the race.

Knighton, 18, who also qualified for the world championships in three weeks in Eugene, then said, “Job’s not finished. It’s never finished,” and walked out of the joint interview that also included Fred Kerley, who finished third in 19.83.

Lyles won the 200 at the 2019 world championships and the bronze medal at the Olympics last summer.

This season, Knighton, an Olympian last year, clocked 19.49 to become the fourth-fastest man in history, supplanting Lyles, 24, whose personal best is 19.50.

Temperatures in the mid-90s greeted athletes for the final day of the competition at Hayward Field. Events were moved to earlier in the day because of the heat.

The top three finishers in each event will be on the U.S. team for the world championships, given they have met the required performance standard.

Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu was challenged in the last 100 meters by Ajee Wilson, but she pushed to finish first in the women’s 800 in 1 minute, 57.16 seconds.

Sha’Carri Richardson did not qualify for the women’s 200 final, her only remaining chance to make the U.S. team for the world meet. Her time in the semifinal, 22.47 seconds, put her out of contention. She did not comment about her performance after the race.

Richardson also failed to make the field for Friday’s 100 final, which was won by Melissa Jefferson of Coastal Carolina. Richardson’s failure to qualify for the final in either race was something of a surprise, given her form at recent meets.

With her ever-changing hair color and long nails, Richardson grabbed attention at last year’s Olympic trials with a statement-making win in the 100. But she was suspended because of a positive test for marijuana, which kept her off the team sent to the Games.

Abby Steiner of Kentucky, who set a college record in the women’s 200 at this year’s NCAA championships, won the event in 21.77, the leading time in the world this season and a personal best.

Daniel Roberts won the men’s 110 hurdles in 13:03. Two-time Olympian Devon Allen, a Eugene fan favorite who ran track and played football at Oregon, finished third to make the team for worlds.

Allen is trying to balance track life and football after recently signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver. At worlds, the 110 hurdles are set for July 17. Eagles players are slated to report for training camp nine days later.

Bryce Hoppel made his second straight U.S. team for worlds in the men’s 800, finishing in 1:44.60. He was followed by Jonah Koech, who achieved the standard with his finish, and Brandon Miller, who threw himself over the line to secure third.

Rai Benjamin won the men’s 400 hurdles in 1:44.60, best in the world this season. Benjamin was coming off a bout with COVID-19 that drained his energy.

Chase Ealey won the women’s shot put at a meet-record 67 feet, 3½. Elise Cranny won the national title in the 5,000.

On the men’s side, Grant Fisher won the 5,000 in a meet-record 13:03.86. Donald Scott won the title in the triple jump, while Shelby McEwen won the high jump and Ethan Dobbs the javelin.

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