Allyson Felix, American Track League star of Erriyon Knighton
When Allyson Felix ran his first Olympic race, Erriyon Knighton was not even eight months old.
On a Memorial Day party in Jacksonville, the two left the track as champions.
Runners from opposite extremes of the experience highlighted Monday night’s Duval County Challenge, the American Track League’s first-ever stop at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium and a showcase for dozens of past Olympians. , present and potential in athletics.
The ultra-experienced. The less experienced. That night it didn’t matter.
Felix, at 35, has shown that she is still a giant in the women’s 400-meter race. Still 17-year-old Knighton – he relinquished his remaining high school eligibility in Tampa Hillsborough in January to turn pro – has defeated a field of proven stars in the men’s 200m.
The most decorated woman in US track and field history with six gold and three silver medals, strode to victory in the 400m.
“I’m just trying to get everything in place at the right time, continuing to prepare myself,” she said. “It’s really exciting.”
It was a different story, and a different path to the front lines, for Knighton.
Running in lane 3 against Trayvon Bromell and top British contenders Adam Gemili and Zharnel Hughes, Knighton defeated them all in 20.11, solidifying his status as a rapidly rising American contender.
“I definitely have to respect them, the top of the world,” Knighton said. “But I feel like I brought my A game today.”
The fastest sprint went to Ronnie Baker. The former TCU sprinter ran 9.91 in the preliminaries and 9.99 in the final to beat Jamaican Yohan Blake, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, in the men’s 100m.
“I feel really good about everything I’ve done this year so far,” Baker said. “I’m in a good headroom for sure.”
On the last of her many successful visits to the First Coast, Jamaican Briana Williams smashed the 11-second mark in the women’s 100, celebrating in the infield with her family and coach Ato Boldon while carrying a giant bonus check from $ 5,000 awarded to the sprint champion. Finishing the top 40 in officially timed 4.45, she crossed the finish line in 10.98, ahead of Mikiah Brisco and Dezerea Bryant.
For Williams, winning the UNF is nothing new. 2018 Florida High School Athletic Association sprint champion on this track as he raced for Oakland Park Northeast, Williams also set a personal best in Jacksonville two years ago at the JAC Open.
“I love coming to the stadium. It’s a wonderful and beautiful stadium, and I love the track here,” said Williams. “I always come here and get a quick time.”
An expected men’s hurdles showdown between record holder Grant Holloway and Jamaican Olympic champion Omar McLeod vanished when McLeod didn’t start the final, but former Gator Holloway dominated either way. He ran 13.10 to tie his own installation record from his Florida days.
Reigning world champion and record holder Dalilah Muhammad returned from a bout with injuries to execute a confidence 55.01 in the women’s 400 hurdles. The fastest time, however, belonged to fellow American Shamier Little at 53.12, who took a psychological boost.
“That’s a lot for my confidence. It’s a fast-paced race,” said Little. “I participate in these races and they come out exactly as we train for them.”
Jamaican Brittany Anderson won the women’s 100 hurdles in 12.59, enjoying a vacancy in lane 5 after the false start of seed Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico in the final, and Quincy Hall scored the best. time of 49.04 in the men’s 400 hurdles.
Former Florida State All-Star Michael Cherry had little difficulty in the men’s 400, clocking 44.74 for the quarter-second win.
For most of the American athletes on the field, the competition was one of the last developments ahead of the United States Olympic Team Trials, which begin June 18 in Eugene, Ore.