ALTHOUGH THE COMPOSITION of the WC team was predictable, how the 3 top hurdlers got there was not. The obvious picks for the first 2 spots were Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts, who had 8 of the 9 best global performances this year and stood 1–2 on the yearly world list. The third team spot would logically go to the reigning national indoor and outdoor champion, Devon Allen.
The event started out with a glitch. In the first heat, there were four double-gun recalls, but no false starts were charged. “They looked like clean starts to me,” said Chief Starter Tom McTaggart. But he explained that the false-start detection system was triggered by flinching in the blocks that did not amount to a false start. After the fourth double-gun, the system was tweaked to be less sensitive, and there were no further problems. “That was crazy,” said Allen, who finished 2nd in his heat behind former U.S. indoor champ Jarret Eaton, while Holloway and Roberts won the other two sections.
The rocky road to the final continued in the two semis, where like the heats all races encountered headwinds. In the first, Roberts led the entire way but finished only 0.01 ahead of Freddie Crittenden, who challenged him the entire way. Allen, after a decent start, struggled and ended up in the last of the four qualifying positions. Holloway had the early lead in the second semi but was overtaken by Aaron Mallett and Michael Dickson at the final hurdle and finished 3rd, losing a hurdles race for only the second time this year.
Rain started to fall after the semis, and the final was held some 2 hours later in the rain on a wet track. The draw put Holloway and Allen in 7 and 8, with Roberts well inside of them in 4 and Eaton in 1. Holloway and Roberts led from the gun but Roberts, despite hitting the last two hurdles, pulled away at the end and won comfortably in 13.23, a respectable time given the wet conditions and the -0.8 wind. Holloway held 2nd in 13.36, diving at the finish line to assure that he would beat the fast-closing Allen (13.38) and Crittenden (13.39), whose slow reaction time of 0.234 may have cost him a place on the team.
“Amazing,” said the winner, a Kentucky junior who turned pro after the NCAA. “We worked so hard for this, and everything paid off. I’m very excited to make my first national team.” Asked about the rain, he said “I’ve seen worse.”
Holloway, a Florida junior who edged Roberts at the NCAA championships and who is also a new pro, acknowledged that it was a tough day. “Those two races were kind of shaky,” he admitted. His comment on his dive at the finish: “Hey, risk it for the biscuit. I looked left, I didn’t see Freddie. I looked right, and I felt Devon and saw Daniel taking off and I was like, ‘I’m either in 3rd or 4th. That’s just my luck, so risk it for the biscuit.’ My rib hurts like crazy, though. I’ll be alright.”
He, too, was excited about the Worlds. “To represent Team USA in Doha with Daniel, it’s something we’ve been talking about since indoor SECs, indoor Nationals. We’ve been talking about it for a long time.”
USATF MEN’S 110H RESULTS
(July 28; wind –0.8)
1. Daniel Roberts (Nik) 13.23;
2. Grant Holloway (adi) 13.36;
3. Devon Allen (Nik) 13.38;
4. Freddie Crittenden (unat) 13.39;
5. Michael Dickson (NCAT) 13.45;
6. Jarret Eaton (unat) 13.51;
7. Aaron Mallett (adi) 13.51;
8. Trey Cunningham (FlSt) 13.72.
1. Eaton; 2. Cunningham; 3. Dickson; 4. Roberts; 5. Mallet; 6. Crittenden; 7. Holloway; 8. Allen
Allen 0.140; Eaton 0.150; Cunningham 0.155; Holloway 0.156; Dickson 0.160; Mallett 0.169; Roberts 0.176; Crittenden 0.234
I(-1.1)–1. Eaton 13.51; 2. Allen 13.52; 3. Mallett 13.54; 4. Myles Hunter (Mank) 13.62; 5. Trey Holloway (adi) 13.71; 6. Jordan Charles (unat) 14.03; 7. Trevor Bassitt (Ash) 14.13; 8. Marcus Maxey (unat) 14.29.
II(-2.0)–1. Holloway 13.56; 2. Dickson 13.61; 3. Brendan Ames (unat) 14.01; 4. Isaiah Moore (SC) 14.05; 5. Austin Lyons (Corn) 14.23; 6. Nick Johnson (WaSt) 14.39;… dnf—Aleec Harris (adi).
III(-1.9)–1. Roberts 13.40; 2. Crittenden 13.49; 3. Cunningham 13.66; 4. Robert Dunning (Al) 13.86; 5. Ryan Fontenot (unat) 13.97; 6. Marquis Morris (USC) 14.05.
I(-1.2)–1. Roberts 13.30; 2. Crittenden 13.31; 3. Cunningham 13.49; 4. Allen 13.55; 5. Ames 13.70; 6. T. Holloway 13.92; 7. Morris 13.94; 8. Moore 14.62.
II(-1.0)–1. Mallett 13.46; 2. Dickson 13.47; 3. G. Holloway 13.56; 4. Eaton 13.61; 5. Dunning 13.67; 6. Fontenot 13.76; 7. Charles 14.07;… dq—Hunter. ◻︎