USATF Men’s 110H — Don’t Forget Roberts

Daniel Roberts reminded everyone why he was the national champ back in ’19. (KEVIN MORRIS)

THE MOST CRUCIAL takeaway from the meet’s final race was this: overlook Daniel Roberts at your own peril. The Kentucky alum — only No. 4 on our formchart, winner of only 1 of 6 outdoor races this season — ran the second-fastest race of his life to stun his much-heralded competition and recapture the title he won in ’19.

Roberts had taken his first-round heat, but at 13.28 that didn’t put him in the conversation, as favored Grant Holloway had run 13.11 to win his, and NCAA champion Trey Cunningham had hit 13.13. Similar story in the semis, with Holloway topping Roberts 13.03–13.17, and Cunningham’s 13.09 handling world leader Devon Allen (13.14).

The 24-year-old Roberts admitted to battling nerves in the days beforehand, explaining, “I’m always so anxious for these championships because we’re always the last two days and I’ve been here all week, just thinking, thinking and thinking. So, really anxious beforehand, a little nervous, but I feel like those nerves always help me to run my best and bring the best out of me.”

The final lined up on a hot track, with temperatures hitting 95 and even hotter on the Beynon surface. Lane 6 stood empty — Holloway taking advantage of his Wild Card to the Worlds as reigning champion. Roberts (lane 7) and Cunningham (5) got out fastest. Allen (4) got left in the blocks and was forced to play catch-up. By hurdle 4, Roberts had built a clear lead over Cunningham as Allen joined the fight.

With lightning fluidity, Roberts could not be caught, streaking across the line in 13.03 ahead of a crowd crush that took the timers longer than usual to untangle. Cunningham slotted at 2nd in 13.08. Then Allen came across with unheralded Jamal Britt alongside in lane 3. Allen prevailed by 0.003 as both clocked 13.09s. In 5th came Freddie Crittenden with a 13.14 PR.

Roberts said of his win, “It’s a blessing,” admitting, “I’m more prepared than I think I am sometimes. I overthink and have to do things this different way or a certain way. But I just go out there and give my all and I know that things will turn out good.”

Cunningham, after his first final as a pro, expressed no disappointment: “I’m just happy I made it on the team.”

Said Allen, “My start, I’m trying to clean that up and be in the race early. I’m not really in control as much as I’d like to be.” It was later reported that Allen made the surely difficult decision to race despite the death of his father the night before.

However, the hoped-to-be pro footballer perfectly captured the brightness of U.S. prospects in the event: “There’s 4 guys that were under 13.10. In the U.S. right now, the 110 hurdles is a stacked event.” Indeed, at the end of the meet, American hurdlers occupied 7 of the top 8 spots on the world list.


FINAL (June 26; wind +1.2)

1. Daniel Roberts (Nik) 13.03;

2. Trey Cunningham (adi) 13.08;

3. Devon Allen (Nik) 13.09;

4. Jamal Britt (unat) 13.09 PR;

5. Freddie Crittenden (PhxTC/Tracksm) 13.14 PR;

6. Robert Dunning (adi) 13.27;

7. Eric Edwards (LSU) 13.76;

… dnc—Grant Holloway (adi) (wild card).

HEATS (June 25)

I(0.6)–1. Holloway 13.11; 2. Crittenden 13.32; 3. Joshua Braverman (Ia) 13.41 PR; 4. Dunning 13.45; 5. Devion Wilson (Hous) 13.65; 6. DJ Akindele (Hous) 13.72; 7. Almighty Williamson (EnMi) 13.88; 8. Daniel Spejcher (Ar) 14.49.

II(0.2)–1. Allen 13.27; 2. Aaron Mallett (Tracksm) 13.51; 3. Michael Dickson (unat) 13.64; 4. Cameron Murray (NCSt) 13.71; 5. Paris Williams (unat) 13.76; 6. Gratt Reed (Ia) 13.87; 7. Eli Morris (Bay) 13.90 PR; 8. Nick Johnson (unat) 13.94.

III(-1.6)–1. Trey Cunningham (unat) 13.13; 2. Britt 13.33; 3. Nicholas Anderson (unat) 13.64 (13.635); 4. Maliek Kendall (TxT) 13.85; 5. Samuel Brixey (Tracksm) 13.94; 6. Matthew Lewis-Banks (Ar) 14.12; 7. Grant Conway (Ia) 14.14; 8. Kenney Broadnax (Ms) 14.35.

IV(-0.7)–1. Roberts 13.28; 2. Edwards 13.29; 3. Tre’Bien Gilbert (Ar) 13.49; 4. Josh Brockman (NCSt) 13.62; 5. Louis Rollins (PittSt) 13.70; 6. Max Hairston (PhoenTC) 13.73; 7. Parker Bowden (Tracksm) 14.13; 8. Denim Rogers (TxT) 14.16.

SEMIS (June 26)

I(0.4)–1. Holloway 13.03; 2. Roberts 13.17; 3. Edwards 13.29; 4. Dunning 13.38 (13.376); 5. Mallett 13.38 (13.378); 6. Braverman 13.43; 7. Dickson 13.52; 8. Rollins 13.58.

II(0.1)–1. Cunningham 13.09; 2. Allen 13.14; 3. Britt 13.25; 4. Crittenden 13.35; 5. Gilbert 13.51; 6. Brockman 13.55 PR; 7. Anderson 13.69; 8. Wilson 13.86.