Top-Ranked Collegians From 2017 At The IAAF World Championships
When the 2017 IAAF World Championships get underway Friday in London, a number of collegians who starred during the 2017 track & field season will vie to be considered the world’s best in their respective individual events and relays.
What collegians have the best chance at medaling?
We’re glad you asked.
After taking a look at the entry lists broken down by season bests, 10 collegians from the 2017 campaign are ranked inside the top-5 of their events or right outside of it, including six in the top-3.
No. 1 – 100 Meters
No one in the world has run faster over 100 meters this season than Christian Coleman, a finalist for The Bowerman and four-time NCAA champion in 2017.
In fact, no one has even come close.
Coleman clocked a time of 9.82 in the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in mid-June. Not only did that put the rest of the world on notice, it broke a six-year-old collegiate record set by former The Bowerman winner Ngoni Makusha.
Now Coleman sets his sights on taking down the World’s Fastest Man – Usain Bolt.
Coleman put a lot of races on his legs during the collegiate season so it will be key to see how he holds up to four potential races in two days. Preliminaries are set for Friday at 1 pm CT, followed by heats less than two hours later. Semifinals will be run Saturday at 1:05 pm CT, with the final coming at 3:45 pm CT that same day.
No. 1 – 800 Meters
UTEP freshmen who win NCAA titles at 800 meters in their first collegiate season tend to do pretty well on the world stage.
Back in 1988, current UTEP coach Paul Ereng captured NCAA glory and then won gold at the Seoul Olympic Games.
Now Emmanuel Korir has a chance to follow in his coach’s footsteps.
Korir enters the World Championships as the top seed in the 800. His season best is 1:43.10, which he lowered from the 1:43.73 he ran at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge in late April.
It won’t be an easy path for Korir as he must navigate a mighty sea of half-milers. But it did get considerably easier when two-time Olympic champ and world record holder David Rudisha announced he wouldn’t compete in London.
No. 1 – Shot Put
Raven Saunders is back.
After a roller-coaster collegiate outdoor season, Saunders rebounded to win the U.S. title in Sacramento, California. She beat Dani Bunch by nearly five inches and improved upon her personal best by more than seven inches (64-10 to 64-2¼).
No woman has thrown farther than 19.64m (64-5¼) other than Saunders.
Back at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Saunders placed fifth behind Michelle Carter, Valerie Adams, Anita Marton and Lijao Gong. All but Adams are entered in the upcoming meet.
Look for Raven Saunders’ Redemption Tour to roll on.
No. 2 – 400 Meters
Fred Kerley left a wake of destruction in his path during his final collegiate season.
Kerley, a finalist for The Bowerman, went undefeated at 400 meters and broke a 27-year-old collegiate record in the process when he recorded a time of 43.70 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
That time stood as a world leader until the current world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk rounded into form and crossed the finish line in 43.62. Kerley is now No. 2.
Kerley got a taste of competing on the world stage at the London Diamond League Meeting and finished second at 200 meters behind Ameer Webb.
No. 3 – 400 Hurdles
June couldn’t have been better for Eric Futch.
First, he won his second NCAA individual title in a row and helped lead the Florida Gators to the NCAA Division I team crown.
Then, Futch won the U.S. title in Sacramento, California, with a personal best of 48.18.
Two months later, Futch is hoping to carry that momentum forward into London.
Futch is ranked third on the entry list by season best and if that holds true, he could add medalist at a World Championship to his already growing list of accomplishments.
No. 3 – 200 Meters
A few weeks after a crushing fall at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Deajah Stevens became U.S. champion at 200 meters.
Two months later, she can become world champion.
Talk about a reversal of fortunes.
Stevens is currently ranked third on the entry list sorted by season bests. Her time of 22.09 sits right behind Tori Bowie and Shaunae Miller-Uibo.
Not too far behind Stevens is former Oregon teammate Ariana Washington (sixth, 22.39).
Heats in the 200 begin Tuesday, August 8, at 1:30 pm CT.
Also Ranked Highly…
Christopher Belcher – No. 4, 100 Meters
Lindon Victor – No. 4, Decathlon
Jereem Richards – t-No. 4, 200 Meters
Kendell Williams – No. 6, Heptathlon