Gator great Grant Holloway repeats as world champion in hurdles

Associated Press and Gator Sports

EUGENE, Ore. — Except for a single, barely perceptible flinch, this would've been a Perfect 10 for the U.S. track and field team.

As it ended up, the Americans still won nine medals on home turf Sunday at world championships in what will go down as one of the most memorable days for the red, white and blue in its long, successful history. It was the best single medal day for a nation at worlds, according to meet organizers.

Hurdler Devon Allen's false start kept the U.S. from a possible sweep in the 110-meter final and what could've been the 10th medal of the day. The speedster-slash-receiver will now take his talents to the football field, where he'll attempt to make the roster for the Philadelphia Eagles. It was hardly the way he wanted to finish at worlds.

“Track and field is so difficult because you train the whole year for one competition that lasts 12, 13 seconds and that's that,” said Allen, whose training camp with the Eagles starts July 26. “I’ll learn from it and I’ll make sure I just react not as fast next time.”

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Grant Holloway (USA) and Joshua Zeller (GBR) compete in a qualifying heat of the men's 110m hurdles semifinals during the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore. Former UF star Holloway won the gold on Sunday.

Allen's disappointment hardly spoiled a day in which the recording of the “Star-Spangled Banner” got worn out.

It began with the hammer throw, where Brooke Andersen took gold and Janee’ Kassanavoid won bronze. That was a warmup act for the night session, where seven medals piled up in a span of about 10 minutes.

The women's pole vaulters led the run with Katie Nageotte and Sandi Morris finishing 1-2. Moments later — and following a delay as Allen unsuccessfully pleaded his case to officials to remain the race — Florida Gators great Grant Holloway defended his hurdles title, with Trey Cunningham close behind in second.

“It's track and field — anything can happen,” Holloway said. “My hat goes off to Devon. Didn't want to send him out like that but it is what it is.”

Around the same time, the shot putters wrapped up a podium sweep with two-time Olympic champion Ryan Crouser taking gold, Joe Kovacs earning silver and Josh Awotunde finishing with bronze.

All this came an evening after Fred Kerley, Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell swept the 100. It got Crouser thinking of what was possible in his event.

“My heart rate was probably like at 120, 130,” he said of watching the men's 100. “I probably shouldn’t have watched it because I had trouble calming back down. I had to make a mental note to take a few deep breaths and be like, ‘I don’t have to compete right now.’ Awesome to see Team USA sweep.”

With their big-medal haul Sunday, the Americans have six golds and 14 total medals. The next most is three medals each by Ethiopia, Poland, China and Jamaica, which swept the women's 100 to close out the night.

“It says how amazing it is being on home soil and at Hayward Field,” Nageotte said of the show turned in by the Americans. “'Hayward Magic' is real. ... Just seeing how many people were qualifying for semis, and then for finals, and then medaling, you watch it and it’s inspiring.”

More on UF Gators at championships

Florida's Anna Hall (USA) competes in the women’s heptathlon high jump during the World Athletics Championships on July 17, 2022, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Champion Allison and Talitha Diggs opened the competition Sunday in the 400 meters, each advancing to the semifinals on Wednesday evening.

Allison ran 45.56, winning his heat with ease. Diggs was second in her heat, but an automatic qualifier into the next round.

Anna Hall put up a brilliant first-day performance in the heptathlon on Sunday, posting a pair of personal bests and a season's best in the High Jump.

The Highlands Ranch, Colo. native was third in the heptathlon standings with a first-day personal best of 3991 points following the first four events.

Hall opened up with a 13.20 in the 100-meter hurdles before following that up with a season's best of 1.86m in the High Jump. She closed out the day with a new personal best of 13.67 in the shot put before dominating the field in 23.08 for a new lifetime best in the 200 meters.

Hall will head into the final three events in bronze medal position. She is well above 200 points ahead of the pace of her personal best she set at the USATF Combined Events Championships. The Long Jump, Javelin and her signature event, the 800 meters, await her on Monday in Eugene.

Also in action Monday: UF's Joseph Fahnbulleh (200 meter heats) and Cory McGee (1500-meter final).