Olympian Kendra Harrison (L) won her qualifying heat, then finished 2nd in the Women's 110 hurdles in 12.46. (Photo by Robert Attical)

Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by BVN

Jon Gaede | BVN Sports

The loyal crowds returned to Mt. SAC last Sunday, in anticipation of world class performances from the very best of track & field. After a seven-year hiatus, due to COVID and extensive facility renovation, America’s top athletes competed at USATF Golden games in Walnut, CA.

Many have witnessed world records fall at this track

As track & field athletes prepare for the upcoming US National Championships in Eugene this summer, the historic Hilmer Lodge in Walnut, CA hosted its 63rd Mt. Sac Relays. Once again, the most knowledgeable track and field fans could be seen along the backstretch, with their stopwatches in hand. Over the decades many of them have witnessed world records fall at this track. Some of the great champions who competed here over the years include Ralph Boston, Al Oerter, Mac Wilkins, Carl Lewis, Mike Powell, Edwin Moses, Merlene Otley, Randy Barnes, Marion Jones, Bob Seagren, Stacey Dragila, Qunicy Watts, Allen Johnson, Jackey Joyner Kersee, Bernard Lagat and the great Allyson Felix.

Carl Lewis won nine Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship gold medals over his 17-year career. (tmc.edu)

Mt. SAC—where you feel something great is about to happen

There are few American track & field venues that attract a national television audience and have that special cache which only comes from decades of great athletes and world class performances. Mt. SAC is one of those iconic places where you feel like something great is about to happen. Like the Penn Relays, Drake Stadium in Des Moines, The Milrose Games in New York, Oregon’s Hayward Field, Mt. Sac in Walnut, must be included in that special list of venues.

Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley won the 200 with an impressive 19.8

Saturday’s performances on the track did not disappoint. With the U.S. National Championships on the horizon, a national NBC audience looked on as the athletes performed at their highest level. Some of the results included Kendra Harrison’s 12.63 in the 100-meter hurdles, top mark in the world this year. Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley won the 200 in 19.8 over Michael Norman and Rai Benjamin, Norman then won the 400 in 43.45. Tokyo bronze medalist Gabby Thomas broke the stadium record in the 200 with a brisk 22.02. Oregon’s Micah Hobbs took the 100 in 9.83. Brooke Andersen won the Hammer Throw with a 251-10 mark. Valarie Allman took the Discus with a 227-11. Clayton Fritsch won the Pole Vault, clearing 19 ¼. Vashti Cunningham won the High Jump with a 6-5.

Felix is easily the most recognized, adored and accomplished track athlete of our time

Sadly, Allyson Felix, the darling of American Track & Field competed at Mt. SAC for the last time. Running for Team Athleta, the seven-time Olympic medalist ran the second leg of the Women’s 4 x 400 relay with teammates Delilah Muhammad, Athing Mu and Shamier Little in a winning time of 3:25. Allyson Felix appeared in five Olympic games, a 10 time U.S. National Champion, competed at Mt. SAC 19 times, easily the most recognized, adored and accomplished American track athlete of our time.

So long Allyson Felix, the first lady of American track & field, competes in the 4×400 relay at Mt. SAC for the 19th and last time. (Photo by Jon Gaede)

Onward to Hayward, as many of the top qualifiers will compete in the USATF National Outdoor Championships at Oregon’s Hayward Field in June and the World Outdoor Championships in July.

Jon Gaede

While on assignment for GamePro Magazine in 1996, Jon Gaede met former Black Voice Sports Editor, Leland Stein at a Los Angeles Lakers’ game. They formed a working relationship which has endured for 24 years. In addition to African safaris, theater productions, Footsteps to Freedom Tours with Black Voice News Publisher Emeritus Cheryl Brown, concerts and portraits, Jon’s true passion comes from shooting action sports images. Jon has covered a variety of prep, collegiate and professional sports from track & field to boxing, including six Olympic Games.