Former Missouri Preps set for World Championships @ Oregon22

The 2nd biggest track and field meet in the world has come to the USA for the first time. The World Championships kicked off today at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Track and Field, or Athletics as it's called in most of the world, is governed internationally by World Athletics, formerly known as the IAAF. The organization hosted the first World Championship meet in 1983, then again in 1987 and 1991, before moving to hold the meet to every 2-years instead of every 4-years.

With the re-imagined Hayward Field designs in place, Oregon's bid to host the meet was granted years ago. The meet was scheduled for 2021 but was pushed back after the Covid-19 Pandemic cancelled nearly every competition of the 2020 season and pushed back the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to 2021. The meet is a 10-day event, and only behind the Olympics as the most prestigious track and field meets in the world.

Qualifying standards and in place with a normal limit of three athletes per country in each event if they meet the qualifying standards. That isn't always the case as preferred field sizes aren't always met in each event, allowing the qualifying additional athletes to be entered. Also, automatic berths to the meet are given to standouts from previous events like the last World Championships and Diamond League. Additionally, the field size for the 100-meter dash is large as many nations without any or many meet qualifiers are granted a spot in the preliminary round.

All track events have 2-3 rounds except for the 10,000-meters, while field events all have qualifying and final rounds, on different days. There aren't any one-hit wonders taking home medals at Worlds. You've got to perform well enough to make an 8-9-12 or possibly a few more, person final, then shine in the final for podium glory.  

With a few exceptions, to make the USA team, you had to have the World Championships standard and finish in the top-3 at the US Championships last month. For events where athletes who finished in the top-3 but didn't have the World Championships standards, other finishers who had achieved the standard made the team.

Four former Missouri prep standouts will compete for Team USA in Oregon, as well as two other former Missouri collegians, and a Missouri college volunteer assistant coach. Another Missouri track and field great will be in Oregon with several clients competing for World Championship success.

Courtney Frerichs     Nixa    3,000m Steeplechase

Nixa, Missouri's Courtney Frerichs will race for her 3rd global championships medal. The former gymnast and soccer player who dabbled in track a little at Nixa before eventually taking up cross country, will race for a 3rd silver medal or better at a global championship. The former University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of New Mexico All-American, national champion, and NCAA record-setter, is one of the world's best steeplechasers.

Frerichs was the NCAA runner-up in the event in 2015 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to fellow Missourian Colleen Quigley. Frerichs won the title in an NCAA record time of 9:24.41 as a graduate student at New Mexico in 2016. Frerichs made the 2016 Olympic team and placed  11th in Rio. Then in 2017, she shocked the world, taking 2nd at the World Championships in London. A year later she ran 9:00.85 to set the American Record. She placed 6th at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar in late September.

Frerichs after placing 13th at 2014 NCAA DI XC Champs as junior at UMKC.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Frerichs took the lead early, pushed the pace, and pulled away from the field. Frerichs couldn't hold off everyone, but she held on for 2nd and an Olympic silver medal.  Three weeks later at the Prefontaine Classic last August, Frerichs ran to a 2nd-place finish in 8:57.77 to improve her own U.S. record.

Frerichs after 2nd place finish in NCAA Steeplechase, right behind Colleen Quigley

The Nike Bowerman Track Club member enters the World Championships as the 5th-fastest woman ever in the event. Frerichs will have to sharp to battle the East Africans and her American teammates to earn a 3rd global championships medal. Frerichs will have somewhat of a home track advantage as she's based in Portland and raced plenty of times the last two years at the new Hayward Field.

Grad student Frerichs after taking 4th at NCAAs XC's 2015, leading New Mexico to title.

Continue to the next page for more on Frerichs, Chris Nilsen, Brandon Miller, Janee' Kassanavoid, Karissa Schweizer, Nick Christie, Donald Thomas, Jillian Weir, and Jeff Hartwig