August 17, 2016

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento Sports Commission interrupts your Olympic track and field programming with an important public-service announcement:

Tickets for the 2017 USA Outdoor National Track & Field Championships go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, August 18 at 9:00 a.m..

All-session passes are available at Two-day and single-day tickets will go on sale in early 2017.

Virtually all of the U.S. athletes competing for Olympic honors in Rio de Janeiro will be in Sacramento next summer for the world's best national championship meet, to be held June 22-25, 2017, at Hornet Stadium on the Sacramento State campus.

To qualify for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England, U.S. athletes must compete in Sacramento. That guarantees top-flight fields across the board - sprints, hurdles, distances, jumps, throws and multi-events.

"What we're seeing from the U.S. team in Rio makes us even more excited about hosting the 2017 USA Championships," Sacramento Sports Commission Director Mike Sophia said. "Sacramento has a long history of supporting top-level track and field, and we look forward to continuing that tradition."

Midway through the track and field portion of the Olympics, U.S. athletes had won 12 medals - double the number of the next-best country.

The final five days of competition in Rio should increase the U.S. medal haul, with Ashton Eaton (decathlon), Joe Kovacs (men's shot put), Dalilah Muhammad (women's 400 hurdles), Jen Suhr (women's pole vault), Kerron Clement (men's 400 hurdles), Brittney Reese (women's long jump) and Brianna Rollins (women's 100 hurdles) favored in their respective events.

Already, the U.S. team has benefitted from its combination of youth and experience. Christian Taylor and Will Claye finished 1-2 in Tuesdays triple jump final, while Justin Gatlin (100 meters), LaShawn Merritt (men's 400) and Allyson Felix (women's 400) added to their extensive Olympic medal collections.

Another veteran, shot putter Michelle Carter, became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic shot put title, hitting her winner (and U.S. record of 67 feet, 8¼ inches) in the sixth and final round. Carter has won seven U.S. outdoor titles, including the 2014 event that was held in front of the state Capitol.

Three of the younger U.S. standouts in Rio also won national titles at the 2014 USA Championships in Sacramento:

• Emma Coburn won an Olympic bronze medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, breaking her own American record with a 9:07.63. At 25, she's just hitting her stride.
• Jeff Henderson's first big win came two years ago in Sacramento at the USA Championships, when he jumped a wind-aided 27-11½ to claim his first national title. In Rio, Henderson won the gold medal with his final-round jump of 27-6.
• Sam Kendricks had just completed his junior year at Mississippi won he won his first U.S. pole-vault title in 2014. Two years later, he's an Olympic bronze medalist.

Another rising star to watch is Clayton Murphy. The 21-year-old burst on the national scene this season with an NCAA title in the 1,500 meters and an Olympic Trials victory in the 800. Murphy followed it up with a brilliant bronze-medal finish in the 800 in Rio de Janeiro, moving to third on the all-time U.S. list at 1:42.93.

Next year's event will mark the seventh time that Sacramento has played host to the USA Championships. The previous national meets were held in 1968, 1981, 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2014. (The 2000 and 2004 events also served as the U.S. Olympic Trials.)

The 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento set a still-standing attendance record for the eight-day event.

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