Abby Steiner competes during the women's 200-meter heats at the 2022 World Athletics Championships on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Ore.
EUGENE, Ore. — If not for all those years and miles on a soccer pitch, Abby Steiner might have felt depleted a few races ago. She is a sprinter who has the endurance to run all day.
The question is, after 56 races in a track and field season that began more than seven months ago — that’s more than 10,000 meters, going all-out for each of them — what will she have left in the 57th?
Next up: Thursday’s 200-meter final at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene.
Steiner, age 22 and new to the pro ranks, said she tries not to dwell on her long season.
“Just listening to my body and what it needs during the recovery,” she said. “Just coming in here with a fresh mindset and knowing that I have a lane in the final, and I belong here, and I want to compete.”
It could be asserted Steiner is up against the fastest field ever assembled in a women’s 200 meters. Before Tuesday, the fastest semifinal ever at a world championships was 22.12 seconds. Steiner’s U.S. teammate, Jenna Prandini, clocked 22.08 … and was eliminated.
Jamaica has three formidable finalists: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah. They swept the medals in the 100-meter on Sunday and could do so again in the 200. Jackson has the year’s fastest time at 21.55 seconds, and Thompson-Herah won last year’s Olympic golds in the 100 and 200.
Jackson won the first semifinal Tuesday in 21.67, and Team USA’s Tamara Clark the second in 21.95 (beating Thompson-Herah). Fraser-Pryce won the third semi in 21.81 to Steiner’s 22.15.
“I knew Shelly was going to get out,” Steiner said. “Her 100 speed is unlike anyone else on this earth. I just wanted to go with her when she went.”
Until eighth grade, Steiner was strictly a soccer player. By the time she arrived at Kentucky in 2018, she was a standout two-sport athlete.
At her Ohio high school, Dublin Coffman, she won multiple state titles, with bests of 11.38 for 100 meters and 22.72 for 200. She helped her soccer team to a state runner-up finish in 2014, then tore her right ACL as a junior in 2016.
As a college freshman, she was the only player to start all 19 soccer games for the Wildcats, totaling two goals and five assists. After that, she quit soccer to focus on track.