Emma Coburn takes a convincing steeplechase win at the US Olympic Trials (Getty Images) © Copyright
It took Jill Camarena-Williams three rounds to get into the right rhythm in the women’s Shot Put final, but her 19.16m just before the halfway point ended up as the day’s best for the Beijing finalist. Michelle Carter steadily improved throughout the day, peaking with her penultimate throw at 18.57m to finish second, as Tia Brooks’s 18.34m took third.
US leader and Daegu finalist Emma Coburn raced to a 25-metre lead with two laps left in the women’s steeplechase final and coasted to a 9:32.78 win. Behind Coburn came a fight for the other two team spots. With Bridget Franek holding second, Ashley Higginson moved past Shalayla Kipp into third at the start of the final back straight. Going into the final curve, Kipp regained third from Higginson and was challenging Franek for second. A bad water jump for Kipp gave Franek a useful opening as she headed to the final straight. Kipp sprinted hard at the end in a futile attempt to gain the runner-up spot but Franek narrowly won, 9:35.62 to 9:35.73. The hard finish paid a double dividend for Kipp as she registered the A-standard she required for London.
Beijing silver medallist Hyleas Fountain was the first-day leader in the women’s heptathlon with 3948, as her Olympic teammate Sharon Day held second at 3797 ahead of Chantae McMillan (3762). [Click here for the Heptathlon Day 1 report.]
No surprises in 1500m semis
In the first semi of the women’s 1500m, Morgan Uceny and world champion Jenny Simpson ran shoulder-to-shoulder for the first half of the bell lap, but off the final curve, it was Uceny who prevailed, 4:08.90 to 4:09.12. Maggie Infeld (4:09.38), Anna Pierce (4:09.51) and Nicole Schappert (4:09.60) took the next spots as there was no change in position among the first five over the final 200 metres.
In semifinal two, Katie Mackey led the field at the bell, but Shannon Rowbury, making a move to the outside, soon joined her as a co-frontrunner. Midway through the final back straight Rowbury took the lead and held it until the finish for a 4:09.96 as Gabriele Anderson’s quick close pipped Mackey, 4:10.08 to 4:10.54. Sara Vaughn (4:10.57) and Sarah Bowman (4:10.65) took the next spots as the 4:10.94 of Alice Schmidt - already named to the Olympic team in the 800 metres - dropped her out of contention.
Will Leer sprinted past leader David Torrence in the first men’s 1500m semifinal for a 3:51.27 win. A fast close by Andrew Wheating moved him past Torrence for the second spot, 3:51.40, to 3:51.43.
The second semifinal had a much brisker pace. Leonel Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz ran the last 300 metres virtually stride for stride, with Centrowitz given the win as both were timed in 3:41.90. Robbie Andrews had a quick final straight for third (3:42.14) as Jeff See chased him home with 3:42.16 for fourth.
.. likewise in semis of the 400m Hurdles
In the women’s 400 hurdles semifinals, Georganne Moline passed early leader Tiffany Williams at the ninth barrier and sailed to a PB 54.72 in the first section. Williams held second with 55.47 as Christine Spence (55.72) and Cassandra Tate (55.77) took the last two spots in the final.
Lashinda Demus’s season-best 54.41 won the second semifinal as T’Erea Brown, after matching Demus for the first half of the race, relaxed and easily took second in 55.13. Dominique Darden (55.70) and Turquoise Thompson (55.73) rounded out the list for Sunday’s final.
In the men’s 400m Hurdles semifinals, after holding a noticeable lead for the first half of the race, Kerron Clement eased back before the ninth hurdle, allowing Bershawn Jackson to pass and score a win in the first semi, 48.83 to 49.04. Justin Gaymon (49.37) and Reggie Wyatt (49.57) completed that heat’s list of finalists.
Angelo Taylor was impressive in his 48.77 win in semi two as the two-time Olympic champion stretched his lead out to about seven metres after the eighth hurdle. Michael Tinsley closed fast on the run-in with 49.05 in second, while Michael Stigler (49.50) won the battle with Johnny Dutch (49.59) for third.
Fast opening round in the high hurdles
The men’s 110m Hurdles qualifying opened with identical 13.13 times from both Aries Merritt and reigning World champion Jason Richardson, Merritt’s time coming against a 1.6 headwind. Dexter Faulk (13.27) and David Oliver (13.32) were the other heat winners. Antwon Hicks (13.24) and David Payne (13.32) were also among those advancing to the semifinal round on Saturday. The lone big name casualty of the opening round was two-time Olympic silver medallist Terrence Trammell, who was a distant fourth in heat five.
Wallace Spearmon set the tone in the men’s 200m opening round with a 20.17 win, albeit aided by a 3.1 wind. Calesio Newman’s PB 20.28 was the fastest legal time of the day, as Isiah Young (20.38), Darvis Patton (20.40), and Prezel Hardy (20.51w) also won their heats. Beijing double bronze and Daegu double silver winner Walter Dix, who appeared to be injured in the 100m semifinal last weekend, did not start. In all, only five competitors, none crucial to a top-three selection, were cut from the field of 26.
Richards-Ross 22.15 semi sizzler
The women’s 200m reached the semifinal stage with Sanya Richards-Ross leading the finalists with a scintillating 22.15. Allyson Felix’s winning 22.30 was followed in heat three by the 22.64 of Carmelita Jeter. The opening section, backed by a 3.4 wind, produced a cluster of good times, with Jeneba Tarmoh (22.30w) Tianna Madison (22.33w), and Bianca Knight (22.34w) topping the results. An interesting side note, in view of the still-unresolved third-place tie in the women’s 100m from last Sunday, is that Felix’s semifinal time of 22.297 was one millisecond faster than Tarmoh’s 22.298. The result, of course, has no bearing on their tiebreaker.
Janay DeLoach used a 2.8 tailwind to post a 7.15w leap to open the women’s long jump qualification. A surprising 6.97m from the virtually unknown Vashti Thomas [previous PB of 6.45m in 2010] was the second-best jump of the day, and more importantly, it secured an A-standard should she be similarly fortunate in Sunday’s final. Daegu world champion Brittney Reese (6.88m), Whitney Gipson (6.83m), and Beijing finalist Funmi Jimoh (6.73m) were the other notables surviving the cut.
Beijing Olympian Kara Patterson (60.49m) and Berlin finalist Rachel Yurkovich (56.42m) led all others in the women’s javelin qualifying. As the only competitors with the A-standard, they will be America’s representatives in the event unless one of the other finalists reaches the 61-metre level on Sunday. One other qualifier of interest is Leigh Petranoff, the daughter of former World record holder Tom Petranoff, as she grabbed the last spot in the final with 50.21m.
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
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