The weather came around to the side of some athletes Sunday (27) afternoon at the U.S. championships at Drake stadium, as David Oliver rode a 1.7m/s tailwind to a 12.93 110m Hurdles clocking and Jenn Suhr finally took charge of the women's Pole Vault with a world leading 4.89m clearance.
Oliver powered over the barriers in his typical aggressive style to improve his own world-leading mark of 12.99 from the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Shanghai last month. Oliver is the only athlete to run under 13 seconds for the sprint hurdles this season, and he was essentially unpressed in this event as the next finisher, Ryan Wilson, ran 13.17. Oliver bashed the first hurdle hard but recovered smoothly.
"Really, I don't worry about the other guys in the other lanes," said Oliver, whose performance also took down his 12.95 career best set two years ago. "My competitors are the ten hurdles. Always have been. If I start worrying about other people, that's when mishaps happen."
"It was just a good race. I felt like I could come out and have a good performance. I came back for the finals loose and ready to go." The 28-year-old, who took Olympic bronze two years ago, remains unbeaten in seven starts this season.
Suhr - 'It's good to be back'
Suhr, the reigning Olympic silver medallist, also recovered from an early tense moment in the pole vault. After passing up to 4.50m, where the field was down to five other vaulters, Suhr missed her first two attempts. After a clearance there, however, and a first-attempt clearance at 4.55m with two others active, Suhr passed to 4.65m, cleared on her second attempt there, and then dismissed her remaining opponent, Becky Holliday, with a first-attempt clearance at 4.75m. Holliday conceded at that point and Suhr moved the bar first to 4.89m, which she cleared easily to best Fabiana Murer's world-leading 4.85m, and then to 5.00m, where three misses ended her day.
"I don't want to say it was a surprise, but it's good to be back," said Suhr. "[The wind] was tricky and I think I would have preferred a tailwind. It's waiting your wind, too, and knowing when to go and when not to go. I've been around, so I can kind of figure that out. They predicted that it was going to change, but it didn't change until late."
Again, Cantwell dominates
Christian Cantwell, the dominant shot putter of the early season, came through today, making a statement with his first-round 21.29m toss and then reaching 21.65m in the second round. All five of Cantwell's marks were over 21m, and his sixth attempt, a foul, was by his reckoning probably over 22. "I wouldn't have been satisfied with that either," Cantwell said. Only Reese Hoffa, who moved into second on the last round with a 21.33m heave, got the shot over 21m and into Cantwell's series.
Adam Nelson stood second for most of the competition, putting 20.84m in the third round, but was bumped to third by Hoffa's closing blast. World No. 2 Cory Martin settled for fourth with 20.62m, his only legal mark.
Like Cantwell, Dwight Phillips led the long jump throughout competition, and like Cantwell, few of his competitors were able to manage leaps like his. Phillips thought his best efforts weren't showing, however. "The wind was tricky, and I didn't even reach the board on most of my jumps," he said after his competition. "I didn't get to the board until the last jump." That attempt, measured at 8.37m, stood as the best of the day, with only Trevell Quinley's 8.20m last-round leap exceeding 8 metres.
Spearmon blasts windy 19.77, Moore returns to action to take first national outdoor title
Wallace Spearmon and Walter Dix were less lucky than Phillips in terms of wind in the 200m final. After Dix struggled in third in the fastest of the three semi-final races (still the third-fastest qualifying time, which was good enough to advance to the final) he was saddled with the inside lane for the final. Spearmon, on the other hand, was the slowest overall qualifier, but second in his semifinal heat and therefore assigned lane 7.
"Actually, further outside was fun for me," said Spearmon. "There was one guy in front of me. I knew he was going to get out. I just wanted to see him, pass him and not see anyone else."
Dix tore out of the blocks like he intended to make up the stagger on the entire field, but Spearmon had his own target in lane 8 and he pulled clear of the field on the homestretch. Spearmon stopped the clock at a staggering 19.77, but with a 2.9m/s tailwind. Dix could only manage 20.14.
The surprise of the women's 200m final was Consuella "Connie" Moore, who was away from the sport for several years before returning this year with a bang. Moore led off the curve and held off a strong challenge from Shalonda Solomon, winning in 22.40 to Solomon's 22.47 with a negligible wind (0.6m/s). Moore's time is the fourth-fastest of 2010, behind two marks of world leader Veronica Campbell-Brown and one from Allyson Felix.
Jesse Williams was the men's High Jump champion with a winning first-attempt clearance at 2.26m. Both Williams and runner-up Tora Harris attempted 2.29m, but when both failed to clear that height Williams took the victory due to Harris's two misses at 2.26m.
In the men's 800m, Nick Symmonds laid off the scorching early pace of Charles Jock, took the lead at the top of the homestretch with 100 metros remaining, and pulled away from the pack to win by over a second in 1:45.98 to Duane Solomon's 1:47.16. The women's 800m went to World indoor bronze medallist Alysia Johnson, who led gun to tape for a 1:59.87 victory, holding off Maggie Vessey on the homestretch. Vessey finished in 2:00.43.
The women's 400m Hurdles championship went to Ti'erra Brown of the University of Miami in 54.85.
Lopez Lomong won the tactical men's 1500m, outsprinting his Olympic teammate Leonel Manzano on the final straightaway after a pedestrian opening which saw the leaders cover the first 400m in 67 seconds.
The steeplechase finals were slowed by early-afternoon heat, with Lisa Aguilera winning the women's final in 9:53.59 and Daniel Huling the men's in 8:27.87.
The women's discus went to Becky Breisch at 63.34m, with Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Brown Trafton third at 59.98m. The men's javelin was won by Sean Furey at 79.86m.
The 20km Race Walks, held early Sunday morning, were won by John Nunn in 1:29:22 and Maria Michter in 1:39:47.
Sunday's competition concluded the four-day championships, held in the same venue that hosts the Drake Relays each April. The U.S. Junior Championships, the selection meet for the U.S. team to the World Junior Championships in Moncton, was held concurrently and concluded at the end of Saturday's competition.
Parker Morse for the IAAFClick here for RESULTS