26 JUN 2011 General News

With first 400m national title, Felix achieves significant milestone - USA Champs, Day 3

Allyson Felix adds a national 400m title to her collection (Getty Images)Allyson Felix adds a national 400m title to her collection (Getty Images) © Copyright

Eugene, USAAllyson Felix is still undecided about a 200m and 400m double in the IAAF World Championships in Daegu but the three-time World 200m champion accomplished another milestone on the third day of the USA Championships at Hayward Field on Saturday (25).


Felix won her inaugural 400m title to become the first woman to win U.S. national titles in the 100m, 200m and the 400m during a career. It was the 10th national championship appearance for Felix, 25, who won the 100m in 2010 and the 200m five times in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.


“It’s special, it’s my first time, I didn’t know what to expect,” Felix said about the 400m. “I think it’s a blessing to go from the 100m to the 200m and now the 400m.  And I just feel happy.”


After racing to a sizeable lead in the first 200m, Felix won a homestretch duel over Francena McCorory to win in 50.40 to 50.49, in swirling winds. Debbie Dunn was third in 50.70 to earn the final World Championships berth. The time was more than half a second off of Felix’s world-leading 49.81 run at Rome's Golden Gala Samsung Diamond League fixture.


“It was windy but it always is here,” Felix said.


Daegu double dilemma


Felix received a bye in the 200m for Daegu as reigning World champion and did not run in the event at the USA Championships. Instead, she used the USA meet as a trial run for a possible long sprint double.  


“I just wanted to evaluate how my body felt through the rounds,” Felix said. “In Daegu, I am going to have to run faster in the rounds and it’s going to be a little more intense so I have to take that into account as well.”


Another factor is the meet schedule with the 400m heats and final run before the 200m.


“I am not going to be as fresh going into the 200m so that’s going to be a huge deciding factor,” Felix said.


Felix’s coach, Bobby Kersee, said that she will definitely run in the 200m in Daegu. Given the opportunity, Felix would also like to run in the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m Relays.


“I have to see how my body feels,” Felix said. “I wouldn’t get on the track if I didn’t feel that I could add something to the relays.”


McQuay defeats Wariner


There was also a first-time winner in the men’s 400m with University of Florida sophomore Tony McQuay who ran a U.S. leading 44.68 to defeat 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner and 2010 U.S. champion Greg Nixon. Wariner and Nixon were second and third, both timed in 44.98.


McQuay, 21, who finished second in the NCAA championships two weeks ago, has spent much of the season in rehabilitation from a hamstring injury suffered in the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.


“It was really tough. I really got down on myself,” McQuay said. “I didn’t know how long it would take for me to actually get back into my rhythm.”


Demus and Oliver post Hurdle wins


World leaders David Oliver and Lashinda Demus ran to wins in the 110m Hurdles and the women’s 400m Hurdles.


Oliver defeated Aries Merritt to win 13.04 to 13.12.  


“It wasn’t a very good start, I stayed in the blocks a little longer to not false start,” Oliver, the U.S. record holder said. “But I didn’t have to reinvent my wheel or get creative, I just needed to run my race.”


Looking ahead, Oliver said he was looking forward to a bit of down time. “A lot can happen in the next two months. I need to get my base training up and I need to relax. The USA’s are hard work for all of us.”


Jason Richardson edged veteran Terrence Trammell by a scant 0.01 in 13.15 to finish third.


Demus ran a controlled race to win the women’s 400m Hurdles in 54.21 with 2008 Olympian Queen Harrison in second in 54.88 and Arizona State senior Jasmine Chaney in third in 55.21.


Centrowitz and Uceny win dramatic 1500ms


Matthew Centrowitz and Morgan Uceny prevailed in the men’s and women’s 1500m that featured dramatic finishes.


In a tactical and physical men’s race, Centrowitz ran a 52-second final 400m to defeat Bernard Lagat, 3:47.63 to 3:47.96. Leonel Manzano finished third in 3:48.16 to hold off a diving Andrew Wheating for third by just 0.03. Wheating, however, will earn a spot on the U.S. team with Lagat’s decision to forego the 1500m for the 5000m in Daegu.


“It hasn’t set in yet,” said Centrowitz, the 21-year-old son of two-time Olympian Matt Centrowitz. “I was confident and my coaches had confidence in me. I was aiming for top three but winning is great.” This was the fifth national title for the Centrowitz family; Matthew Sr. won four 5000m titles between 1979 and 1982.


In the women’s 1500m, Christin Wurth led from the start but was overtaken on the final curve by Morgan Uceny who won in 4:03.91. Jenny Simpson was second in 4:05.66 and Shannon Rowbury nipped Wurth for third by a 0.01 to place third in 4:06.20.


Billy Nelson won the 3000m Steeplechase in 8:28.46. Daniel Huling, who led most of the race was second in 8:29.27 and Kyle Alcorn was third in 8:29.44.


Miles better with age in Pole Vault


Derek Miles, the oldest competitor in the Pole Vault at 38, won at 5.66m for his second career national title – the first coming at the 2008 Olympic Trials at Hayward Field. Jeremy Scott was second at 5.60m and Nick Mossberg was third at 5.54.


American record holder Brad Walker failed to clear a height, missing two tries at 5.54m after passing on the opening two heights and a third miss at 5.66m.


In other field events, Marquise Goodwin of Texas, who won the 2010 NCAA title at Hayward Field, won with a wind-aided leap of 8.33m. Dwight Phillips, who has automatic entry to Daegu as World champion, took three jumps, his best a wind-assisted 7.89m.


National record holder Kara Patterson won the javelin at 59.34m. Jessica Cosby won the women’s hammer at 71.33m with Amber Campbell sneaking into second with a sixth-round effort of 70.07m.


Kellie Wells was the top qualifier in the women’s 100m Hurdle heats in her first race at Hayward Field after suffering a hamstring injury in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials semifinals that sidelined her for more than a year. Danielle Carruthers (12.67w), Lolo Jones (12.73w), NCAA champion Nia Ali (12.73) were other heat winners.


In the 200m qualifying, Shawn Crawford had the top time of 20.24w. Carmelita Jeter, who won the 100m on Friday, ran the top women’s time of 22.37. Sanya Richards, who scratched from the 400m semifinals, advanced in 22.84.


Kirby Lee for the IAAF


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