The biggest winner on this exciting third day of the USATF championships (Sat 25) must surely be Clyde Hart, Michael Johnson's coach, who added two more 400m national championships to the long list of successes achieved by his athletes.
Not only did Jeremy Wariner and Darold Williamson finish 1-2 in the men's 400m in excellent times, but his newest charge, Sanya Richards, won the women's 400 in even more convincing fashion.
Wariner makes it look easy
Just as in last year's Olympic Trials and the Games proper, Wariner again made it look easy yesterday. Wariner stumbled coming out of the blocks, and arrived at 200 metres in a reported 21.6, slightly slower than called for in Hart's schedule. Wariner made it up by running the curve extra hard and emerged the leader at 300, a couple of metres up on LaShawn Merritt and Derrick Brew, with Williamson well back in fourth.
Williamson came on hard to pass Merritt and Brew just metres from the finish, while Andrew Rock charged up on the outside to take third. The times speak for themselves: Wariner, 44.20; Williamson, 44.62; Rock, 44.70; Merritt, 44.73; Brew, 45.01.
Williamson best described the result: "Jeremy wins the important ones. I've beaten him all year, but today he put his race together and executed. I didn't work my 200-300 curve and he made his up on that curve. It's all about putting together the 44 seconds that we run. If he puts it together, he wins. If I put it together, I win."
Richards has arrived
Sanya Richards won USATF and the NCAA in 2003 at 18, and was marked as The Coming Thing. Today she emerged as The Thing: she has arrived. Her post-Olympic coaching switch to Hart was motivated as much by University of Texas coach Beverly Kearney's need to concentrate on her college team as by discontent; nonetheless, Hart's highly disciplined approach (vide Michael Johnson), fit Richards' needs perfectly.
Like Wariner, she worked the curve hard, came into the homestretch clearly in front, and stayed there, finishing strongly in 49.28, a huge PB. DeDe Trotter came up fast to take second in 49.88(PB), but really made no dent on Richards' margin. NCAA champion Monique Henderson also PB'd taking third in 49.96.
Richards said: "Three under 50 seconds. What more could you ask for?"
Reinstated Gatlin is supreme
In the men's 100, Justin Gatlin took advantage of his reinstatement of yesterday to win the final by a metre from Shawn Crawford and Leonard Scott. Gatlin's time, 10.08, was achieved despite a headwind of 2.3 m/s.
Gatlin definitely has another gear; at 60m he was fourth behind Maurice Greene, Crawford, and Scott. Then Greene's left hamstring betrayed him and he crow hopped out of contention. Just as suddenly, Gatlin simply took off, and soon he was past the other two to win going away. That's what 'another gear' can do for a sprinter who has it.
Greene said, "I had a good start. I was just going to start to accelerate and I felt my hamstring pop. There's nothing you can do about it."
Barber cuts through the opposition in women’s 100m
After MeLisa Barber posted a windy (+3.0) 10.87 winning her semi, the suspicion grew that she would win the final. And she did, leading all the way. This time, the wind was against her (-1.6) and she ran 11.10, but the margin was impressive: Muna Lee was second in 11.28, and Olympic silver medalist Lauryn Williams was third in 11.29.
Alan Webb demonstrated his ability to beat American 1500m runners at any kind of race, winning with a fast final 200m off a moderate pace (3:41.97). In the mad dash of that last 200, Olympian Charlie Gruber got boxed and ended up fifth.
Treniere Clement, who trains with Webb in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., raced smartly to win the women's 1500 in 4:06.73, just outside the Worlds "A" standard of 4:05.80.
Demus clocks 53.35
LaShinda Demus won the women's 400m Hurdles in a good 53.35, while 2004 NCAA and Olympic Trials winner Sheena Johnson faded to fourth. Fifth was Kim Batten, 1995 World Champion and still American record holder (52.61) was fifth in the second year of her comeback.
American record and world lead Hammer mark
In the field events, Erin Gilreath set an American record in winning the women's Hammer Throw with 73.87, and Stacy Dragila won her ninth U.S. outdoor Pole Vault championship with a 4.50 clearance, as vaulters had difficulties with the wind.
In the men's Triple Jump, only Walter Davis could master the tricky, shifting winds well enough to better 17m. His 17.15 fourth-round winner was one of three tries longer than runner-up Kenta Bell's best jump of 16.82.
The men's 3000m steeplechase was won handily by Daniel Lincoln in 8:17.2, and Teresa Vaill, who continues to improve at age 42, won her second straight national championship with a PB 1:33:28.15 in the women's 20 km walk.
James Dunaway for the IAAF
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