Austin, Texas, USASpeed again ruled on the third of four days of competition at the NCAA Championships yesterday (11 June) but this time all the track marks were wind-legal, and there were some good field event performances as well.
Williams gives confirmation of speed
Lauryn Williams, petite but powerful at 1.57m, 57 kg, confirmed her windy 10.94 of Thursday with a legal (+1.0) 10.97 - world season's lead - last night. Both she and Muna Lee started very well, but Williams, whose running style reminds one of Marlies "The Sewing Machine" Gohr, edged ahead at 40m or so and drew away to win comfortably, with Lee taking second in 11.12.
Williams, the reigning World Junior champion says, "I started the season hoping to run in the Olympic Trials," but now she's thinking about finishing in the top three in Sacramento and going to Athens.
Lee got some consolation from her good start, and more from anchoring the Louisiana State 4x100 relay victory in the quick time of 42.61 - this despite the team's very careful exchanges.
Close men's 100
The men's 100 was not quite as fast, but a lot closer. Tyson Gay, Michael Frater (JAM) and defending champion Mardy Scales hit the finish in a near triple dead heat, with Gay getting the nod in 10.06 to Frater's 10.07 and Scales' 10.07.
Both Hurdles finals were exciting and close. Nichole Denby won the women's 100m Hurdles, edging indoor champion Priscilla Lopes (CAN), 12.62 to 12.64. Co-favourites Lolo Jones and Raasin McIntosh finished fourth (12.77) and seventh (13.18). Josh Walker won the men's 110 highs in 13.32, with 7 others at 13.55 or better. All this young depth should make the Olympic Trials hurdles very interesting.
Forty minutes after her 100m Hurdles disappointment, McIntosh came back to lead the qualifying heats for the women's 400 Hurdles, winning her heat in 55.39. Two of the other heat winners were defending champion, second fastest in 55.60, and LaShinda Demus, the winner in 2002. Although it's always dangerous to speculate, a fast, closed final is expected. The men's 400 Hurdles heats saw five men bunched between leader LaRon Bennett's 49.56 and Kerron Clement's (TRI) 49.91.
Sub 45 sec preliminary - 400m
There were good marks - and some surprises - in the men's 400-metres preliminaries. Jerry Harris' 44.92 and Jeremy Warriner's 45.03 led the heats. Eliminated were last year's winner (in 44.57), Adam Steele, who could muster only 46.58 today; and Craig Everhart, who ran 44.89 just two weeks ago but ran 46.20 here and missed making the final by 0.08. Even so, seven of the nine finalists will have sub-45 PBs.
Richards, of course!
The women's 400 qualifying was, as expected, a one-woman show. Sanya Richards went out fast and then coasted home to win her heat in 50.86. Closest to her (but not very) was another heat winner, Monique Henderson, in 51.53.
In the women's field events, Chaunte Howard continued to dominate the university women, winning here at 1.93; while fellow collegiate year leaders Chelsea Johnson won the Pole Vault at 4.30 and Becky Breisch took the Discus at 62.31. In the javelin Katy Doyle upset Inga Stasiulionyte (LIT) by a scant 9cm, 56.57 to 56.48.
In the men's field events, Hannes Hopley (RSA) successfully defended his Discus championship with a throw of 62.91 and Leevan Sands, the defending champion in the Triple Jump, led the qualifying with a wind-aided 17.17 (3.7).
Finally, after Day One of the Decathlon Ryan Harlan leads Trey Hardee by 24 points, 4232 to 4198.
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