Despite a two and a half hour rain delay, Sunday (25), the fifth and final day of the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (21 – 25 June), provided plenty of hot competition and a number of world class performances, including world season leaders in six events: men's 200 metres, 800 metres, 110 metres Hurdles, High Jump, and Triple Jump, and women's 400 metres Hurdles.
World leads -
- Men's Triple Jump: World Indoor and outdoor champion Walter Davis started the fireworks with his first jump, a 17.46m effort - and raised it to 17.71m with his sixth, just 2cm short of the PB he set winning the World Indoor Championships in March.
- Men's High Jump: Tora Harris raised his PB from 2.31m to 2.33m with a third-jump clearance. He beat Keith Moffat, who raised his own best from 2.27m to 2.30m.
- Women's 400m Hurdles: Lashinda Demus posted a world leading 53.50 winning her semi-final yesterday. Today she lowered that to 53.07, making her the 13th fastest of all time. Content to stay even with the field for six hurdles, she then made her move, and won by 8 metres from Sheena Johnson's 53.90. She said, "I wanted to run 52.7. I think I could have if I didn't hit the last hurdle."
- Men's 800m: Khadevis Robinson runs fast - always - following the example of his coach, Johnny Gray (who still holds the American record at 1:42.60). Robinson led all the way, pushing the pace through 25.3, 51.11, and 1:17.6, and left the other seven finalists struggling in his wake as he finished full of running in 1:44.13. Behind him little-known Nick Symmonds and Jebreh Harris posted PBs of 1:45.83 and 1:45.91. Said Robinson, "My coach wanted me to come through faster. I have so much confidence in myself now."
- Men's 110m Hurdles: Dominique Arnold won his semi in world-leading time, 13.15, and then improved it to 13.10 in the final. He needed it to beat Terrence Trammell's 13.14. Behind them, big PBs were posted by Ryan Wilson (13.22) and Robby Hughes (13.30). Was Arnold satisfied? Well, almost; he said, "It's a fast track. It kind of screwed up my rhythm a bit."
Three-time World champion Allen Johnson finished fifth in his semi-final in 13.59 and did not make the final. "It was just a bad race," he said.
- Men's 200m: Wallace Spearmon was apparently a well-beaten sixth with 50 metres to go. With 30 to go, it looked like unknown Jordan Vaden would be the national champion. But Spearmon can really turn it on - and he did. He flashed past the field and hit the line in 19.90 (+0.3). Behind him, Vaden, who came into the meet with a PB of 20.57, came out with a new PB - 1998. Jeremy Wariner, still feeling his way in the 200m, took fifth in 20.24. Said Spearmon, "I was shooting for a bit faster, but the rounds took a bit out of me. The start was usual; I normally don't have a good one."
Those weren't the only excellent performances, just the ones which were world leaders.
Breaux Greer won his seventh straight national championship in the men's Javelin Throw. He came down the runway ("at 60% speed," he said), let the spear fly, and didn't even bother to watch it. It went 85.40m. Every throw is painful, but he says, "I just sort of deal with it." He passed his other five throws, but still won easily from Rob Minnitti's PB of 77.99.
In the women's 800m, Hazel Clark took the lead as she usually does, forced the pace, and then had to struggle to hold off Alice Schmidt, 1:59.94 to 2:00.00. It's the third U.S. 800m title for Clark, but then, it's a family thing: since 1988 this race has been won five times by her older sister Joetta, and four times by her sister-in-law Jearl Miles-Clark.
In the women's 200 metres, World Championships silver medallist Rachelle Boone-Smith won the final comfortably in 22.31. Both Marion Jones and Lauryn Williams scratched from the heats pleading tiredness after the 100m, and Allyson Felix withdrew from the final with a hamstring twinge and a sore throat. Boone-Smith didn't mind; she said, "I'm ecstatic about Athens and the World Cup."
Bernard Lagat, winner of Friday's 5000 metres in 13:14.32, completed a double today. He led all the way to win the 1500m in a comfortable 3:39.29, content to hold off Gabe Jennings' 3:39.42.
Daniel Lincoln, who fits his training in when he can without missing his medical school duties, won his third straight U.S. 3000 metres Steeplechase title in 8:22.78.
James Dunaway for the IAAF
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