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Nation's best compete for World spots at USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

DES MOINES, Iowa - More than 800 athletes will converge on Des Moines in hopes of earning a coveted spot on Team USA for the upcoming World Outdoor Championships this week as competition begins Thursday at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at Drake Stadium.

The USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships conclude the 2013 USATF Championship Series. The meet also selects the athletes that will represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, August 10-18.

With 50 hours of webcasting coverage and nine hours of national television coverage, 2013 marks USATF’s most aggressive national media distribution of a national championship to date. Television coverage starts on Friday, June 21 from 8-10 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2. View the complete webcast and broadcast schedule here.

Women’s events
The women’s 100m hurdles is sure to be one of the most fiercely competitive events of the championships. The U.S. women own the top six times in the world this year. As the reigning Diamond League Champion, Dawn Harper (East St. Louis, Mo.) has an automatic bye to the World Championships, allowing Team USA to take four 100m hurdles to Moscow. Harper is the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and she will face 2012 bronze medalist Kellie Wells (Clermont, Fla.) Other top contenders include hometown favorite and 60m hurdles indoor American record holder Lolo Jones (Baton Rouge, La.), recently crowned NCAA champion Brianna Rollins (Miami, Fla.) and 2008 Olympian in the 400m hurdles, Queen Harrison (Clemson, SC).

In the women’s middle distance events, all eyes will be on 17-year-old Mary Cain (Bronxville, NY.) Cain owns the world championship A standard in both the 800m and 1500m. Cain is entered in the 800m, 1500m and 5,000m. Cain has assaulted the record books this year, as she has set 15 high school and American junior records in the past six months. Perhaps Cain’s best chance of making the world championship team is in the 1500m. Current U.S. leader Jenny Simpson (Boulder, Colo.) has an automatic bye to the World Championships as the reigning champion, allowing the U.S. to take four women in the 1500m.

In the field events, Olympic Champion Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Miss.) and Olympic bronze medalist Janay Deloach Soukup (Fort Collins, Colo.) are sure to put on a show. While Reese already has an automatic bye to Moscow as the reigning world champion, there is no doubt she will be looking to win her sixth consecutive national title.

Olympic champion and indoor world record holder Jenn Suhr (Churchville, N.Y.) will lead the way in the women’s pole vault as she seeks her sixth USA Outdoor title. Suhr currently sits at No. 2 on the outdoor world list this year. The U.S. has a great depth of talent in the women’s vault, as Mary Saxer (Lancaster, Pa.) and Kylie Hutson (Terre Haute, Ind.) are also in the top-ten on the world list.

Men’s Events
Fresh off his defeat of Jamaican gold medalist Usain Bolt, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Fla.) leads a strong field into the men’s 100m along with American record holder Tyson Gay (Lexington, Ky.) Both running well during the current outdoor season, Gay (9.86) and Gatlin (9.91) hold the two fastest times in the world this year.

Gatlin and Gay, along with two-time Olympian Wallace Spearmon (Fayetteville, Ark.), will also race in the 200m.

One year ago, during the 2012 Olympic Team Trials, Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.) became the first man since 1952 to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m in the same Olympic Trials. Entered into both events in Des Moines, the 10,000m American record holder will look to repeat that performance.

Always among the deepest events in American track and field, the men’s 110m hurdles features both the reigning world champion in Jason Richardson (Cedar Hill, Texas) and the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in Aries Merritt (Atlanta, Ga.). Also in the field is former American record holder David Oliver (Denver, Colo.), who holds the fastest time in the country this season. Merritt, who is coming off a breakthrough season, set the world record in 2012 along with winning Olympic gold and running the seven fastest times in the world.

On a roll during the current Diamond League season, Ryan Whiting (Harrisburg, Pa.) heads into Des Moines boasting the top two throws in the world in the men’s shot put. The 2012 World Indoor champion joins Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.), who won bronze in the London Olympics, to own the top five throws in the world this year.

Teammates while at Florida, Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.)  and Will Claye (Phoenix, Ariz.) will headline the fields in the men’s triple jump and long jump. Taylor, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, holds the top mark in the country this year in the triple jump and Claye, medalist in both horizontal jumps in London, will compete in both events in Eugene.

In front of his home crowd at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, Ashton Eaton (Bend, Ore.) set the world record in the men’s decathlon at 9,039 points. In Des Moines he will compete in his first full decathlon since winning Olympic gold in London. He will be joined by reigning World Outdoor gold medalist Trey Hardee (Austin, Texas).

For more information on the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including a complete schedule of events, full start lists and live results, visit Tickets are still available at or at the Drake Stadium box office.

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