Johnson wins sizzling men’s hurdles; Clay, Broe set records

06-24-2005

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LOS ANGELES - As temperatures cooled, competition heated up late in Friday's competition at the 2005 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. One of history's greatest hurdles races, records in the decathlon and men's 5,000, and a topsy-turvy men's 100-meter round 1 kept the Home Depot Center crowd buzzing throughout the late afternoon and evening.

The concluding event of USA Track & Field's 2005 Visa Championship Series, the meet hosts more than 1,000 athletes as they compete for the right to represent Team USA at the 2005 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships August 6-14 in Helsinki, Finland.

In addition, the Visa Championship is for grabs. The male and female athlete with the top overall single performances in the 2005 Visa Championship Series will be named Visa Champion and each receive a $25,000 bonus, plus other prizes, to assist them on their journey to achieve their athletic goals.

Johnson wins blazing hurdles race

Four-time world champion Allen Johnson won one of the greatest 110-meter hurdles races in history, leading the way for an amazing American contingent for Helsinki that ran the three fastest times of 2005 in Friday's final.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell got out to a great start, with Johnson and Dominique Arnold - second to Johnson at the Reebok Grand Prix June 11 - moving well in the last half of the race.

The 34-year-old Johnson crossed the line in 12.99 seconds, his fastest time since 2003 and the fastest in the world in 2005, to win his seventh U.S. outdoor title. Arnold was just .02 behind, in a personal-best 13.01, while Trammell also had a personal-best 13.02 to post the fastest third-place time in hurdling history. Joel Brown was fourth in 13.28 and also will be on the team for worlds, since Johnson as defending champion has an automatic berth into the world championships.

Decathlon discus WR for Clay

Olympic silver medalist Bryan Clay dominated the men's decathlon field, scoring 8,506 points for an easy win over Paul Terek (7,976) and Phil McMullen (7,795).

Clay opened Friday with the fastest 110-meter hurdle time of the day, 14.06, for 967 points. He then broke the 26-year-old world decathlon record in the discus, his throw of 55.87m/183-3 surpassing the previous record of 55.00m/180-5 set in 1979 by Bulgarian Razvigor Yankov. The mark earned Clay 993 points.

Clay's day concluded with marks of 5.0m/16-4.75 in the pole vault (910 points), 60.02m/196-11 (738) in the javelin and 4:57.11 in the 1,500 (576 points).

Broe magnificent in 5,000

Two-time defending champion Tim Broe shattered the Championships record in the men's 5,000 meters, his time of 13:12.76 leading three men under Doug Padilla's 1985 mark of 13:16.42.

The American indoor record holder at 3,000 meters, Broe led former Stanford stars Ian Dobson, the 2001 USA junior champ, and Ryan Hall around the track at 13:20 pace for nearly the entire race. But with 1,000 meters to go, Broe threw in a 61.7-second lap, followed by 59.9 circuit. He covered his final 400 in 59.1, and he crossed the finish line in 13:12.76. Dobson followed him in 13:15.33, with Hall third in 13:16.03. All three met the world championships "A" qualifying standard with their times.

The women's 10,000 was a four-woman race as Katie McGregor, Jen Rhines, Blake Russell and American record holder Deena Kastor led throughout. With two laps to go, McGregor, Rhines and Russell dropped Kastor, who recently suffered and ankle injury. Russell took over leading duties with a lap to go, and McGregor began making her move with 300 left. McGregor passed Russell off the final turn, winning in 31:33.37. Russell was second in 31:35.24, Rhines third in 31:37.20 and Kastor fourth in 31:45.08.

Field event finals

In the field, Breaux Greer won his sixth U.S. title with a big helping of intestinal fortitude. After knee surgery in the offseason to repair a torn ACL, the American record holder is coming back from shoulder surgery earlier this summer. His weeks of inactivity left him in second place behind John Hetzendorf (78.23m/256-8) after three rounds of throwing. Greer's fourth-round throw sailed 79.19m/259-10 to give him another title and a ticket to Helsinki.

Grace Upshaw won a very close women's long jump. Her best mark of 6.70m/21-11.75 was matched by 2005 NCAA champion Tianna Madison of Tennessee, but Upshaw's second-best mark of 6.60m/21-8 surpassed Madison's 6.58/21-7.25. 2002 U.S. champion Brianna Glenn was third with 6.68m/21-11.0.

James Parker won his third straight title in the men's hammer throw with a best mark of 74.15m/243-3, with 2004 NCAA champion Jake Freeman second (72.60m/238-02) and Olympic Trials runner-up A.G. Kruger third (71.48m/234-06).

Kristin Heaston, a 2004 Olympian and the 2003 U.S. champion, won her second national title in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 18.68m/61-3.5. Michelle Carter of the University of Texas was second with a personal-best 18.26m/59-11, with Elizabeth Wanless third with 18.14/59-6.25.

Stunner in men's 100 heats

The first round of the men's 100 meters provided perhaps the most stunning moment of the Championships when reigning Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin apparently false started and disqualified. Lined up for the first heat of the round, Gatlin and the rest of the field all were changed with a false start when runners came out of the blocks without the gun sounding.

Lining up for a second try at a start, Gatlin's reaction time registered as .095 seconds, or .005 faster than the allowable. His lane was flagged and he was escorted from the track. DaBryan Blanton went on to win the race, after a third try at a start, in 10.17. Gatlin quickly filed a protest, however, and after looking at a print-out of the start, the head men's referee determined that the runner in lane 5 (), adjacent to Gatlin, was not motionless. Gatlin therefore was advanced into the semifinal.

2000 Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene had better luck in heat 2, winning in 10.12 after Olympic 200m silver medalist Bernard Williams false started. Leonard Scott won heat 3 in 10.20, American junior record holder Walter Dix took the fourth heat in 10.27, and Olympic 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford looked brilliant in winning heat 5 in 10.10, the fastest time of the day. Former world record holder Tim Montgomery withdrew from the competition earlier in the day.

The women's 100 heats were significantly less dramatic, with Me'Lisa Barber running the fastest time by an American with her win in heat 3 (11.04). Also winning their heats were indoor Visa Champion Angela Daigle (11.40) and Marshevet Hooker (11.32). Two-time world champion Marion Jones withdrew after warming up shortly before race introductions.

Favorites advance in rounds

Favorites ran well in the semifinal rounds of other races. Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner practically walked the last meters of his men's 400m semifinal, yet still posted the fastest time of the round with 44.82. His former Baylor teammate, 2005 world leader Darrold Williamson, won the first heat in 44.83. Other fastest qualifiers from semifinal rounds were Olympic relay gold medalist Sanya Richards in the women's 400m semis (51.09), Olympian Lashinda Demus in the women's 400m hurdles (54.19), two-time Olympian Hazel Clark in the women's 800 (2:02.47), 2004 Olympic Khadevis Robinson in the men's 800 (1:47.53) and American record holder Briana Shook in the women's steeplechase semis (10:07.37), . Top performers in first-round action were U.S. leader Me'Lisa Barber in the women's 100 (10.04 U.S. leader, personal-best), two-time Olympian James Carter in the men's 400m hurdles rounds (49.65),

For complete results, athlete quotes and start lists from the 2005 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org