Demus, Lagat shine in cloudy weather at AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

06-25-2006

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Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field
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INDIANAPOLIS - Lashinda Demus walked away with a $100,000 check, Bernard Lagat made history and six athletes ran world-leading marks Sunday to conclude the AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at Michael A. Carroll Stadium.

Through it all, 6,833 fans persevered through a three-hour rain delay and wet weather all day long to bring the meet-long attendance total to a strong 33,950 fans.

The final stop of the 2006 Visa Championship Series, the AT&T USA Outdoor Championships is the selection event for the 2006 IAAF World Cup, with the champion in each event being named to the team.

Demus dashes to Visa Championship

Lashinda Demus had the biggest smile on track after winning her second straight national title in the women's 400 hurdles. Not only did Demus set a personal best with her world-leading time of 53.07, she also won the $100,000 first prize in the Visa Championship Series with her performance, worth 1,234 points on the IAAF scoring tables. She took victory in the Visa Championship from 2005 Visa Champion Sanya Richards, who had entered Sunday's competition in first with 1,227 points. Richards gave Demus a congratulatory hug before Demus - who ran a powerful final turn and was smooth over the final two hurdles - was asked if her smile was due to the victory or the money. Demus' happy answer: "B - the money!" Sheena Johnson finished second to Demus in the hurdles in 53.90, with Shauna Smith third in 54.76.

Demus joined men's Visa Champion Justin Gatlin in winning the women's and men's overall Visa Championship, respectively. For full standings, see below.

Lagat makes history

Bernard Lagat became the first man in history to win the 5,000 and 1,500 meter double at the USA Championships, but it didn't come easy. The two-time Olympic medalist for his former country of Kenya, Lagat on Sunday had to hold off a strong challenge from 2000 Olympic Trials champion Gabe Jennings and Leonel Manzano of the University of Texas. The trio crossed the finish line in short order, with Lagat, who won the 5,000 on Friday, clocked in 3:39.29, Jennings in 3:39.42, and Manzano in 3:39.49. Already the American record holder, Lagat was competing in his first American championship, and he made it memorable.

Dominique doubly good

Dominique Arnold had a stellar day, posting two world-leading times in the men's 110-meter hurdles en route to winning his first championships. He first posted the 2006 world leader with his semifinal win in 13.15, then went on to win the final in 13.10, ahead of two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell second in 13.14. Ryan Wilson was third in 13.22. Seven-time U.S. champion Allen Johnson was fifth in Arnold's semifinal and did not advance to the final.

Greer continues winning streak

Coming off of a series of injuries and surgeries, American record holder Breaux Greer won a record seventh consecutive national title in the men's javelin in typical, impressive style. As he has done in many competitions the last two years due to injury concerns, Greer took just one throw - and it was a big one. His mark of 85.40m/280-2 easily broke his meet record of 85.23m/279-7 from 2001 and put him well clear of a field that included Robert Minnitti in second (77.99m/255-10) and Brian Chaput in third (76.44m/250-9).

World leaders in the jumps

Walter Davis and Tora Harris each posted world-leading marks to win the men's triple jump and high jump, respectively.

The 2005 World Outdoor and 2006 World Indoor gold medalist, Davis went 17.71m/58-1.25 on his final attempt to post a world leader and outdoor personal best in the triple jump with a -0.7mps headwind. Kenta Bell was second with 16.90m/56-4.5, with Aarik Wilson third with 16.91m/55-5.75.

The 2002 NCAA champion, Harris won his first USA outdoor title in the high jump while competing in his first outdoor meet of the year. Harris jumped a world-leading, personal-best clearance of 2.33m/7-7.75 to win, prevailing over Keith Moffatt in second (2.30m/7-6.5) and Andra Mason in third (2.24m/7-4.25).

Half-lap heroes

World Outdoor Championships silver medalists stepped up to become national champions in the men's and women's 200 meter races. Wallace Spearmon lived up to his #1 world ranking in the men's 200 meters, virtually flying down the track in the final 70 meters of the race to come from behind for the win in 19.90. More surprising than Spearmon's world-leading time, just .01 off his personal best, was Jordan Vaden's second-place time of 19.98, which cut .41 off the previous personal best of the 2004 NCAA Division II champion. Rodney Martin placed third in 20.14, all running with a +0.3 mps wind.

In the distaff race, Indiana University grad Rachelle Boone-Smith won comfortably in 22.31. NCAA champion Shalonda Solomon of South Carolina was second in 22.47, with LaTasha Jenkins third in 22.66. Defending world and U.S. champion Allyson Felix withdrew from the final, not fully recovered from a hamstring injury and a bout of strep throat.

Robinson runs to world leader

The men's 800 meters was an eye-opener for several athletes as veteran Khadevis Robinson successfully defended his national title with a personal-best and world-leading time of 1:44.13. Nearly as impressive was Nick Symmonds of Division III Willamette University, who made an impressive stretch run to finish second in 1:45.83, nipping Jebreh Harris, who was third in 1:45.91. The time smashed Symmonds' own Division III record of 1:47.34.

The women's 800 featured a thrilling finish, with Hazel Clark barely holding off Alice Schmidt to win her third U.S. title. Clark finished in 1:59.94, lunging across the line ahead of Schmidt in 2:00.00. Frances Santin was third in 2:01.15.

Daniel Lincoln made a one-man show of the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, crushing the field in 8:22.78 to win his third consecutive title and post the 2006 American leader. Steve Slattery was second in 8:25.54, followed by Daniel Huling in 8:27.41.

Kevin Eastler won his second U.S. 20 km race walk title, easily walking to victory in 1:25:09.67. Olympian John Nunn was second for the second straight year in 1:27:16.83, and five-time champion Tim Seaman was third in 1:29:56.84. Jared Swehosky of Stayton High School in Oregon won the junior men's 10 km race walk in 48:47.50, followed by Roberto Vergara of South Texas in 49:09.95.

U.S. indoor champion Jillian Camarena won the women's shot put (18.92m/62-1), with Laura Gerraughty second (18.24/59-10.25) and Elizabeth Wanless third (18.11/59-5).

In Sunday's final two events, Ian Waltz won the men's discus (64.52m/211-8), with Casey Malone second (62.23/204-2) and Jarred Rome third (60.93m/199-11). Jenn Stuczynski won her first outdoor title in the women's pole vault (4.55m/14-11), with Jillian Schwartz second (4.50m/14-9) and Becky Holliday third (4.45m/14-7.25).

Demus, Gatlin top final Visa Championship Series standings

Lashinda Demus and Justin Gatlin finished atop the final Visa Championship Series standings, each winning $100,000 as the Visa Championship Series saw $320,000 in bonus monies awarded to a total of 10 men and women.

To score points, athletes must win their event during Visa Championship Series meets. To be eligible for the cash bonuses, athletes also must win their events at the AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Visa Championship Series men's standings:

1) Justin Gatlin, 1,263 ($100,000)

2) Kerron Clement 1,253 ($30,000)

3) Adam Nelson, 1,243 ($15,000)

4) Wallace Spearmon, 1,241 ($10,000)

5) Walter Davis, 1,237 ($5,000)

Visa Championship Series women's standings:

1) Lashinda Demus, 1,234 ($100,000)

2) Sanya Richards, 1,227 ($30,000)

3) Chaunte Howard, 1,204 ($12,500)

4) Rachelle Boone Smith 1,204 ($12,500)

5) Ginnie Powell, 1,201 ($5,000)

For complete results, athlete quotes, event schedule and start lists, visit www.usatf.org