BOSTON - Distance and field event finals provided champions in nine events Saturday at the 2008 AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center, and familiar names topped many of the results tables.
The final event of the Visa Championship Series, the meet serves as the qualifying event for Team USA's roster for the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, to be held March 7-9 in Valencia, Spain. The top two finishers in each event qualify, provided they have met IAAF performance standards. The AT&T USA Indoor Championships will be televised Sunday, February 24 from 5-7 p.m., Eastern Time on ESPN2.
Christin Wurth-Thomas retained her lead top the women's Visa Championship standings, blazing the final 800m of the Hershey women's 1,500m in 2:08 to finish in 4:14.21, the fastest time by an American this year. Jenelle Deatherage, also having a career best year in 2008, was second in 4:17.38.
World Indoor champion Brad Walker proved he is back from a slight early-season injury, winning the men's pole vault with a clearance of 5.70m/18-8.25. Rory Quiller was listed at second with a jump of 5.60m/18-4.5, a height also achieved by 2004 Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson, Olympian Derek Miles and Jacob Pauli.
Another pre-meet favorite, Matt Tegenkamp, ran a controlled race to victory in the men's 3,000, passing Chris Solinsky to win his second straight title 8:02.52. Solinsky was second in 8:03.80.
New distance threat
The women's 3000 saw a surprise victor, however. The 2007 NCAA indoor mile champion while running for Duke, Shannon Rowbury displayed remarkable poise, as well as leg speed, to easily pass early-leading Jen Rhines with 400m to go in the women's 3,000m run. Rowbury finished in 8:55.19, with two-time Olympian Rhines second in 8:59.98.
2007 USA indoor and outdoor champion Aarik Wilson won his second consecutive indoor title in the men's triple jump with a best mark of 16.91m/55-5.75. 2004 Olympian Kenta Bell was second with 16.73m/54-10.75.
Jillian Camarena won her fourth-straight national indoor title in the women's shot put, her throw of 18.11m/59-5 just three inches farther than Abigail Ruston in second (18.03m/59-2).
2002 World Junior champion Andra Manson won his first national crown in the men's high jump with a clearance of 2.30m/7-6.5 on his first attempt, after requiring three attempts at 2.28m/7-5.75. Two-time NCAA outdoor champion Jesse Williams was second at 2.28m. In the women's high jump, Amy Acuff won her fourth overall and second consecutive national indoor title with a clearance of 1.92m/6-3.5. Coming back after pregnancy, 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist Chaunte Howard was second with 1.89m/6-2.25.
Two-time USA outdoor heptathlon champion Hyleas Fountain won her first U.S. indoor long jump title with a best effort of 6.38m/20-11.25. Shameka Marshall also jumped 6.38m, but Fountain's second-best mark of 6.36m/20-10.5 gave her the win over Marshall's 6.28m/20-7.25.
Fresh off a runner-up finish February 9 at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - 50 km Race Walk, Matthew Boyles won his first indoor title in the men's 5,000m race walk in 20:30.00. Patrick Stroupe was second in 20:59.83.
Harvey breaks another record during qualifying
In qualifying action, Nicole Cook posted the fastest time in the women's 800m rounds, winning the second of three heats in 2:04.03. Also advancing to the final was 42-year-old Alisa Harvey, who broke her own U.S. masters record in placing third in heat 1. As The Killers' song "When You Were Young" played ironically over the PA system, Harvey finished in 2:06.08 to break her previous record of 2:07.08, run January 26 at Penn State. American indoor record holder and two-time USA champion Nicole Teter was first in heat 3 to advance as well (2:06.68). 2007 U.S. indoor champion Nick Symmonds (1:48.67) and U.S. outdoor champion Khadevis Robinson (1:48.88) were top qualifiers for the men.
In Saturday's only other qualifying rounds, 2007 World Outdoor Championships 4x400m relay gold medalist Mary Wineberg was fastest in the Hershey women's 400 in 52.68, while David Neville was fastest among the men in 47.19.
Competition continues Sunday with finals in all other events. For more information, including complete results and athlete quotes, visit www.usatf.org