Fast Times Take Webb, Robinson, Johnson to 2007 USATF Titles By David Monti (c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(24-Jun) -- The air was warm and defintely sticky, but that didn't
prevent Alysia Johnson, Khadevis Robinson and Alan Webb from posting
fast times as they each won their respective events on the final day of
the AT&T USA Outdoor Championships at the Michael A. Carroll
Stadium at Indiana University-Purdue University.
University of California star who won the NCAA 800m title on June 9,
needed to run nearly the same fast time here to beat back the
challenges of Hazel Clark, three-time USA 800m champion, and Alice
Schmidt, the 2006 USA indoor champion. The early pace was set by high
school sensation Chanelle Price, who took the field through 400m in
57.90. Johnson, Clark and Schmidt followed Price in that order.
Johnson took charge of the race on the backstraight, leading through
600m, then into the final turn. But Clark and Schmidt hadn't yet given
up their hopes of winning.
"I've been so confident," Johnson said of her final kick. "I was just honestly thinking, 'Dig!'"
made a frantic dash to the line in the last 100m with Clark right on
her and Schmidt closing hard from third. Both Johnson and Clark lunged
at the finish and crashed hard to the track.
"If that's what it
takes to come out on top then that's OK," Johnson said, her white
uniform stained red from where she rubbed the track on her chest.
the dust cleared, Johnson was credited with the win in 1:59.47 to
Clark's 1:59.60. Schmidt also got under two minutes: 1:59.63. Not
since the Olympic Trials in 2000 have the top-3 women in a U.S. 800m
championship broken two minutes.
The drama in the men's 800m was
completely different. It was no surprise that Khadevis Robinson was
already leading the race at a fast clip through 200m (24.7), but had
expanded his margin to four meters by the time he went through the 600m
checkpoint (1:18.5). Despite a terrific sprint by Nick Symmonds, who
had been running in sixth position at 500m, Robinson was already out of
reach and sailed to the finish line in a snappy 1:44.37, defending his
know, I just love to run a tough race," said an elated Robinson.
"Somtimes you go out and go for it, and it doesn't work every time,"
Symmonds finished second just like last year,
recording a 1:45.17. He was impressed with how his IAAF World
Championships teammate Robinson had run the race.
"I just really, really respect how he ran that," Symmonds told reporters. "It was ballsy."
USC's Duane Solomon finished third in 1:45.69 to round out the U.S. team for Osaka.
two-lap finals were only an appetizer for the thrilling 1500m final
which followed. Alan Webb and Bernard Lagat agreed before the race
that the pace should be fast to keep the field thin, letting them race
it out for the title at the end.
"Me and Bernard talked before
the race, and preferred it would be a man-on-man race," Webb told
reporters. He also said that he should take the early pace in fairness
to Lagat who had also run (and won) the 5000m final on Friday.
first 400m was passed in 57.56 with Webb on the front with Lagat and
Said Ahmed following. Webb kept the pace high through 800m (1:56.23)
and there was no change in the running order. But, just past the 800m
mark, Lagat took the lead and was on the front with Webb, Leonel
Manzano and Chris Lukezic all still in contention.
really smart at the front, really fast," Lagat, the defending champion,
observed. "Then I said, 'I'm going to take over.'"
leading through the final turn, with Webb, Lukezic and Manzano chasing.
Then Webb launched the kick which put him in the winner's circle at
the mile at the Reebok Grand Prix earlier this month, burying his
rivals in the last 50m, and running the fastest time at this meet since
Steve Scott ran 3:34.92 in 1982: 3:34.82.
"That kind of kick
wins a big, big meet, like Osaka," said Lagat who could not hold off
Manzano and finished third. Manzano set a personal best 3:35.29 to
Lagat's 3:35.55. Lukezic ran a great race, but finished fourth in
how you've got to win races," said a beaming Webb who had also won the
U.S. indoor title at the mile last March. "Through the last 300 I felt
Webb, along with his coach Scott Raczko, has added more
speed training after two years of focusing mostly on building his
"After I ran that 10-K last spring that was the end
of two years of longer stuff," Webb explained. "That 10-K was the end
of that phase."
The men's 3000m steephechase final didn't
feature fast times, but produced the biggest upset of the day. Joshua
McAdams, the 2006 NCAA steeplechase champion, was sitting second behind
defending champion and U.S. record-holder Dan Lincoln at the bell.
Anthony Famiglietti, perhaps the biggest favorite for a top-3 finish,
was in third and Thomas Brooks was fourth. McAdams made his move for
victory on the backstraight, and had an eight meter lead going into the
final turn. Lincoln faded in the final sprint (he would finish fifth),
while Arizona State's Aaron Aguayo, Brooks, and Famiglietti battled for
the final podium positions and world team spots. McAdams won easily in
a personal best 8:24.46, while Aguayo was the best of the rest in
8:27.01. Improbably, Brooks beat Famiglietti by 3/10ths of a second to
"I knew if it came down to 400 to go I'd give it a good fight," said McAdams.
U.S. team for the men's steeplechase isn't settled, however. Adams
just finished under the IAAF "A" standard of 8:24.60, so he's on the
team. Second place Aguayo finished under the "B" standard of 8:32.00,
so he has also secured his place on the team. However Brooks only has
the "B" standard and under IAAF rules a nation can only have one "B"
qualifier in the final team of three. That means either 1) Aguayo
improves to the "A" by August 13 making Brooks the only "B" team
member, 2) Brooks improves to the "A" by August 13 locking in his place
on the team or 3) Famiglietti, who already has the "A" standard, is
promoted to the team if neither Aguayo nor Brooks improve to the "A"
year's national meet will be the U.S. Olympic Team Trials held in
Eugene, Ore., at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. As in this
meet, the top-3 from each event will be provisionally named to the U.S.
Olympic Team for Beijing.