At age 18, LaShawn Merritt became the second-fastest indoor 400-meter
runner in history and the owner of the third-fastest time ever. USA
Track & Field's 2004 Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year, Merritt
came through 200 meters in a blazing 21.04 seconds, then crossed the
finish line in 44.93 seconds. The time is slower than only the
legendary Michael Johnson's world record of 44.63, set in 1995, and
Johnson's 1996 time of 44.66. It is the fastest time ever run by a
junior (19-and-under) athlete indoors.
With his race in Fayetteville, Merritt bettered his own 2005
world leader of 45.94 by more than a full second and took another
giant step toward making him the next great American teen sensation.
Merritt won three gold medals at the 2004 World Junior
Championships, including the 400 meters (45.25) and anchoring Team
USA to world junior records in the 4x100 (38.66) and 4x400m
2003 USA 400-meter hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson finished a
distant second in the 400 in 45.70, followed by Olympic 4x400m relay
gold medalist Andrew Rock in 46.01.
WR scare for Lagat
Two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat of Kenya narrowly missed the world
record in the Powered by Tyson men's mile. Led by pacesetter Fred Sharpe through
400 meters in 56.4 seconds and 800 in 1:51.8, Lagat was ahead of Hicham El
Guerrouj's 1997 world record pace of 1:53.7.
Laban Rotich then took over pacing duties, towing Lagat through 1,200 meters
is 2:50.7, still ahead of El Guerrouj's pace. Running alone for the final 400
meters, Lagat passed 1,500 meters in 3:33.34 and finished in 3:49.89, the
third-fastest time in history and a tick off the WR of 3:48.45.
leaders for Johnson, Campbell
Allen Johnson chalked up his second 60-meter hurdles win in as
many weeks. Following his win at the Millrose Games, the three-time
world indoor champion easily won his event at the Powered by Tyson
Invitational in a world-leading time of 7.51 seconds.
Triple Olympic medalist Veronica Campbell of Jamaica also was
dominant in the Powered by Tyson women's 60 meters. The 200-meter
and 4x100m gold medalist pulled away from the field to win in a
world-leading 7.09, well ahead of Olympic 200m finalist Muna Lee's
U.S.-leading time of 7.19 and Olympic Trials 100m champion LaTasha
Danielle Carruthers earned her second Visa Championship Series victory in the
60-meter hurdles, over perhaps the strongest field on paper of any race in the
world so far in 2005. The Indiana University graduate won in 7.98 seconds in a
photo-finish over former NCAA champion Michelle Freeman of Jamaica (7.99);
two-time Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Morrison-Howard (8.01) and 2003 world
indoor and outdoor gold medalist Perdita Felicien of Canada (8.06).
hot Visa men's long jump
The Visa men's long jump also provided some close competition.
Continuing his comeback from a severe knee injury in 2003, the 2002
USA indoor champion Miguel Pate won the competition with his
first-round jump of 8.16 meters/26 feet, 9.25 inches. Two-time U.S.
indoor champion Savante Stringfellow, returning from a ruptured
Achilles, was second with 8.14mn/26-8.5; and Olympic silver medalist
John Moffitt was third with 8.11m/26-7.25.
Dee Dee Trotter
Millrose champion Hazel Clark posted the fastest time by an American this
year in the 800 meters, winning in 2:02.68 for her second straight victory this
year, ahead of Marian Burnett in 2:03.17.
Reebok Boston winner Jason Smoots won the Nike men's 60 meters in 6.54
seconds, a whisker ahead of the University of Arkansas' Tyson Gay, who set a
school record with his time of 6.55.
Alistair Cragg of Ireland likewise won his second race of the Visa
Championship Series as the 2005 Reebok Boston Indoor Games champion took the
3,000 meters in Fayetteville, outkicking 2004 world indoor bronze medalist
Markos Geneti of Ethiopia to win in 7:40.53 over Geneti's 7:40.72.
Wallace Spearmon of the University of Arkansas ran a very quick 20.44 seconds
to win the men's 200 meters, while Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Dee Dee
Trotter won the women's deuce in 23.19. Mary Sauer cleared 4.35m/14-3.25 in the
women's vault to win over Lindsay Taylor, who was second with the same height.
Highlighting collegiate competition Friday, the University of Arkansas ran
the fourth-fastest distance medley relay in history with their win of 9:29.25.
Top U.S. Performances -
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