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Photo finishes run rampant as action heats up at USATF Outdoors


EUGENE, Oregon -- The USATF Outdoor Championships delivered in terms of excitement on Saturday, as world leads and photo finishes highlighted day three action at Historic Hayward Field.


Matt Centrowitz (Portland, Oregon) cruised in the men’s 1,500 meters, stamping his ticket to Beijing in 3:37.25. It was a photo finish for silver and bronze, as Robby Andrews (Manalapan, New York) and Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) emerged as the second and third finishers in 3:38.75 and 3:38.76, with Ben Blankenship (Eugene, Oregon) finishing just outside medal contention in 3:38.78.


Tianna Bartoletta (Tampa, Florida) was in fantastic form Saturday, winning the women’s long jump title with a world-leading and personal best mark of 7.12m/23-4.50. Bartoletta led from the get-go, with her second jump catapulting her into the record books. Her jump of 7.12m/23-4.50 makes Bartoletta the fourth-best performer in U.S. history.


The women’s 400 was another photo finish, as world leader and defending USATF Outdoor champion Francena McCorory (Hampton, Virginia) found herself diving for the finish and coming up just short. In the end, it was Allyson Felix (Los Angeles) who captured the championship, crossing in 50.19 after chasing down the leaders with 30 meters to go. Natasha Hastings (Brooklyn, New York) ran well throughout, finishing in 50.25. American indoor 400 meter record holder Phyllis Francis (Queens, New York) nabbed the third spot in 50.67.


David Verburg (Lynchburg, Virginia) was victorious in the men’s 400 meters, winning his first USATF title in 44.63. LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Virginia) crossed as the runner-up in 44.68 and NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion Vernon Norwood (Morgan City, Louisiana) was the bronze medalist in 44.80.


Sharika Nelvis (Memphis, Tennessee) came away with the fastest time in the 100-meter hurdle semifinals, crossing in a wind-legal 12.37. Nelvis yesterday ran a Hayward Field record in the prelims, crossing in 12.34. The battle continued between Nelvis and Jasmin Stowers (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) for the top spot out of the semis, as Stowers won the second semifinal in 12.54. In the finals, it was all Dawn Harper-Nelson (Los Angeles), who defended her title in 12.55. Kentucky’s Kendra Harrison and Nelvis were the other two to stamp their tickets, finishing in 12.56 and 12.59.


Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida) etched his name in the record books Saturday, running the fourth-fastest 200 meters ever in the first round. Gatlin crossed in 19.92 and now ranks behind Carl Lewis (19.84), Shawn Crawford (19.88) and Michael Johnson (19.89).


On the women’s side, it was Jenna Prandini (Clovis, California) who was victorious with the top time in the prelim rounds, looking to be no worse for wear in her fourth race in three days. Prandini ran a windy 22.18 in her heat, while four of the top 10 from the preliminaries were collegians, continuing their fine form from the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward two weeks ago.


Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, North Carolina) won his fifth 400-meter hurdles title on Saturday, crossing in 48.29 to edge Johnny Dutch in the final 10 meters. Dutch closed in 48.43, while two-time Olympian Kerron Clement ran a steady race to qualify for Beijing in 48.44.


The preliminary rounds of men’s 110-meter hurdles had no surprises as all the top contenders advanced to Sunday’s semifinals. Olympians David Oliver (Kissimmee, Florida) and Aries Merritt (Bryan, Texas) took the top two spots, both qualifying in 13.28.


Gia Lewis-Smallwood (Champaign, Illinois) defended her USATF Outdoor Championship title in the women’s discus, tossing a mark of 63.09m/207-0. Amber Campbell (Indianapolis, Indiana) won the women’s hammer throw, registering a throw of 72.36m/237-5 on her last attempt to win the title.


Coverage of the USATF Outdoor Championships concludes Sunday with the men’s and women’s 20K race walk kicking off the action at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT on USATF.TV. Live broadcast coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on NBC, with field event coverage during the TV window on USATF.TV.


Fans can join the conversation by following USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #USATFoutdoors.


USATF Outdoor Champions


Women’s 10,000 Meters - Molly Huddle (Saucony) - 31:39.20

Men’s 10,000 Meters - Galen Rupp (Nike Oregon Project) - 28:11.61

Men’s Long Jump - Marquis Dendy (Florida) - 8.68m/28-5.75

Women’s Shot Put - Michelle Carter (Nike/NYAC) - 20.02m/65-8.25

Men’s Discus - Jared Schuurmans (NAI) - 64.64m/212-1

Men’s Hammer Throw - Kibwe Johnson (Nike/NYAC) - 76.95m/252-5

Men’s Javelin - Sean Furey (Unattached) - 83.08m/272-7



Women’s 100 Meters - Tori Bowie (adidas) - 10.82

Men’s 100 Meters - Tyson Gay (unattached) - 9.87

Men’s High Jump - Erik Kynard (Jordan) - 2.37m/7-9.25

Women’s Triple Jump - Christina Epps - 14.09m/46-2.75

Women’s Javelin - Kara Winger (ASICS) - 64.94m/213-1

Decathlon - Trey Hardee (Nike) - 8,725 points



Women’s 400 Meters – Allyson Felix (Nike)

Men’s 400 Meters – David Verburg (adidas)

Men’s 1500 Meters – Matt Centrowitz (Nike Oregon Project)

Women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase – Emma Coburn (New Balance)

Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles – Dawn Harper-Nelson (Nike)

Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles – Bershawn Jackson (Nike)

Men’s Pole Vault – Sam Kendricks (Nike)

Women’s Long Jump – Tianna Bartoletta (Nike)

Women’s Discus – Gia Lewis-Smallwood (Nike)

Women’s Hammer – Amber Campbell (Nike/NYAC)


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