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Saturday quotes from the USATF Outdoor Championships


USATF Championships


Saturday, June 27, 2015




Women’s 100m hurdles final


Dawn Harper-Nelson, first place, 12.55


Harper, the Olympic gold (2008) and silver (2012) medalist, claimed her fourth U.S. outdoor title.


“I love to go out and compete. This feels so satisfying, to know how much hard work goes into something like this and to have it pay off.”


On living up to her reputation as a great big-meet performer:


“I would like to say it’s my signature. I’m a gamer. I knew the other ladies were running incredibly fast times, but I believe I’m the best. I’m unbeatable - in my head.”


Women’s long jump final


Tianna Bartoletta, first place, 23-4½/7.12


Bartoletta’s jump moved her to fourth on the all-time U.S. list and is the longest mark in the world this year. Bartoletta, the world outdoor champion in 2005 and the world indoor champion in 2006, had never won a national champion in the long jump prior to Saturday.


“I’ve won two world titles and no national title. I needed one.”


On jumping the day after finishing fifth in the 100-meter final, two-hundredths of a second out of third place:


“I was disappointed for about 10 minutes. Then I told myself I’d brought my time down from 11.19 to 10.92. I realized it was a good meet for me. The events are very different. The 100 is more spastic, the long jump is more technical. I really focused on my technique today since I knew the 100 took something out of my legs.”


Men’s 1,500m final


Matthew Centrowitz, first place, 3:37.25


"This is my third one and it only gets better, I wanted to win this one the the most. With everything going on, I wanted to win this one for our team, Oregon Project, myself and my family. I wanted it bad.”


"I didn't think there would be a fast pace early on. Coming into this race, I knew I was strongest and also the fastest. That being said, if you let anything wait till the last 100, you're just giving more people a chance.”


On the difficulties of the last few weeks:


"I do a good job of blocking out distractions. Obviously this didn't directly have me involved, it was more indirect with me being a part of the team. Certainly I'm a close friend with Galen and Alberto has been a second father to me, so it affected me more that way than me directly.


On whether he has been approached by USADA:


"No, but obviously I'm open arms about discussing whatever they need from me."


Robby Andrews, second place, 3:38.75


“Honestly, with 200 to go, I thought I had missed the boat. But my dad was at the 150 yelling, ‘Don’t wait, don’t wait! It’s not over yet!’ And I just went for it. I feel very blessed to have such a great support system, Everyone has believed in me for such a long time now.”


Leo Manzano, third place, 3:38.76


“I wanted to change up my tactics slightly today, which I did. I tried something new. I usually run from the back but I ran from the front today, wanted to see what would happen. I think I ran my best race in awhile. I was doing my best to push through the finish. That’s something I’d talked over with my coach. I’m glad I listened to him.


On Centrowitz’s peformance:


“Props to him, he looked good today. I tried to go with him but unfortunately my legs didn’t respond.”


Women’s 3000m steeplechase final


Emma Coburn, first place, 9:15.59


“I’m trying to develop other tactics besides going impatiently from the gun. I think my last kilometer was fairly close to three minutes, which is one of the fastest I’ve ever done. To be competitive at the world stage, I need to at least be closing that fast. Today was a good lesson on waiting and closing well.”


On clocking the fourth-fastest time by U.S. steeplechaser:


“I thought I would see 9:20 when I crossed the line, so 9:15 was a surprise.”


Women’s hammer throw final


Amber Campbell, first place, 237-5/72.36


Campbell claimed her third national title with her final-round throw.


“I’m super stoked. It took me to my last throw, which made it more exciting.”


On her prospects for Beijing:


“The goal is to make it to the final and try for a medal. That’s why I’m still doing this. I thought when I started that I’d throw through college, and here I am, 11 years later, still loving it.”


Women’s discus final


Gia Lewis-Smallwood, first place, 207-0/63.09m


Lewis-Smallwood trailed event leader Whitney Ashley (204-1/62.21m) until the sixth round, when the 2014 champion successfully defended her title on her final effort.


“I’m really glad I was able to put it together. The hardest things in life are usually the most significant, and this one was hard. I’m flying home tomorrow, and I’m going to start training immediately to get ready for Beijing.”


Men’s pole vault final


Sam Kendricks, first place, 18-10¼ (5.75m)


On qualifying for his first World Championship team:


“I’ve never done anything like this in my entire life. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do - compete for my country.”


On knowing that he had clinched a top-three finish with his second-attempt clearance of 18-4½/5.60m:


“There’s so much pressure when world championship spots are on the line. Once I cleared 5.60, I felt so relieved. My coach has a saying, ‘You have to stand up.’ That’s how I feel - that when the pressure’s on, I stand up.”



Women’s 400m final


Allyson Felix, first place, 50.18


On coming from well behind entering the homestretch to nip Natasha Hastings at the line:


“I didn’t know I had it until after I crossed the line. Coming off the curve, I just buckled down and went for it.”


On whether she has decided to run the 200 or the 400 at this year’s World Championships (the schedule precludes a double):


“Not yet. It’s up to (coach) Bobby (Kersee). Hopefully he’ll make a decision pretty soon. I feel like I still haven’t reached my potential in 400, but I still love the 200. I wish I’d be out there tomorrow (for the 200 final).”


Phyllis Francis, third place, 50.67


On making the USA team:


“Its a great feeling. I am so blessed and thank my coaches and the fans. I am very proud of myself”


Francena McCorory, fourth place, 50.88


“Today just wasn’t my day. I’m happy for the ladies who got it.”


Men’s 400m final


David Verburg, first place, 44.63


“It’s a great feeling to beat LaShawn Merritt. I wasn’t expecting it, but it feels great.”


On not running as fast as he did in Friday’s semifinal (44.41):


“It’s hard to recreate it the next day.”


LaShawn Merritt, second place, 44.66


As the defending world outdoor champion, Merritt did not have to run all three rounds at the USATF Championships:


“I wasn’t even going to do this meet, but I decided I needed to get a feel for running rounds again. The plan was to train through this meet and try to peak in Beijing.”


Men’s 400m hurdles final


Bershawn Jackson, first place, 48.29


“I was world champion in Helsinki (2005) when I was 20. That I’m still here, in my 13th season, shows my work ethic, my passion, my consistency.


“Last year couldn’t stay healthy and I couldn’t finish my races like I wanted to. But this season I’ve had no major setbacks. It’s been a blessing.”


Women’s 400m hurdles semifinals


Tiffany Williams, first place, first semifinal, 54.27


“Before my race I’m usually focused and serious. Today I was really relaxed and calm. I just want to be my best in the final. If I’m at my best, things should turn out well.”


Shamier Little, first place, second semifinal, 54.14


Little is the world leader this season at 53.74, which the Texas A&M sophomore clocked in winning the NCAA title in Eugene.


“The final’s going to be interesting, to see what times come out of it. I should be fine if I get my rest. The heat’s not a problem for me. I train in Texas.”


Georganne Moline, second place, second semifinal, 54.28


"Shamier (Little) came and I kind of went with her a little bit, but I was happy with second. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. So that's the plan, to win tomorrow."


Women's 200m first round


Jenna Prandini, first place, first heat, 22.18w (fastest heat winner)


On returning to the track after finishing seventh in Friday’s 100 final:


"I just needed to forget about the 100, refocus and get ready for the 200."


On pulling out of the long jump:


"I wanted to save up as much energy as possible for the 200. I'm a little bit sore, but nothing that the trainers can't fix."


Men’s 200m first round


Justin Gatlin, first place, second heat, 19.92


"Man, it's a little hot out here today. Makes me feel like in I’m in Florida. My coach said take it easy through the rounds, I wanted to make sure I was up in the front and qualify on placement, not time.”


On how fast he might have had run had he contested Friday’s 100 final (Gatlin has a bye in that event for the World Championships)


"I'd like to say 9.6, threaten the American record. That's what I've been working on, steadily but surely. I want to be able to go out there and do something like that."


On his mindset for the race today

“Take it easy, rest right now and get ready for the battle tomorrow”


Men’s 110m hurdles first round


Aries Merritt, first place, first heat, 13.28


“It was a very comfortable race. The main thing is just to advance.”


On preparing for his Olympic title defense:


“This year is prepping me very well for the Olympics. The Olympics is our Super Bowl. But I do want to win the world outdoor title, since it’s the only one I don’t have.”


Aleec Harris, first place, second heat, 13.33


“I kind of ran with a cramp the whole way, so it was good to be able to advance.”


David Oliver, first place, third heat, 13.28


“All you’ve got to do is get in the top 16 (to advance) - nothing more.”


On his racing philosophy:


“I love to run. I’ll go anywhere to compete. I’ll go to the Pan Ams if I’m picked. Why not?


Ronnie Ash, first place, fourth heat, 13.42


"I was just working out the kinks in the first round. I would give it a 6 out of 10, a lot to improve on.”




Junior men’s 200m


Noah Lyles, first place, 20.18 (wind: 1.8 mps)


Lyles completed a sprint double by clocking a personal-best time to defeat double California state high school champion Michael Norman. Lyles is now equal-seventh on the all-time world junior list, and Norman is equal-10th.


“I said the same during the race that I said in the 100 - ‘I’m going to win this. I’m going to win this.’ I definitely thought a time like this was possible, but I didn’t know if I’d do it. When I saw the time flash on the board, I pointed to it and said, ‘Do you all see that?’”


Michael Norman, second place, 20.24


“I wanted to win, but a PR is nice, too. I got a really good start but I think my inexperience showed. I think I started my kick a little late.”


Junior women’s high jump


Vashti Cunningham, first place, 6-0½/1.84m


With Saturday’s victory, Vashti, the U.S. junior record holder, joined her brother, Randall Cunningham II, as a junior national champion in the high jump. Randall won the junior men’s title on Friday. Their father, Randall Cunningham, was an all-pro quarterback in the National Football League.


“I didn’t jump in the senior competition because I wanted to make the national team with my brother. This is really special to me. It’s going back to the way used to be - a dynamic duo.”


On Saturday’s competition:


“I wanted to have a clean slate at the lower heights. I wanted to go 6-4 again, but the most important thing was getting the win.”


Junior men’s 300m steeplechase


Bailey Roth, first place, 9:08.70


“This is my first steeple since world juniors last year. I was hoping to come out and run a fast time but the heat made it really tough.”


Junior men’s 10,000m


Cerake Geberkidane, first place, 31:29.15


Gerberkidane, an Oklahoma State runner from Denver, Colo.,  finished second in the 5,000m final on Friday. Twenty-three hours later, he lined up for his first-ever 10,000m.


I just drank a lot of water and tried to stay off my feet after the 5,000. Yesterday was a lot hotter than this morning. The guys in today’s race went out really slow, which was fine with me. With three laps to go, I dropped the hammer. I’m really blessed.”


Junior men’s discus


Payton Otterdahl, first place, 196-9/59.88m


Otterdahl was sixth in the shot on Friday, when John Maurins set two American junior records.


“After watching John Maurins and seeing how much fun he had, I thought, wow, I want a piece of that.


On this winning throw in the third round:


“I caught it behind the hip really well. I was kind of surprised how far it flew.”


Junior women’s 10 km race walk


Anali Cisneros, first place, 51:41.41


“I had a really good race plan set out. I wanted to break 50 minutes, and I hit all of my early splits, but the heat made it had to maintain the pace. Overall, it was a good race.”


Junior men’s 10 km race walk


Anthony Peters, first place, 45:26.01


“Coming into the race, my strategy was to stay on pace for a 44, and I was hoping to start picking it up after the 5K, generally.  This way I can hopefully get closer to 43:30 or in that range. Obviously that’s not what happened, but that’s what I wanted going into the race. After that, I just wanted to get around 45 in the race once I started feeling a cramp in my leg.”


On winning consecutive national championships:


“Just racing at this field is always an amazing experience, and knowing that I can win on this field is just great.”


Women’s junior 400m


Kendall Ellis, first place, 52.32


“This was a really big meet for me because I’ve never made a U.S. team before. I tried not to compare myself to everyone else and just concentrate on my own race. I’m happy with the outcome.”


Junior men’s hammer


Robert Colantonio, first place, 232-5/70.85m


“It was just a matter of hitting my fine points and doing what I needed to do. It will be amazing to wear the U.S. uniform and represent my country.”


Junior women’s 800m


Raevyn Rogers, first place, 2:06.64


On returning to the Hayward Field track two weeks after winning the NCAA title as an Oregon freshman:


“I went straight to summer school the next day - living the life of a student athlete.”


Junior Men’s 1500m


Blake Haney, first place, 3:58.16


“When you’re going against one of the best fields, I think it definitely makes you focus and gets the best out of you.  I think thats what happened today, so I’m happy with the result.”


“You can’t run here with an ‘O’ on your chest and not get that extra boost so I think that definitely helped me out today.”


Junior Women’s 1500m


Kate Murphy, first place, 4:16.98


“I think visualizing my kick before the race really helped today. I did not expect to run that fast at all today. It was definitely a great experience.”


Junior women’s javelin


Gabrielle Kearney, first place, 162-8


“Last year at this meet, I hadn’t trained for eight weeks because I broke my foot, and I missed qualifying for the World Juniors by three feet. Since the world meet was in Eugene, practically in my backyard, that was really disappointing. (Kearney lives in Roseburg, Ore.) I wanted some redemption.”


Junior men’s pole vault


Audie Wyatt, first place, 18-0½/5.50m


Wyatt, a Texas A&M freshman, matched the personal best he set earlier this month in finishing fourth at the NCAA Championships in Eugene.


“You can never expect to win in an event as unpredictable as the pole vault, but I’m really happy that I tied my best and cleared every height but one on my first attempt. The competition was really good today. I have to hand it to them - they all showed up.”


Junior women’s pole vault


Sara Kathryn Stevens, first place, 13-9¼/4.20m


Stevens registered successive personal bests (13-5¼ and 13-9¼) in giving Texas A&M a sweep of the junior pole vault events.


“It was the most unexpected moment of my life. To double PR and make the national team - this means the world to me. I’m in shock.”


Junior women’s 3,000m


Jill Whitman, first place, 9:36.62


“I wanted to go out with the leaders but not actually lead. I made my move with 100 meters left. I honestly can’t ask for anything better. Coming to Eugene for the first time, experiencing this atmosphere - it was amazing.”


Junior women’s triple jump


Chineme Obikudu, first place, 42-7/12.98m


After fouling her first attempts, Obikudu jumped 41-8/12.70 in the third round and hit her lifetime best in the fifth round.


“Coming in, I was ranked fourth. I didn’t even know if I could get top three. To be able to win is an amazing feeling.”


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