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Sunday quotes from the USATF Outdoor Championships


USATF Championships Day 4


Sunday, June 28, 2015


Women’s 400m hurdles


Shamier Little, first place, 53.83


Little’s winning time is the second fastest in the world this season, trailing her 53.74 from the NCAA Championships in Eugene. She won the 2015 world junior title in Eugene as well.


“I can’t wait to see how much I can accomplish here in the years to come.”


On Sunday’s race:


“There was a lot of commotion on the final turn. People were hitting hurdles, one girl fell. I told myself, OK, the race begins now.”


On the neon-green bow she wears in her hair:


“I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on the bow from Oregon fans. I don’t think I’ll get rid of it anytime soon.”


Cassandra Tate, second place, 54.01


“This is my first time making the outdoor team, so it’s an amazing feeling. I’m happy, I’m blessed, and I’m relieved it’s over.  I’ve been thinking about this since the fall, and everything is finally coming together for me. I had a personal best today and I’m thankful and happy that everything did come together.


Kori Carter, third place, 54.41


“It felt a little choppy today. I told myself to just get through it. I’m still getting adjusted to the pro lifestyle, things like how much flying affects your body. It’s a learning process.”


On her chances in Beijing:


“My dad says says, ‘If you’ve got a lane, you’ve got a chance.’” I’ll have a lane.”


Women’s pole vault


Jennifer Suhr, first place, 4.82m/15-9.75


“This is only my second meet of the year, so I’m still working on a lot of things. It’s a challenge peaking for worlds, because you’ve also got to peak for this meet. You need to be on your game and you won’t be going to worlds.”


Sandi Morris, second place, 4.65m/15-3


“It came down to making bars on my first attempt. (Morris cleared her first four heights on her opening attempt.)


“At a big meet like this, it’s all about placement. You don’t want to have a bunch of misses when you get to the end.”


Demi Payne, third place, 4.65m/15-3


“It was a struggle for me today. When I missed my first attempts at 4.40 (14-5¼), I was dying. As soon as I made that, I knew I could make the next bar.”


On whether she’ll compete collegiately for Stephen F. Austin next year or turn professional:


“The plan right now is to go back to school. In an Olympic year I don’t really want to change anything.”


Women’s high jump


Chaunte Lowe, first place, 1.91m/6-3.25


On winning her seventh U.S. championship:


“I’m excited about it. I’ve got a little vendetta. Since I left college early, I didn’t win as many NCAA titles as I might have. I told myself I’d make up for it by winning these championships.”


On still needing to meet the world qualifying standard of 6-4¼/1.94m:


My goal coming here was to finish in the top three and get the standard later if I have to. I’ll go to any meet and jump anywhere (to get it).”


On third-place finisher Amy Acuff’s performance at age 39:


“She’s my role model. As long as she keeps going, I can go at least that long.”


Amy Acuff, third place, 1.88m/6-2


I felt really good, so it’s a little disappointing that I wasn’t quite sharp today or jumping higher. It’s still great to be here and mix it up.”


Women’s heptathlon


Barbara Nwaba, first place, 6500 points


Leading Sharon Day-Monroe by just eight points entering the seventh and final event, the 800 meters, Nwaba clocked 2:07.13 to win the title by 42 points.


“It always comes down to the 800. Fortunately, it’s one of my best events. I knew I had a 2:07 in the tank.”


Sharon Day, second place, 6458 points


“The high jump was the killer event for me. If I’d cleared two more heights, that would have been about more points. I feel pretty good about my overall score. It’s my second-best ever, so I can’t complain too much. My ultimate goal is to go to Beijing and win a medal.”


Erica Bougard, third place, 6288 points


“The shot didn’t go well for me at all. I was first after two events and then dropped to fourth. I made the (U.S.) team in 2013 and I got a personal best today. I can do better if I get my shot together.”


Men’s triple jump


Omar Craddock, first place, 17.53m/57-6.25


“I’ve won national titles before, but coming out with a personal best and first place, I’d say this is my biggest one.”


The United States will have four entrants in the men’s triple jump in Beijing: Craddock, Will Claye, Marquis Dendy and Christian Taylor (who was awarded a bye for winning last year’s Diamond League title). All four are products of the University of Florida.


“We’re changing U of F to be the University of Flights. I put a couple of small brooms in my bag today since I knew we were going to sweep it.”


On how he expects to perform at the World Championships:


“I’m getting a medal. If it takes 18 meters (59-0.75), so be it.”


Will Claye, second place, 17.48m/57-4.25


“This brotherly rivalry is really serious. Other people may be surprised, but it’s not a surprise to us. It’s great that we were able to do it on the big stage.”


Marquis Dendy, third place, 17.23m/56-6.5


Dendy qualified for the U.S. team in both the triple and the long jump. He won Thursday’s long jump with a wind-aided leap of 8.68/28-5.75.


“I don’t want to make excuses, but doing the long jump took a little out of my legs today. I’m going to take care of myself in the next few weeks and try to do the double again in Beijing.”


Men’s shot put


Joe Kovacs, first place, 21.84m/71-8


On his 26th birthday, Kovacs successfully defended his 2014 title by hitting the winning distance on his fourth throw.


“It took me a little bit of time to get going. Sometimes you’ve got to flip the switch to make it happen. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the team, but it’s also nice to win.”


On runner-up Christian Cantwell’s complaint that Kovacs shouldn’t have been allowed to take warm-up throws when the field was whittled down to eight throwers after the first three rounds:


“That’s Christian. He’s always mad about something. It’s OK, we’re good buddies. I kind of enjoy it. Hey, I got him fired up. He got his best throw in the sixth round.”


Christian Cantwell, 21.54m/71-0


“The pressure never goes away, no matter how many of these you’ve done. I felt like I was in my first one today. I was expecting more. I’m healthy, and I wanted to bomb one.”


On what it will take to win the gold medal in Beijing:


“Twenty-two meters (72-2.75), something like that. There will be three or four guys, including myself, who can do that. History is on my side: The winner here rarely wins worlds.”


Jordan Clarke, 21.49m/70-6.25


“The U.S. men’s shot has been crazy good for so many years. It’s hard to get one of these team spots. I got my personal best today, so this is a really big deal. It’s going to be my first World Championships. If I could out with a medal, it would be awesome.”


Men’s 110m hurdles


David Oliver, first place, 13.04


“The race was all right. The starter held us in the set position for a long time. I thought I’d be able to run 12-something, but it’s all good. The U.S. championship is hardest national title to win, and I hadn’t won one in five years.”


Looking at the calendar on his wristwatch:


“Eight weeks from yesterday is the final in Beijing.”


Aries Merritt, third place, 13.19


“I was tired before the final, and that’s unusual for me. All I had to do is get fourth or third, and I did that.”


Women’s 5,000m


Nicole Tully, first place, 15:06.44


“With a lap and a half to go, I told myself, ‘This is it. Ninety seconds to go.’ The last lap was a blur. I pretended I was a sprinter.”


Tully moved up to the 5,000 this season after specializing in the 800 and 1,500:


“The 5k is so different from the 1,500. There’s so much more time to think, to question yourself.”


Marielle Hall, second place, 15:06.45


“The first five or six were all capable to making the team. I wish I had timed my kick a little better, but I just kept repeating to myself, ‘I’m not not going (to the World Championships), I’m not not going.’”


Men’s 5,000m


Ryan Hill, first place, 13:50.69


“I put so much pressure on myself to make the team, it’s almost a feeling of relief. I knew I felt really good with 400 to go. I came off the final turn and saw that Galen (Rupp) was struggling a bit. Some days you just feel really amazing. I’m happy that I felt that way on the right day.”


On Bernard Lagat fading to 10th place in the closing stages:


“Maybe Bernard is actually 40 years old. We didn’t believe it before.”


Ben True, second place, 13:51.09


True qualified for the U.S. team by placing second in the 10,000-meter final on Thursday. He plans to run just the 5,000 in Beijing provided he can meet the qualifying standard of 13:23.00.


“The focus all year has been on the 5k. The 10k, I don’t like. I still need to get the standard, but that shouldn’t be a problem.”


Galen Rupp, third place, 13:51.54


“That’s one of the toughest 5k’s I’ve ever had. No excuses. I lost to great great guys. I wasn’t exhausted (from Friday’s 10,000m). It’s going to be fun going to Beijing with guys who can be competitive there. I’m sorry not to see Bernard (Lagat) on the team. I’ve learned so much from him over the years.”


Bernard Lagat, 10th place, 13:59.48


The 40-year-old Lagat, a seven-time U.S. champion in the 5,000 (including 2014), will be missing the World Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2003.


“I was watching the big guys and wanting to stay with them. When Galen (Rupp) started moving with three laps to go, I felt like I usually felt with 300 meters to go. I really wanted to make the team for my kids. It’s going to be a strange feeling (not competing at worlds). I wanted to make it for them so much.”


Women’s 800m


Alyssa Montano, first place, 1:59.51


Montano competed in last year’s national championship while eight months pregnant. Her daughter, Linnea Dori, was born Aug. 15 and accompanied her mother to Eugene.


“The difference between this year and last? Thirty pounds. This year, I wanted my daughter to see her mom get out there and compete, even though I wasn’t sure if I was prepared. She won’t be able to remember this, obviously, but she’ll get to see the video and say, ‘I was there!’”


“Coming back from pregnancy and winning a national title - I didn’t know it would happen this soon. I’ve had to scale back my training, and I’m still breastfeeding.”


Ajee Wilson, third place, 2:00.05


Wilson, the defending champion, lost her shoe when she collided with Maggie Vessey on the second lap.


“It was iffy positioning from the beginning. I was out in lane three for most of the time,  then I tried to make a move on the back stretch at the 300. That’s where my shoe came off. I didn’t even know (Vessey) fell until the finish.”


“I was having problems with the shins, so running with one shoe was weird. I knew how close it was behind me, especially at the finish. But I was glad I was able to get there. I live to fight another day, I’m just glad to make the team and get ready for Beijing.”


Men’s 800m


Nick Symmonds, first place, 1:44.53


“Duane (Solomon) went out very hard. He did what he said he would do - make it an honest race. All morning I prepared myself for the fight. You’ve got to be close to the action, and at 150 meters into the race I was not doing that. With 300 meters to go, it was all about picking people off.


“My favorite moment in track and field is when you’re 110 meters out and you know you have it in your legs. Today when I started to close that gap and I looked at the guys, they were losing their form a little bit That’s the most enjoyable part of the race for me. It’s about finding what you have left in your body.”


Looking ahead to the World Championships:


“I’ve got a few weeks to get ready. I don’t want to go to Beijing to be just another runner. I want to win a medal for my country.”


Eric Sowinski, second place, 1:44.84


“I haven’t missed a final yet in my career, but I hadn’t made a (national) team, either. It’s great to finally pull it off.”


Casimir Loxsom, third place, 1:45.35


“The pace was a little hot, I think it took a little bit out of me the last 100 meters. I was just happy to hold on to the third spot. The goal the whole year was just making the team.”



Men’s 3000m steeplechase


Evan Jager, first place, 8:12.29


“To close out a race like that at a decent pace is helpful. I doubt I’ll have to lead a race like that at the world champs. It’s nice to know I can do something like that. I was comfortable until about 500 or 600 to go and then it started getting tough.


Donald Cabral, second place, 8:13.37


“My mom told me before the race, ‘Watch out, the Bowerman Track Club has three guys in the race; they might try to box you in.’ I told her that they wouldn’t do that, they’re ethical guys. Then I got boxed in, and that made me mad. My mom knows more about track than I do.”


Men’s 200m


Justin Gatlin, first place, 19.57


Gatlin’s time makes him the fourth-faster performer in history, with the equal-11th fastest performance.


“A lot of people had been asking me what I could run if I ran through the finish line. Today, I wanted to show them. I had one race to go, and I wanted to go out and make a statement. That’s what I did.”


On whether he considers the 100 or the 200 his best chance for a gold medal in Beijing:


“I’d say the 100, just because it comes first. But I’m going to put all my effort into both of them. A lot of people try to peak for the World Championships. I just want to maintain.”


Wallace Spearman, third place, 20.10


“Honestly, the last two years have been hell for me. I started off on top with getting a silver medal at worlds (in 2005), my first year as a pro, and the next year I was number two in the world. These last couple years, I haven’t been ranked top ten and lost my sponsors. To come back and make the team helps me appreciate things more than ever.”


Women’s 200m


Jennifer Prandini, first place, 22.20


“It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m really thrilled. My 200 start, for some reason, is always better than my 100 start, and I got out really well today. I definitely felt fresh. I think the decision not to do the long jump really set up for today’s race.”


Women’s 1500m


Jenny Simpson (New Balance), first place, 4:14.86


“I felt like I didn’t have any pressure to make something happen (she already a bye into the World Championships), so I was able to just sit and respond. I was able to sort of role the dice and see if I could handle it”.


“I am as fit as I’ve ever been this time of year. I feel really good and I think the Prefontaine and Rome meets showed that I’m in a great spot.”


Shannon Rowbury, second place, 4:14.99


“Having the best final last lap doesn’t really matter unless you’re not the first one to cross the line. I know areas that I need to work on and that I have my work cut out for me, but I’m excited by the challenge.”


Men’s 20k race walk


John Nunn, first place, 1:28:39.48


On the race today:


“It was good. The crowd was fantastic - a lot of people came out and cheered us on. I ended up leading wire to wire, took a little bathroom break for a second, but was able to pull it back and make it work. Time wasn’t quite where I was hoping it would be at all. The first half was okay. In the second half things faltered a bit, but we can get it figured out.


Winning another national title:


“It was a fun race. My hamstring was a little tight all week, and we were working on it. Fortunately, we didn’t have any issues with it. There is no question there will be spots open at for the Olympics with the walks. We had six people in the race, which lets me know that we’ve got a lot of work to do as far as recruiting and mentoring people.”


Women’s 20k race walk


Miranda Melville, first place, 1:36:33.99


Melville claimed her first U.S. title by defeating four-time champion Maria Michta-Coffey.


“Late in the race, I wondered if I was going to run out of juice. I just told myself that I’d earned this, not make it happen.”


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