BOSTON - A pair of records and a pair of two-time winners made history Sunday afternoon at the 2009 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center. Lolo Jones became the first back-to-back Visa Champion, Terrence Trammell became the first two-time men's champion, and Jenn Stuczynski broke an American record for the second time this season.
All in the span of just a few hours.
Three-way battle for women's Visa Championship
Jones became the first back-to-back Visa champion, but it didn't come without a substantial amount of dramatic tension. Jones entered the final meet of the Visa Championship Series eying a performance of 7.86 seconds in the women's 60m hurdles to overtake series leader Jenn Stuczysnki, but by the time she took the track for the penultimate women's event Sunday afternoon, the ground had shifted.
Earlier Sunday morning, Amber Campbell took the lead for the Visa Championship - determined by the best single performance of the Series, using IAAF scoring tables - by winning the women's weight throw with a best mark of 24.43 meters /80 feet, 2 inches. The throw was worth 1,197 points on IAAF scoring tables, tying her with Olympic silver medalist Stuczynski, who held the lead entering the meet thanks to her American record vault of 4.82m/15-9.75 at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Visa Championship Series rules indicate that in the event of a tie, the athlete with the best performance at the USA Indoor Championship will be declared the winner, which meant Campbell was in the lead. Finishing behind Campbell in the weight throw were Erin Gilreath in second (21.96m/72-0.75) and Kristal Yush in third (21.63m/70-11.75).
Stuczynski wasn't to be denied, however. Eventually surpassing the women's pole vault field by more than a foot, the American indoor and outdoor record holder set the bar to what would be a new AR, 4.83m/15-10. She made it on her second attempt to score 1,200 points on the IAAF scoring tables. She then reset the bar to 4.86m/15-11.25, in an effort to pad her point total, but was unsuccessful in three attempts.
That left Jones needing to run 7.85 in order to beat Stuczynski. Somewhat sluggish over the first hurdle, Jones rallied strongly to win in 7.84, worth 1202 points and $25,000 in Visa Championship bonus money. Finishing behind her were Olympic heptathlon silver medalist Hyleas Fountain (7.98), who gave Jones a run early in the race, and Shantia Moss (8.15).
All Trammell, all the time
Trammell put the men's Visa Championship and its $25,000 payday out of reach with a near-perfect run in the men's 60m hurdles. Already the Visa points leader with 1226 entering the USA Championships, Trammell led from start to finish Sunday afternoon, winning in 7.37 seconds to break Reggie Torian's 10-year-old meet record of 7.38. The time was just .01 off the American record, was a 2009 world leader, and gave him 1259 points in the Visa standings. Second place went to Dexter Faulk (7.53) and Jerome Miller was third in 7.61.
Khadevis Robinson took the fourth indoor crown of his long career, to match his four outdoor titles, in the men's 800. In a tactical race that went through 400m in 54.7, Robinson emerged from a tight pack on the final back stretch. He put his head down and drove through the finish line in 1:48.61, ahead of Mark Wieczorek in second in 1:48.94 and Matt Scherer in third (1:49.36).
Joanne Dow won her sixth indoor title in the race walk, moving definitively past Teresa Vaill in the last 400m of the women's 3,000 walk to win in 13:04.28, with Vaill second in 13:14.07. Solomiya Login was third in 13:45.53.
A pair of Olympic Trials champions outdoors won their first indoor titles in Boston. Fifth at the Olympic Games in the women's long jump, Brittney Reese won her first national bragging rights Sunday with a best leap of 6.71m/22-00.25. Fountain, fourth in the Olympic Trials and the defending indoor champion in the open long jump, was second at 6.66m/21-10.25, and two-time indoor champ Akiba McKinney was third with 6.59m/21-07.50. Anna Willard won the Olympic Trials women's steeplechase in American-record time, and she used her strength to win the women's 1500 in wire-to-wire style. Running a steady pace, she easily won in 4:17.37 as two-time Olympic Shayne Culpepper sprinted up to second in 4:18.82 and Sara Hall was third in 4:19.30.
After the hurdle finals, only the men's and women's 60m finals remained. Neither event threatened the Visa Champions, but both races provided exciting finishes. In the men's 60, Mark Jelks won a photo-finish over Dangelo Cherry, 6.51 to 6.52, as Kendall Stevens finished third in 6.56.
The women's race was nearly as close as 2006 World Indoor champion and Visa Champion Lisa Barber (7.15) held off Tianna Madison (7.18) and Rachelle Boone Smith (7.19).
Competing for his first few post-collegiate years behind the "big three" of Adam Nelson, Christian Cantwell and Reese Hoffa, Dan Taylor on Sunday staked a claim to a position in the men's shot put elite. Taylor won the shot with a best throw of 20.67m/67-9.75 as Russ Winger placed second with 20.44m/67-0.75 and Nelson was third with 20.08m/65-10.5.
Dominique Darden won her first national title in an exciting women's 400m. After letting Ashlee Kidd provide leading duties from the gun, Darden surged to the victory in the last few steps to win in 52.43, as Kidd was second in 52.44 and Shana Cox was third in 53.04.
Katie Waits won a much different women's 800m. The 10-time all-American while at the University of Michigan towed the field through a very brisk first 400m in 60.6 seconds, and she only increased her lead from there. Putting the hammer down in the third 200m, the 2007 NCAA outdoor runner-up won easily in 2:03.56, with 1,500m ace Treniere Clement second in 2:04.32 and Jesse Carlin third in 2:05.98.
Jamaal Torrence took the men's 400m over a solid field. The 2006 NCAA Division II indoor champion kept his lead in the final stretch to outlast 2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Kelly Willie (46.59) and two-time USA indoor champion James Davis (46.80).
Jake Freeman won his first national title in the men's weight throw with a best of 23.73m/77-10.25, with four-time indoor champ A.G. Kruger second with 23.31m/76-05.75 and Garland Porter third with 23.24m/76-03.00. Also winning his first national title in the field was Brandon Roulhac, who won the triple jump with a mark of 16.94m/55-7. Muhammad Halim was a distant second with 15.87m/52-1, and Alonzo Moore was third with 15.61m/51-2.75.
Young sets huge masters WR in 1,500
Longtime masters standout Tony Young captivated the Reggie Lewis Center crowd with a stirring world-record run in the masters men's 1,500m. A loan officer from Redmond, Wash., who will turn 47 next month, Young ran a blazing time of 3:57.91 to crush the world record for 45-49 year olds of 4:02.24, set last year by Spain's Jose Borrego. He shaved almost seven seconds from the American record of 4:04.80 set by Ken Sparks in 1980.
In other exhibition events, Nike Central Park TC won the women's Distance Medley Relay in 11:52.30, Wisconsin Runner took the men's DRM in 9:48.06, and Terry Ballou of Millrose AC won the women's masters 400 in 1:02.04.
For complete results, athlete quotes, Visa Championship standings and updated Pick-n-Win standings, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com or www.usatf.org.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.