By Gary Smith and Miranda Mitchell, World-Track
EUGENE — Carmelita Jeter, the hottest female sprinter in the world this year, held on for life to beat a closing Muna Lee and win the women’s 100metres at the U.S. Championships here in Eugene on another windy day at Hayward Field.
Mike Rogers continued his excellent run this season by winning the men’s title – dipping Darvis Patton on the line to win his first U.S. Outdoor title.
Getting out to rocket start, Jeter looked set to dominate the field, but realized she had to dig into her reserves to hold off a towering finish from Lee.
Jeter in the end won the race in 10.78seconds, aided by a 3.3mps following wind. Lee was also given the same time, but photo-finish showed she was second.
The experienced Lauryn Williams (10.96) got home in time to out-leaned NCAA champion Alexandria Anderson (11.00) for third place.
The men’s race was just as exciting with Rogers proving that his outstanding indoor form was no flute when he posted a wind-assisted 9.91secs for the title.
“To God be the glory. Best moments of my life right now,” Rogers said afterwards. “I am just happy to be going to Berlin. Bless God right now.”
Patton finished second in 9.92sec, with Rae Edwards taking third.
Demus looking good
Lashinda Demus breezed into the finals of the women’s 400m hurdles by winning her heat in 54.80secs, the fastest time of the two heat races.
She got home comfortably ahead of NCAA champion Nicole Leach, who finished in 56.59. The second race went to Sheena Tosta in 55.96 over defending champion Tiffany Williams (56.41).
“I’m glad a won my heat and advanced to the next round. It was a good race,” said Tosta.
Georgia’s Justin Gaymon led all comers in the men’s race with 49.86. Other heat winners were Jeshua Anderson (50.22), Bershawn Jackson (50.57) and Olympic champion Angelo Taylor, (50.79).
Despite looking easy Taylor believes his race needs a lot of improvement.
“That was a terrible, terrible race, but I made it through. I hit the third hurdle and I almost fell down,” he said.
“It broke my focus and threw off my race plan. After that I just relaxed and made sure I made it through without killing myself.
“I wanted to work on some things, but unfortunately that miscue didn’t allow me to. It was a good thing I was in the easy heat,” he added.
Merritt eases through, Clement fastest though
LaShawn Merritt looked as easy as Sunday morning when winning his semi-finals of the men’s 400m in 45.44secs.
The Olympic champion ran a relatively comfortable 300m, before pulling away from the field in the final 70m of the race.
“I just went into the year with a lot of confident,” a confident Merritt said. “I know my competitors and I know they are competitive.
“I just want to come here and lay it all on the track again and go to Berlin and win another title.”
World 400m hurdles champion Kerron Clement was the fastest of the semis, however, with a time of 45.08.
Gil Roberts (45.18), Lionel Larry (45.35) and Florida’s Calvin Smith (45.44) also made it through. Xavier Carter ran 45.55, the sixth fastest overall, but failed to make it after finishing fifth in heat one.
Better day for Richards
Sanya Richards, the hot favourite to win the women’s crown eased home in 50.96, to lead Shareese Woods (51.46) Debbie Dunn (51.39) Monica Hargrove (51.54) Natasha Hastings (51.59) into the deciding race on Saturday.
“I felt good. Today was better than yesterday,” Richards said.
“The wind was so strong on the backstretch that I really had to keep my focus on that third 100 meters but then I was able to shut it down pretty good at the end.”
The men’s 110m hurdles also got off on the second day with Dexter Faulk, one of the favourites to book a place for Berlin winning his heat in 13.16 (+2.1mps).
The experienced Terrence Trammell (13.40) and Aries Merritt (13.34) were the fastest qualifiers without the help of the wind.
Veteran Allen Johnson also advanced to the next round.