CARSON, Calif. – Olympic gold medalists LaShawn Merritt, Allyson Felix and Jeremy Wariner handily dispatched the competition in their respective races, which highlighted competition Saturday at the 2009 adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Held under partly sunny skies with temperatures in the mid 70s, the adidas Track Classic is the third event of USA Track & Field’s 2009 Visa Outdoor Championships Series.
2008 Olympic 400m gold medalist LaShawn Merritt cruised to victory in 20.07 seconds in the Nutrilite men’s 200m, with 2006 NCAA quadruple champion Xavier Carter second in 20.71 and Kelly Willie third in 20.73. For his efforts, while running his non-traditional event, Merritt was named the Team USA Athlete of the Meet, presented by Visa.
On the women’s side, two-time Olympic silver medalist and World Outdoor champion Allyson Felix dominated the adidas women’s 200m, leading off the curve into a 1.9mps headwind and powering to the finish in 22.66. 2008 Olympic 400m bronze medalist Sanya Richards was the runner-up in 23.03 and Sholanda Solomon, the 2006 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor 200m champion, was third in 23.10.
Two-time Olympic medalist and two-time World Outdoor champion Jeremy Wariner, who is back training with renowned coach Clyde Hart, easily won the Visa men’s 400m in 44.66 while the Bahamas’ Chris Brown was second in 45.03. Rennie Quow of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 45.05.
In a race that featured the Olympic champions from the past three Olympic Games, reigning World Outdoor champion and Olympic silver medalist Kerron Clement powered down the home stretch to win the men’s 400m hurdles in a world-leading 48.38, holding off two-time Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor who finished second in 48.70. 2004 Olympic gold medalist Felix Sanchez was third in 48.95. It was a controversial win for Clement, as the eighth hurdle in the race was set incorrectly, too close to the seventh.
2008 Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper, building off of her surprising win in Beijing, shot out of the blocks in the Visa women’s 100m hurdles and hammered her way to the win with a lean at the finish in 12.78. Two-time World Outdoor medalist Perdita Felicien was the runner-up in 12.83 while two-time World Outdoor champion Michelle Perry was third in 12.84.
2008 Olympic and World Indoor silver medalist Jenn Stuczynski went unchallenged in the women’s pole vault, not entering the field until the other competitors had exited. She cleared 4.76 meters/15 feet 7.25 inches on her first attempt before moving the bar to an American record height of 4.93m/16-2 at which Stuczynski had three good attempts but failed to clear the bar. 2000 Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Outdoor champion Stacy Dragila was the runner-up with 4.42m/14-6.
In the women’s 400m, Beijing 4x400m gold medalist Natasha Hastings won the race, while keeping both shoes on, finishing in 51.46. Novlene Williams of Jamaica was the runner-up in 51.83 and Shereefa Lloyd (JAM) took third in 52.03.
After three delays in the women’s 100m, one call-up and two false starts, 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter ran away with the win in 11.09 with two-time Olympian Muna Lee the runner-up in 11.22. In the adidas men’s 100m, two-time Olympian Darvis Patton got out strong and won in 10.12.
With good early season splits of 56.2, 1:54.9 and 2:54.9, two-time Olympic medalist and 2007 double World champion Bernard Lagat won the men’s 1,500m in 3:36.38. Canada’s Nate Brannen was second in 3:37.03. In the women’s 1,500m, Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair was the winner in 4:13.16.
In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, 2008 Olympic Trials champion Anna Willard won in 9:26.85. It was the fastest time ever run on American soil. 2008 Olympic Trials runner-up Lindsay Anderson was again second to Willard, running 9:37.88.
Also on the track, Aheza Kiron won the Nutrilite women’s 5,000m in 14:56.33 and 2004 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Outdoor champion Dwight Phillips the men’s long jump in 8.37m/27-5.5. Three-time Olympian Hazel Clark won the women’s 800m in a meet record 2:01.40 and three-time USA Outdoor champion Ian Waltz won the men’s discus with 61.70m/202-5. Yvette Lewis won the women’s triple jump with a hop, skip and leap of 13.82m/45-4.25 and Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia won the men’s 5,000m in 13:16.52.
For more information on the adidas Track Classic and the 2009 Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com.