ATT USATF Day 2-Nelson, Jones win Visa

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Weather was part of the story this weekend, hampering many from getting to Boston in a swift manner. I was stuck in Las Vegas, due to equipment and overselling of aircraft. I ended up watching the meet Sunday on TV, which was pretty strong coverage. I was most impressed by the men's 800 meters and the women and men's 1,500 meters. Rob Myers and Christian Wurth Thomas competed great.

The award for the most ecstatic win was LoLo Jones and her hurdle/VISA win double. Jones has come a long way and is now the second best indoor hurdler in history. Her trip to Valencia will be a good test against world class competition for her. I will have some updates from other national champs this weekend plus a special feature on what I saw at the Norwich Union GP in Birmingham last weeekend!

Rob Myers ran a smart race and won the only way he could, by controlling the event. Myers had told the media at Reebok that he was working on his finish this year. Smart statement and his move at Boston, over the last two laps, showed that he is learning his lesson. He will have a strong experience in Valencia, where the name of the game will be kicking the last 200 as wildly and fast as possible.

My observation from watching the meet? Low turnout of fans, great interviews with Symmonds and Robinson. The best facility in Boston should be full for a national champs!

Jones, Nelson win Visa Championship; Cantwell wins men's SP at AT&T USA Indoor Championships, courtesy of USA Track & Field

BOSTON - Adam Nelson lost the national title but won the Visa Championship, while Lolo Jones took the women's Visa title Sunday at the 2008 AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center, on the campus of Roxbury Community College.

The final event of the Visa Championship Series, the meet served as the qualifying event for Team USA's roster for the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, to be held March 7-9 in Valencia, Spain. The top two finishers in each event qualified, provided they have met IAAF performance standards.

2004 World Indoor champion Christian Cantwell won the much-anticipated showdown in the Visa men's shot put. 2005 World Outdoor Champion Adam Nelson entered the meet as the favorite, having posted the #3 mark of all-time just one week ago at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville (22.40m/73-6). But on Friday, Cantwell , the defending Visa Champion, had a competition in Warrensburg, Mo., in which all six of his throws exceeded 70 feet, including a personal best of 22.18m/72-9.25. That put him on a roll of his own.

Sunday afternoon, Cantwell set the standard with his first-round toss of 21.51m/70-7. Nelson sat in second place after two rounds with a best of 21.25m/69-8.75, but reigning World Indoor and Outdoor champion Reese Hoffa surpassed Nelson in round three with a mark of 21.40m/70-2.5, putting Cantwell and Hoffa on the roster for World Indoors. Although Nelson missed qualifying for Valencia, he remained atop the Visa Championship Series standings with his throw from Fayetteville (1265 points on IAAF scoring tables), netting him the men's Visa Championship and a $25,000 paycheck.

Lolo Jones won two titles on Sunday. On the track, she won her second straight indoor national crown in the Nike women's 60m hurdles. She finished strong over the final two hurdles to win in 7.88 seconds, earning 1194 points on the IAAF scoring tables to take the women's $25,000 Visa Championship prize. Candice Davis was second in the race in 7.90.

Jones had a scare for the Visa title, however. Two-time World Indoor silver medalist Angela Williams ran an impressive race in the Visa women's 60m, dashing to a time of 7.11. Her effort was worth 1183 points, just shy of Jones' total, causing Jones to do a celebratory jig. Alexis Joyce was second in 7.21, winning the second spot on Team USA in a photo-finish over 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter, who also was timed in 7.21. Joyce got the nod by three-hundredths of a second, 7.203 to 7.206. Miki Barber was fourth in 7.22.

New blood in the sprints

Two-time NAIA 60m champion Michael Rodgers made his first professional imprint by winning the AT&T men's 60m in 6.54 seconds, the fastest time by an American this year. Leroy Dixon, who ran anchor on Team USA's gold-medal 4x100m relay team at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships, was second in 6.56. The final was run without the defending world champion, Leonard Scott, who suffered a pulled right hamstring in the semifinal round.

Young and not-as-young will combine to make a potent lineup for the Americans in the men's hurdles in Valencia after 25-year-old David Oliver won his first AT&T men's 60m hurdles national title in 7.47 seconds, the fastest time by an American this year. 1996 Olympic gold medalist Allen Johnson, just shy of 37 years old, earned a chance to go after his fourth career indoor world title by placing second in 7.53.

Hot half-miles

The men's 800 was one of the most exciting events of the day. Karjuan Williams set a scorching early pace, but over the final lap the expected battle between veteran U.S. outdoor champion Khadevis Robinson and defending U.S. indoor champion Nick Symmonds played out. Robinson had the advantage entering the final turn as Symmonds dug for his signature kick. At the line, it appeared Symmonds may have nipped Robinson, but the official results showed Robinson the winner at 1:46.95, and Symmonds .01 back at 1:46.95.

The women's 800 marked the return to top form for 34-year-old Nicole Teter. The American indoor record holder and 2004 Olympic Trials runner-up won her third career USA Indoor title in 2:02.65, holding off Nicole Cook in second at 2:02.86. Alisa Harvey once again lowered her American masters record, placing sixth in 2:05.75. 2004 champion Rob Myers returned to the winner's podium in the Nike 1,500m, running a strong final 400 to win in 3:40.89 over Russell Brown in 3:41.20.

Amber Campbell won her second consecutive title in the Gill women's weight throw with a best mark of 23.23m/76-2.75, with Kristal Yush second with 22.62m/74-2.5. In the men's WT, Kibwe Johnson won his first Gill men's WT national indoor title with a mark of 25.12m/82-5 over four-time champ A.G. Kruger, who was second with 24.07m/78-11.75. Also in the field, Trevell Quinley won the men's long jump with a mark of 7.82/25-8, over Joe Allen (7.71m/25-3.5).

Vaill victorious for seventh time

Teresa Vaill won her seventh career indoor title in the women's 3,000m race walk in 13:08.40, putting her one shy of a record eighth win. Her other titles date back more than 20 years, to 1984-'86 and and '89-'91. Joanne Dow was second in 13:09.61.

The women's triple jump saw Shakeema Welsch jump 13.94m/45-9 to defeat two-time indoor champion Shani Marks (13.87m/45-6.25). Shareese Woods won the second heat of the women's 400m to take her first U.S. title in 52.03, with heat 1 winner Moushaumi Robinson, a 2004 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist, second in 52.33. David Neville won the Hershey men's 400 in 46.34, with Greg Nixon second in 46.72.

In exhibition events, Timothy McCrossen won the masters men's 60m in 7.19, Charmaine Roberts won the masters women's 400m in 1:00.29, and the Central Park Track Club won the women's DMR in 11:32.89. The University of Wisconsin overtook Oregon over the final 400m to win the men's DMR in 9:33.29, with the University of Oregon second in 9:34.06.

For more information, including complete results and athlete quotes, visit www.usatf.org

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