Final Day, 2014 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships
Tarmoh Finally Earns U.S. 200 Meter Title
By Mark Winitz
SACRAMENTO (June 29) — On the fifth and final day of the 2014 U.S. Outdoor Championships, Jeneba Tarmoh (Nike, Los Angeles) lined up in the women’s 200 meter finals without a U.S. Championship title on her impressive resume.
A promising athlete out of San Jose, California’s Mt. Pleasant High School, Tarmoh displayed promise as a collegian at Texas A&M where she was a two-time NCAA Outdoor Championships runner-up at 200m. Tarmoh first turned heads at the 2011 USA Championships where she took third in the 200m and punched a ticket to her first senior IAAF World Championships where she contributed to the U.S. 4x100m silver-medal-winning team.
Tarmoh subsequently placed third in the 200m at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and won a gold medal in London as part of the U.S. women’s 4x100m relay team.
Now, Tarmoh is finally a U.S. champion.
With top U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix concentrating on the 100m at these championships, and three-time Olympic medalist Carmelita Jeter absent from the meet for the second consecutive time, Tarmoh took good advantage of her opportunity. She raced to a convincing 200m win in 22.06 seconds (wind 3.8). Kimberlyn Duncan (Nike, TX) and Joanna Atkins (Nike, GA) followed in 22.10 and 22.19, respectively.
“I’m very excited and glad about my first national championship win. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season,” Tarmoh said.
When asked how her race went technically she explained:
“I didn’t get out of the blocks as well as I normally do. I feel like I stepped out of the blocks. Apart from that, I’m very pleased with the first 180 meters. I wanted to focus more on coming off the turn and not getting too long on the [final] strait, moving around, or panicking; I executed that part well.
“Going into the future, my focus is just mentally staying in the game. Sometimes in the 200 I say to myself This race is so long; I’m tired of running. I just have to mentally stay focused and finish. That’s the weakest part of my race. I just get impatient.”
Tarmoh, 24, trains with Felix, who provides her with inspiration, under coach Bobby Kersee on the track at UCLA.
“I’m definitely more mature with age,” Tarmoh reflected. “So I’m able to focus just on me in a race. Allyson always tells me that she kind of becomes another person in her races and doesn’t worry about anybody else. I’ve taken her advice on that, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
Felix, a three-time Olympic individual champion at 200m, competed in the preliminary round of the 100m on Thursday, but was a non-starter in the semis. After tearing a hamstring at last year’s IAAF World Championships, Felix was focusing on her technique in Sacramento with an emphasis on not overdoing it.
Overall, the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Sports Commission were superb hosts and organizers of this year’s USATF Outdoor Championships. Look for Sacramento to bid on additional major track and field events in the future. The region has hosted national championships six times, including the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in 2000 and 2004.