By Gary Smith, TrackAlerts.Com Contributor
EUGENE – Justin Gatlin flashed to a world-leading and personal best time of 19.57 seconds to win the men’s 200m field at the USA Trials on Sunday and continue his fabulous form this summer.
Gatlin, who has been in dominant form all this season, covered the first half of the race very quickly and blazed into the home straight with an advantage.
The 32-year-old then powered away from the trailing pack to send a very strong warning to world record holder Usain Bolt, who didn’t take part in the Jamaica trials this weekend.
Sunday’s world-leading time also improved the fastest time run at Hayward Field (19.68), which was also set by Gatlin, as well as Tyson Gay’s meet record of 19.62.
“A lot of people had been asking me what I could run if I ran through the finish line. Today, I wanted to show them,” Gatlin said after his win.
“I had one race to go, and I wanted to go out and make a statement. That’s what I did.”
Following Gatlin home was Isiah Young and he posted a time 19.93, while veteran Wallace Spearmon battled his way to third place in 20.10. He held off USC’s Beejay Lee (20.11) and Dedric Dukes (Florida, 20.15).
On the women’s side, NCAA and Oregon star Jenna Prandini ran a personal best of 22.20 secs to land her first USA trials national title and punched her ticket to the IAAF World Championships in an individual event.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m really thrilled,” Prandini said. “My 200 start, for some reason, is always better than my 100 start, and I got out really well today.
“I definitely felt fresh. I think the decision not to do the long jump really set up for today’s race.”
Candyce McGrone was second in 22.38 with Jeneba Tarmoh taking third place in 22.44.
High Schooler Kaylin Whitney set a World Youth best of 22.47 for fourth place, while NCAA champion Dezerea Bryant finished fifth in 22.48.
In the middle distance action, world championships silver medallist Jennifer Simpson came out on top in the women’s 1500m, which was won in a time of 4:14.86.
Shannon Rowbury burst away in the last 60m to take second in 4:14.99, with Kerri Gallagher taking third-place in a time of 4:15.81.
It was a day to forget though for Mary Cain, as she struggled home eighth in 4:16.77.
Ryan Hill shocked everyone to win the men’s 5000m in 13:50.69 with Benjamin True taking second place in 13:51.09 and 10,000m champion Galen Rupp just holding on for third in 13:51.54.
Nicole Tully leaned home to take the women race in 15:06.44, just ahead of Marielle Hall, 15:06.45 and Abbey D’Agostino (15:06.59).
Nicholas Symmonds won the men’s 800m in 1:44.53, producing another one of his comeback runs, with Erik Sowinski (1:44.84) getting home second and third going to Casimir Loxsom (1:45.35).
Duane Solomon Jr, who led the race coming into the last 100m, came to complete stop in the final metres before walking home in 3:08.74.
The women’s race went to Alysia Montano, who impressively returned from having a child last year to win in 1:59.51
“Coming back from pregnancy and winning a national title – I didn’t know it would happen this soon,” she said.
“I’ve had to scale back my training, and I’m still breastfeeding.”
Defending champion Ajee Wilson, who lost her shoe on the last lap after colliding with Maggie Vessey, who fell after the incident – was third 2:00.05.
“I tried to make a move on the back stretch at the 300. That’s where my shoe came off,” Wilson said.
“I didn’t even know (Vessey) fell until the finish.
“I was having problems with the shins, so running with one shoe was weird. I knew how close it was behind me, especially at the finish.
“But I was glad I was able to get there. I live to fight another day, I’m just glad to make the team and get ready for Beijing.”
Elsewhere, world champion David Oliver took the men’s 100m hurdles time in a seasonal best time of 13.04 – finishing in front of Ronnie Ash (13.13), Aries Merritt (13.19) and Aleec Harris (13.25) – who will all join him in Beijing.
Shamier Little of Texas A&M dominated her senior rivals to win the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.83. Cassandra Tate was second in 54.01 and Kori Carter finished third in 54.41.
In the field, Omar Craddock (17.53m), Will Claye (17.48m) and Marquis Dendy (17.23m) finished 1-2-3 in the men’s triple jump. Joe Kovacs took the men’s Shot Put with a mark of 21.84m. Christian Cantwell (21.64m), Jordan Clarke (21.49m) and Reese Hoffa (21.18m) were the other top finishers.
Jennifer Suhr set a world-leading 4.82m to win the women’s Pole Vault title.