CARSON, Calif. - Joel Brown is headed for Helsinki.
In just 13.28 seconds, the Woodlawn High and 2004 Ohio State graduate clinched a spot on the U.S. team bound for the world championships in the Finnish capital in early August.
With a solid fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles final last night at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Home Depot Center Stadium, Brown gained his first shot at major international honors.
"That [13.28] was my all-time best and I couldn't have done it at a better time," said Brown, all smiles. "I knew it was going to take at least a 13.3 to make the team and I was right. There's no better time to set a PR [personal record] than right here."
Allen Johnson, the four-time (1995, 1997, 2001, 2003) world champion, booked another trip to the worlds by winning the race in 12.99, fastest in the world this year.
Johnson's defending-champion status opened the door for three other Americans to make the team in that event and those spots went to Dominique Arnold (13.01), two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell (13.02) and Brown.
James Carter still yearns for a spot on the podium. The hunger continues to burn within.
The 27-year-old Mervo graduate and former Hampton University 400-meter hurdles star has been to two Olympic Games, but to no medal ceremonies.
"Sure, I'm still chasing it; that's one reason I'm still out here; that's something that keeps me going," he said after winning his opening-round race in the 400 hurdles in 49.65 and moving into today's semifinals.
Carter took the heat with a big move down the stretch that got him past early leader Brandon Johnson of UCLA (49.68).
Carter, the defending national champion and veteran of the international track circuit, is at the top of his game and was the fastest of the 16 qualifiers. But young sensations Kerron Clement (who ran 49.67), Bershawn Jackson (49.86) and Olympic teammate Bennie Brazell (49.94) will pose major obstacles from this point.
Bernard Williams, the other half of Baltimore's 1-2 punch at both the Sydney and Athens Games, had tougher luck, with a false start knocking him out of the first round of the 100-meter dash.
Not even making it to the starting line for their 100s were former world-record holder Tim Montgomery and his fiancee, the celebrated but problem-beset Marion Jones. Montgomery withdrew from the meet hours before his scheduled start; Jones stepped away just minutes before her expected race.
NOTES: University of Maryland freshmen stars Sean Lowe and Toni Aluko had mixed fortunes in the concurrent junior national championships. Lowe moved into the 400-meter final with a relaxed 47.17. But Aluko, a Paint Branch High alumna, had to settle for fifth in the high jump at 5 feet 7.