Gatlin, Wariner, Richards, Webb ready for world


CARSON, Calif. - Day three at the U.S. track and field championships belonged to Justin Gatlin, Jeremy Wariner, Sanya Richards and Alan Webb.

And that's just fine with Baltimore's James Carter.

He can wait. The championships end today at The Home Depot Center, and he's determined to make it his own day.

Gatlin, Wariner, Richards and Webb earned trips to the IAAF world championships on Aug. 5-14 in Helsinki, Finland - track and field's second biggest event after the Olympics - with dazzling triumphs yesterday.

Carter, the two-time Olympic 400-meter hurdler out of Mervo and Hampton University, is a leading contender for the 400 hurdles title today after cruising through his semifinal in 48.80 seconds.

"Winning the semi was important for me," said Carter, the defending national champion. "It guarantees me a good lane for the final. I'm feeling good, no nagging injuries, no problems.

"I don't know what it's going to take to make the team, but I know I'm ready for whatever comes. I may have to run a PR [personal record] to make it, but that's fine. I know I'm ready."

Olympic 100-meter champion Gatlin - who survived a first-round false-start disqualification, which was subsequently reversed - is Finland-bound after beating an all-star field in the men's 100 final. Despite a headwind, he won it going away in 10.08 seconds, leaving Olympic teammate Shawn Crawford a clear second in 10.17. Nine started, eight finished, three-time world champion Maurice Greene pulling up with a left hamstring injury.

Wariner, the Olympic 400 champion, and Baylor buddy Darold Williamson, the gold medal 1,600-relay anchor, went 1-2 (44.20 and 44.62) in a hot one-lap final.

Richards lowered the women's 400-meter meet record to 49.28, trailed by Deedee Trotter (49.88) and Monique Henderson (49.96) as three U.S. women broke 50 in the same race for the first time.

Webb, still trying to live up to his 3:53.43 high-school mile credentials of 2001, took the strategically run 1,500-meter final in 3:41.97.

Two-time Olympic medalist (gold 1,600 relay in 2000 and silver 200 in 2004) Bernard Williams, the former Carver High and University of Florida star, made his delayed start, racing into today's semifinals of the 200-meter dash with a 20.68 qualifying performance.

He false-started out of the 100 Friday night but bounced back by running an easy third in a heat won by Gatlin at 20.53. Arkansas star Tyson Gay was fastest of the 18 qualifiers at 20.38.

NOTES: University of Maryland rising sophomore Sean Lowe earned a spot on the U.S. 1,600 relay at the Pan American junior championships on July 29-31 in Windsor, Ontario, with his fifth-place finish in the 400 final at the junior national championships. "This is the biggest meet I've ever been in," Lowe said. "I love the atmosphere of it all. It's something I've got to get used to." ... Towson Catholic rising junior Devon Williams is set to compete in the IAAF World Youth championships July 14-17, in Marrakech, Morocco, but missed qualifying for the Pan Am juniors, too. She ran fifth in the women's junior 800 Friday night, finishing in 2:08.58, two seconds off her best.

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