Baltimore Sun’s BEST party in 2 weeks

Six U.S. stars post year's bests


INDIANAPOLIS -- Dominique Arnold is an old guy, by international standards.

At 32, he's at least five or six years past the normal peak years for world-class athletes.

But don't tell these things to the Washington State University alumnus.

A decade after his last major meet triumph - at the 1996 NCAA championships - Arnold at last has another big one to put into his portfolio.

Arnold won the 110-meter high hurdles in 13.10 seconds yesterday at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and his time was one of six winning marks - in a display of American strength and depth - that were the best in the world this year.

After a four-hour delay - rain and lightning forced evacuation of Carroll Stadium - the final day of the nationals got under way with many doubts that the cast of athletes could rise back to top form long after their initial warm-ups were washed out.

But Arnold and others proved them wrong.

He'd taken his semifinal heat in 13.15 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year. And then he was even quicker in the final - battling past two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell (13.14), Ryan Wilson (13.22) and Robby Hughes (13.30) to win by a half-stride.

"I kind of messed up a little bit; my rhythm was a little bit off, but a win is a win," said Arnold.

Perhaps the track - with its fast Mondo artificial surface and sometimes called "the other Indianapolis Speedway" - had something to do with all this.

"Maybe so," said Arnold. "It is definitely a place to run fast, and sometimes you have to make adjustments."

But Joel Brown, the former Woodlawn High School and Ohio State star who had a sensational 2005 campaign in the high hurdles - winning at the USA indoor championships, placing fourth at USA nationals and sixth at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki - wasn't part of it.

After qualifying easily out of Saturday's preliminary round, Brown scratched out of his scheduled semifinal. No reason for his absence was given, and neither he nor his coach was available for comment.

Among the other men's gold-medal performances were Shore AC of New Jersey repre- sentative/Princeton graduate Tora Harris' 7-foot, 7 3/4 -inch high jump; Texas Christian University product Khadevis Robinson's 1 minute, 44.13 seconds in the 800; LSU alumnus Walter Davis' 58-1 1/4 triple jump; and ex-Arkansas star Wallace Spearmon's 19.90-second 200.

South Carolina alumna Lashinda Demus posted a 53.07 in the women's 400-meter hurdles, one more world leader for 2006.

But the day's happiest winner may have been Bernard Lagat.

The two-time Olympic 1,500-meter medalist for Kenya (bronze in 2000, silver in 2004), another Washington State alumnus, gained his U.S. citizenship two years ago, and this was his first trip to America's nationals.

He won the 5,000-meter title Friday night and followed it by winning the 1,500 in 3:39.29, leading from start to finish and then holding off Gabe Jennings (3:39.42) and Leonel Manzano (3:39.49) yesterday.

It was the first time anyone had won the 1,500 and 5,000 titles in the same outdoor nationals.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad