LaMark Carter at the 1998 Bislett Games in Oslo (Getty Images) © Copyright
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La Mark Carter wins first US title

During the first of four days of competition in the US championships at Eugene yesterday, world indoor bronze medallist LaMark Carter claimed one of the day's few available titles, triple jumping a wind-assisted 17.15. Other finals scheduled during day 1 included the women’s hammer throw, which was dominated by Dawn Ellerbe with 64.75 and the women’s 3000m steeplechase won by Elizabeth Jackson in 10:7.23. The women’s hammer throw will make its first ever appearance in the world championships in Seville while the 3000m steeplechase is not yet included in the programme of the women’s events.

Thursday was also the first day of the combined events and surprisingly, world indoor pentathlon champion DeDee Nathan failed to clear a height in the heptathlon high jump but continued in the competition, vowing to make the American world championships team anyway.

"I'm going to finish this, and I'm going to finish in the top three," said Nathan, who failed three times at 1.71, the only height she attempted in the second of the day's four heptathlon events.

The mistake left the world's leading heptathlete this season last in the 11-woman field with 2,866 points. She trailed leader Shelia Burrell by 719 points and third-placed Nicole Haynes by 634 points with three events remaining on Friday.

That's an unlikely scenario for a third-place finish, which would automatically qualify Nathan for August's world championships.

Nathan, however, could still make the team if three other Americans do not meet the world championships heptathlon qualifying standard of 6,000 points. She has scored 6,577 points this season.

Chris Huffins, meanwhile, appeared on course for a strong decathlon victory with world record-holder Dan O'Brien out with an injury. Huffins had 4,523 points for Thursday's five events. Five more events remain Friday.

Cool and, at times, rainy weather affected qualifying performances in the sprints. Tim Montgomery led trials in the men’s 100 metres, clocking 10.15. Preliminaries in the women’s 100 events were cancelled.

World record-holder Butch Reynolds was a no-show in qualifying for the men's 400 metres because of a hamstring problem. 1991 world champion Antonio Pettigrew posted the best time of the first round -45.47.

The championships continue through the weekend. A men’s 200m clash between world record holder Michael Johnson and newly crowned 100m world record holder Maurice Greene on Sunday should be a highlight of the competition.

Day two programme includes men’s hammer throw, high jump, 5000m and 100m finals and women’s triple jump, long jump, shot put and 100m finals.

Results of finals from day one of the U.S. athletics championships.
Top three finishers make the U.S. team for Seville ’99 (If qualifying standard has been achieved).

10,000m: 1. Alan Culpepper 28:22.46; 2. Brad Hauser 28:24.32; 3. Abdi Abdirahman 28:28.26
Triple jump: 1. LaMark Carter 17.15m (+2.1 m/s); 2. Desmond Hunt 16.35m; 3. Von Ware 16.30m
Décathlon (after 5 events): 1. Chris Huffins 4523 points; 2. Stephen Moore 4278; 3. Tom Pappas 4247

3000m steeple: 1. Elizabeth Jackson 10:7.23; 2. Lisa Nye 10:12.66; 3. Joan Nesbit 10.18.55
Discus throw: 1. Seilala Sua 62.08m; 2. Kris Kuehl 60.89m; 3. Aretha Hill 59.09m
Hammer throw: 1. Dawn Ellerbe 64.75m; 2. Tamika Powell 64.26m; 3. Windy Dean 64.03m
Heptathlon (after 4 events): 1. Shella Burrell 3585 points; 2. Tiffany Lott-Hogan 3562; 3. Nicole Haynes 3500