Michelle Carter at the 2015 US Championships (© Kirby Lee)
Although it is likely that most of the 8000 fans at Hayward Field had their eyes on the big names on the track on the first day of the US Championships, pride of place went to shot putter Michelle Carter and long jumper Marquis Dendy in Eugene on Thursday (25).
Carter became just the third woman in the world to throw beyond 20 metres this year when she won her ninth US title – six outdoors and three indoors – with her first-round effort of 20.02m, just 22cm short of her US record set in 2013.
She quickly dismissed the opposition and she eventually won by more than a metre.
"I was ready for a big throw and it came out on the first one," said Carter.
It was the second-best competition of her career and after a number of near-misses on the senior stage outdoors, including fourth at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, the 2004 world junior champion will be aiming to finally climb the podium at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
By contrast, Marquis Dendy won his first national long jump title when he rode the back of a 3.7m/s following wind to fly out to 8.68m in the first round.
Dendy also jumped a windy 8.54m in the third round and then got a legal personal best of 8.39m with his final jump.
“It definitely feels good that I’ve already been here,” said Dendy, who won US collegiate titles in the long jump and triple jump on the same track two weeks ago.
"I already knew how the wind operates here. It’s kind of windy and there were a couple fouls in the first flight, but I knew how it was going to go down."
The following wind helped most of the rest of the jumpers and no fewer than five men were blown farther than 8.30m. But Jeffrey Henderson jumped 8.44m actually into a slight breeze in the opening round, a distance which was good enough for second place.
Mike Hartfield was third with a windy 8.42m while Marquise Goodwin, who has been plying his trade in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, just fell short of making a sensational return to the sport after having been given special dispensation to compete in the championships.
Goodwin was jumping in competition for the first time since the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the 2012 US champion jumped 8.37m to finish in fourth place.
In the only track finals on a day when five finals in the field were contested, US 10,000m record-holder Galen Rupp got his seventh title at the distance.
Rupp crossed the finish line in 28:11.61, with Ben True second in 28:14.26 and Hassan Mead third in 28:16.54, to extend his winning streak.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan pushed the pace early during the women’s 10,000m final to string out the field of 22 women and eventually pare the leading group down to four with eight laps remaining.
Molly Huddle, the US 5000m record-holder, then used her speed from the shorter distances to kick away from her training partners of Flanagan and Emily Infeld over the last lap beforfe crossing the line in 31:39.20. Flanagan was second in 31:42.29 with Infeld third in 31:42.60.
In the men’s javelin, Sean Furey threw a personal best of 83.08m in the last round to move up from second to first and capture his third US title. Riley Dolezal’s third-round effort of 80.75m held the lead until Furey found his best form.
Kibwe Johnson won the men’s hammer with 76.95m after an enthralling competition which saw three men beyond 76 metres. Jared Schuurmans took the men’s discus crown with 64.64m.
The prodigious Trayvon Bromell of Baylor University ran 9.84 (1.3m/s) in the 100m heats to become the fourth-fastest US sprinter and equal 10th fastest man of all-time.
"I’m really surprised because when I slowed down, I didn’t think that I would be running that fast,” said Bromell after recording the fastest time in history by a teenager. “I was like ‘Man, that’s crazy'. I didn’t think I’d come and run that fast in the prelims.
“It’s all about having a championship mindset,” said Bromell, who is still only 19. “Many people think because I’m young that I don’t have that mindset. You’ve got to understand that you can’t win them all.”
However, Bromell was not actually the fastest in the heats; that honour belonged to Remontay McClain who was blown to a time of 9.82 with a 4.9m/s following wind in his preliminary round.
On the women’s side, Carmelita Jeter ran the fastest 100m time of the day with a 4.5m/s wind behind her on her 10.87 dash.
In the women’s 800m, defending champion Ajee Wilson posted the fastest time of the day with her 2:01.96 heat win.
Chris Chavez for the IAAF