Centrowitz wins and Cunningham surprises at the US indoors
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) When Robby Andrews passed Matthew Centrowitz, that's when sheer desire kicked in.
Centrowitz surged back in front in time to hold off Andrews at the finish in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. indoor track and field championships Saturday night.
Centrowitz took the title in 3 minutes, 44.33 seconds, and Andrews followed in 3:44.40. Both advanced to next week's world championships, also at the Oregon Convention Center.
''At that point it's just how much you want it,'' Centrowitz said. ''And I wanted this incredibly much.''
In the women's pole vault, Sandi Morris upset world record-holder Jenn Suhr with a personal best of 16 feet, 2 3/4 inches. But the biggest surprise on the second and final day of the meet was the record-breaking high jump victory for Vashti Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, who is a senior in high school. She cleared 6-6 1/4.
Marvin Bracy from Trayvon Bromell were remarkably close in the 60, with Bracy coming out on top in 6.502 seconds and Bromell finishing in 6.507.
Centrowitz, who ran at Oregon, won the title in the 1,500 at the 2011 NCAA championships as a Duck before going on to win the event at the U.S. nationals and the bronze medal at the 2011 world outdoor championships. He won the silver two years later at the 2013 worlds.
An Olympian, Centrowitz placed fourth in the event at the 2012 London Games. Last month he won the indoor mile at the Millrose Games in 3:50.63, edging out Nick Willis.
''I'm coming away from this a little more confidence event though I almost lost, just for the way I fought that last 10-20 meters,'' Centrowitz said.
Suhr, the gold medalist in the 2012 London Games, last month broke her own world record in the indoor pole vault in her home state, clearing 16-6 at the Brockport Golden Eagle Multi and Invitational at SUNY Brockport. She missed her final two attempts on Saturday to finish second at 16-0 3/4.
''She came up and gave me a big hug,'' Morris said about Suhr. ''She's seen me fight ever since I started pole vaulting. She's seen me inch my way up to the bar today.''
The star of the meet was clearly Cunningham, a senior at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, who set a new junior world record that earned her a standing ovation from many in the crowd of 5,244. Her father, who is her coach, was in the stands.
''He was really happy,'' Cunningham said. ''Me and him never really show our happiness, but we did a little bit today.''
The jump was also a high school record, and was the highest leap in the world so far this season. There was confusion over whether Cunningham had the standard that would qualify her for the worlds next week. She could receive and invite from the IAAF to compete if she doesn't.
Two-time Olympian middle-distance runner Shannon Rowbury withdrew from the field of the 1,500 because she ran - and won - the 3,000 the night before.
Rowbury's finish in the 3,000 - pulling far away from the field in the final 400 - already put her into the world championships.
She announced her decision via Twitter: ''Racer in me wants to do 1500m tonight, but now I'm focused on giving myself the best shot at bringing home a medal for (at)usatf team.''
Brenda Martinez won the women's 1,500 in 4:08.37.
Ajee Wilson, who won the 800 in both the indoor and outdoor U.S. championships in 2014, jumped out to the early lead and pulled away from the field on the final lap to finish in 2:00.87. Wilson was just off her world-leading best this year. Former Oregon NCAA champion Laura Roesler finished well behind in second, but makes the world team.
''The plan was just to get out hard and if someone was going to fight for the lead just tuck in behind,'' Wilson said. ''But I found myself in the lead so I just took it from there.''
In other finals Saturday, Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese won the long jump at 22-7 1/4. The American record holder in the event, Reese will vie for her sixth world title in the event.
In the two-section men's 400 final, Vernon Norwood finished atop the field in 45.80, while Boris Berian won the 800 in 1:47.19.
Barbara Pierre won the women's 60 in a fast 7 seconds flat, a personal best that matched the world's best time in the event this year.
Quanera Hayes gutted out a victory in the 400, winning in a personal-best 51.09 as Olympian Natasha Hastings fell at the finish.
In the 60 hurdles, Jarret Eaton won in 7.52 seconds on the men's side and Brianna Rollins won in 7.86 second on the women's.