The final event of the Visa Championship Series, the meet serves as the qualifying event for Team USA's roster for the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, to be held March 7-9 in Valencia, Spain. The top two finishers in each event qualify, provided they have met IAAF performance standards. The AT&T USA Indoor Championships will be televised Sunday, February 24 from 5-7 p.m., Eastern Time on ESPN2.
Christin Wurth-Thomas retained her lead top the women's Visa Championship standings, blazing the final 800m of the Hershey women's 1,500m in 2:08 to finish in 4:14.21, the fastest time by an American this year. Jenelle Deatherage, also having a career best year in 2008, was second in 4:17.38.
New distance threat
The women's 3000 saw a surprise victor, however. The 2007 NCAA indoor mile champion while running for Duke, Shannon Rowbury displayed remarkable poise, as well as leg speed, to easily pass early-leading Jen Rhines with 400m to go in the women's 3,000m run. Rowbury finished in 8:55.19, with two-time Olympian Rhines second in 8:59.98.
Jillian Camarena won her fourth-straight national indoor title in the women's shot put, her throw of 18.11m/59-5 just three inches farther than Abigail Ruston in second (18.03m/59-2).
In the women's high jump, Amy Acuff won her fourth overall and second consecutive national indoor title with a clearance of 1.92m/6-3.5. Coming back after pregnancy, 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist Chaunte Howard was second with 1.89m/6-2.25.
Two-time USA outdoor heptathlon champion Hyleas Fountain won her first U.S. indoor long jump title with a best effort of 6.38m/20-11.25. Shameka Marshall also jumped 6.38m, but Fountain's second-best mark of 6.36m/20-10.5 gave her the win over Marshall's 6.28m/20-7.25.
Harvey breaks another record during qualifying
In qualifying action, Nicole Cook posted the fastest time in the women's 800m rounds, winning the second of three heats in 2:04.03. Also advancing to the final was 42-year-old Alisa Harvey, who broke her own U.S. masters record in placing third in heat 1. As The Killers' song "When You Were Young" played ironically over the PA system, Harvey finished in 2:06.08 to break her previous record of 2:07.08, run January 26 at Penn State. American indoor record holder and two-time USA champion Nicole Teter was first in heat 3 to advance as well (2:06.68).
In Saturday's only other qualifying rounds, 2007 World Outdoor Championships 4x400m relay gold medalist Mary Wineberg was fastest in the Hershey women's 400 in 52.68
photos Janos Schmidt