Hayward Field sees more cut-and-thrust trials action as Americans battle for World Champs selection

Dawn Harper-Nelson, Tianna Bartoletta, Matt Centrowitz and Allyson Felix and were among the winners during another rollercoaster session in Eugene on Saturday.

Sharika Nelvis had led the times in the women’s sprint hurdles heats with 12.34 and 12.37 in the semi-finals, but Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion, took the final in 12.55 ahead of Kendra Harrison with Nelvis third.

Brianna Rollins, the world champion, will also be in the 100m hurdles team in Beijing due to having a wild card, but Jasmin Stowers, who has run 12.35 and twice under 12.40 this year, misses out after finishing fifth.

On rising to the occasion, Harper-Nelson said: “I would like to say it’s my signature. I’m a gamer. I knew the other ladies were running incredibly fast times, but I believe I’m the best. I’m unbeatable – in my head.”

Bartoletta unleashed a monster leap in the long jump as she took the title with 7.12 into a slight headwind of 0.4m/sec. Bartoletta’s jump was a PB and world lead as the world and Olympic champion Brittney Reese was runner-up with 6.97m.

Felix took the women’s 400m title in 50.19 from Natasha Hastings, but there was a surprise as Francena McCorory finished fourth, although she could yet make the team of Felix turns down her place.

Felix now has the dilemma of racing either the 200m or 400m at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August because only 70 minutes separates the 200m semi-finals and the 400m final at the biggest event of the year.

There were more surprises in the men’s 400m as LaShawn Merritt was beaten by David Verburg -44.63 to 44.66.

The men’s 1500m was won by Centrowitz in 3:37.25 from Robby Andrews and Leo Manzano. The Alberto Salazar-coached runner is, like training partner Galen Rupp, not letting the controversy swirling around his Nike Oregon Camp affect his running as he controlled the race in the latter stages with a 51-second last lap.

Bershawn Jackson, the 2005 World champion, won his fifth national 400m hurdles in 48.29 and Beijing will now be his seventh consecutive World Championships.

Emma Coburn won her fourth 3000m steeplechase national title in 9:15.59, while Sam Kendricks took the men’s pole vault from former world champion Brad Walker.

In the rounds, Justin Gatlin ran 19.92 in the 200m heats with his final on Sunday. The controversial sprinter did not need to run the 100m but told media in Eugene he could have run 9.6 in the conditions and that the US record of 9.69 is one of his big goals this year.

At the Jamaican Championships, Asafa Powell won the 100m in 9.84 from Nickel Ashmeade’s 9.91 and Kemar Bailey-Cole’s 9.97, but Yohan Blake has not fully returned to fitness and ran only 10.36. Usain Bolt did not run but already qualifies for Beijing with a wild card.

» See the July 2 issue of Athletics Weekly magazine for full reports, results and photographs from the US Championships