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Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone coasts to 400 win at US track and field championships in her newest event


EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone is proving to be a quick study in her newest event. Very quick.

McLaughlin-Levrone turned in a dominant performance to win the women’s 400 meters at the U.S. track and field championships on Saturday night.

Known as the record-setting 400 hurdler, McLaughlin-Levrone is learning the nuances of the open 400 on the fly this season. McLaughlin-Levrone made it look easy by cruising across the line in a meet-record time of 48.74 seconds. She almost broke the American record of 48.70 set by Sanya Richards-Ross in 2006.

Britton Wilson couldn’t quite close the gap on McLaughlin-Levrone and took second. Talitha Diggs wound up third.

It’s possible McLaughlin-Levrone could compete in both the open 400 and the 400 hurdles next month at worlds in Budapest, Hungary. McLaughlin-Levrone has a bye into the 400 hurdles courtesy of her record-setting win at worlds last summer on the same Hayward Field track where she breezed Saturday.

To think, McLaughlin-Levrone is still learning the pacing in the open 400. She has the hurdles down to a science, lowering the world record four times over a 13-month period.

“The greats always push themselves,” McLaughlin-Levrone said on the CNBC telecast. “I want to be one of them so I push myself and get out of my comfort zone.”

A day after winning the 100, Sha’Carri Richardson showed no signs of slowing down by posting a blistering wind-assisted time of 21.61 seconds in the first round of the 200. Only four women have recorded that time or gone faster under any wind condition.

“I’m ready — mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Richardson, whose national title in the 100 two years ago was stripped after she tested positive for marijuana. “I’m here to stay. I’m not back. I’m better.”

Bryce Deadmon won the men’s 400 on Saturday, while Rudy Winkler took the hammer throw, Curtis Thompson the javelin, Marquis Dendy the long jump, Maggie Ewen the shot put, Chris Nilsen the pole vault and Yared Nuguse the men’s 1,500. Maria Michta-Coffey and Nick Christie earned titles in the 20-kilometer race walks. Krissy Gear used a late kick to pass Emma Coburn and take the steeplechase title.

It didn’t look promising for NCAA champion Kenneth Rooks in the men’s steeplechase when he fell over the barrier and had runners go right over the top of him. But the runner from BYU quickly picked himself up from the track, worked his way back into the race and sprinted to the title.

All according to his emergency plan. Rooks said he goes over such a scenario before a race — just in case.

The women’s 1,500 was a highly entertaining race, with Nikki Hiltz surging to the win over Athing Mu. Cory McGee finished third for the final spot at worlds, holding off Sinclaire Johnson, who dove for the finish line.

Like McLaughlin-Levrone, Mu is trying out a new event. Mu is the reigning world champion in the 800.

Run both the 800 and 1,500 at worlds?

“We’ll see,” Mu said.

Nia Ali won the the 100 hurdles, holding off Keni Harrison. It was the first U.S. outdoor championship hurdles title for Ali, the 34-year-old mother of three. Ali, the 2019 world champion, fell in the first round last summer at Hayward in her title defense.

Robert Gregory out of the University of Florida had the top time in the first round of the men’s 200. Noah Lyles has an automatic berth to worlds in the 200 as the event’s reigning champion.


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