USATF Women’s 100H — U.S. Back In The Picture

Team USA will have quite the 1–2 punch in Keni Harrison (5) & Alaysha Johnson. (KEVIN MORRIS)

THE DOMINANCE OF U.S. hurdlers had come under scrutiny the last couple of years with the likes of Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan and a slew of fast Jamaicans rising to new levels, so it was time for American women to put their collective feet down and reassert themselves.

Things got off on the right direction in the heats when Alaysha Johnson led all qualifiers with her 12.41, followed by WR holder Keni Harrison (12.47), LSU’s NCAA champ Alia Armstrong (12.51), Tia Jones (12.57) and reigning world champion Nia Ali (12.59), whose place on the team was secured after her Doha ’19 victory.

The good fortune continued in the semis with Harrison (12.40) and Ali (12.49) winning their races with season’s bests. The rest of the finals field would be comprised of Jones, Johnson, Armstrong, Tonea Marshall, Gabbi Cunningham and Paula Salmon.

Lane assignments found Harrison in 5 with Jones on her left in 4, but 6 would be empty, as Ali opted to sit out the final with her WC bye. Salmon would fill 2, Marshall 3, Johnson 7, Armstrong 8 and Cunningham occupying 9.

Marshall got the best start and led Harrison, Armstrong, Jones and Johnson up to hurdle 4, where she began to fade and Harrison took charge.

Midway, Johnson was in 4th, but was incrementally gaining on Harrison with every clearance, briefly taking the lead at hurdle 7. Harrison responded and by hurdle 9 had a half-meter advantage over Johnson. The former Red Raider began to claw her way closer to Harrison and nearly made up the margin, but Harrison’s lean proved to be the difference, 12.34–12.35.

Harrison’s list-leading time is her best since clocking 12.36 in ’18. Johnson’s PR, making her =No. 6 on the all-time U.S. list, is also the fastest non-winning time ever, replacing Dawn Harper Nelson’s 12.37 from the London Olympics.

Meanwhile, Armstrong moved into 3rd after hurdle 8 maintained and her place to the line to finish in a lifetime best 12.47, 0.08 ahead of Marshall (12.55). Jones ended up 5th in 12.59.

Said Harrison, “You know, I just tried to focus on my lane and try to clear those hurdles as fast as possible. I’m grateful to be back and get the win.”

Johnson, who was on Team USA at the World Indoor added, “I did everything I was supposed to do. We’re on our second team this year.”

But it was LSU soph Armstrong who may have summed it up best, saying, “I just wanted it more than ever. I’m young, I’m inexperienced on top of it, so I just did everything I could. I left it all on the track, that’s it.”


WOMEN’S 100H RESULTS

FINAL (June 25; wind –1.4)

1. Keni Harrison (adi) 12.34 (WL, AL) (x, =6 A);

2. Alaysha Johnson (MoreS) 12.35 PR (=12, x W; =6, =10 A) (fastest non-winning mark ever);

3. Alia Armstrong (LSU) 12.47 PR;

4. Tonea Marshall (Nik) 12.55;

5. Tia Jones (adi) 12.59;

6. Paula Salmon (NCAT) 12.78;

7. Gabbi Cunningham (Nik) 13.00;

… dnc—Nia Ali (Nik) (wild card).

HEATS (June 24)

I(0.4)–1. Johnson 12.41 (fastest-ever in first round of 3); 2. Armstrong 12.51 PR; 3. Masai Russell (Ky) 12.71 =PR; 4. Gabbi Cunningham (unat) 12.73; 5. Kaylah Robinson (TxAM) 12.75; 6. Dior Hall (unat) 13.12; 7. Aasia Laurencin (Mi) 13.27; 8. Anna Hall (Fl) 13.43.

II(0.8)–1. Jones 12.57; 2. Ali 12.59; 3. Marshall 12.60; 4. Chanel Brissett (unat) 12.65; 5. Sharika Nelvis (adi) 12.86; 6. Jade Barber (Tracksm) 12.92; 7. Alexis Duncan (Bay) 13.37; 8. Danielle Beattie (unat) 13.47.

III(-0.9)–1. Harrison 12.47; 2. Salmon 12.76; 3. Christina Clemons (adi) 12.88; 4. Jasmine Jones (USC) 12.96; 5. Destiny Huven (Wi) 13.03; 6. Camri Austin (Ok) 13.62; 7. Kaitlin Smith (HousB) 13.65;… dnf—Destinee Rocker (SC).

SEMIS (June 25)

I(0.8)–1. Ali 12.49; 2. Johnson 12.60; 3. Armstrong 12.68; 4. Russell 12.76 (12.756); 5. Jones 12.81; 6. Robinson 12.83; 7. Clemons 12.89; 8. Huven 13.02.

II(-0.1)–1. Harrison 12.40 (=AL);

2. Jones 12.59; 3. Marshall 12.67; 4. Cunningham 12.73; 5. Salmon 12.76 (12.752); 6. Brissett 12.86; 7. Barber 13.00;… dnf—Nelvis.

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