CARSON, Calif. — Former University of Tennessee track athlete Justin Gatlin won the 200 meters Sunday to complement the 100 title he claimed Saturday at the USA Outdoor Championships in Carson, Calif.
Gatlin became the first man to win the 100m and 200m double in the same year at the USA championships in 20 years, since Kirk Baptiste sprinted to dual golds in 1985.
With the USA Championships and USA Junior Championships in the books, one Vol and three former Vols ended up earning a spot on an international team this summer on the lanes of the Home Depot Center. Gatlin qualified for the world championships in both the 100m and 200m.
Former Vol Leonard Scott earned his world championships lane in the 100, and former Vol Anthony Famiglietti continues the tradition of the Tennessee distance men in the world championships steeplechase. Freshman Drew Brunson made Team USA in the high jump for the Pan American Junior Championships.
On Sunday, Gatlin ran the fastest time in the 200m semifinal in 20.34 seconds to race through to the final. Tennessee freshman Rubin Williams wrapped up a fine rookie campaign with a 13th-place finish and 20.80 time against America's best in the 200m semifinals.
In the 200m final, Gatlin, the 2004 bronze medalist in the 200m, used his high-octane closing speed to earn his second USA title in as many days. Olympic 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford got out to a great start in lane nine, leading around the curve. But Gatlin turned it on down the stretch, taking the win in 20.04.
“The weekend has really turned around for me,” Gatlin said. “I feel like I'm back in my zone...like in college ... doubling and dominating. I want to make sure that the name Justin Gatlin is well known in the sprints. I had a spark of inspiration this year after the Olympic Games where so many people didn't expect me to win, so I set out this year to focus on both the 100m and 200m, and I want to dominate every race I'm in.”
1980s Tennessee hurdler/wide receiver Willie Gault continued his track and field renaissance by taking the 110 hurdles title in masters, age 40 and up, competition. Gault trounced the field by finishing in a wind-aided 13.87, while the runner-up broke the tape in 14.20. The 44-year-old Gault was named USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week last week for his earlier spring exploits of breaking the masters 40 record in both the 100 and 200.
“This is my second (hurdles) race of the year,” Gault said. “I've been concentrating on sprinting this year. If I could've run in the open yesterday (with the current professionals and collegians) I would have.
Former Vol Jebreh Harris, a member of the 2001 NCAA championship squad with Gatlin and Scott, ran to sixth in the 800 in 1:47.44. Freshman Akeem Hardnett, who redshirted the 2005 season, finished seventh in the juniors triple jump with a lifetime-best 49-10 1/2 mark. Hardnett improved his career-best leap by more than a foot at the USA juniors.