DRAKE RELAYS: Castlin stuns field to win 100-meter hurdles
DES MOINES – Kristi Castlin leapt through the air and gasped when she saw her name listed above Brianna Rollins on the scoreboard.
Castlin wasn’t the only one stunned to see someone other than Rollins win a 100-meter hurdles race.
The unheralded Castlin snapped Rollins’ 19-race winning streak – which dated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials – to highlight Saturday’s final session of the Drake Relays.
Castlin and Rollins both crossed in 12.58 seconds, shattering the meet record set by Damu Cherry in 2010. But Castlin beating the defending world champion by five thousands of a second despite running in the outside lane.
“I had a little chip on my shoulder,” Castlin said. “Sometimes it’s tough to run out of lane eight because you don’t know what’s going on. I just had to execute my best race. That’s why I was so excited, because I was out there by myself.”
Rollins wasn’t the only world-class hurdler Castlin had to beat to win at Drake.
Defending meet champion Queen Harrison, world championship bronze medalist Tiffany Porter and Dawn Harper-Nelson and Kellie Wells, the silver and bronze medalists at the London Olympics, also competed in the one of the most stacked fields in meet history.
But Castlin’s recent technique work with her new coach, Nat Page, culminated with one of the biggest wins of her career.
Wells was third in 12.68, followed by Harrison and Porter. Harper-Nelson was seventh at 12.87.
“It’s motivation because I consider myself to be a big name. It’s just so hard being in the U.S. because we’re so deep. So I really want to establish myself as just as good as they are. I want to one day win an Olympic gold medal, and I’m really serious about doing that.”
The 400 hurdles also produced a bit of a surprise winner in Tiffany Ross Williams, who ran a 55.53 to beat Nickiesha Wilson and Lashinda Demus.
It was the first major win for Williams since she gave birth to her second child, Saniya, in 2010, and the second-best time in the world so far this season.
“I knew it was in me,” Williams said. “My steps are finally back on. I’ve got my rhythm back,” Williams said.
A U.S. team anchored by Spencer Adams won the men’s 440 shuttle hurdle relay, beating a second group of Americans led by Aries Merritt and a Jamaican team with former Illinois star Andrew Riley and Hansle Parchment.
The men’s mile wound up being a blowout, as Aman Wote blew past the field just before the final lap and finished in 3:53.39, more than seven seconds faster than runner-up Nick Willis of New Zealand.
Chaunte Lowe-Howard won the women’s high jump at 6 feet, 5 inches, just an inch shy of her own meet record set two years ago.
Inika McPherson, who won an exhibition held in a local grocery store earlier in the week, finished second.