Her wild card from winning the Diamond Trophy last year meant that Kendra Harrison was already guaranteed a spot at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
But after missing out on the Rio 2016 Olympics and breaking a bone in her hand seven weeks ago, the world record-holder supplied evidence she is ready to land her first world title by winning the 100m hurdles in 12.60 on an eventful third day of the US Championships at Sacramento on Saturday (24).
Despite being the world record-holder, the 24-year-old had never previously won an outdoor national title. After running 12.54 (1.4m/s) in the heats and 12.58 (-2.4m/s) in the semifinal, Harrison once again faced a strong headwind in the final, this time -1.7m/s.
“I feel like I’m in really good shape,” she said. “If I’m running 12.5 into a headwind, I know I can get down to 12.3, 12.2.”
Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali, second in 12.68, and Christina Manning, third in 12.70, took the other spots on the US team for the World Championships. Because of Harrison’s wild card, 33-year-old Dawn Harper made the team in fourth. Harper won Olympic gold in 2008 and silver in 2012.
Harrison didn’t make it to Rio because she finished sixth at last year’s US Trials. She said she “learned from my mistakes” and plans to sharpen with races in Europe.
“Honestly, I just wanted to win,” Harrison said. “The times will come. I feel I’m going to peak at World Championships and get that title.”
Jasmin Stowers, who has finished in the top two in all of her races this year, clocked a world-leading 12.47 in her semifinal but was never in contention in the final and finished eighth in 12.94.