Dix gets the double at Hayward Field

EUGENE — One by one, a generation of American track and field's best athletes slowed at the finish, pulled up lame and failed to find their fastest gear. By the time the week was over, Walter Dix was among the few who looked ready to take on the world.

Dix completed the 100-200 double at U.S. track championships Sunday, meaning he'll be the headliner on the American world team that will be missing Tyson Gay, Lolo Jones, Wallace Spearmon and a handful of other regulars.

Dix completed his sprint double by running the 200 in a wind-aided 19.95 seconds for a .03 margin over Darvis Patton. He'll head to worlds in South Korea later this summer as America's best sprinter, which puts him squarely on Jamaican world-record holder Usain Bolt's radar with the Olympics coming up in a year.

"I can't see myself losing," Dix said in a typical burst of optimism. Bolt's world record in the 200 is 19.19 seconds.

Carmelita Jeter's shot at the women's 100-200 double blew up when Shalonda Solomon accelerated past her in the last 50 meters to win with a world-best time of 22.15. This was Solomon's first win at a major meet, made possible in part because defending world champion Allyson Felix sat out and focused on the 400, which she won.

This also will be the first spot on a U.S. international team for Solomon, who is a junior world champion in the 200 from 2004.

"It's not like she doesn't have credentials," said her coach, Lance Brauman. "She's just had some bad luck with some injuries. She came to my group last year and ended up being ranked No. 3 in the world. I wouldn't call it a surprise."

Dix and Jeter were among the few big-name runners who tried multiple events at an important track meet that, at times, felt more like play time or a visit inside the trainer's room.

Sanya Richards-Ross, the world 400 champion, joined Felix in bypassing her main event to try something new. But Richards-Ross failed to qualify in the 200, finishing seventh, meaning she'll only compete in the 400 at worlds in August.

Richards-Ross wasn't the only big name to come up short at this meet.

Jones, hampered by a painful sciatic nerve, didn't make it through the semifinal round of the 100 hurdles, meaning the multiple-time champion and America's best-known name in that event won't join the U.S. team at worlds.

Jennifer Suhr had her five-year streak of national titles snapped in the pole vault. Battling injuries all season, Suhr finished second to Kylie Hutson, who cleared 15 feet, 3 inches.

Hyleas Fountain, America's best at the heptathlon, was fighting through food poisoning and a number of other maladies on her way to sixth.

In the day's best race, Jeshua Anderson dove across the line to beat Bershawn Jackson by .009 seconds in the 400 hurdles and add the national championship to his three NCAA crowns. After the dive, Anderson stayed on the ground, in apparent pain. Moments later, it didn't feel so bad.

"I was just praying," he said. "I looked up at the scoreboard and my name was up there. That was a big moment for me."

Kellie Wells won the 100 hurdles in a world-best 12.50 seconds, beating the year's best mark that she already owned and edging Danielle Carruthers and Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper.

In one of the few events that went to form, Adam Nelson, Christian Cantwell and Reese Hoffa went 1-2-3 in the shot put.

Jesse Williams cleared 7 feet, 91/4 inches in the high jump to set a Hayward Field record. Brittney Reese won the long jump and Oregon's Nick Symmonds won the men's 800.

It's sprinters, of course, who headline track teams, and with Gay on the shelf, Dix is the best America has right now.

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