(Reuters) - Reigning world indoor champion Ryan Whiting delivered a massive shot put and teenager Mary Cain ran away with the women’s 1,500 meters at the U.S. world championship trials on Sunday.
World indoor pole vault record holder Jenn Suhr also made the U.S. team for the March 7-9 world championships in Sopot, Poland, but was beaten into second place by Mary Saxer at Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Whiting showed he was ready for another go at gold with his big throw of 22.23 meters (72 feet, 11 1/4 inches), a mark only five men have topped indoors.
“Mentally, I’m a lot more ready,” Whiting said of his chances of a world title repeat. “There’s no reason I can’t be a contender.”
Cain, showing why she is America’s top female middle distance runner, surged to the lead with three laps to go in the 1,500 and won by nearly three seconds.
“The last 400 was a lot of fun,” said the 17-year-old high school student, who clocked four minutes 7.05 seconds.
“I am super excited,” said Cain of the upcoming world championships. “This 4:07 at altitude has given me a lot of confidence. I didn’t know we were running that fast.
“The last 300 was kind of tough, just from the breathing and altitude but I felt really good.”
Team mate Treniere Moser claimed second in 4:09.93 as the high altitude of Albuquerque hindered distance runners but aided sprinters and jumpers.
The top two finishers in each event at the trials qualified for the world championships provided they had met the qualifying standards.
That assured Suhr of a trip to Poland.
The Olympic champion, who set the world indoor pole vault record of 5.02 meters (16 feet 5 1/2 inches) in Albuquerque last year, never could find her comfort zone.
Saxer’s first attempt clearance of a personal best 4.71 meters (15 feet, 5 1/2) was the difference.
Suhr missed her only try at that height before failing twice at 4.76m (15 feet 7 1/4). Her best was 4.66m (15 feet 3 1/2).
“Any time that you meet where you have to qualify, you can’t jump to win. That’s what I did last year, and that’s why you can jump higher,” Suhr said.
“Not having to jump a lot of bars and to jump odd bars just to make sure I can get top two. It’s a different type of jumping, but we’re right where we need to be.”
Runner Francena McCorory and hurdler Nia Ali also produced 2014 world leading marks.
McCorory became the first woman to dip under 51 seconds in the 400m this year as she won in 50.85 seconds.
Ali clocked 7.80 seconds in the 60 meters hurdles to improve her world lead with Janay DeLoach Soukup a mere two-hundredths of a second behind.
The 60 meters races also were fast with Marvin Bracy winning the men’s run in 6.48 seconds, just off Briton James Dasaolu’s world lead, and Tianna Bartoletta edging Lekeisha Lawson by a hundredth of a second in 7.08 seconds.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine