STANFORD, Calif. (AP) _ Tim Montgomery began his bid for a second straight 100-meter national title, and a chance to compete for his first world title, by running the fastest first-round time on a wind-swept Thursday night at the U.S. track and field championships.
Montgomery’s time of 10.04 seconds matched his best of the year, though it was far from the world record of 9.78 he set last year. He predicted a much better time in the final Friday night.
``I feel great. I think we’ll see something very, very special on Friday,″ he said.
The 100 heats were switched to the backstretch, across the field from the main stands and the normal finish line, because of the wind. A few dozen fans lined the fence at the finish line.
The biggest surprise of the first round was Justin Gatlin’s failure to advance. The 60-meter indoor world champion, Gatlin is expected to be a future sprinting great. But he was just 17th fastest Thursday, missing the 16th and last semifinal qualifying spot by two-hundredths of a second.
``That comes with track and field,″ he said. ``Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.″
Three-time defending world champion Maurice Greene did not run in the 100, since he automatically qualifies for the world championships this August in Paris. The top three in each event at the U.S. championships qualify for the world meet.
In the women’s 100, the top first-round time of 11.00 was turned in by Torri Edwards and Kelli White. The defending champion, Marion Jones, is taking the year off to have a child.
Gail Devers, a two-time Olympic champion in the 100, won her heat in 11.15. She has focused on the hurdles and not run the 100 much the last three years.
David Krummenacker, the 800-meter world indoor champion and the top-ranked American outdoors this year, advanced to the semifinals despite the lingering effects of a strained hamstring.
Aretha Hill won the women’s discus with a throw of 209 feet, 11 inches. Suzy Powell was second in the national championships for the fourth consecutive year, and four-time champion Seilala Sua was third.
But only Hill has met the qualifying mark for the world championships. Powell and Sua have to surpass 208 feet before Aug. 13 to qualify.
In the heptathlon, Kim Schiemenz led after the first four events with 3,617 points. Shelia Burrell was second with 3,560. The final three events are set for Friday.