Monday, 06 March 2017 14:34

Harrison and Baker speed to yearly bests in U.S. champs

Top hurdler Keni Harrison and up-and-coming sprinter Ronnie Baker ran the fastest times in the world this year at the U.S. indoor championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday.

Harrison, the outdoor hurdles world record holder, ripped off a personal-best 7.74 seconds in her 60 meters hurdles semi-final before winning the final in a somewhat disappointing 7.81 seconds.

"I made the same mistake I always make, and that’s popping up (at the start)," Harrison said of the final. "Hopefully after I fix that I can execute my start."

Baker, already the year's fastest 60m sprinter, dropped his personal best to 6.45 seconds for a big win.

The 23-year-old two-time collegiate champion defeated runner-up LeShon Collins by nearly a tenth of a second.

Only five men have ever run faster.

“It’s really gratifying," Baker said of the time. "It’s a confidence booster for me and something I get to brag about for a while, so it’s fun.”

World outdoor hurdles record holder Aries Merritt continued his comeback from a 2015 kidney transplant with his best showing to date.

The 2012 Olympic champion won the 60 meters hurdles in 7.51 seconds.

"It was really hard for me the last couple of years," Merritt said.

"They told me I would never run again, and I’m back running. They told me I would be on dialysis all my life, and I’m not. I had a kidney transplant, it was successful, and I’m back doing what I love.

"So if you just stay positive and stay focused on something you want to achieve, you will do amazing things.”

Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris retained her national pole vault title by clearing 4.70 meters on her final attempt. She missed three times at 4.80.

"I’ve kind of struggled this indoor season with a bunch of little injuries and trying to stay healthy," Morris said. "I’m ready to go home, reset and get ready for the outdoor season."

World indoor record holder Jenn Suhr withdrew from the competition earlier in the week.

"I stood up by not competing to bring necessary change for the safety of pole vaulting," Suhr said on her Facebook account on Sunday.

Along with Harrison and Baker, three other 2017 world-leading marks were set on the concluding day of the championships.

Olympian Ajee Wilson claimed the women's 600 meters in 1:23.84, Shelby Houlihan topped the women's two-mile field in 10:19.14 and Alex Young had the year's best men's weight throw, 24.02m.

Reuters -- OmRiyadat