SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – Ronnie Ash began his day by becoming the first in the world since 2012 to break the 13-second barrier in the 110-meter hurdles.
He ended it on a golf cart being driven slowly out of Hornet Stadium, bandages around his right ankle and left wrist, with two big bags of ice secured tightly around his right knee and left shoulder.
It was the result of a nasty spill Sunday midway through the final after tumbling over one of the hurdles just when it appeared he was pulling away from the pack.
That quickly, Ash’s hopes of winning his first national title at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships crashed as hard as he did.
“It’s bittersweet,” Ash said. “I was trying to be so consistent in what I was doing. Once the race started surging on I rushed my dive and I hit underneath my lead hamstring, and the combination with my trail bashing into the hurdle . . . I hit dead smack onto the track.”
Ash’s tumble opened the door for Devon Allen, who sprinted past his fallen colleague and went on to win in 13.16 seconds.
Allen, the college champion who doubles as a wide receiver at Oregon, edged Ryan Wilson by five-hundredths of a second for his first U.S. title.
“I knew I was going to run fast in this league,” Allen said. “Things started clicking in practice, feeling better, and going through things and running faster.”
It was the final race of the four-day meet and easily the closest. The difference between first and sixth place was 12-hundredths of a second.
Ash wasn’t a part of it. He spent nearly an hour getting treatment, which included multiple small cuts and abrasions around his face, and expects to be sidelined for at least a month.
At least he’ll have something to reflect on. Ash’s 12.99 run in the semifinals is the fastest time in the world this year and the fastest by anyone since Aries Merritt set the world record of 12.80 in 2012.
“I’m beat up,” Ash said. “I think I’ve got a twisted ankle and some burns. I’ve just got to get my body back.”
Curtis Mitchell won his first U.S. title in the 200. A third-place finisher a year ago, Mitchell’s time of 20.13 is the second-fastest by an American this year.
Dedric Dukes, who holds the top spot, had the second-fastest qualifying time in the semifinals earlier in the day but was a no-show for the final.
“I had to dig down deep in the finals,” Mitchell said. “Just to be back in this position this year and to compete and give myself a chance to win it . . . words can’t describe it.”
Jeneba Tarmoh was also at a loss for words after running 22.06 to win the women’s 200.
A gold medalist in the 400 relay in 2012, Tarmoh got off to a sluggish start then drifted wide on the final turn before holding off Kimberlyn Duncan.