Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin breezed through the first round of the 100 meters on Thursday, turning in rather pedestrian performances at the U.S. track championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Fast times were hardly the point on this windy day, only advancing. Gay and Gatlin remain on course for a meeting in Friday’s final.
His surgically repaired hip fully mended, Gay powered down his lane to win his heat in 10.28 seconds. Later, Gatlin, the former University of Tennessee star, cruised across the line in 10.37, taking second in his heat.
“Tyson is something of an enigma,” Gatlin said. “When he’s healthy, he’s one of the most dangerous sprinters you can compete against.”
Dentarius Locke, who began his career at Tennessee before transferring to Florida State, had the top time of 10.19, just ahead of Jeff Demps.
“I just went out there and ran my race,” Locke nonchalantly said. “I know tomorrow will be a different day. Hopefully everything will fall into place.”
The women’s 100 lacked some star power as world champion Carmelita Jeter was out with a sore right quadriceps and Allyson Felix skipped the race to save energy for the 200. Barbara Pierre won in 11.18.
Former UT standouts Phoebe Wright and Chanelle Price advanced to the semifinals in the women’s 800 and will be in the same heat Friday. Price had a time of 2:02.05 and Wright was at 2:02.61.
Sara Brown, who ran as Sara Bowman at UT, advanced to the women’s 1,500 semifinals in 4:12.93.
UT freshman Felicia Brown ran a 53.17 to advance to Friday’s semifinals of the 400.