EUGENE, Ore. —  Anna Pierce, a Greenwood, Maine, native and 2002 graduate of Telstar High, qualified Friday for the finals of the women’s 1,500.

The top five in each of two heats and the two next-best times go on. Pierce was fourth in her heat in 4:09.51.

She will run for a spot on the Olympic team Sunday morning.

Pierce, in the 3,000 steeplechase in the 2008 Beijing Games, finished 10th.

Also, as Allyson Felix sauntered away from the crowd and on to safety, she actually broke her vow of silence.

“Feeling good,” she said in almost a hushed voice. And then she was off again, with Coach Bobby Kersee.

Felix is looking solid on the track even in the midst of controversy, winning her semifinal heat.

Same with training partner Jeneba Tarmoh, who moments earlier also captured her race convincingly.

After the 200 final today, these two sprinters will finally address what everyone is eager to know – just how they will break their third-place tie in the 100 and decide who earns the final spot to the London Games in the event.

A runoff? A flip of the coin?

Soon there will be a resolution. Maybe something as simple as one of them surrendering the spot to the other.

Also, some of the biggest names in U.S. sprinting were missing in the opening round of the men’s 200 meters. Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay were expected to sit out this race after securing spots to London in the 100.

But the absence of Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix was a surprise. Dix was hampered by a lingering left hamstring injury that slowed him in the 100 but thought he might be ready for the 200.

Now his only option for making it to London will be on the 400 relay team.
Dix tweeted that he heard he had been nominated for an ESPY Award for best track and field: “It’s an honor!!! Thanx for the love and support … very much appreciated.”

Dix was one of the sprinters the Americans were counting on, especially after capturing bronze in the 100 and 200 in Beijing.

“We’re missing Tyson, Walter and Justin, that’s U.S. best right there,” said 34-year-old Doc Patton, who advanced in his heat. “The door is open for anyone in the field right now.”

That’s one way to look at it. The other is the road to gold may have gotten a whole lot easier for Jamaican sensation Usain Bolt, the world-record holder who looked so dominant in Beijing and really has no one, other than training partner Yohan Blake, to push him in the 200.

In the only finals, Emma Coburn won the steeplechase and Jillian Camarena-Williams captured the shot put.

But these days and at these trials, the overriding topic is the one involving Felix and Tarmoh. Just how they’re going to settle the matter is something that’s been hanging over the competition for the last week.

USA Track and Field didn’t have any procedure to break the dead heat. Immediately after the 100, the organization scrambled for options.

The sprinters have elected to not say anything until after the 200. But Felix blabbed, if two words can be that.

Usually so polite and open to talk, Felix has been hurried away by Kersee the past two days.

But maybe Kersee also is softening. As he ushered Felix away, he was asked how Felix looks. Without even turning, Kersee gave a thumbs-up.

All the attention may be on Tarmoh and Felix for the final, but they have tenacious competition. Sanya Richards-Ross, who won the 400, keeps getting stronger with every round.