DES MOINES, Iowa — Allyson Felix downplayed any hint of disappointment.

This performance wasn’t about the now, but a year from now for the Tokyo Games.

In that respect, the six-time Olympic gold medalist feels on the right track, and maybe even ahead of schedule in her return eight months after having a baby.

Felix finished sixth in the 400-meter final Saturday at the U.S. track and field championships and missed out on qualifying in an individual event for the world championships for the first time as a professional.

“I knew that it was a less-than-ideal situation for me,” Felix said. “But being in this environment and being back in the final, it kind of gets the juices flowing. It’s going to be a lot easier going into next year and getting a full year of training.”

Kate Hall of Casco also will start looking ahead to next year after she was unable to qualify for the world championships in the long jump. Hall, a two-time NCAA champion and this year’s U.S. indoor champion, placed 10th with a best jump of 21 feet, 6 inches, missing the final round of three jumps by 1 1/2 inches.

In the 400, Felix fell behind early and couldn’t make up ground. Shakima Wimbley won in 50.21 seconds, with Kendall Ellis taking second and Wadeline Jonathas third. Felix finished in 51.94.

After it was over, Felix went over to the stands and picked up her daughter, Camryn. Only 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Felix gave birth to Camryn on Nov. 28 in an emergency Cesarean section after tests showed the baby’s heart rate had dropped to dangerous levels.

Gradually, Felix has worked her way back. Now 33, Felix is eligible to be on the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team for the world championships in Doha this fall. She’s made every world outdoor team, beginning in 2003.

“This gave me a taste. I know it’s there,” Felix said. “The fire is there. I’ll be back next year.”

Fred Kerley upset Michael Norman for the men’s 400 title. Paralympian Blake Leeper was fifth and has a chance to make the relay squad. Leeper was born with both legs missing below the knee. He said the IAAF hasn’t recognized his times for much of the season, maintaining the height he is at with his blades disqualifies him against able-bodied runners.

“When people say I have the advantage with the blades … I tell people to walk a mile in my legs,” said Leeper, who has a legal team working on his behalf and hopes it’s sorted out in time for the world championships, and especially next year’s Olympics. “I’m making the best out of my situation.”

Pole vaulter Sam Kendricks broke the American record by clearing 19-10 1/2. As a reward, Kendricks had his fellow competitors jump on top of him on the mat.

“As I was falling I was thinking, ‘They’re going to come tackle me,’” said Kendricks, who had an automatic bye into worlds courtesy of being the world champion. “They were lined up on the edge of the runway, clapping for me. We’re a pretty tight-knit group all around the world in the pole vault.”

Other winners included Rai Benjamin (men’s 400 hurdles), Keni Harrison (women’s 100 hurdles), Shelby Houlihan (women’s 1,500 meters), Hillary Bor (men’s steeplechase), Vashti Cunningham (women’s high jump), Brittney Reese (women’s long jump) and Michael Shuey (men’s javelin). DeAnna Price broke her own American record in the hammer with a throw of 256-8.

Four Mainers are scheduled to compete Sunday – Isaiah Harris in the 800, Ben True and Riley Masters in the men’s 5,000, and Rachel Schneider in the women’s 5,000.


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