Oklahoma All-American hurdler Ronnie Ash was already on the radar for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team before stepping onto the Ansin Sports Complex track in Miramar for the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association - NACAC U-23 Track and Field Championships Friday.
After clocking a career-best 12.98 to win the 110 meter hurdles in a No. 3 world time, Ash's roster spot seems all but a lock in London two summers from now.
Ash exploded out of the blocks and then kicked it into a second gear at the midway point to pull away from Barbados’ Ryan Brathwaite, the reigning World champion, who finished second in 13.10 and Ash’s teammate Johnny Dutch (13.30).
“I came in here with my head high and trying to come out No. 1,’’ said Ash, who exchanged high-fives with U.S. coaches and posed for pictures with fans following the race. “This was my most incredible start yet. If I keep those coming, there is no knowing what I could do next. I think about the Olympics every day. I can definitely see myself there.”
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The only hurdler to post a faster time in the world this year is David Oliver, who won the Prefontaine Classic in a U.S-record tying 12.90 on July 3.
Ash’s new time eclipsed the 13.19 he ran to finish third at the USA Championships on June 27 and highlighted an impressive opening day 25-medal haul for a United States team bent on retaining its NACAC crown.
In the women’s 100 hurdles, hometown favorite Ti’erra Brown from the University of Miami, won in 12.86 with teammate Michaylin Golladay a step behind to win silver in 13.07.
The favorites also held up in the 400 meters where the United State’s tandem of Shelise Williams and Tavaris Tate posted easy victories. A victory by Canada’s Samuel Effah in the 100 (10.06) prevented a sweep of the sprints by the United States.