Jun 23, 2013 8:12 PM by Andrew Masuda
The reign of King Solomon is finally underway. Lompoc native Duane Solomon, Jr. chased down his first career national outdoor title on Sunday in the men's 800 final in Des Moines, Iowa. Solomon finally struck gold in his ninth appearance at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The 28 year old sprinted to the early lead in the final and turned it on down the final 150 meters to finish in 1:43.27. He outkicked the five-time defending champion Nicholas Symmonds, who finished in second place at 1:43.70. Brandon Johnson came in third in 1:43.97. The top three finishers clinched spots on Team USA for the 14th IAAF World Championships that'll take place in August in Moscow, Russia.
"You know man it worked out great. My coach gave me the plan to take it out. I knew I was going to take it and so I knew in order to beat these guys I had to be on my A game and make everybody hurt," said Solomon seconds after the victory. He finished second at Nationals in 2011 and third last year during the U.S. Olympic Trials. The Cabrillo High graduate went on to finish fourth at the 2012 London Olympics.
"That's the thing about streaks, they always come to an end. If it has to end, I'm glad it's to this guy, second on the all-time list and now we just have to go take care of business in Moscow," said Symmonds referring to Solomon.
Solomon qualified for the IAAF World Championships in 2007, but he did not advance out of the 800 meter preliminary heats. Symmonds finished 5th at Worlds in 2011 and 6th in 2009.
An American male has not medaled at a World Championships since Rich Kenah finished third at the 1997 Championships in Athens. Mark Everett finished third at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. Solomon and Symmonds ranked #2 and #3 all-time in American history in the event with Solomon's personal best at 1:42.82 and Symmonds at 1:42.95.
"The resurgence of distance running in the USA, it's great to have us coming up here and people not doubting us anymore. We can go into championships knowing that people are not going to count us out anymore. We're contenders now," said Solomon.
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