Norris runs blistering 60 meters at Tyson Invite

Updated: February 12, 2011, 12:04 AM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- A 60-meter showdown will have to wait until next month.

Rakieem Norris ran the second-fastest 60 meters in the world during a preliminary race at the Tyson Invitational on Friday, then came back to win the final.

Norris had a qualifying time of 6.54 seconds before running 6.59 in the finals. Jamaica's Nesta Carter has the fastest time in the world of 6.52 at last month's Millrose Games.

Norris did not race against defending NCAA indoor champion Jeff Demps of Florida, who won his preliminary race in 6.58 seconds, but did not compete in the final.

"No coach wants to run a national championship race right now," Norris said with a smile. "We'll wait 'til next month."

Norris was alluding to this season's national championships, which will be held at College Station, Texas, from March 11-12. This weekend's meet, held at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center, features 13 of the top 25 men's teams and 14 of the women's top 25.

Demps wanted to run against Norris, but was held out by Gators coach Mike Holloway. Demps' victory at last year's national championships gave Florida the lead for good in that meet.

"He wanted to run, but he doesn't have the base for that right now and his calf has been a little sore," Holloway said. "So, the question is, 'Why?"

On Friday, Norris and Demps were among 17 athletes -- nine men and eight women -- who posted automatic qualifying marks for next month's national championship meet.

Natasha Hastings, formerly of South Carolina and running unattached, ran the women's 400 meters in 51.44 seconds. That's the second-fastest time in the world this year.

Arkansas junior Tina Sutej revved up the home crowd by setting a new school and Slovenian national record by clearing 14 feet, 8 inches in the women's pole vault. Sutej failed on three attempts at 14-10 3/4, which would've set a new collegiate record by half an inch.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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