Coleman cruises in 100m as Gatlin sits out final

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Christian Coleman didn't plan the gesture. He didn't even realize he was performing it.

Right as he crossed the finish line, Coleman outstretched his fingers on both hands in a "V'' formation -- for victory.

A convincing one at that.

Coleman cruised to the 100-meter title at the U.S. track and field championships Friday night in a final that Justin Gatlin elected to sit out.

The 23-year-old blasted out of the starting blocks and finished in 9.99 seconds. Michael Rodgers was second by thousandths of a second over Christopher Belcher. Both times flashed 10.12.

About that Coleman gesture.

"I'm [not] thinking when I come across,'' Coleman explained.

About his race.

"It felt smooth. No complaints here,'' said Coleman, who's planning to run the 200. "I feel like I pretty much controlled it from the start.''

The 37-year-old Gatlin ran in the semifinal round, but his lane was empty for the final. He already had a guaranteed 100 spot for the world championships in Doha this fall, because he's the defending champion.

Bummed not to see Gatlin?

"Not really. I just wanted to make the team,'' Coleman said.

Two years ago in London, Gatlin edged Coleman in the 100 final.

Round 2 is coming up in Doha in late September. Their rivalry just might be a preview of things to come at the Tokyo Olympics in a year.

In the women's 100, Teahna Daniels used a strong surge midway through the race to win in 11.20 seconds. English Gardner was second in 11.25 seconds and Morolake Akinosun third in 11.28.

Out of the University of Texas, Daniels just recently turned pro. She was fourth at the NCAA outdoor meet in June.

"It's surreal. I can't put into words how I felt at that moment,'' Daniels said. "It means so, so, so, so much.''

Allyson Felix showed her fitness is rapidly returning in advancing to the 400 final. The six-time Olympic gold medalist was nearly a second faster in her semifinal run than in a first-round performance that she described as rusty.

It was just Felix's second race in 13 months and as a mom. Her goal is not to be in tip-top form now but next summer.

"It's going to take some time,'' the 33-year-old Felix said.

Asked what her expectations were for nationals, Felix didn't shy away: "I'm a competitor -- to win.''