Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse finishes fourth in first race in nine months

DES MOINES, Iowa — Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse was pleased with his time at the Drake Relays on Saturday despite a fourth-place finish.

De Grasse, racing for the first time since tearing his right hamstring days before last summer’s world championships, finished with a time of 10.15 seconds. He said it was the fastest he’d run in a season opener.

“For me, it’s all about coming out healthy,” he said. “Now there are no limits for my next meet, and as the races go on (I’ll hopefully) continue to get better.”

De Grasse, from Markham, Ont., will race the 200 at the Doha Diamond League meet on Friday, then the 100 at the Shanghai Diamond League on May 12.

Isiah Young finished first in 10.02 while world record-holder Kendra Harrison won the women’s 100-metre hurdles for the third year in a row.

Harrison, running in her first outdoor event of 2018, finished in a wind-aided 12.37 seconds to become the first athlete to win the event three times in a row since local favourite Lolo Jones won four straight from 2005-08.

Harrison faced little resistance, with Tobi Amusan finishing second in 12.61.

“To run a (12.37) with, the wind was barely over, but I’m pleased with it. I think it’s going to set up the rest of my hurdles (season),” Harrison said. “This track brings me luck.”

REPEAT FOR MOLINE

Georgeann Moline won her second straight Drake title in the women’s 400 hurdles, holding off 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics gold medallist Dalilah Muhammad with a time of 54.86, the fourth-fastest time in the world so far in 2018. Muhammad was second at 55.08. Moline got off-balance after the first hurdle, but she was able to steady and correct her form in time to overtake Muhammad. “It was really messy, but I just relied on my strength mentally and also physically … I felt myself relax and get back into my stride pattern.”

GIBSON’S DAY

Jeffery Gibson, who won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games two weeks ago, took first in the men’s 400 hurdles. Gibson, a world bronze medallist in 2015, overtook T.J. Holmes in the final turn for the one of the biggest wins of his career. Bershawn Jackson was fifth in 49.64.

ALLEN FOR THE WIN

Former Oregon wide receiver-turned-hurdler Devon Allen held off fellow American Aries Merritt, the 2012 Olympic champion, to win the men’s 110 hurdles. Allen finished in 13.42, while Merritt came in at 13.45. Allen said he’d been working on using seven steps, not eight, between hurdles for the past few weeks. “I did that (Saturday) and it worked out. So now I can just keep matching that, getting better at that,” Allen said.

FIELD EVENTS

Ryan Crouser, who set the Olympic record in winning the men’s shot put in Rio, won Saturday with a throw of 72 feet, 2.5 inches — after missing two months of training with a hand injury. Crouser hit his mark on his first try, and followed that up with five fouls.

Women’s pole vaulter Sandi Morris fell short in three cracks at breaking her own American record, but she still won easily with a winning vault of 16 feet. It was the third consecutive Drake title for Morris.

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