Ronnie Ash began his day by becoming the first in the world since 2012 to break the 13-second barrier in the 110 hurdles.
He ended it on a golf cart being driven slowly out of Hornet Stadium, bandages around his right ankle and left wrist, with two big bags of ice secured tightly around his right knee and left shoulder.
It was the result of a nasty spill Sunday midway through the final after tumbling over one of the hurdles just when it appeared he was pulling away from the pack.
That quickly, Ash’s hopes of winning his first national title at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships crashed as hard as he did.
"It’s bittersweet," Ash said. "I was trying to be so consistent in what I was doing. Once the race started surging on I rushed my dive and I hit underneath my lead hamstring, and the combination with my trail bashing into the hurdle … I hit dead smack onto the track."
Ash’s tumble opened the door for Devon Allen, who sprinted past his fallen colleague and went on to win in 13.16 seconds.
Allen, the college champion who doubles as a wide receiver at Oregon, edged Ryan Wilson by five-hundredths of a second for his first U.S. title.
"I knew I was going to run fast in this league," Allen said. "Things started clicking in practice, feeling better, and going through things and running faster."
It was the final race of the four-day meet and easily the closest. The difference between first and sixth place was 12-hundredths of a second.
Ash wasn’t a part of it. He spent nearly an hour getting treatment, which included multiple small cuts and abrasions around his face, and expects to be sidelined for at least a month.
At least he’ll have something to reflect on. Ash’s 12.99 run in the semifinals is the fastest time in the world this year and the fastest by anyone since Aries Merritt set the world record of 12.80 in 2012.
"I’m beat up," Ash said. "I think I’ve got a twisted ankle and some burns. I’ve just got to get my body back."
Curtis Mitchell won his first U.S. title in the 200. A third-place finisher a year ago, Mitchell’s time of 20.13 is the second-fastest by an American this year.
Dedric Dukes, who holds the top spot, had the second-fastest qualifying time in the semifinals earlier in the day but was a no-show for the final.
"I had to dig down deep in the finals," Mitchell said. "Just to be back in this position this year and to compete and give myself a chance to win it … words can’t describe it."
Jeneba Tarmoh was also at a loss for words after running 22.06 to win the women’s 200.
A gold medalist in the 400 relay in 2012, Tarmoh got off to a sluggish start then drifted wide on the final turn before holding off Kimberlyn Duncan, who finished in 20.10.
"I haven’t been able to run an aggressive 200 this whole year, which is why I wanted to focus on the 200 instead of doubling up," Tarmoh said. "I was comfortable. I was able to run a more aggressive turn, focus on my straight and not get too long."
Tarmoh said she was most pleased with what she did over the final 90 meters after she drifted near the outer edge of her lane.
"That’s my weakest part of my race," Tarmoh said. "I literally talked to myself the whole race, saying, `Pump your arms coming off the turn really hard and aggressively and focus.’ I was talking to myself the whole race and it paid off."
Duane Solomon won his second straight men’s 800 title in dominant fashion.
A fourth-place finisher at the 2012 Olympics, Solomon built a comfortable lead in the first 200 and ran a crisp 49.65 split. He finished in 1:44.30, more than 1 1/2 seconds ahead of second-place Casimir Loxsom.
"That was the plan and I just tried to maintain it the whole way," said Solomon of his initial quick pace. "If I can run like this every race, I’ll be hard to beat."
Ajee’ Wilson, a two-time indoor champion in the women’s 800, added the outdoor title to her resume. Wilson’s time of 1:58.70 is the fastest by an American this year and the third-fastest in the world in 2014.
Other men’s winners were Jon Nunner in the 20,000 racewalk (1:27:56.39), Johnny Dutch in the 400 hurdles (48.93), Sam Kendricks in the pole vault (18-10 1/4), Sean Furey in the javelin (266-1), Jeffery Henderson in the long jump (27-11 1/2) and Evan Jager in the 3,000 steeplechase (8:18.83).
Kori Carter ran 53.84 to win the women’s 400 hurdles, Gia Lewis-Smallwood won the discus (216-5), Inika McPherson took the high jump (6-6 3/4) and Jenny Simpson won the 1,500 (4:04.96).