American Sanya Richards-Ross made her 27th birthday special in more ways than one by winning the women's 400 metre title at the US Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Richards-Ross was also celebrating her wedding anniversary Sunday as she married American gridiron player Aaron Ross on her birthday two years ago. Ross, who plays for the New York Giants, and was in the stands cheering her on.
Richards-Ross set a meet record of 50.71 in the 400 to beat runner-up Natasha Hastings who finished in 51.66.
"I am really happy with it," Richards-Ross said. "It is good for your mentality to get out there and race."
The win clinched a trip to the World Indoor Championships coming up March 9-11 in Istanbul, Turkey.
"Aaron's football schedule doesn?t really allow him much time to see my big races," said Richards-Ross. "So having him here to see this one, that was a big bonus for me.
"I was in Indianapolis to see Aaron and the Giants win the Super Bowl, three weeks ago, so I guess this kind of evens it up."
Richards-Ross boosted her credentials for both Istanbul and the 2012 London Olympic Games with this win. She came to Albuquerque with the top 400 time of 2012, the 50.89 she ran at the Millrose Games in New York in February and will head to Istanbul as a strong favourite.
It was a big day for other leading American candidates for Istanbul and London.
Trel Kimmons won the men's 60-metre title in 6.45 seconds, quickest time in the world this year. Runner-up Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 champion on the comeback trail after four years on the suspended list, clocked 6.47 for second place.
"I just had to execute and run hard and stay relaxed," Kimmons said.
Tianna Madison won the women's 60-metre in 7.02, finishing just ahead of the Barbara Pierre, who ran 7.06.
With her 7.84-second win in the women?s 60-meter hurdles, Kristi Castlin rose to the top of the 2012 world list, supplanting the 7.87 run by Britain?s Jennifer Ennis in the Birmingham meet.
Reese Hoffa, the 2012 men's world leader in the shot put at 21.87, wasn't up to that form but still won at 21.75. Ryan Whiting edged past 2008 Olympic silver medallist Christian Cantwell for second place, 21.60 to 21.53.
Chaunte Howard Lowe continued her progress by winning the women's high jump in an American record of 2.02 metres.
Will Claye tried unsuccessfully to become the first man since 1986 to win the triple and long jumps at the indoor nationals.
After winning the triple jump here Saturday, Claye had high hopes of winning the long jump Sunday.
But decathlete Ashton Eaton reached a career-best 8.06 metres and Clay went 8.02.
"Will Claye definitely outjumped me today," said Eaton. "Trouble was, his best jumps were fouls. He definitely could have won this one."
With Claye falling short of the Saturday-Sunday double, middle distance runner Jennifer Simpson actually did it.
She faced little opposition in her 9:19.15, 3,000-metre win Saturday, but her 4:15.04, 1,500 win Sunday over Brenda Martinez (4:15.11) was a real struggle.
For the first time, the Americans will send two medal-potential women?s shot putters to the World Indoor meet.
Jill Camarena-Williams rallied with a 19.56 toss in the fourth round to top Michelle Carter, who reached 19.27 in the third.
They are ranked second and seventh globally heading to Istanbul, on a list headed by Belarus's Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who reached 20.70 at Mogilev two weeks ago.