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Cunningham breaks world indoor junior high jump record to win first USATF Indoor title

3/12/2016
 

PORTLAND, Oregon -- Teenage phenom Vashti Cunningham (Las Vegas, Nevada) had the crowd at the Oregon Convention Center on their feet, as she broke the world indoor junior record in the women’s high jump to highlight a stellar Saturday as the USATF Indoor Championships came to a close.


Cunningham won her first USATF senior title with a near-perfect performance, clearing every bar on her first attempt until her world indoor junior record of 1.99m/6-6.25, which she cleared on her second try. Cunningham had already set a new high school record with her effortless clearance of 1.96m/6-5 and bettered it on the next height. With the win, Cunningham etched her name in the record books, as she has the best jump in the world in the 2016 and joins just four junior athletes to clear 1.99m or higher, indoors or outdoors. The prepster also joins elite company as the fourth-best American female high jumper in U.S. indoor history.


The men’s 60 meters was a photo finish, as Marvin Bracy (Orlando, Florida) pulled off the USATF Indoors three-peat over youngster Trayvon Bromell (St. Petersburg, Florida). The men were both clocked at 6.51 but going down to the thousandth, it was Bracy over Bromell, 6.502 to 6.507. Bracy took his third title and will look to better his 2014 silver medal finish at IAAF World Indoor Championships next weekend.


The women’s 60m hurdles saw a stunning finish, as 2013 World Outdoor champion Brianna Rollins (Miami, Florida) captured her first indoor title in 7.76, a new personal best and equaling the third-fastest performance in U.S. history. Right on her heels was two-time NCAA Champion and Bowerman Trophy finalist Keni Harrison (Clayton, North Carolina), who represented Team USA at the World Championships in Beijing in 2015. Harrison crossed in 7.77 for a new personal best and equaling the fourth-fastest performance in U.S. history.


Sandi Morris (Greenville, South Carolina) won her first USATF Indoor Championship, taking down a stacked field that included world record holder Jenn Suhr (Fredonia, New York), reigning USATF Indoor champion Demi Payne (New Braunfels, Texas) and 2014 USATF Indoor champion Mary Saxer (Lancaster, New York). Morris cleared 4.95m/16-2.75 to write her name in the record books as the No. 2 performer all-time in U.S. indoor pole vault history. Morris easily eclipsed her previous personal best of 4.80m/15-9, bettering the mark twice Saturday to take the title. Suhr finished as the silver medalist, clearing 4.90m/16-0.75 to punch her ticket to compete in Portland next weekend.


NCAA Division II champion Quanera Hayes (Hope Mills, North Carolina) stunned in the women’s 400 meters, besting a field that included Olympic relay champion Natasha Hastings (Brooklyn, New York), two-time NCAA Champion Ashley Spencer (Indianapolis, Indiana) and World Junior champion Kendall Baisden (Beverly Hills, Michigan). Hayes won her first USATF title in 51.09 and immediately dropped to her knees in shock. Spencer used a strong kick to pass Baisden and Hastings to take the runner-up spot in 51.29.


Vernon Norwood (Morgan City, Louisiana) cruised to his first USATF title in the men’s 400 meters, winning the second timed final in 45.80. The winner of the first timed final was Kyle Clemons (Jonesboro, Arkansas), who finished second overall in 45.95.


Barbara Pierre (Orlando, Florida) stormed down the 60-meter straightaway to win her first USATF Indoor title, tying the world lead with her time of 7.00. Her finish makes her the third-fastest American woman indoors. Her time equals the fifth-fastest performance in U.S. history and ties her as the ninth-fastest performer in world history. The silver medalist in the event was Tori Bowie (Sand Hill, Mississippi), who finished in 7.15 to make her second World Indoor team after competing in the long jump in 2014.


The men’s 1,500 meters came down to the wire, as Matt Centrowitz (Arnold, Maryland) and Robby Andrews (Manalapan, New Jersey) battled over the final three laps. Andrews surged over the last 200 meters but was unable to hold off 2015 USATF Indoor mile champion Centrowitz, as Centrowitz kicked hard and out-leaned Andrews at the line, 3:44.33-3:44.40.


In the women’s 1,500 meters, it was Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, California) who came up big. Benefitting from a fast pace courtesy of mile queen Heather Kampf (Inner Grove Heights, Minnesota), Martinez and 2013 World Championships team member Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Mississippi) took over the reins from Kampf with two laps to go. Martinez had the race in hand on the bell lap, but McGee held off a final surge from former University of Michigan standout Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Michigan) to make her first World Indoor team. Martinez took home her first USATF Indoor title in 4:08.37 with McGee finishing in the silver spot in 4:09.97.


Up next for USATF is the IAAF World Indoor Championships, as Team USA welcomes the world to Portland, March 17-20. Tickets are still available on Portland2016.com. Join the conversation with USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #Portland2016.


Fans can watch the IAAF World Indoor Championships on NBCSN with USATF.TV’s The Cool Down following daily NBCSN coverage.


Friday, 3/18

9:30-11pm PT

Saturday, 3/19

6:30-8pm PT

Sunday, 3/20

1-3pm PT



Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field
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