Day defends pentathlon title as USA Indoor Championships kick off in Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE - Sharon Day successfully defended her indoor title in the women’s pentathlon with 4,478 points and became the first champion to be crowned at the 2013 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships while Gunnar Nixon grabbed the first day lead in the men’s heptathlon Friday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The USA Indoor Track & Field Championships serve as the final stop of the 2013 USATF Indoor Championship Series. The event can be viewed Saturday LIVE on Universal Sports from 6-8 p.m. ET and Sunday LIVE on NBC Sports Network from 4-6 p.m. ET. Portions of today’s competition can be viewed online via RunnerSpace.com.
Two-time Olympian Sharon Day won with a margin of 145 points to earn her second consecutive USA Combined Event Championship title. Day recorded a personal best in the shot put (15.07m/49-5.50) and the best mark of the day in the high jump (1.82m/5-11.50). She ran 8.57 seconds in the 60m hurdles, jumped 5.82m/1901.25 in the long jump, and ran the 800m in 2:20. Day will return to competition on Sunday in the women’s open high jump.
2011 USA Indoor Combined Event champion Bettie Wade finished second with 4,333 points. Wade also picked up a PR in the shot put with a heave of 14.31m/46-11.5.
Lindsay Lettow, a four-time Div. II NCAA Champion at Central Missouri, finished third in her first USA Indoor Championship. Lettow started the day strong with a PR of 8.42 in the 60m hurdles to clock the fastest time of the day.
Kiani Profit closed with a blistering 800m of 2:11.69 to set a meet record by two-hundredths of a second.
Nixon used a big personal best in the 60m dash and made up the most ground on the field in the high jump to amass 3,527 points and grab the day one lead over two-time World Outdoor decathlon gold medalist Trey Hardee (3,405 points). Competing in front of his hometown crowd in Albuquerque, Curtis Beach is currently in third with 3,318. Competition continues Saturday with the 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1,000m.
Nixon, the 2012 World Junior decathlon champion, brought his personal best of 7.09 seconds all the way down to 6.77 in the 60m to open competition. The 2012 Olympic decathlon silver medalist, Hardee led through the first three events before Nixon created separation by clearing 2.14m/7-0.25 in the high jump.
The highlight of the competition happened in the high jump in a battle between Nixon and Beach. Clearing the bar of his final attempt on a total of three heights, Beach took a total of 19 jumps Saturday before clearing a final height of 2.11m/6-11. Beach recorded personal bests in both the shot put and high jump.
Competition resumes Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with the men’s heptathlon 60m hurdles.
“It feels really good to repeat, hopefully next year I can make it three. It was a good day, there were definitely ups and downs. I started off with an okay hurdles, then okay high jump, but an amazing shot put, so that kind of redeemed the other too. This facility is amazing and especially for the high jump. There is so much bounce on the surface. This is my first time running at altitude and I had forgot my 800m shoes. I’ve got lots of rehab and rest tomorrow, then I’ll come back on Sunday afternoon for the open high jump.”
“My marks weren’t that good; I’ve been working through some things in practice, like the hurdles and the high jump, and I didn’t really fix it today, but I think I competed well. I absoloutely love having Combined Indoors with USA Indoors, it’s just great to be with the other athletes. This was really good.”
“I’m happy with my place, but I was hoping for some better marks in some of the individual events, but overall I’m satisfied. This is one of the bigger multi meets you’ll be at, so it is really exciting, and the venue is really great.”
“I wanted to come in here and have fun. I knew I had it in me (the ability to lead the first day) and I am happy to be where I am at. A lot of people came out and showed up here. The 60m went well and the long jump went really well. I’m happy with it. I don’t really worry about anyone else when I am here. I’m looking forward to (Saturday). I know my strength is in the hurdles.”
“I’m really excited to be here in Albuquerque. We’ve got some really good competition shaping up with a lot of young guys - guys that are taking the indoor collegiate season off. So, it’s really great to see the state of the U.S. multievent for these guys. I’m really excited to see what all these young guys do tomorrow.
“I was fresh, but just not sharp. It’s March so, we’ve got plenty of time to figure it out.”
“It’s easy for me to get motivated with family here. All of the competitors here are really good. This is my first time competing here since high school. I can’t describe how awesome it was having so much family here. My focus right now is on outdoors. The 1,000m is my best event and I know I have that, but I try not to think too far ahead.”