Faulknor Gold, Ewen Silver in Morning Session at Pan Am Juniors
MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA -- Following the instructions her coach gave her to a "T", long jumper Alexis Faulknor won Team USA's fifth gold medal of the 17th Pan American Junior Championships Saturday morning at Alfonso Galvis Duque Stadium.
Faulknor took the lead right off the bat with a jump of 6.23m/20-5.25 in the first round to put pressure on the Cuban and Brazilian entrants. She was consistent in her series and capped it off with a 6.24m/20-5.75 on her final attempt to sew up the gold. Mimi Land was sixth with a best of 5.88m/19-3.5.
The U.S. picked up another medal soon after in the women's discus, where Maggie Ewen had the lead up until the final round and ended up with silver with a throw of 50.49m/165-7.
Nine of the 10 U.S. entrants in the morning's qualifying rounds made it through to the finals.
Tony Brown outleaned Colombia's Juan Carlos Moreno 13.54-13.55 to take top honors in the first semifinal of the men's 100m hurdles, and Trey Holloway won the second section at 13.73, the same time awarded to second-placer Jefferson Carmona of Colombia.
In the women's 200, Ana Holland had the second-fastest time of the day with a 23.61 in the second semifinal, while Morolake Akinosun eased into the final with a 24.09 in the first section. Riak Reese set a lifetime best of 20.82 in the men's 200 to advance, but Just'N Thymes missed out on the final by the narrowest of margins, clocking 21.22.
Running for one of the three automatic qualifying spots in each section of the men's 800m, Marcus Dickson clocked 1:52.92 in the first section to place third and move on, and Nicholas Rivera also snagged a finals berth with his 1:52.17 in section two.
U.S. runners won both sections of the men's 400m hurdles, with Khallifah Rosser the fastest at 51.44. Scottie Hearns turned in a 51.57 to easily take the first section.
Alexis Faulknor, women's long jump gold -- "I have worked really hard and I listened to my coach. He told me to go out win it on my first one, and I did. I felt great from the first jump on and thought I was going to win. My leg started bothering me on my final jump, which made it hard. It was a good competition and I knew I would have to jump well to win. I'm really looking forward to the 4x100 tomorrow. I love it here and it is so pretty."
Maggie Ewen, women's discus silver -- "I felt pretty good on my first two throws. When I got to my last one I decided I needed a big one. My legs were slow today, I was really tired. The key was just to get my mind right. I feel like I could have done more."
Ana Holland, women's 200m semifinals -- "It was very exciting because everything was so new. I am very blessed to be here for Team USA. I have been training during summer school at the University of Virginia, and it is a big adjustment to work out by myself. I feel like I can run a low 23 in the final. Medellin is beautiful with some amazing sights."
Riak Reese, men's 200m semifinals -- "It didn't feel like I ran that fast. It felt more like a 21.3. Coming off the curve I saw the people inside of me and I was trying to relax and run fast. Since I couldn't see anyone (he was in lane eight) I knew I had to get off the turn fast."
Marcus Dickson, men's 800m semifinals -- "All I wanted to do was make it in the top three and advance to the final with as little effort as possible. I will be ready to roll tomorrow. If I had wanted to go faster and finish higher I could have but I wanted to save something for tomorrow. It has been hard training by myself, even though my brothers paced me sometimes, but I would have been really bored this summer if not for this meet to look forward to."
Nicholas Rivera, men's 800 semifinals -- "I wanted to go easy in my heat but there was hot competition. Really I just wanted to finish in the top three. I usually run near the front of the pack, and I wasn't expecting it to go out quite so fast. I will be recovered and ready to go tomorrow. Going for the gold is the true goal."
Tony Brown, men's 110m hurdles semifinals -- " This morning I just wanted to get through the semis and into the final. I haven't really raced since the nationals in Des Moines, and I was a little wobbly toward the end of the race, a little off balance. Everyone knows I hate losing; I'm out here to win. I have been through a few days of two-a-day football practices, but my coaches know I am elite in track as well as in football so they understand me being gone right now."
Khallifah Rosser, men's 400m hurdles semifinals -- "I didn't get out as fast as I wanted to but I kept to my race plan that I have used all season. I didn't see anyone in my peripheral and I wanted to make sure I won my heat and made the final. My confidence went up a lot with this and I will keep with the plan and go for the gold in the final."