INDIANAPOLIS - Sara Hall (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after winning gold in the steeplechase at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
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Hall won the 3,000m steeplechase in a time of 10:03.16. She led through the first 1,000 meters of the race before defending champion and Pan American Games record holder Sabine Heitling from Brazil moved into the lead. Hall ran five meters behind in third place before retaking the lead for good with 500 meters remaining. She opened up a 10-meter lead over Columbia’s Angela Figueroa after hurdling the final water jump, expanding the lead down the homestretch to win by 30 meters.
Hall’s medal is not only the the first ever steeplechase medal for an American woman at the Pan American Games, but also is the first in any major international competition.
“It was really exciting,” Hall said of winning gold. “It’s a dream come true to medal, be on top of the podium and hear the Star Spangled Banner. It was just an amazing experience, and I hope it is a stepping stone to experience that at the Olympic level.”
Hall will conclude her 2011 season this Saturday at the New York Road Runners Dash to the Finish Line 5k.
Now in its tenth year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
Winners: January 5, Bill Tribou; January 12, Tyler Sorensen; January 20, Josh Cox; January 26,Ben Shorey; February 2, Ashton Eaton; February 9, Ashton Eaton; February 16, Bernard Lagat; February 23, Ryan Crouser; March 2, Jillian Camarena-Williams; March 10, Bill Collins; March 16, Miles Batty; March 23, Shalane Flanagan; March 30, John Nunn; April 6, Aries Merritt; April 13, Gunnar Nixon; April 20, Desiree Davila; April 27, Nolan Shaheed; May 4, Emma Coburn; May 11, Willie Gault; May 18, English Gardner; May 25, Kibwé Johnson; June 1, Khadevis Robinson; June 8, Carmelita Jeter; June 15, Lukas Verzbicas; June 22, Aisling Cuffe; June 29, Trevor Barron; July 6, Aldrich Bailey; July 13, Jillian Camarena-Williams; July 20, Johnnye Valien; July 27, Bernard Lagat; August 3, Marcus Krah; August 9, Leo Manzano; August 17, Magdalena Lewy Boulet; August 24, Brigetta Barrett; September 7, LaShinda Demus; September 14, Kasie Enman; September 21, Galen Rupp; September 28, Max King; October 5, Kathryn Martin; October 13, William Boland; October 19, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom; October 26, Michael Wardian; November 2 Sara Hall