Hardee and Eaton trade dec lead; Merritt runs world leader
DAEGU, South Korea - A successful series of qualifying rounds and the first men’s final of the competition gave Team USA momentum Sunday morning at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships, while Trey Hardee and Ashton Eaton continued to battle for decathlon supremacy.
Team USA advanced 14 athletes through qualifying rounds including Jillian Camarena-Williams and Michelle Carter in the finals of the women’s shot put and world leader Jenn Suhr in the finals of the women’s pole vault.
Camarena-Williams and Carter are bidding to become the first Team USA performers to ever medal at the World Championships in the women’s shot put.
Among the eight women to advance in qualifying were all three runners in the women’s 1,500: Shannon Rowbury, Morgan Uceny and Jenny Simpson.
Led by world leader David Oliver, Team USA, had three athletes advance through the first round of qualifying in the men’s 110 hurdles, while three sprinters advance through the first round of the men’s 400.
Men’s 20 km Race Walk final
As the youngest member of Team USA, 18-year-old Trevor Barron (Bethel Park, Pa.) held his own in the men’s 20 km race walk through the hot and humid streets of downtown Daegu. Barron finished in 1:24:33 in 23rd place. Barron started out at a conservative pace and improved 15 places over the first 10 km. After falling back one spot in position between the 10 km and 15 km mark, Barron was able to come back and pass three competitors over the final 5 km of the race.
National champion Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Ore.) and defending world champion Trey Hardee (Austin, Tex.) continued rolling in the 1-2 positions as the second and final day of the decathlon got under way. The pair opened the day by posting by far the two fastest times in the 110m hurdles, with Eaton running 13.85 for 994 points and Hardee 13.97 for 978. Hardee’s hurdles effort came just moments after rolling his ankle coming out of the call room, en route to the starting line. Ryan Harlan (Houston, Texas) ran 14.71 for 875 points. After six events Eaton led with 5440 points to Hardee’s 5371.
The 1-2 order was reversed after the discus, where Hardee took the overall lead. His toss of 49.89m/163-8 was third-best on the day for 868 points, while Eaton threw 46.17m/151-5 for 791 points. Harlan had a best throw of 43.84m/143-10 for 736. Heading into the eighth event, pole vault, Hardee led 6239 to Eaton’s 6231, with Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine a distant third with 5943. Harlan sat 25th with 4869.
Hardee maintained his lead after one successful attempt in the pole vault where he cleared 4.80m/ Eaton sailed over the bar with room to spare at 4.60m; however, he was unable to clear on his next attempt at 4.80m.Ryan Harlan no-heighted in the pole vault after entering the competition at 4.60m/15-1. After eight events, Hardee led with 7088 points and Eaton sat in second with 7021.
Men’s 400 1st round
Defending Olympic and world champion Lashawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.) ran the fastest time in the world in 2011 in winning heat 3. Looking strong and relaxed, Merritt clocked 44.35 to easily be the fastest qualifier of the day. Greg Nixon (Long Beach. Calif.) was third in heat 1 in 45.16, Jamaal Torrance (Raleigh, N.C.) was second in heat 2 in 45.44. National champion Tony McQuay, fighting a hamstring injury, got out well in the fifth and final heat but faded in the homestretch, struggling to the finish in 46.76 to place sixth. He did not advance.
Men’s 110m hurdles 1st round
Team USA’s men breezed through the first round of the 110m hurdles, expected to be the featured final of these championships. Jason Richardson (Palmdale, Calif.) won heat 2 in 13.19, David Oliver (Kissimmee, Fla.) won heat 3 in 13.27 and Aries Merritt (Knoxville, Tenn.) took the fourth and final heat in 13.36.
Women’s 100m 1st round
World leader and national champion Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.) looked easy in winning heat 1 of the women’s 100 in 11.21. Marshevet Myers was second in heat 6 in 11.16 to advance, and Miki Barber (Duluth, Ga.) was fourth in heat 4 in 11.40 but did not qualify for Monday’s semifinal round. The final also will be contested Monday night.
Women’s shot put qualifying
American record holder Jillian Camarena-Williams (Tucson, Ariz.) and U.S. outdoor champion Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) made it a short day in women’s shot put qualifying as both automatically qualified for Monday night’s final on their first throws. Camarena-Williams threw 19.09m/62-7.75 and Carter put 18.85m/65-1.5 to surpass the automatic standard of 18.65m. Sarah Stevens-Walker (Tempe, Ariz.) had a best mark of 17.20m/56-5.25 on her final throw and did not advance.
Women’s 1500 1st round
The U.S. women left nothing to chance as all three automatically qualified by place in the first round of the 1500. Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco, Calif.) was positioned off the shoulder of the leader with a lap to go in heat 1 and finished sixth in 4:41.43 to claim the final automatic qualifying spot in her race. Jenny Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led heat 2 through nearly 3 laps and finished fifth in heat 2 in 4:10.84, and Morgan Uceny (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) was third in heat 3 in 4:07.43.
Women’s pole vault qualifying
American record holder and Olympic silver medalist Jenn Suhr (Churchville, NY) survived a scare in women’s pole vault qualifying. Suhr needed three attempts to clear 4.50/14-9, then made 4.55/14-11 on her first attempt to make Tuesday night’s final. Kylie Hutson made 4.50/14-9 to place 15th in qualifying, missing the 12-woman cut, and Lacy Janson (Sarasota, Fla.) had a best clearance of 4.40m/14-5.2.
Trevor Barron, men’s 20 km race walk
“It was very humid...the pace at the start was very slow and my plan was to start in the back and stick there, but when some of the guys took off in the front, the pack would do a fast K and then slow back down...I was kind of off and on the back of the pack going faster than the pace I expected to go.
“Overall it was a good race, especially in these conditions and my age for sure. I had never been in a race with this many people all bunched together. Overall I’m happy. I’m 18, almost 19, I’m very young for the race walks. I was the youngest in the competition, so this is great experience. Hopefully I can come back in the future and be up in the front.”
LaShawn Merritt, men’s 400
"It (the time) was a little faster than I wanted to run but I ran a comfortable race and it is a pretty fast track.
"I've definitely been working harder than ever. I took the race as a race to work on some things, being in lane seven. I wanted to run a comfortable race which I did...I couldn't see anyone behind me so it forced me to take it out a little harder to clear the field...I'm confident in my training. My times in training have been faster than they have ever been. The extra work has been put in.
"I knew I was going to run eventually. I wasn't sure if it was going to be at the World Championships but wherever it was to be I was going to come out running. My training consisted of a lot of time trials....just extra stretching, making sure everything was in place so whenever I was going to run I was in tip-top shape.
"I feel like it (the finals) is going to be a pretty fast race. Everybody is here to run. There are a lot of great competitors."
Greg Nixon, men’s 400
“That was my first run since nationals so I had to get the jitters out of the way. I’m good to go now. I felt pretty good. I wanted to finish in top four...wanted to win but I was under control and proud of effort I put in.”
Jamaal Torrance, men’s 400
“I felt pretty confident. I was a little sluggish but I will get it together tomorrow night. An opportunity presented itself and I put myself in a position to be where I am now.”
Tony McQuay, men's 400
"I practiced Sunday coming out of the blocks and ended up with a left hamstring injury. The training staff got me healthy enough to make it to the starting line and get around the track, so I'm happy about that. I can't explain what goes on in a race. I tried my best but my leg wouldn't hold up long enough...but I was happy to be here...I'll try to run in a few weeks.
Jason Richardson, men's 110 hurdles
"I felt really good. I executed my race like my coach told me to. This is my first senior team. I've done well at every level coming into the meet so I definitely feel I'm battle tested. Coming in here I have that mentality and professionalism to know what it takes. All I have to do is make sure I don't get beside myself and not get into the hype.
“This is the best field that has ever been assembled. I'm blessed to be a part of it and I also know that I'm crazy enough to think that I can win it all. I'll throw whatever it takes..a monkey wrench...a Phillips screwdriver...for me to show that hard work and strong faith are the ingredients to allow you to accomplish anything. I believe I can do anything as long as I stay humble and put in the work.
"We can't worry about time in the finals when you have these players. It's about bragging rights and crossing the hurdles first and who puts that gold medal around their neck. I could see a world record. I could also see a 13.3. It doesn't matter. I'm under less pressure I have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
David Oliver, men's 110 hurdles
"The race went well. It's all about running the time to advance to the next round. I ran pretty easy today and really didn't try to press it. I ran pretty good technically...probably only nipped about one hurdle. It's all about racing the same opponents I've had since I was 17 -- the ten hurdles. As long as I do that and run a little faster I'll be okay.
"It (the finals) should be a fast one. It's all about conditions. You never know...It could be raining or minus two degrees. You can't control the conditions. Someone has to win, so why not me.
"A gold medal would mean a lot. That is what we practice for. You train hard to try to represent the United States and put your best foot forward to go for gold."
Aries Merritt, men's 110 hurdles
"The race was good for me to get my feet wet. First rounds are always shaky because you're coming over from the United States and it’s the first race coming off the plane so you want to run well. I made one little mistake over the ninth hurdle which caused my rhythm to break in between the ninth and tenth hurdles which I plan on fixing in the semis and hopefully big things happen in finals. I would like to throw a monkey wrench in the finals. Who isn't. Jason Richardson is running well. Dwight Thomas is running well. All it takes is for one person to mess up because there are 10 barriers and everyone has to clear them perfectly to get that medal.
Carmelita Jeter, women’s 100
“The first round is always good, the last time I raced was in London. The first round really just wakes your body back up and that is really what the first round does. It gets you out of that training mode, gets you back into the competition mode. It was a good first round.”
Marshevet Myers, women’s 100
“I felt pretty good, the next round I’ll give a little more. But I felt comfortable. I just didn’t want to push to hard with the first round. It is a great feeling to get one out of the way, as tomorrow is back-to-back and done.
Jill Camarena-Williams, women’s shot put
“I felt really good. I warmed up really well and tried to get loose and be confident in the first round. I was the first thrower, so sometimes that can be a little nerve racking. I just wanted to stay focused and keep doing what we’ve been working on.
(On Michelle Carter also qualifying with one throw) “It was awesome I went over to give her a big hug. I think there are a lot of good competitors and there are a lot of girls throwing well, but we are hoping we can both be on that podium.”
Michelle Carter, women's shot put
"I've been working on a couple things and just stuck with what I've been working on and it took me to the finals. I'm really happy and excited to see what will happen tomorrow. Jill (Camarena-Williams) and I have been throwing very well this year and tomorrow we should be seeing some personal bests."
Sarah Stevens-Walker, women’s shot put
“I did make an improvement from last time I was in the World Championship. I was more mentally prepared this time around. Physically, I felt great between warm-ups. The lag time between call rooms, I don’t think I was quite prepared for that so I will take that next year for Olympics and get ready to really make the final and do well next year.”
Shannon Rowbury, women’s 1,500
“The first round is always interesting. Everyone is a little bit rusty from three weeks or more of not running. So you never really know what to expect. I ran wide for most of the race to get myself room and then I didn’t make the smartest move in the back stretch. So I will take that into the next round. One great thing for me is that I’m a strength oriented 1,500 runner. So the more races there are the better it is for me. So I’m hoping that remains the case this year. We’ve been having some great training with altitude work.”
“This year has been definitely a lesson in overcoming adversity. I’ve spent eight months this year struggling with Achilles injuries so to make the team was accomplishment for me. It is fun coming into Worlds. I’m super fresh and excited to go through the rounds and hopefully getting stronger in each round.”
Jenny Simpson, women’s 1,500
“I didn’t know exactly what place I was in down the stretch and I knew there were a good five of six of us together so I cruised the last 50 meters. I felt really nervous going into the race and intimidated by what is in front of me but very comforted by fact that making this U.S. team means you’ve been through a lot of tough races already so I knew I was ready for the round.
“I think we have such an incredible team. Shannon (Rowbury) has loads of experience and Morgan (Uceny) has been a rock star all season and I’m use to jumping over steeples and now that I have my lanes cleared things are good and I’m really excited about the whole team.”
Morgan Uceny, women’s 1,500
“I’ve seen so many dramatic things happen in races so if I were to go out because of a fall, I would never get over it. It is something you can avoid. So I made sure I was in the back at the beginning and no one was clipping me. And at that slow of pace I knew that I could move if I needed to. It is all about staying out of trouble and putting yourself in good position.
“It will be a long road getting a medal but I’m going to do my best.”
Jenn Suhr, women's pole vault
"I flew in here on Thursday, so It was rough with the jet lag and the diet and everything going on, but we're in the finals and right now we’re going to cool off and get ready for them."
Lacy Janson, women's pole vault
"I'm disappointed, but it is better than my last effort of indoors when I didn't make a mark. I felt good coming in but I just didn't feel my rhythm today. I was pumped up and excited to be here today but it just didn't work out."
Kylie Hutson, women's pole vault
"I jumped the height, but I should have jumped it on my first attempt. I felt really good coming into the meet. I was starting to get my rhythm back from the not-so-great summer season. I felt great, getting into the pit. I was moving through poles. My jumps felt really smooth today and it hasn't felt that way in a long time."