Hurdler Kristi Castlin named USATF Athlete of the Week
INDIANAPOLIS -- Kristi Castlin earns USATF Athlete of the Week after her victory in the women's 100 meter hurdles while setting a meet record and narrowly missing a personal best at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, April 26.
In a field occupied by world champions and Olympic medalists, the 25-year-old Castlin (Douglasville, Ga.) finished in 12.571, defeating reigning World champion and American record holder Brianna Rollins by five thousandths of a second. With the win, Castlin also snapped the world leader’s 19-race win streak, which dates back to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials - Track & Field.
Castlin finished third in the 60-meter hurdles at the USA Indoor Championships and earned a trip to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.
With the Penn Relays, Drake Relays and several other key outdoor meets around the country, there were many performances of note. Defending World champion LaShawn Merritt ran a world-leading 44.44 in the 400m to defeat reigning Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada at the Drake Relays.
Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) threw a world-leading 21.47m/70-5.25 in the shot put at the OTC Series I meet in Chula Vista, Calif., to take home gold. The USATF Masters 10 km road race produced two exceptional champions in 40-year-old Mike Galoob (Peace Dale, R.I.) and 40-year-old Melody Fairchild (Boulder, Colo.). Galoob ran 32:37 to take the men's title, while Fairchild ran 35:15 for the women's crown.
Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) pulled off an impressive double this week, winning the USATF 1 mile road title in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday before anchoring Team USA to victory in the distance medley relay at the Penn Relays on Saturday. Villanova senior Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) anchored the Wildcats women to three Championship of America titles, including the distance medley relay, 4x1500m and the 4x800m events at the Penn Relays.
Now in its 13th 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.
2014 Winners: January 15, Chris Derrick; January 22, Galen Rupp; January 29, Galen Rupp; February 5, Alexa Efraimson; February 12, Mike Rutt; Feb. 19, Bernard Lagat; Feb. 26, Sharon Day-Monroe; March 3, David Torrence; March 13, Francena McCorory; March 19, Irene Obera; March 26, Duane Solomon; April 2, Maria Michta; April 7, Noah Lyles; April 14, Kendell Williams; April 21, Meb Keflezighi; April 28, Kristi Castlin.
WEEKEND REVIEW -- APRIL 24-2
-Contributed by Glen McMicken
Besides the mega-relay carnivals at Drake and Penn, some of Team USA's top athletes were in action at smaller venues as the USA Championships in Sacramento draw ever closer.
SAN DIEGO SETS HIGH BAR FOR FIELD EVENTERS
U.S. indoor bronze medalist Joe Kovacs moved atop the world list with his 21.47m/70-5.25 win at Chula Vista on the 24th, and all six throws in his series were past the 21m line.
In the men's long jump, Tyron Stewart blasted a big PR to take over the outdoor national lead with an 8.39m/27-6.5 leap, while Jared Schuurmans added more than a meter to his lifetime best with a nation-leading 64.42m/211-4 effort in the discus.
Working off a short approach, three-time World outdoor champ and reigning Olympic champion Brittney Reese showed she is back in form in the long jump with a windy 6.87m/22-6.5 in her first competition since last August.
Just down the road at the UCSD Triton Invitational, 2012 NCAA gold medalist Whitney Ashley tacked on almost 1.5 meters to her discus PR with a U.S.-leading 63.78m/209-3 to edge 2013 World Champs fifth-placer Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who threw a season-best 63.28m/207-7.
Last year's Worlds eighth-placer, Tia Brooks, had the best outdoor shot put by an American in 2014 with an 18.50m/60-8.5, and six-time World and Olympic Team USA member Amber Campbell swept the hammer at the two meets, throwing a season-best 72.13m/236-7.
Decathlon world record-holder Ashton Eaton had a second go at the 400 hurdles and matched his debut time from Mt. SAC with a 50.01 to win.
SPRINTS SIZZLE IN SUNSHINE STATE
Clermont's National Training Center continued to prove a fertile ground for fast sprinting on the 26th with the PURE Athletics Spring Invitational. World Indoor 60m silver medalist Marvin Bracy was one of the top names on the day, clocking a personal-best 10.08 to win the 100 after a season-best 10.11 in the heats.
Tori Bowie rolled to a lifetime-best 22.57 to win the 200 over world list-leader Joanna Atkins (22.67), but Atkins, a World Indoor 4x400 gold medalist in March, did nab a season best in the 400 with a 51.25 winner.