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Johnson and Lewis win Pan Am Gold on day four

10/26/2011
 
GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Team USA enjoyed its best performance yet in track and field at the Pan American Games, collecting four medals, including two golds, on Wednesday at Telemex Athletic Stadium to equal its combined previous three-day effort of four.

Kibwé Johnson
(Kamloops, B.C.) set a Pan American Games record in the men's hammer throw, leading a 1-2 finish by Team USA in the event, to highlight the action.

Yvette Lewis (Newport News, Va.) won the gold medal in the women's 100m hurdles in 12.82, marking first time Team USA has won gold in race since 1987 and first overall medal in the event since 1999.

Michael Mai (LeMars, Iowa) captured the silver medal in the men’s hammer throw at 72.71m/238-6 on his fifth throw.

Then Shameka Marshall (Quinton, N.J.) capped the day off by collecting a silver medal in the women’s long jump, soaring 6.73m/22-1 on her first attempt.

“Wow, that’s awesome,” said a beaming Marshall before she marched to the podium to receive her silver medal. “I’m so glad I was one of our medal winners today.”

Johnson set the hammer record of 79.63m/261-3 on his fifth toss to better the previous mark of 79.61m/261-2 set by Lance Deal of Team USA at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

“(Setting the Pan Am Games record) was one of my goals,” said Johnson, who won the silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. “I knew if I could get a good throw off I’d have a chance. I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in at warm ups; It was hard for me to tell how far my hammers were going until we started marking them. Once I got up over 77 [meters] I knew there was a chance, and I just needed to do a little bit better.”

It marked the eighth time Team USA has won two medals in the hammer throw at the Pan American Games, including the seventh time (others: 1999, 1991, 1971, 1963, 1959, 1955) that Team USA has won the gold and silver at the same PAG.

Mai’s wife, Deirdre Mullen (Princeton, N.J.), finished fourth in the women’s high jump, clearing 1.84m/6-0.5 on her first attempt before missing all three tries at 1.87m/6-1.5.

Lewis also will compete in the women’s triple jump Friday - an event in which she finished sixth in the 2007 Pan American Games.

Marshall became the first American to earn a medal in the women’s long jump since Angela Brown won the silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

In the finals of the men’s 1,500m, AJ Acosta (Oceanside, Calif.) finished fifth in 3:55.27, while Will Leer (Minnetonka, Minn.) was 14th in 4:04.13. Acosta broke out in front going through 400m at 1:06.98 and was in second at 1,200m behind Ecuador’s Bryon Piedra, but couldn’t maintain his position around the final turn.

Takecia Jameson (Upper Marlboro, Md.) placed sixth in the finals of the women’s 400m hurdles in 57.89, while MacKenzie Hill (Long Beach, Calif.) was seventh in 58.08.

In the heptathlon, Bridgette Ingram (Maplewood, N.J.) finished 11th with 4,809 points.

Qualifying rounds in the men’s and women’s 200-meter dash were held with Leslie Cole (Idabel, Okla.) the only Team USA sprinter to advance into the finals. Cole was fourth in the second semifinal heat in 23.55 which was the seventh fastest overall qualifying time. Consuella Moore (Chicago, Ill.) placed sixth in the first semifinal heat in 24.23.

Perrisan White (San Diego, Calif.) improved on his round one time in the 200m but was unable to move out of the semifinal heat. White ran 21.05 in the first round and then finished sixth in semifinal heat one in 20.78. Calesio Newman (Green City, S.C.) placed fourth in third semifinal heat in 20.80, failing to advance into the finals.

For complete Pan American Games track and field results, go to http://www.usatf.org/events/2011/PanAmericanGames/

TEAM USA MEDALS - 8 total

GOLD
Kibwé Johnson (Kamloops, B.C.), men’s hammer throw, 79.63m/261-3, 10/26
Yvette Lewis (Newport News, Va.), women’s 100m hurdles, 12.82, 10/26

SILVER
Jarred Rome (Marysville, Wash.), men’s discus, 61.71m/202-5 10/24
Barbara Pierre (Winter Haven, Fla.), women’s 100m, 11.25, 10/25
Michael Mai (LeMars, Iowa), men’s hammer throw, 72.71m/238-6, 10/26
Shameka Marshall (Quinton, N.J.), women’s long jump, 6.73m/22-1, 10/26

BRONZE
Amber Campbell (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), women’s hammer throw, 69.93m/229-5, 10/24
Becky Holliday (Penryn, Calif.), women’s pole vault, 4.30m/14-1.25, 10/24

TEAM USA ATHLETES QUOTES

Kibwé Johnson, Kamloops, B.C., men’s hammer throw, gold medal and Pan American record holder (79.63m/261-3): “I managed to get one throw with fairly good technique. Usually when that happens it will be a pretty good throw if I’m in good shape.

“(Winning gold) was my goal. I ended up doing that. In 2007, I didn’t throw very well. Everyone’s mark that year was pretty sub-par, but it was good to place well. It was my first international competition ever and I got the silver. Coming in here and getting the gold was one of my goals, and I’m happy to achieve that.

“(Setting the Pan Am Games record) means a lot. Lance Deal, the American record holder, had the record here, so it’s good to snatch that from him. … I’m fairly certain he wants his records to be broken, so we’ll see.

“(Setting the Pan Am Games record) was one of my goals. I knew if I could get a good throw off I’d have a chance. I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in at warm ups. It was hard for me to tell how far my hammers were going until we started marking them. Once I got up over 77 I knew there was a chance, and I just needed to do a little bit better.

“My coach (Anatoly Bondarchuck) is a master and he knows how to get his athletes ready. For him, the time of year doesn’t really matter. As long he has enough time to write the program to get me into peak condition. It doesn’t matter. It could be December, and I could be close to my PR, if not over it.”

Yvette Lewis, Newport News Va., women’s 100m hurdles, gold medal (12:82):
“It went pretty good. It went as I expected. I wanted to run faster today than I did yesterday, and I did, so I’m pretty happy about that. It was pretty clean. I didn’t hit any hurdles; I had a good start.

“(Winning gold feels) fantastic. I came here in ’07 and I ran the hurdles and I got last place, and this year at Pan Ams I won, so that’s good.”

Michael Mai, LeMars, Iowa, men’s hammer throw, silver medal (72.71m/238-6):
“It is great for the U.S. to take first and second. I was definitely shooting for gold like anybody else. I wasn’t happy with my distance. I thought I could have done a lot better. It was difficult to get it going but that’s just on me.

“Some people took time off after the World Championships. I went right into a heavy cycle and then tapered off a bit. I’m not at my best shape for the whole year but I’m still close to a peak.
Hopefully, I can take the momentum of this silver medal into next year. It’s all about getting that ‘A’ standard to make the Olympic team. And with Kibwe (Johnson) being the only guy who has it right now, the field is wide open. My plan is to be one of those three guys on the team.
“It’s great to represent all the people in LeMars and my family. I know they were watching the meet in Iowa so I’m glad to be out there and do it proud.

“My wife took time off after nationals and she is really starting to come around after the wedding and moving out to California where I’m at. She was out there cheering for me and she help get me motivated before my last couple throws. It is always nice to have here there and she is a big reason where I am where I am. I can’t say enough about her and me pushing each other to better and better performances.”

Shameka Marshall, Quinton, N.J., women’s long jump, silver medal (6.73m/22-1): “I really looked forward to coming to the Pan American Games since I didn’t make it to the World Championship team. I was just a few centimeters away from making that team, so I was determined to come here and win the gold. I really wanted to come out here and do the best I could do. I felt ready and focused to get it done.

“This experience has been incredible. I love being in the Athletes Village and seeing athletes from other countries. All in all it’s one huge team and fun to be a part of it.”

AJ Acosta, Oceanside, Calif., men’s 1500m, fifth (3:55.27):
“With the altitude it’s just so hard to run fast up here. I knew that if it was going to be slow I wanted to be up front, and it was really slow. We poked along. I put myself in the best position that I could and tried to make sure that I was outside with 500 to go. It’s late in the season; I’ve been going since March. I wish I could have gotten a medal out here, but I put myself in good position with 300 to go. I just didn’t have that last gear. That’s just the way it is. The other guys ran really good races. It’s a good experience for my first Pan Ams.”

Takecia Jameson, Upper Marlboro, Md., women’s 400 hurdles, sixth (57.89):
“From the beginning, I talked to my sister yesterday. She gave me a game plan. The only thing I can say is I didn’t execute well — didn’t really get out. I’m not sure where my touch downs are because I haven’t spoken with coach. My immediate reaction when the girl from lane seven came flying past me is to not try to go with her because I was running my own race, but I still didn’t execute my race as much as I should have. I chopped a lot of steps. I should have been more confident in my lead leg and my trail leg and my alternate legs. I just took whatever leg came up. Now we’re back to the drawing board. That was my last 400 hurdle race of the season, so I’m going to go take my break.”

Mackenzie Hill, Long Beach Calif., women’s 400 hurdles, seventh (58.08): “I felt good and strong for the first 300-350 and I don’t know what happened … I don’t want to make up any excuses, so it’s just hard to say.

“It’s been a great experience. I was definitely looking for a different outcome. Some things didn’t go the way I wanted. I started getting a little chest cold the other day, so that could have played in a part in it. Outside of that it was a great experience.”

Bridgett Ingram, Maplewood, N.J., heptathlon, 11th (4,809 points):
“I finished. I’m not injured, a little achy, but I finished. I’ve got to come back and get these girls because I’m mad now. They beat me bad.

“It’s like a growing experience. You learn how to compete against different cultures and different countries and stuff like that. I was nervous but I was ready to go, so I’m going to use them beating me so bad as motivation when I go to the weight room and when I go to the track.”

Perrisan White, San Diego, Calif., men’s 200m, sixth in first semifinal round heat semifinal round (20.78), did not advance into finals:
“I was way more confident in the semis than the first round. I found my running rhythm and was more consistent. I’m very pleased with time performance that I ran.”

Calesio Newman, Green Sea, S.C., men’s 200, fourth in third semifinal round heat (20.80), did not advance into finals: “I felt that I could have reacted better. I took too much speed on the curve. My coaches have been trying to work with me to take only 90 percent. But I think I took more and really stumbled out of the curve. I tried to transition to make up for it and I was trying too hard. I just have to better coming off curve and accelerating.

“I did better in prelims. I’ve only been training since September. I’m just blessed that I’m healthy and I’m competing here.”

Lee Moore, Cordova, Texas, men’s 400 hurdles, third in first semifinal heat (50.58): “It feels good to move on. I came out here; I didn’t have much time to train because I’m in medical school at the University of Tennessee. I put in as much time as I could and trained as hard as I could and just let the Lord take care of my race.

“It was good race. I took 13 steps through five hurdles, took 14 through six. It was a little bit conservative there. I usually will go a couple more than 14 but I knew that I could get through with a 50-point something. I didn’t really have to go crazy and push it too hard and not make one of my steps. I played it a little more conservative and had a lot more than I thought I would at the end.”

Reuben McCoy, Sicklerville, N.J., men’s 400 hurdles, third in third semifinal heat (50.60): “The first half played out real well. The second half needed a little bit more work. I didn’t catch it on the right legs I wanted to on the hurdles. I was in position to set myself up to finish strong but coming off that last hurdle — hurdles are so much about rhythm — that I was off. That slowed me down a bit. It’s late in the year — October. I just wanted to come out here and put something together to compete.

“I learned from today’s race that a lot of this race here is about patience. I got a little excited coming around that second turn and that winded up costing me. If I had just stayed relaxed I would have finished a whole lot faster, stronger. Lesson learned.”

Consuella Moore, Chicago, Ill., women’s 200m, sixth in first semifinal heat (24.23):
“(The race) definitely didn’t go the way I wanted (it) to. It’s October. I came to try to represent the country the best I could. I obviously didn’t get the result. I felt good in the warm-up area.

“We’re going for gold (in the 4x100 tomorrow). When you come together, you run differently with that stick in your hand because you’re not just representing yourself, you’re representing three other girls, plus a whole country behind you, so you keep that stuff in perspective.”

Leslie Cole, Idabel, Okla., women’s 200m, fourth in second semifinal heat (23.55): “The 200-meter race was good for the first half. The first 100 meters I was good. Towards the last 20 to 40 (meters) I started to fade a little bit, but that’s probably because I’ve only been training for about five weeks. But I’m happy that I made the final and that I can represent my country in the final.”



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