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Manzano Named USATF Athlete of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS - Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after anchoring his team to victory in the distance medley relay Saturday at the 13th edition of the USA vs. the World at the Penn Relays.
Leo Manzano
© Kirby Lee, Image of Sport  

Manzano received the baton for Team USA Blue for the final 1,600-meter lap in second place, with Bernard Lagat of Team USA Red leading. Manzano worked to close the gap on Lagat and was running off of his shoulder at the bell lap. With 200m to go, Manzano surged ahead of Lagat and held off a charge from Ethiopia’s Aman Wote. Manano split 3:54.9 for his leg to lead his team to a 9:19.31 finish.

“I was really excited to be out there,” Manzano said in a phone interview from his high-altitude camp in Utah. “Any time you run against Bernard Lagat, he’s a competitor. I knew I had to focus on myself and bring my “A” game and be a competitor.”

Manzano and his relay teammates Tyler Mulder, David Neville and Khadevis Robinson to form the first American team to ever with the distance medley at USA vs. the World. Their win was part of a six-race sweep of the event by Team USA.

“Winning races is one thing, but I was so pumped to represent the USA,” Manzano said. “Winning this event for the first time makes me so proud.”

Now in its 11th 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 Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2012 Winners: January 5, Landon Peacock; January 11, Kirubel Erassa; January 18, Shalane Flanagan; January 26, John Nunn; February 1, Gunnar Nixon; February 8, Jenn Suhr; February 14, Jillian-Camarena Williams; February 22, Brycen Spratling; February 28, Chaunte Lowe; March 7, Eric Broadbent; March 14, Ashton Eaton; March 21, Jeanne Daprano; March 27, Wallace Spearmon; April 3, Trevor Barron; April 9, Kevin Castille; April 18, Brittney Reese; April 25, Amy Sproston; May 2, Leo Manzano

from USATF Statistician Glen McMicken

Chilly weather at the Drake Relays couldn't stop Wallace Spearmon from taking down Michael Johnson's meet record in the 200, as he zipped to a 20.02 to clip .03 off MJ's mark.

Ryan Wilson, who has run three of his top 10 fastest times in Des Moines, was also on top of his game in the 110H, taking a 13.20 win over Omo Osaghae and Terrence Trammell. The top mark in the field came from Ryan Whiting, who neared the 70-foot mark in the shot again with his winning 21.31m/69-11 toss.

Returning to the site of her American record jump in 2010, Chaunte Lowe cleared 1.98m/6-6 to take the women's high jump over evergreen Amy Acuff, while world 1500 champion Jenny Simpson raced to a 4:12.95 win.

2008 Olympic silver medalist Jenn Suhr won a pair of pole vault competitions, topping the field in the Mall Vault with a 4.75m/15-7 clearance and adding a 4.65m/15-3 victory in the invitational section.

You had to see it to believe it. Making his outdoor debut in the 5000, World Indoor 3000 sixth-placer Lopez Lomong took off at a mad sprint with what he thought was about a lap to go, but after crossing the finish line, stopping and throwing his arms in the air he realized something -- he still had a lap to go.

Regrouping and fighting off lactic acid, he managed to cover the final lap fast enough to hold off runner-up Kevin Chelimo of Kenya and record a still-excellent 13:11.63. That time made him the 10th-fastest all-time U.S. performer. Behind Lomong and Chelimo, Matt Tegenkamp notched a fine 13:15.00, with Chris Bumbalough (13:16.26) and debutant David Torrence (13:16.53) also dipping under the Olympic “A” standard.

Local favorite Chris Derrick of Stanford became the fastest-ever American collegian in the 10,000 with his 27:31.38 personal best run in third to claim an Olympic A standard, along with Brent Vaughn (7th in 27:40.21) and Bobby True (8th in 27:41.17).

In the women's 1500, a mad dash over the final 150 carried Anna Pierce to a world outdoor-leading 4:07.00, and Colorado's Shalaya Kipp steepled to a U.S.-leading 9:43.09 win, an agonizing .09 off the OG A standard.

Amy Hastings led three U.S. women to an A standard in the 10K, finishing second at 31:19.87 to move to No. 8 on the all-time American performer list. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (31:33.50-5th) and Lisa Uhl (31:35.50-6th) were the others to get the A, while '04 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor was just off it at 31:49.23 in her first track race since 2007. In 12th, Deb Maier of Cal moved to third on the all-time collegiate performer list with a 32:12.47 clocking.

Chopping almost 25 seconds off her lifetime best, Julia Lucas nabbed the Olympic A standard in the 5000 with a runner-up 15:08.52. Julie Culley (15:13.87) and Colorado's Jessica Tebo (15:19.43) also made the standard.

A noteworthy double came from U.S. mile record holder Alan Webb, who was 11th in the 1500 with a season-best 3:38.86 and followed that about 30 minutes later with a 13:49.70 in the 5000. Wisconsin's Austin Mudd rolled to a 3:40.87 to win his section of the 1500 and take over the No. 8 spot on the all-time U.S. Junior list.

2011 World Youth Medley Relay gold medalist Aldrich Bailey of Mansfield (Texas) Timbergrove HS blasted to the fastest prep 400 in 17 years and claimed the NFSHSAA record with a 45.19 at the Region I-5A meet in Lubbock. For good measure he added a 44.8 anchor carry on the national prep-leading 4x400.

Two other high school athletes also had stellar outings -- Sean Keller (Vancouver, Wash.) became the second-best prep in the men's javelin with a 244-1 toss at the Centennial Invitational in Gresham, Ore., and Miami (Fla.) Jackson HS star Robin Reynolds upped her career state title total to 14, including a 52.59 400 and a prep-leading 20-6.25 LJ.

Exhibiting the form that helped her win the Olympic gold in 2008 in Beijing, Stephanie Brown Trafton had a U.S.-leading 65.02m/213-4 at the UCSD Triton Invitational in La Jolla. Hammer runner-up Aubrey Baxter moved to No. 10 on the all-time U.S. list with a 69.89m/229-3 throw.

Two big intrastate rivalries were splitsville over the weekend. UCLA's men and USC's women were victorious in the cross-LA matchup, while farther north Washington State's men and Washington's women took top honors in the city-country duel.

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