INDIANAPOLIS - Alysia Montaño has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after setting an American record of 1:23.59 in the 600m at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday.
Montaño’s time smashed the previous American record of 1:26.56 set by Delisa Walton in 1981. Her performance was also the seventh fastest in history (indoors or outdoors), and was less than two-tenths of a second off the world best.
“We were warming up and I could hear the crowd, it was so phenomenal,” Montaño said. “It was impossible not to get amped up for my race. I don’t typically like racing indoors, but the crowd makes me want to run there again.”
Montaño’s record came on the heels of Bernard Lagat’s two-mile American record of 8:09.49.
“We were waiting to start as Bernard was taking his victory lap,” Montaño said. “I decided I would run over to Bernard and give him a hug so his American record could rub off on me.”
Montaño is at a loss for words to describe her record-breaking performance.
“I don’t have a word for it, and I am usually a very talkative person,” Montaño said. “But I can’t put a word on how I feel. I’m more than happy, I’m overjoyed.”
Now in its 12th 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.
2013 Winners: January 9, Bobby Mack; January 16, Mary Cain; January 22, Ajeé Wilson; January 30, Duane Solomon; February 6, Chris Derrick; February 13, Jeremy Taiwo; February 20, Alysia Montaño
WEEK IN REVIEW -- FEBRUARY 11-17
From USATF Statistician Glen McMicken
HASTINGS TAKES WORLD LEAD IN 400
2011 World outdoor 4x400 gold medalist Natasha Hastings zipped to a world-leading 50.88 in the 400m at the Birmingham GP in England Feb. 16 in a meet that also saw Barbara Pierre continue her hot streak in the 60. Pierre, last year's USA Indoor runner-up, was third in 7.09, a U.S.-leading effort.
Other top American performances included a then-U.S.-leading 6.53 win by Mike Rodgers in the 60m and a national-leading mark in the women's 3000m (8:53.89) by Chelsea Reilly.
SPRATLING BLAZES 500 AT BIG EAST
Pitt's Brycen Spratling bettered his own all-conditions collegiate record in the 500m at the Big East Championships Feb. 17, using the gentle turns on SPIRE's 300-meter oval to clock 1:00.37. Notre Dame's Christopher Giesting also dipped under the previous best with his 1:00.58 in second.
Connecticut won the men's team title and Notre Dame took top honors in the women's competition behind a 1-2-3 finish in the 60mH.
KYNARD, HICKS, JOHNSON HOT IN FIELD ACTION
Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard of Kansas State cleared 2.33m/7-7.75 to equal his indoor HJ PR at Manhattan Feb. 16. Former LSU standout Jeremy Hicks spanned 8.04m/26-4.5 to take the U.S. lead in the men's LJ at the LSU Twilight Feb. 15, and Indiana State's Felisha Johnson joined the 23-meter club in the women's weight throw with a PR 23.06m/75-8 at Charleston, Ill.
WHITING BACKS UP SHOT LEADER IN BYDGOSZCZ
Reigning World Indoor champ Ryan Whiting already stands atop the world list for 2013, and he backed up that lead with a 21.38m/70-1.75 win at Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Feb. 12. Cory Martin notched an indoor PR to place second at 20.98m/68-10.
USATF’s full recap of the Millrose Games can be found here.