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Nixon named Athlete of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS - 2010 Youth Olympics qualifier Gunnar Nixon (Edmond, Okla.) has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after he set the high school record for the decathlon using international implements at the Arcadia Invitational last weekend.

Nixon’s record setting performance is even more impressive as he competed in three events twice using both the high school and international implements (the international shot put and discus are heavier, and the hurdles are three inches higher). Nixon’s goal of setting records using both implements was derailed when he fouled on all three attempts with the high school shot put. However, even with no mark in the shot put, he was still able to win the overall high school title for the second year in a row.

Using the international implements, the Arkansas-bound senior racked up 7,577 points, to best the record set by Curtis Beach in 2009. En route to his record, Nixon also set new PR’s in the 100m, long jump and 400m as well as established his first-ever marks in the 16 pound shot put and the 110m hurdles.

“Right after my 1,500m race, my family came up to me.” Nixon said. “Once I saw my mom and dad, it started to sink in that I had set the record.”

Nixon started his career as a decathlete after his freshman season of track and field. By asking his teammates to teach him different disciplines, the runner and high-jumper, quickly added the throws and vault to his repertoire. Later that summer, Nixon won the Intermediate division of the 2008 USATF National Junior Olympic Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and he admits that is when he first fell in love with the decathlon.

Now in its tenth 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 the USATF website. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

Winners: January 5, Bill Tribou; January 12, Tyler Sorensen; January 20, Josh Cox; January 26,Ben Shorey; February 2, Ashton Eaton; February 9, Ashton Eaton; February 16, Bernard Lagat; February 23, Ryan Crouser; March 2, Jillian Camarena-Williams; March 10, Bill Collins; March 16, Miles Batty; March 23, Shalane Flanagan; March 30, John Nunn; April 6, Aries Merritt; April 13, Gunnar Nixon

From USATF Statistician Glen McMicken

Three-time World Championships and two-time Olympic Games qualifier Reese Hoffa had three throws past 70-feet and took over the world list lead with his 21.56m/70-9 toss at the Spec Towns Invitational in Athens, Ga.

Mix heat with strong and gusty winds at Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium and the recipe usually produces lightning-fast sprint and hurdles times. Add in some of the top stars from Team USA and you get a handful of spectacular relay efforts.

This year's meet was no different, as Wallace Spearmon and Marshevet Myers anchored a pair of foursomes to the world's fastest times of the year in the 4x100m relays. Spearmon joined with Trell Kimmons, Mike Rodgers and Doc Patton to clock 38.41, while Lauryn Williams, Shalonda Solomon and Bianca Knight helped Myers to a 42.45.

Reigning Olympic and World 4x400m champion Jeremy Wariner brought his adidas team of Michael Tinsley, Lionel Larry and Darold Williamson home in fine fashion in the invitational 4x400m, stopping the clock at 3:04.38. The women's section saw Monica Hargrove, Natasha Hastings, Jessica Cousins and Shana Cox roll to a 3:32.11, briefly the fastest outdoor time by a U.S. team this year.

Just a few minutes after that race, the Arkansas women lowered the U.S. lead to 3:31.34 with a team of Regina George, Shelise Williams, Gwen Flowers and Whitney Jones. In the final race of the meet, USC's Joey Hughes, Joshua Mance, Duane Walker and Reggie Wyatt finished fourth but notched a U.S.-leading time in the men's 4x400m with a 3:02.87.

In earlier individual events, Myers edged Alex Anderson in the invitational women's 100m 10.90-10.91, aided by a 3.2 wind. Myers' time is the fastest in the world in all conditions this year. That distinction had been held by Texas A&M's Jeneba Tarmoh, who ripped a 10.94 with a 2.9 wind.

The university women's 100 hurdles featured a virtual dead heat between Baylor's Tiffani McReynolds and Nia Ali of USC, who rode a 3.6 wind to a 12.74. Former Virginia Tech star Kristi Castlin raced to the fastest all-conditions time of 2011 in the invitational section with a 12.68 (wind +4.9). Ali took over the national lead with her just-legal 13.00 in the prelims Friday.

Not content to let the ladies steal the show, Aries Merritt also recorded an all-conditions world leader with his 13.16 in the 110m hurdles. Barrett Nugent of LSU and Omo Osaghae of Texas Tech, the surprise USA Indoor champ, waged a spirited battle in the university 110m hurdles, with Nugent taking a 13.19w-13.22w victory.

Among the other top performances in Austin were U.S. leaders by Cal's Michael Morrison in the decathlon (7921w) and West Virginia's Chelsea Carrier in the heptathlon (5927w). Texas A&M's Sam Humphreys won the javelin at 76.73m/251-9 to top the national list, and Woodrow Randall of Baylor finished second in the 100m with a 10.20 to move atop the national list.

Weather affected many of the events at Arizona State's Sun Angel Classic, but didn't stop home favorite Jasmine Chaney and Jessica Cosby from turning in national-leading marks. Chaney won the women's 400m hurdles at 56.61, while Cosby threw the hammer 72.22m/236-11 for a lifetime best.

2009 World 100m bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter easily won the 200 in a windy 23.09 at the Rafer Johnson/JJK Invitational at UCLA, but it was her relay duty that opened eyes. The 2007 World 4x100 gold medalist ran the opening leg on a second place relay -- a men's relay. She helped her HSI teammates to a 40.80 with Britain's Tyrone Edgar, Teddy Venel of France and David Neville.

Blessing Ufodiama triple jumped to a U.S.-leading 13.89m/45-7, and Olympians Kerron Clement and Shawn Crawford ran together on a pair of relays, taking third in the 4x100 and second in the 4x400.

World indoor and outdoor long jump champion Brittney Reese got a chance to compete at her most familiar facility, and only a pair of illegal winds put a damper on fine performances in the 100m and long jump at the Ole Miss Invitational. Reese zipped to an 11.20w with a 2.6 tailwind, and spanned 6.98m/22-10.75w.

One of the greatest female discus throwers in Team USA history, Suzy Powell hadn't competed in two years before she walked in the ring at the Mesa Classic on April 8. That layoff didn't seem to faze the American Record holder, as she won with a 63.28m/207-7. She won the Sun Angel title the next day with a 58.01m/190-4.

Michael Berry won 4x400 gold for Team USA at the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships in Canada, and showed he will be a force in the open 400m for Oregon after clocking a personal-best 45.79 to win the Oregon Pepsi Invitational.

Andrew Henshaw
(Steilacoom, Wash.) and Devon Crosby-Helms (San Francisco, Calif.) won the respective men’s and women’s divisions of the USA 100 km Championships Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin.  The championships were hosted by the Mad City 100K.

Henshaw posted a time of 6:47:34 to win his first USA championship title, defeating David Riddle (Cincinnati, Ohio) by 11:32. Crosby-Helms, just three weeks off of an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying performance at the Honda LA Marathon, ran 7:46:34 to win her first U.S. crown 6:44 ahead of runner-up Pam Smith (Salem, Ore.).

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