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No surprises for Team USA in Tuesday qualifying session

8/7/2012
 
LONDON - All expected American qualifiers moved on to the next rounds of their events in Tuesday morning’s track session at Olympic Stadium.

Team USA’s world champion triple jumpers both made it into Wednesday’s final. 2011 World Outdoor champion Christian Taylor (Daytona Beach, Fla.) needed just one jump to automatically qualify, leaping 17.21m/56-5.75. 2012 World Indoor champion Will Claye came back from his bronze medal in the long jump to qualify with a mark of 16.87m/55-4.25.

Team USA’s women’s 5,000m runners all turned in personal or seasonal bests in the qualifying round. Julie Culley (Clinton, N.J.)  was fifth in the first heat, running 15:05.38 to automatically qualify for Friday night’s final and smash her personal best by 8.39 seconds. In the second heat, American record holder Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.) led most of the race and qualified automatically by placing fifth in a season-best time of 15:02.26. Kim Conley (West Sacramento, Calif.) recorded a personal best while finishing 12th in the second heat in 15:14.48, but she did not advance.

All three U.S. 110m hurdlers qualified for Wednesday's semifinals. World Indoor champion Aries Merritt (Bryan, Texas) won heat 5 in 13.07, by far the fastest time of the day, World Outdoor champion Jason Richardson (Los Angeles, Calif.) was conservative out of the blocks and went on to easily win heat 2 in 13.33, and Jeff Porter (Ann Arbor, Mich.) was third in heat 4 in 13.53. 2004 Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang of China did not advance as he hit the first hurdle with his lead leg and fell to the track.

The same “all-in” qualifying held in the men’s 200 as well. Maurice Mitchell (Tallahassee, Fla.) won heat 3 in 20.54, Wallace Spearmon (Dallas, Texas) was second in heat 6 in 20.47, and Isiah Young (Lafayette, Miss.) was third in heat 1 in 20.55.

In women’s javelin qualifying, Brittany Borman (Norman, Okla.) had a best mark of 59.27m/194-5, Rachel Yurkovich (Eugene, Ore.)  threw 57.92m/190-0 and Kara Patterson (Chula Vista, Calif.) had a best of 56.23m/184-5; none of the three will move to the final. Patterson revealed after the competition that she was competing with a torn ACL in her left leg from an injury she sustained at the Olympic Trials in June.

Athlete Quotes

Jason Richardson, 110m Hurdles: “The race went well, I executed what I was told to do - get out well, go till about 60 meters, 50 meters and protect my energy for tomorrow.”

Jeff Porter, 110m Hurdles: “It was alright, just a little rocky at the beginning. I started to get into my rhythm at the end, so I just need to work on that for the next round.”

Aries Merritt, 110m Hurdles: “The round was extremely easy and comfortable. I just wanted to run a clean round and advance.”

Will Claye, Triple Jump: “I made it through, and that’s all I was worried about. Coming to the finals I’ll have a better attitude and my body will feel a little better, so I’m not too worried. I know what I have to do, so I’m just going to get my mind and body right and come Thursday I’ll be ready.”

Christian Taylor, Triple Jump: “It was great. It was such a blessing, and my coach and I have worked so hard. It is a great feeling to save my energy, save my legs and get ready for the next round.”

Julie Culley, 5,000m: “It took a lifetime best to [advance to finals] so I guess it was a good day to do it. My plan was to be in it until 1,000 to go and be in reach. It played out nicely because the pace was pretty honest right from the get go. I felt very comfortable running all the way through and just kind of turned my brain on with 1,000 to go and kind of lit up and looked around and surveyed the scene to see what I needed to do to get that spot. I just kicked and had a little extra left in the last 100 to pass those two girls for that last spot.”

Molly Huddle, 5,000m: “I wasn’t clear what the first heat had run, but I knew it was fast because they said Julie [Culley] had a lifetime PR in 5th, so I knew we had to go at least 15:10 in case I wasn’t 5th place, so I said, ‘you know it is scary and probably dumb to lead, but If I get a season’s best out of it and don’t make the final I’ll probably be a little happier than if I just jog around and don’t make the final.’”

Kim Conley, 5,000m: “That was a 5-second PR. It felt hard, but you know it was great to be out there and you are out there representing your country. Obviously it would have been great to make the final, and that’s what I was out there to do, but I’m proud of the effort, so I feel like I can walk away with my head held high.”

Isiah Young, 200m: “I guess it went good. 20.50 is not my best, probably the worst I’ve run all year. It is my first race in like a month, so I’m just trying to knock the rust off, hopefully I’ll do better tomorrow.”

Maurice Mitchell, 200m: “I’m feeling good. I just thank God I was able to get through healthy. The goal was to win my heat, so I couldn’t set myself up to get a good lane in the semis. So I’m just really thankful to do it.”

Wallace Spearmon, 200m: (on his odds in the final) “I like my chances. It’s going to be very interesting. I feel good; I have a good feeling about it). (On running in lane 2) Hopefully I never have to run there again. That was the second time in my career, the last time was maybe 2004, I don’t like it.”

Rachel Yurkovich, Javelin: “It went well I think. I mean, it wasn’t a PR, and that’s basically what it would have taken to make it to the final. I had a few key things to work on out there and I think I hit them. This has been one of my better meets of the year, so I can’t complain. I’m happy with how today went.”

Brittany Borman, Javelin: “It went pretty well. I went out there and threw the third farthest throw I’ve ever thrown today. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but we’ll see how the second flight goes. It has been amazing. I can’t even describe how cool that was.”

Kara Patterson, Javelin: “I actually tore my ACL competing [at the Trials]. But I did my very best.  I am so thankful to all of the medical people at the [Chula Vista] training center, especially Chris Garcia and my coach Ty, and my lifting Coach Jamie, because they just believed in me so much to come here and try. I threw better than Beijing. I think that is my second best performance at a major championship, and on a torn ACL...I definitely could have made the finals still, but I guess I can’t be disappointed with that performance today.

Team USA resumes competition this evening with the finals of the men’s high jump and 1500m and women’s 100m hurdles. For more information on the 2012 Olympic Games, visit www.usatf.org

Katie Branham
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USA Track & Field
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