ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Two American Records highlighted the day as the women stole the show in Albuquerque. Jillian Camarena-Williams broke a 24-year-old record in the shot put, while Jenn Suhr broke her own record on her way to winning the women’s 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series title. On the men’s side, Mike Rodgers sprinted to a world leader in the BMW Men’s 60m to clench the series crown at the 2011 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships presented by BMW.
The USA Indoor Championships serve as the third and final event of the USA Track & Field 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series. Through USATF’s partnership with RunnerSpace.com, highlights of the championships and athlete interviews are available at www.usatf.org.
Suhr leaps to record in Visa Women’s Pole Vault
Jenn Suhr etched another line in the history books with a new American record of 4.86/15-11.25 in the Visa Women’s Pole Vault. She already owned the records both indoors and outdoors. Her mark also secured her 1,211 points to win the 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series title. Suhr previously claimed the top spot in the 2008 Outdoor Visa Championship Series.
Suhr, formerly Stuczynski, won her first national title in 2005 as a virtual unknown and has gone on to become a 2008 silver medalist in the Olympics and an eleven time national champion. En route to her eleventh national crown, Suhr opened at a height of 4.55/14-11.0, won the competition with a clearance at 4.75/15-07.0 and then missed on three attempts at 4.86/15-11.25. However, Suhr was given another attempt at the record height as the officials ruled that the standards were not properly set on her third vault. Seizing the opportunity for one more attempt, she sailed over the bar to secure the American Record.
Rodgers wins BMW Men’s 60 Meters and Visa Championships title
The final event of the USA Indoor Championships proved to be a profitable one for sprinter Mike Rodgers, who captured the BMW Men’s 60m national crown and the 2011 USATF Men’s Indoor Visa Championship title with his world-leading time of 6.48 seconds. His effort gave him 1,220 points, and a winning margin in the Visa Championship Series chase of 18 points over runner-up, shot putter Ryan Whiting. Rodgers was presented with $25,000 from Visa for his winning performance.
Rodgers, who shared the fastest-time in the world of 6.50 with Kim Collins (SKN) coming into today’s action, ran 7.49 in the semifinal as a harbinger of things to come in the final. Mississippi State standout D’Angelo Cherry was the 60m runner-up in 6.54, with Rubin Williams finishing third in 6.61.
Rodgers, who won the USA Indoor 60m title in 2008 in 6.54 seconds, regained the title in 2010 when he crossed the finish line in 6.52. He ended the 2010 campaign ranked #9 in the world and #2 in the U.S. in the 100m by Track & Field News.
American Record Throw by Camarena-Williams
In winning her seventh consecutive indoor U.S. title, Jillian Camarena-Williams opened the second day of competition with a stunning 19.87/65-02.25 throw that broke the 24-year-old American record set by Ramona Pagel in 1987.
Camarena-Williams set the record on her third attempt, which also moved her to the top of the current world-standings lists. This mark gave Camarena-Williams a new personal record, bettering her outdoor best of 19.50/63-11.75.
“I’m shocked! I’ve been training well, but you never expect that,” Camarena-Williams said. “I knew I had a big throw coming, but I didn’t know how big.”
DeLoach leaps to first U.S. crown in long jump
In the biggest upset of the day, Janay DeLoach leapt to a world leading mark of 6.99/22-11.25 to take her first U.S. national title. DeLoach moved up to first after sitting in twelfth in the world standings based off of her jump of 6.67/21-10.75 earlier this month in Albuquerque. Reigning world indoor and outdoor champion, Brittney Reese, opened the series with a jump of 6.86/22-6.25; however, she fouled on the next five attempts and finished in the runner-up spot.
Whiting posts world-leading mark in winning Visa Men’s Shot Put
2010 NCAA Outdoor champion Ryan Whiting grabbed the lead in the men’s chase for the Indoor Visa Championship title last month with his winning shot put toss at the Millrose Games in New York of 21.31m/69-11 on his fourth and final attempt.
Whiting increased his then lead in the Visa Championship Series standings by capturing his first USA Indoor title with his fifth attempt world-leading heave of 21.35m/70-0.75. 2009 USA Indoor titlist Dan Taylor was the runner-up with a top throw of 20.19m/66-3 on his final throw, and two-time Olympic medalist and 2005 World Outdoor champion Adam Nelson was thirdoff of his first round throw of 20.15m/66-1.50.
Wells dominates BMW Women’s 60m Hurdles
If you don’t know the name Kellie Wells, it’s time to take notice. She not only won the BMW Women’s 60m Hurdles, but now also owns the nine fastest times for the 60m hurdles in the world this year. Wells ran back-to-back world leading marks of 7.79 in the semifinals and finals. Wells was the only athlete to dip under 8 seconds in the final round, with Nichole Denby clocking 8-flat as the runner-up.
Hastings on top of the world in 400m
Improving the meet record set by Debbie Dunn at this event last year, Natasha Hastings clocked a blazing 50.83 to claim her first indoor national crown. Her time is the fastest run in the world this year, and narrowly off her indoor best of 50.80, a mark she set in 2007. Two-time indoor champion DeeDee Trotter finished second in 51.36.
Anderson wins Visa Women’s 60m
Alex Anderson ran a season best in the semis, and entered the finals of the Visa Women’s 60m with the 4th fastest qualifying time. Defeating Carmelita Jeter, the #1 sprinter in the world as ranked by Track & Field News, by one hundredth of a second, Anderson took the win in 7.12. Anderson earned her first U.S. title since winning the 100m at the 2006 U.S. Junior Championships. With the win, Anderson also moved up on the current world standings to hold the second best time in the world this year.
Simpson doubles with win in Nike Women’s Mile
Following up on her win in last night’s 3,000m, Jennifer Barringer Simpson claimed her second national title of the weekend in the Nike Women’s Mile. She is only the fourth woman to win the double at the U.S. Championships. Simpson clocked a 4:34.96 in the thin air of Albuquerque after setting the U.S. leading mark of 4:28.60 earlier this year. On the two-year anniversary of her collegiate record of 4:25 set at the Big 12 Championships, she demonstrated that she is truly back to her winning ways after a disappointing injury in 2010.
Courtney captures BMW Men’s 400m
The first Sam Houston State University athlete ever to earn All-America honors at an NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Michael Courtney utilized a disciplined game plan in winning his first USA Indoor title in the BMW Men’s 400m.
Mississippi State standout Tavaris Tate, who finished fourth last year at the USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, got off to a tremendous lead from the start, and held a five-meter margin over the rest of the field as the bell rang signifying the final lap.
With 100m to go Courtney began to reel him in. Courtney, who ran a consistent pace throughout, gained on Tate as he began to fade on the final straightaway. Courtney finally passed him with about 15m to go, winning the race in 46.11 seconds. Tate held on to finish second in 46.53, with James Howell third in 46.57 and Jordan Boase fourth in 46.79.
Osaghae wins Nike Men’s 60m Hurdles
Texas Tech senior Omo Osaghae made his first appearance at the USA Indoor Championships count in a big way by winning the Nike Men’s 60m hurdles in 7.52 seconds.
Osaghae, who red-shirted during the 2010 outdoor season and won nine indoor races last year, was the NCAA Indoor Championship runner-up in 2009. Kevin Craddock was the runner-up Sunday in 7.58, with Jason Richardson, currently rankedsixth in the U.S. by Track & Field News, finishing third in 7.60, and Jarret Eaton placing fourth in 7.61.
Wright runs to first U.S. win
Phoebe Wright led from the gun and ran to her first U.S. national title in 2:02.27 in her debut indoor season as a professional athlete. After walking-on the track team at the University of Tennessee, Wright went on to become a two-time national NCAA champion. Erica Moore ran on Wright’s shoulder throughout the race to take the runner-up spot in 2:02.92.
See comes from behind to win men’s mile
Former Ohio State University standout Jeff See stormed from behind in a mad dash down the final straightaway to win the men’s mile in 4:04.63.
See, who was in third place coming off the final turn, took advantage of an opening on the rail and flew past Aaron Braun and Garrett Heath in winning his first career USA Indoor title in 4:04.63. Braun, who held the lead until being passed with 15 meters to go, was the runner-up in 4:04.83, with Heath finishing third in 4:04.91. The winner of three previous U.S. Indoor 1,500m/mile titles, Rob Myers finished fourth in 4:07.18.
Hicks strikes again in men’s long jump
Defending champion Jeremy Hicks entered the men’s long jump as the favorite and lived up to his advanced billing when he won the event on his fifth attempt by soaring to 7.67 meters/25-02.
Hicks, who finished fifth at last year’s USA Outdoor Championships and entered this season ranked #5 in the U.S. by Track & Field News, finished just ahead of 2008 Olympic Trials sixth-place finisher JaRod Tobler, whose fifth-round leap of 7.64m/25-0.75 landed him in second place. Chaz Thomas finished third with his best of 7.56m/24-9.75.
Solomon wins 800m in commanding fashion
2007 World Outdoor Championships team member Duane Solomon grabbed the lead from the beginning and never let go in winning the first USA Indoor title of his career in 1:48.03.
Solomon finished as the runner-up at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships and was a semifinalist at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha. Solomon entered this season ranked #4 in the U.S. by T&FN. Former UC Santa Barbara standout Tetlo Emmen, who entered the competition with the field’s fastest qualifying time of 1:47.95, was the runner-up in 1:48.35, with Mark Wieczorek, who finished fifth here last year, placing third this afternoon in 1:48.38.
(On winning 1st indoor 800m title)
“It feels awesome. I have been eyeing this title for years. It is one of the most prestigious I can win.”
(What has changed after the injury)
“My confidence. I just do it. I don’t hesitate. I don’t think. I just do it.”
(On winning first indoor championship title in this event)
“Last year I was runner up and today I won. It’s like being the bridesmaid and never the bride. But today I won.”
(When asked about his season thus far)
“It is definitely a confidence booster to go to Milrose and then to win here. I think I have had a better indoor season because of that.”
(When asked about his goals this season)
“Staying healthy and consistent is the name of the game in this sport. I am just working on that.”
(On winning the Visa Championship Series title)
“It’s exciting. The best is just to keep coming out healthy and keep jumping. Rick (husband and coach) and I can share this together.”
The Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the New Mexico Sports Authority, the University of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque and USATF New Mexico, were the official hosts for the USA Indoor Championships, which were held in Albuquerque in 2010 and will return in 2012.
For more information on the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, the 2011 Visa Championship Series and USA Track & Field, visit: www.visachampionships.com or www.usatf.org.