ALBUQUERQUE - Jenn Suhr cleared 5.02m/16-5.50 to set the women’s pole vault indoor world record and win her seventh USA Indoor title as the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships continued Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Competition concludes Sunday.
The USA Indoor Track & Field Championships serve as the final stop of the 2013 USATF Indoor Championship Series. The event can be viewed Sunday LIVE on NBC Sports Network from 4-6 p.m. ET. Portions of today’s competition can be viewed online via RunnerSpace.com.
Suhr was in excellent form as she sailed through each progression of the bar. Suhr won the competition as she cleared 4.80m/15-9 on her first attempt. The bar then moved to 4.90m/16-0.75, which she also cleared on her first attempt. It was again one-and-done when the bar raised to the world record height of 5.02m/16-5.5. This was Suhr’s ninth American record in six years and her first world record. The previous world record of 5.01m/16-5.25 was set in by Yelena Isinbayeva in 2012.
Kylie Hutson finished as the runner-up with a personal best of 4.75m/15-7 to become the third-best indoor American vaulter of all-time.
Gunnar Nixon set a meet and facility record en route to winning his first indoor heptathlon national title. Nixon not only set the pair of records Saturday, but his winning score of 6,232 points is the best score in the country this season as Nixon recorded personal bests in four of the seven events. Over the two days, Nixon, who is the 2012 World Junior gold medalist in the decathlon, recorded personal bests in the 60m (6.86), shot put (14.27m/46-10), 60m hurdles (7.93) and pole vault (4.80m/15-9).
Competing in front of his hometown crowd, Curtis Beach moved from fifth place all the way up to second after running away from the competition in the 1,000m to win in a time of 2:33.40. Beach finished with 5,895 points.
Janay DeLoach Soukup won her third consecutive USA Indoor title with a leap of 6.75m/22-1.75. With the winning jump coming on her second attempt, DeLoach Soukup moved past runner-up Whitney Gipson who jumped to an early lead with a 6.61m/22-8.25 best on her first attempt.
Despite fouling three attempts, Jeremy Hicks claimed his third USA Indoor title in four years in the men’s long jump. Hicks, who also won national indoor titles in 2010 and 2011, recorded a winning jump of 7.99m/26-2.75 to finish ahead of Michael Hartfield (7.85m/25-9.25) and Mikese Morse (7.66m/25-1.75), who were second and third.
A new champion was crowned in the women’s weight throw for the first time since 2007 as Gwen Berry won with a mark of 24.70m/81-0.50 on her second attempt. In all, Berry threw farther than the previous world lead three times. Six-time USA Indoor champion Amber Campbell finished second with a best of 23.68m/77-8.25 on her fourth attempt.
Jake Freeman overtook seven-time USA Indoor champion A.G. Kruger on his fourth overall throw to win the men’s weight throw with a toss of 23.51m/77-1. Kruger placed second at 23.37m/76-8. It was Freeman’s second USA Indoor title in the weight throw after also winning in 2011.
Benjamin Bruce hung with Will Leer through much of the men’s 3,000m before Leer proved to be too much in winning in a time of 8:07.84. Bruce placed second in 8:16.69 and Tommy Schmitz was third in 8:30.92. It was Leer’s first national title indoors or outdoors.
In the women’s 3,000m, Chelsea Reilly charged to the lead at the bell-lap and won in dramatic fashion as she tumbled to the track with Lisa Uhl at the finish line. Reilly won in 9:23.12, with Emily Infeld in second in 9:23.24 and Lisa Uhl third in 9:23.37.
Competing in his first USA Indoor Championships in a brilliant career, Jeremy Wariner was the fastest qualifier into Sunday’s men’s 400m final. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time World Outdoor Championships gold medalist, Wariner won the opening heat in a time of 46.40. Marcus Boyd (46.77) and Michael Courtney (46.94) recorded the next fastest times in qualifying along with 2005 world 400m hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson (47.36).
In the heats of the women’s 400m, Mary Wineberg clocked the fastest time of the day out of heat two in 52.51, while Ebonie Floyd had the second-fastest time of the day at 53.38 to win the first heat.
In qualifying rounds, Ajee Wilson delivered the fastest time of the day in the women’s 800m in 2:04.76, with all of the top contenders advancing to Sunday’s final. In the men’s 800m, Tyler Mulder leads six men into Sunday’s final after recording the fastest qualifying time in 1:47.18. The final will also include American 600m record holder Eric Sowinski and 2012 Olympian Matthew Centrowitz.
For more information and complete results check www.usatf.org.
“I was in a groove tonight. I put a lot of pressure on myself; I want to perform well and perform what I am capable of, so I naturally put pressure on myself. I knew some big things could happen, I just need to be healthy and come down the runway. That was the main goal, just to be healthy. I knew if I could execute and stay focused and listen to the instructions I had that it could happen. I guess I knew where I was in my training, I just wasn’t going to let everyone else know. I”m glad that I got 5 meters out of the way, 5.02, because it is a mental barrier, and once you clear it, you know 4.80 is going to look really bad to me.”
“The girls in this field jumped so well today. Kylie [Hutson] jumped well, my training partner Janice [Kepler] jumped good. There are just a bunch of girls who jumped good today. The U.S. is starting to bring up the women’s vault and I think you can see it. Around the world they are going to see the results.”
“I had PRs (personal records) in four events - 60m, shot put, 60m hurdles and pole vault. I did see this kind of coming and I knew that I was capable. This is awesome and all of these (wins) are great to me. Winning for me is always a goal. I think I am a mental giant and that is where my athletic ability comes from.”
“I had my best throw in the fourth round and I took the lead from AG (Kruger) then and kept it. That was a season best for me. I’ve beat (Kruger) before and it’s fun to come in here and win. It’s a friendly competition between us. I’ve known him for a long time. There won’t be a huge amount of talking between us, but I can always hear him. This definitely gives me a lot of confidence for the outdoor season.”
“I went in there confident and knowing that I prepared for war, and I threw hard and didn’t let my nerves get in the way. It means a lot to me to win, and it gives me the confidence to know that I can possibly make this year’s outdoor world team. I missed the Olympic team and last world team by a spot, so I’m just ready to breakthrough.”
Janay DeLoach Soukup
“I struggled a little bit with myself this time around. I’m coming off a little bit of a sickness earlier this week, so I’m feeling a little bit down. So I’m happy with my performance considering I haven’t been feeling 100 percent. It was a struggle, but another win, so I’m content. Having a national title under my belt three times is amazing, it give me more incentive to come back next year and win again.”
“I’m fine, obviously it was quite a dramatic finish, but I just wanted to get across the line first, that is all that matters here. I definitely felt pressure behind me, I knew that Emily [Infeld] has an amazing kick, I’ve raced her before, and you can never count out an Olympian with Lisa Uhl. It was a great race, and we are so lucky we had such great competition. If nothing else, it was a great show for everyone who came out to watch.”
“I am a miler and a miler is always confident in his finish. I tried to use as little energy as possible because I am coming back in the mile (Sunday). The altitude was a little tricky, but I felt good (Saturday). I felt relaxed. I was in Flagstaff (Ariz.) for one week to get me ready for this competition. This is fun because it was my first national championship. Everyone had a chance to enter this race, but a lot of people didn’t. A racer loves to race and I am a racer at heart.”