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Team USA earns three medals on opening day of stadium events

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Team USA earned three medals in field events to highlight the first day of track and field competition at Telemex Athletic Stadium Monday.

Jarred Rome (Chula Vista, Calif.), the 2011 USA Outdoor champion, led the way by collecting a silver medal in the men’s discus with a toss of 61.71m/202-5.

Amber Campbell
(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) became the first U.S. athlete to earn a medal in the women’s hammer throw at the Pan American Games since 1999 by capturing the bronze medal in the event.

Campbell posted a mark of 69.93m/229-5 on her fourth attempt. It marked just the fourth medal Team USA has won in the women’s hammer throw competition in Pan American Games competition and first time Team USA has medaled in the event since Dawn Ellerbee won the gold in 1999. Cuba’s Yipsi Moreno won her third straight gold medal in the women’s hammer throw, setting a Pan American Games record of 75.62m/248-1.

Becky Holliday (Penryn, Calif.) concluded the day’s activities by capturing the bronze medal in the women’s pole vault at 4.30m/14-1.25. Holliday’s performance marked the fourth straight Pan American Games in which Team USA has earned a medal in the women’s pole vault.

Also performing in tonight’s throwing events, Jason Young (Lubbock, Texas), the 2010 and 2011 USA Outdoor runner-up, finished fifth in the men’s discus at 60.91m/199-10. Keelin Godsey (Williamstown, Mass.) placed fifth in the women’s hammer throw at 67.84m/222-7 with her best throw coming on her first attempt.

Anne Bersagel (Greely, Colo.) finished fourth in the women’s 10,000-meter run in 35 minutes 23.31 seconds, while Cassandra Slade (Conifer, Colo.) was seventh in 36:14.96.

In the finals of the men’s 5,000 meter run, Brad Bethke (Lake Forest, Calif.) was fifth in 14:17.31, while Stephen Furst (Goshen, N.Y.) finished eighth in 14:21.94.

After the first day of decathlon competition, Mark Jellison (Reading, Mass.) sits ninth with 3,812 points, while Matthew Johnson (Groves, Texas) is 13th with 3,366 points through five events. Johnson no-heighted in the high jump.

Team USA advanced both runners in both the qualifying semifinal rounds of the women’s 100m dash and 400m hurdles.

Barbara Pierre (Waco, Texas) won the second semifinal heat of the women’s 100, while posting the second fastest qualifying time overall of 11.37. Kenyanna Wilson (Glendale, Ariz.) also advanced to the finals out of heat three in 11.74.

MacKenzie Hill (Long Beach, Calif.) had the third fastest overall qualifying time out of the semifinal heats of the women’s 400m hurdles in 57.82. Takecia Jameson (Upper Marlboro, Md.) also advanced out of heat one in 58.68.

Qualifying rounds also were held in the men’s long jump and 100m. Randall Flimmons (Columbia, Miss.) was ninth overall in qualifying in the men’s long jump, soaring 7.69m/25-2.75 on his first attempt. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hicks (Houston, Texas), competing in Group A, was the last overall qualifer at 7.53m/24-8.50.

Calesio Newman (Green Sea, S.C.) advanced to the finals of the men’s 100-meter dash after finishing fourth in the first semifinal heat with a time of 10.42. Earlier, Newman was second in the second heat of round one in the 100m in 10.30. Rea Edwards (Opelika, Ala.) did not make it out of round one qualifying in the men’s 100m after finishing fourth in heat three in 10.53.


Amber Campbell, Myrtle Beach, S.C., third (69.93m/229-5) women’s hammer throw: “I came here definitely hoping I could medal. I knew that I had the potential to (medal) and I just wanted to work on the things that coach and I had been focusing on and do the best that I could. I’ve been having some good training throws, so I was expecting something nice.

“The most challenging part was having this late of outdoor season because I compete indoors as I’ve been going since January. I’m really hoping to continue the success into next year...try to fight these girls all around the world and make it to the podium in London.

“Everybody has been so friendly here in the village. It has been so amazing. It’s nice living in the Pan Am Village meeting athletes from all the different sports. You don’t get this outside the Olympics, so having this type of atmosphere made it so much fun.”

Keelin Godsey, Parker, Colo., fifth (67.84m/222-7), women’s hammer throw: “I wanted to do the best that I could and make it to the finals and I got that. I felt I could have gotten a little bit more out of me, but I’m still very happy with my throw. it’s one of the better marks in my career. This was a once in a lifetime experience for me as my first international meet.”

Becky Holliday, Penryn, Calif., third (4.30m/14-1.25), women’s pole vault: “It was a long day, but we’re used to that at these big competitions. It was good; conditions were really good. I felt super good. I wish I got 4.50 (meters), but I had it and just made a pole selection mistake.

“I got third — the bronze. In these meets, you want to get the heights, but place is all that matters. And I think with that I get ranked top 20 in the world now and get funded with USA Track & Field a little bit, which was the main goal.

“That was the main goal to get up on the podium. I was hesitant because it was so long into the season, but my two coaches just really, really emphasized getting on the podium is experience to get you on the next podium, next year.”

Cassandra Slade, Conifer, Colo., seventh (36:14.96), women’s 10,000m:
“It was a little different than I expected. I thought it would go out a lot faster, so it was a little tough for me to go to the lead because I was kind of nervous. I thought, ‘This is a big race. I don’t know if I should go to the lead.’ But I did what I wanted to do and get the race a little faster. Looking back on it I probably should have stayed back a little bit more. Being as hot as it was, I don’t know if I was ready for the heat but I finished. I couldn’t breathe quite and the same, and my legs weren’t ready for it, so I was like ‘I’ve got to finish.’ I’m wearing the USA jersey for the first time and I wasn’t going to give in. I couldn’t give in.”

Anne Bersagel, Greely, Colo., fourth (35:23.31), women’s 10,000m: “I think everyone had some healthy respect for the altitude and the heat, so we went out fairly slow. … There was a lot of bumping and jostling in there. I was trying to concentrate on staying on my feet and keeping it easy. After Cassie had led awhile she pulled out to lane two to see if anyone would take the lead, and that’s when the runner from Mexico took it. A couple of laps later she tried to break away. That’s when I saw her go … and I just thought ‘I want to go for that medal.’ I didn’t know where I was, but I wanted to go for it. So I just tried to hang onto them, and ultimately it was just a little bit too tough for me today. I’m glad I didn’t give up and was able to get the runner from Cuba at the end. I left it out on the track so I can’t be disappointed because that’s where I am today.”

Jarred Rome, Marysville, Wash., silver medalist, (202-5) in men’s discus:
“Two days ago I threw in the ring. We weren’t suppose to, but I snuk into the stadium because the rings outside were brand new and really slick and I fell on my face. I sneak in here and the ring was perfect. Then yesterday I heard they put concrete over the ring and resurfaced the top and weren’t even sure it would be dry. So I get in the ring today and was slipping like Jason (teammate Young). So I went like 75 percent and couldn’t really do anything. My first throw went into cage as I slipped out of the back. My second throw was a safety throw to make sure I get to finals. And then my third throw was my best throw. But in order to compete with the Cuban (gold medalist Jorge Fernandez) I couldn’t afford to slip so it was a bad situation. I’m so large (6-4, 300) that when I move out of the back if it’s not a good surface I’m done. A lot of meets are stressful, because I have to make sure the ring is right in order to throw far. The Cuban threw well and I’m happy to get the silver.

“Normally, this is during my off time after the World Championships. . But I took two weeks off instead of four weeks after worlds. I’m very happy that I’m here. This is definitely more than I thought it would be. in meets like this isn’t about the distance..its about the place.

“I feel real good. My training the last four months has been the best training of my career leading up to the World Championships. I was very disappointed after the World Championships. I had PRed (68.76), which is third in the world,. three weeks before the World Championships which was amazing. I had high expectations for Worlds but was really disappointed. I was eight centimeters from finals in the World Championships. I was definitely in medal shape.”

Jason Young, Dallas, Texas, men’s discus
Jason Young, Dallas, Texas, fifth (199-10) men’s discus: “My series was a little confusing. I got better through the competition. I was probably getting better and better during the competition because we were confused during there was a little inconsistency in the wamup and no one knew exactly how we would progress. I thought, maybe, I could get 63 meters today but couldn’t pull it off.

“I really didn’t mind extending my outdoor season. I really wanted to come out and have a good effort to get a medal. But it was difficult because my last competition was at the World Championships on Aug. 29. Since then I haven’t been really, really sharp. Being a rhymtic thrower I feel I have to be fairly sharp coming into the meet. I wish I would have competed in between then and now.

“I expect to have the best season of my life in 2012. I will start in April and plan on tyring to throw over 67 meters pretty quick. Then get in some Diamond League meets in May and then go into the U.S. Trials.”

Stephen Furst, Goshen, N.Y., eighth (14:21.94), men’s 5,000m:
“There was a lot of jostling. First off, there was a lot of in-out, in-out — like a Fartlek run. There were guys in there bumping around; that was kind of to be expected. The Mexicans were the class of the field coming in and they took control of the race in the last mile. Juan Luis Barrios is a great runner. He had his way on the last lap. I think that final sprint got the best of me.”

Brandon Bethke, Lake Forest, Calif., fifth (14:17.31), men’s 5,000m: “We knew it was going to be an interesting race. I’ve never raced at altitude and it’s so late in the season. We tried to prepare as best as we could but we thought it was going to be more of a tactical race. In the end, it definitely turned out that way. Some of the surging in the beginning really put something in my legs for the end. … The last lap Barrios took off. I was in perfect position but I just couldn’t handle it. I was dead at that point.”

Mark Jellison, Reading, Mass., ninth (3,812 points) in decathlon: “I ran my slowest time in the 100 of the four decathlons I’ve competed in this year but as a decathlete you can’t let one event affect must move on. I was pleased with my effort in the long jump despite running into headwind. I had the furthest throw of the season in the shot put (45-3.25). But my high jump wasn’t great and 400 was tough. I need to be ready to go mentally and physically tommorrow. it is a privelege to come here and be part of the USA Pan Am. I’m so glad I’m here.”

Matt Johnson, Groves, Texas, 13th (3,366 points) in decathlon:
“I started off the day pretty good in long jump and shot put before having a hiccup in the high jump where I no heighted and then before the 400 I talked to my coach about finishing the decathlon. But that isn’t the type of athlete I am to quit when adversity hits you. You train every day just to raise above it. So I went into 400 and ran a personal best (48.80).

“They always say the first day is for the athlete and the second day is for the decathlete. So tommorrow is one of my better days and I hope to come out and keep chugging and PR in a couple of events.”

Calesio Newman, Green Sea, S.C., men’s 100m: “I think I stayed a little too patient in my drive phase, but I executed and tried to just run strong through the line and everything took care of itself.”

Barbara Pierre, Winter Haven, Fla., women’s 100m: “It’s harder now that it’s just semifinals and finals. You’ve got to work extra hard. This is like a final because it’s only top two in each heat and the next four fastest times, so it’s good. This is my first race since July.”

Kenyanna Wilson, Glendale, Ariz., women’s 100m: “I feel like my start was a little delayed, but that comes with not competing in awhile. Hopefully I make it through to the finals and represent Team USA.

“It’s an awesome feeling because not too many athletes have the opportunity to represent a whole country. I’m just happy and I’m thankful and I hope that I continue to run well.”

MacKenzie Hill, Long Beach, Calif., women’s 400m hurdles:
“I felt pretty good. I’m really happy with my first race. The race went by so fast. I’m going to go back to the village, talk to my coach, look at some film and just see where I can do better for the finals.

“It’s really difficult running at this time of year because it’s the longest season I’ve ever had but it’s a good experience and good start to next year’s run. I wanted to come here and execute some good races and come homea medal. I’ve been working on some things since nationals and I wanted to see if they would work out.”

Rae Edwards, Opelika., Ala., men’s 100m, fourth in heat three of 1st round qualifying but did not advance to semis: “My start was horrible. It was quicker than I expected so I wasn’t in the set position. I’m not making any excuses but I’m way better than that. Running from behind kind of put my body out of position. The surface was real bouncy. For me being a power sprinter it’s (surface) not what I’m use to.”

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