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Team USA opens competition At Pan American Games

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Team USA literally took to the streets to open the athletics/track and field competition for the XVI Pan American Games Sunday.

John Nunn (San Diego, Calif.), appearing in his third Pan American Games, recorded the highest finish of any American in the three events which were contested along Avenue Vallarta by the Arcos de Guadalajara Monument.

Nunn, a 2004 Olympian, was eighth in the men’s 20 km race walk in one hour 26 minutes 30 seconds. Mike Mannozzi (Youngstown, Ohio) placed 12th in 1:41.33.

Camille Herron (Warr Acres, Okla.) finished ninth in the women’s marathon in 2:51.29. Herron covered the first 10k in 37:37, while standing in the 11th position before moving into the ninth spot at 30k.

Adriana DaSilva from Brazil set a Pan American Games record of 2:36.37 en route to winning the women’s marathon.

In the women’s 20 km race walk, Maria Michta (Nesconset, N.Y.), the 2010 and 2011 USA Outdoor champion, finished ninth in the in 1:38.47. The top three finishers, led by winner Jamy Amarilis from Guatemala, broke the Pan American record of 1:34.19 with Amarilis being clocked in 1:32.38.

Lauren Forgues (Boothbay, Maine) withdrew from the women's 20k race walk due to a sudden onset of knee pain during the competition. USOC Sports Medicine agreed with the athlete’s decision so she is not placed at risk for further injury.

Brett Ely (Middlebury, Conn.) withdrew from the women’s marathon due to sudden hip pain during the competition. She consulted with USOC Sports Medicine and it was agreed she should stop competition. The athlete’s health is always a primary concern; it was felt she should not risk a serious injury that could jeopardize future competitions.

Action moves to the newly constructed Telmex Athletics Stadium Monday with 19 events scheduled, including finals in the women's hammer throw, women's pole vault, men's discus, women's 10,000 and men's 5,000-meter runs.

John Nunn (San Diego, Calif.), eighth (1:26.30), men’s 20k racewalk: “I was hoping to go a little down in the 1:25s, 1:24s.. I went through 10k around 32:30 it would have been 1:25 and change. But the elite group went through the first lap just under eight minutes flat. That’s a 1:20 and with 10 guys in that pack there was no way to maintain that pace. I went through the first 1K in four-flat and I realized at that point that’s too fast, so I backed off a little it and maintained a 4:15 pace for quite a while. Then the second half it was hard to stick. Everyone seemed to be might have been the altitude. I just couldn’t pick it up.

Mike Mannozzi (Youngstown, Ohio), 12th men’s 20k racewalk: “I would liked to have had a better outcome in terms of placing and time. However, I know that the heat was a factor and I tried to prepare the best for the elevation. Regardless of anything, It was an honor to finish wearing the USA jersey.

“I honestly didn’t realize the Mexican people would be cheering for me extremely loud. That was an amazing experience. They kept me going considering I was pretty much solo most of the race.”

The biggest bonus of this trip, other than representing this country, equally would have to be meeting people from other countries who are just wonderful and had big hearts for other people and were a total positive experience to be around. They believed in me and didn’t even know me and were supportive. There are no words to describe what kind of experience that is.”

Maria Michta (Nesconset, N.Y.), ninth (1:38.47), women’s 20k racewalk:
“I’m happy that I was faster than Daegu (1:38:54 at 2011 World Chmapionships). This was my first time racing 20k at altitude, so you don't really know what to expect I'm a little disappointed because I had beaten most of these girls at the World Championships, but I think they trained for this race rather than Daegu. So, hopefully, I will get to compete against them at the World Cup (Russia) and then the big stage at the Olympics

“Every time you compete against competitors regardless of the conditions you always learn something about yourself and them and it proves valuable. We'll go back to base training and then compete again at the Millrose Games...the goal is to try to get the A standard this year.”

Lauren Forgues (Boothbay, Maine), did not finish, women’s 20k racewalk:
“I feel bad I couldn't finish the race and represent the U.S. But I want to make sure I was ready for next year and if that means I had to stop today then I have to live with that decision.

The pavement itself is a good course, but it’s a little bumpy. I noticed right off the bat after a few kilometers that I could feel my left side was getting tight and stiff which is what happens
when my knee isn't comfortable with the situation. One of the turns is around a fountain where the pavement is cobblestone that is very wobbly and insecure. I have a preexisting knee injury that hasn't been bothering me, but just going around that corner as many times as I did it was just beating me up on my left side. With the Olympic Trials coming up and my own personal goals of making Olympic team I didn't want to take any risks with myself.”

Camille Herron (Warr Acres, Okla.), ninth, women’s marathon: “It was way harder than I anticipated. It was a matter of survival and I learned a lot from it. I’m in PR shape. If you consider altitude plus the heat we were probably 10 to 15 minutes off what we could run at sea level under ideal conditions. In the middle of the race, I was craving salt. I don’t think I had enough salt in my drinks. I was so focused on trying to finish and place as high as I could. it was an honor to represent the U.S.

“I’m a prolific marathoner, so this is what I do and I love every minute of it. I loved the support and the crowds in Guadalajara.”

Brett Ely (Middlebury, Conn.) did not finish women’s marathon: “The race went out really quick but I was sticking to my own plan to race conservatively. I felt great through 10 miles, picking people off and passing. But I’ve been having a lingering hip issue which started locking up after 10 miles and by 20k I couldn’t get any power from my right leg So, it’s disappointing to end that way I felt I was ready to execute a good race

“I was so proud to put on the U.S. uniform. Guadalajara was a wonderful host. Everyone out in the streets was cheering. It was just an incredible experience.”

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