DAEGU, South Korea - Team USA advanced five athletes out of three qualifying events, matching a milestone in the women’s 5,000 meter run by sending two runners to the finals, to highlight the Tuesday morning session of the IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
With just the 800-meter run remaining on Tuesday night, Hyleas Fountain positioned her into medal contention in the heptathlon. The 2008 Olympic silver medalist stood just two points out of third place. She is aiming to become the first American to earn a medal in the heptathlon since Shelia Burrell collected a bronze medal at the 2001 World Outdoor Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The heptathlon standings were shuffled after the sixth event. Jennifer Oeser of Germany threw a personal best of 51.30m to move into the medal standings, bumping Hyleas Fountain into fourth. The current standings are: Tatyana Chernova in first (5887), Jessica Ennis of Great Britain in second (5754), Oeser in third (5613) and Fountain only two points behind in fourth (5611). Sharon Day (Costa Mesa, Calif.) is now in the 19th spot with 5161 points.
Fountain set a season best in the javelin throw as she sent the javelin soaring 43.42m/142-5. Day’s best was 39.14m/128-5.
In the long jump, Fountain recorded the fourth best mark of the field in leaping 6.45m/21-2, for 991 points. Day jumped 5.87m/19-3.25 to add 810 points to her tally. At the conclusion of five events, Fountain sat in third with 4878 and 210 points behind Ennis’ lead. Day was 17th with 4510 points.
Women’s 5,000m semifinal
For the second time in history, Team USA will have more than one woman in the 5,000m final. Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Lauren Fleshman (Eugene, Ore.) ran very different races, but both advanced to Friday night’s final. Hastings moved positions throughout the first heat and took the lead with 1,000m remaining, but was unable to hold on and finished in sixth place in 15:29.49. Fleshman ran a very different race in the second heat and stayed towards the front of pack running in the third position through much of the race. Fleshman began her kick with 200m to go and was able to hold on for fourth in 15:34.04. Fleshman qualified automatically, and Hastings was able to qualify on time. American record holder Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.) was unable to qualify as she finished 10th in the second heat in a time of 15:42.00.
Men’s 1500m qualification
Matthew Centrowitz (Arnold, Md.), the reigning U.S. national outdoor champ, battled his way through the fastest of the three heats and was able to hold his own at the line as six men finished within half a second of each other. Centrowitz claimed the last automatic qualifying spot, finishing sixth in 3:39.46. Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas) was just shy of claiming an automatic spot in the third heat, but with his time of 3:40.77 allowed the eight-place finisher to advance to the semi-finals. 2008 Olympian Andrew Wheating (Eugene, Ore.) also finished eighth in his heat; however, he was unable to advance to the finals with his time of 3:42.22.
Men’s High Jump qualification
World leader Jesse Williams (Eugene, Ore.) was the only American to advance into Thursday’s final, achieving an automatic qualifying mark of 2.31m/7-7 on his second attempt. Williams cleared the bar at 2.21m/7-3, 2.25m/7-4.75 and 2.28m/7-5.75 on his first attempts. Erik Kynard (Manhattan, Kan.), the 2011 NCAA outdoor champ, cleared 2.28m on his first attempt, but failed to clear the qualifying stand of 2.31m. Dusty Jonas (Lincoln, Neb.), the 2010 World Indoor bronze medalist, had a frustrating day. After clearing the opening mark at 2.16m/7-1, he missed all three attempts at 2.21m.
Women’s Triple jump qualification
Amanda Smock (Minneapolis, Minn.) was unable to advance to the finals. On her second attempt, Smock recorded her best jump of 13.48m/44-2.75. This was Smocks first major international meet and her first time wearing the USA jersey.
Lauren Fleshman, women’s 5,000m
“It’s hell out there. It’s really hard to concentrate with all of those people and the sounds and the cameras and things are just different. There is a lot going on, and I’m really grateful that we have rounds in the 5K, just to get that all worked out. I didn’t expect the jitters to get that bad when I walked on the track. I kept them under control pretty well till then, then I was like, “Oh, God.”
“At 600 meters to go, my plan was, if we were all together, I was going to kick then. but they created a humongous blockade - like an intercontinental blockade. They were talking to each other, and I could believe that Bahrain, Ethiopia and Kenya were working together, so I was stuck.
“At 200m, I was like ‘There are seven girls left’ and I didn’t know what was behind me. I thought if I get out around these people, I should at least be able to hold off a couple of them if they get me back. So, it was sort of like an all or nothing effort, and I’m glad it worked out. But it hurt really bad.
Amy Hastings, women’s 5,000m
“It was not so good, I mean I ran as hard as I could, but I didn’t run as smart as I should have. Yeah, taking the lead with a K to go, it felt so easy. Then I went to the lead and tried to push it, and I think I ran about the same pace we were running, which is never a smart move. With the heat today, I probably should have waited. My best bet probably would have been to sit and try to kick at the end; at least my time would have been better. I can tell you if I’m happy with it or not in about 20 minutes.”
Molly Huddle, women’s 5,000m
“I was trying to stay comfortable, but honestly it didn’t even feel comfortable going 5-minute pace, so that was disturbing. I just tried to hang on to the back of the pack, but I just wasn’t prepared, that’s what it came down to. I totally was off the mark, but it is still a good experience being here. I just learned how the procedures are, how the rounds go and what to look for. All in all, I’m absorbing a lot, I just wish I could have taken advantage of it.”
Matthew Centrowitz, men’s 1,500
“I felt all right. I was a little sluggish, but that’s what happens when you’re in the World Championship events. You can’t expect to go through these prelims like I did in the U.S. It was a good effort. Luckily, I got one of the automatic spots and that is what I was shooting for. I did a little head count with 100 yards left. I probably shouldn’t have been doing, that but I was kind in a bad position for last 100. I was aware that it would be more physical than other races.
Andrew Wheating, men’s 1,500
“To be honest I’m not as fit as I should be right now. I’ve had a hamstring issue since June. I’m just trying to get from point A to point B without hurting too much. I took a week and a half off when coming back from Europe and I’m not quite where I should be. I didn’t have any expectations coming here. I would like to think this season is similar to 2009 when I was coming off the Beijing Olympics. Everything has been stressful. This year you kind of have a bigger target. My life is changing from going to college to turning pro. I could use excuse after excuse. But next year all the dust will be settled.”
Leo Manzano, men’s 1,500
“I came here to win. That’s the plan... Of course, there are always going to be challenges along the way. Usually in the first round you have all this pushing because you have a lot of experienced runners. It was rough out there today. With 300 meters to go I really tried push it to go off with the leaders but around 200, but my legs weren’t going anywhere.
Jesse Williams, men’s high jump
“Today’s competition was really unbelievable. There were seven people in the world who jump 2.31m (the A standard) last year and today, alone, there were 10 people. So it really shows you how deep the high jump is. I think that is going to carry on into the finals to show that it will take some really big heights to medal.
“I was a little too relaxed and I knew that I needed to make a little adjustment and on the second jump I did. You can make these little mistakes in the qualifying round. But you can’t in the finals. I’m glad I was able to get another jump at a bar like that (2.31m/7-7) because that really brings the momentum into the higher heights. I think that second jump was really good and I think I made a statement today.
“I have a lot of friends following this back home. So when I go back to the Athletes Village, I’m going to be back on the computer for a few hours, soaking up the air-conditioning and re-hydrating and talking to all my friends back home. It is awesome to know they are going to be behind me. I have a bunch of friends who will be going over to my house early Thursday morning to watch me. So that will be cool knowing that many people will be watching me that early.”
Dusty Jonas, men’s high jump
“Today was very frustrating. I’m really disappointed. I woke up with some spasms today but that is no excuse. I will be working hard for next year and I plan on being in the finals in London (2012 Olympics.)”
Amanda Smock, women’s triple jump
“Unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to put it together which was obviously very frustrating to me. But I felt physically like I was ready to get a big jump in there, but it just didn’t happen for me today. I haven’t had a ton of time to hash it over yet, but right now at this point I am just a little bit mystified by it all. Getting this qualifying mark at the last minute for me was a huge relief and I was really proud to be able to get that mark. It was a great feeling to make the team, when I wasn’t expecting to just a few months ago. I have a lot to take away from it all as an experience.”
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