Winkler Wins First Team USA Medal at Pan Am Juniors
MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA - In a see-saw battle with Mexico's Diego Del Real that wasn't decided until the final two throws, hammer thrower Rudy Winkler won Team USA's first medal at the 17th Pan American Junior Championships Friday morning at Alfonso Galvis Duque Stadium.
Winkler took the early lead in round one, then it went back and forth through the next two rounds, with the American thrower atop the standings after the third round at 71.79m/235-6. That lead lasted until the final stanza when Del Real uncorked a 72.99m/239-5 toss and Winkler fouled on his final attempt to finish with silver. Alex Young placed 10th with a best of 58.91m/193-3.
All 10 U.S. athletes made it through to the finals from their morning semifinals. Tevin Hester had the fastest time in the men's 100 at 10.25 (wind +1.9), and Trayvon Bromell moved on with a 10.45 (-0.9) to take second in the second section.
In the women's 100, Jennifer Madu won the first section in 11.65 (-1.8), and Morolake Akinosun advanced with an 11.50 (+2.0) to finish third in the second section. Alexis Perry was a heat winner in the women's 100m hurdles at 13.79 (-1.6), with Sasha Wallace placing second in her section at 13.66 (-0.3).
Both Team USA women won their heats of the 400m, led by Kendall Baisden's 53.33. Courtney Okolo had an easy time of it in section two to come away a winner in 53.66. The men's 400 semifinals saw Juan Green win his section at 47.80 and Marcus Chambers advance after finishing second in his heat at 47.71.
Decathletes Wolf Mahler and Devon Williams completed three events in the morning session, and Mahler had 2,226 points, with Williams at 2,162.
Rudy Winkler, silver, men's hammer -- "I have had a good week of training and thought I was ready for a PR. My last throw was good but it was a foul. I think if this meet had been a month earlier I definitely would have had a PR, but it has been difficult not competing for so long. I threw better here than I did at the World Youth in 2011, but this was a pretty hot competition."
Jennifer Madu, women's 100 semis -- "It was really hard to stay warm with the long delay. I had to stay mentally tough. I didn't hold my finish as long as I wanted to but I felt fine. My race was just not as patterned as I wanted it to be."
Tevin Hester, men's 100 semis -- "It felt good for being in my first big international meet. I pushed out hard to get in front and that kind of threw me off but it got better farther into the race. I love this track."
Sasha Wallace, women's 100m hurdles semis -- "It's really been a long season, and it's been almost two months since my last real races. I can't wait for the final. I have been training to go faster than 13.4. Each trial you don't want to go too hard, until the final. Then I want to go fast."
Kendall Baisden, women's 400 semis -- "I got out hard the first 100 to remind myself they were coming (she was in the outside lane). I wanted to go through 200 in 24, and the last curve I pushed when I felt them. The last 100 felt pretty smooth. I have enough races under my belt now and I feel I have prepared as well as I could."
Courtney Okolo, women's 400 semis -- "This is my first international team and I am excited to make it. I stayed as relaxed as possible because I had no real idea what kind of shape I am in."
Marcus Chambers, men's 400 semis -- "I feel great and I am ready for the final. In this heat I just wanted to be in the top two to make it. I got out hard for 100 and then went to cruise control. The last 130 I gave it al I had. I feel like I am ready for a PR tonight and I am getting comfortable with the altitude (about 5,000 feet)."