Team USA "most dominant ever" at Pan Am Juniors with 57 medals

07-31-2005

Contact:
Glen McMicken
Pan Am Juniors Press Officer
USA Track & Field
317-261-0500

Windsor, Ontario, Canada - In the most dominant performance in Pan American Junior Championships history, Team USA won 28 medals Sunday, including 11 golds, on the final day of the meet. With a total of 57 medals over three days, Team USA more than tripled the number won by runner-up Canada.

The highest number of medals ever won by any team at this meet is 61 by Team USA in 1999 at Tampa. That meet, though, had no representatives from Cuba and reduced teams from many other nations.

"This has to rank as one of the truly dominant teams in any single international meet," said U.S. team leader Tim Weaver. "The athletes performed way above expectations, and the staff was fantastic at getting the athletes in the right mindset. We won medals in 20 of 22 men's events and 19 of 22 women's events. You can't possibly ask for a better overall effort, especially since this was the biggest Pan Am Juniors ever."

Tradition was upheld in the relays, with Team USA romping to victory in all four Sunday.

South Carolina's Amberly Nesbitt ran a powerful opening leg and the squad never lost the lead in the women's 4x100, winning by more than a full second in 43.97. Cleo Tyson of Tennessee, the 100 champion, anchored the squad to pick up her second gold of the meet.

Tremaine Smith of Houston, the 200 silver medalist, cracked open the men's 4x100 on the third leg, handing off to 100 champ J-Mee Samuels of Winston-Salem, N.C., with a solid lead. Samuels, who set a meet record in the 100, powered away from the rest of the field to stop the clock at 39.36 for another U.S. gold.

A strong second leg of 51.9 seconds from LSU's Deonna Lawrence helped put the U.S. women in an unbeatable position in the 4x400, and 400 champion Natasha Hastings of South Carolina dropped the curtain on a stellar junior career with a 52.8 anchor to help the quartet win in 3:32.82, just .12 off the meet record and more than four seconds ahead of silver medalists Jamaica.

Having the top two finishers from the open 400 certainly helped the U.S. men, who were never seriously challenged in the 4x400on the way to a 3:05.34 winner. Southern California's Lionel Larry opened with a 46.4 to put the team in the lead, and Terrance Reid of Northern Iowa and 400 silver medalist Nathaniel Anderson of Portland, Ore., added 46.2 carries before 400 champion Justin Oliver of Stone Mountain, Ga., brought it home in 46.6 for the gold.

Ryan Whiting of Harrisburg, Pa., added a gold medal and meet record in the men's discus to the shot put gold he won Friday, spinning the platter 61.40/201-5 on his final throw. Whiting said, "I fouled on my first attempt so I just relaxed and took a safe distance on my second throw. On the third throw, I just stepped into the circle and let one go." His third attempt of 60.57/198-8 also surpassed the previous meet record. Long Beach State's Ed Cornell won the bronze at 55.04/180-7.

Team USA also went 1-3 in the men's hammer, which turned out to be a two-day affair after the event had to be suspended on Saturday midway through round five after a competitor hit the cage gate upright and broke it. The discus was also postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to equipment concerns. The cage was repaired Saturday night, and UCLA's Boldiszar Kocsor held on to first with his previous-day best of 68.15/223-7. Cuban Roberto Durruty snatched the silver from John Freeman of the U.S. with a final round 66.76/219-0. Freeman won bronze with a 64.58/211-10 from Saturday.

Medals sweeps came Sunday in several events. In the women's heptathlon, Lauren Stewart of Brentwood, Tenn., scored 5333 points and held off Shevell Quinley of Tracy, Calif. Quinley turned in a personal best of 5266 for the silver. Reuben McCoy of Auburn raced to a 50.28 for gold in the men's 400 hurdles, with Charles City, Iowa's Greg Offerman second at 51.84.

TCU's Otis McDaniel was speedy on the curve on his way to a win in the men's 200, clocking 20.67 ahead of Houston's Tremaine Smith, who won silver in 20.78. Oregon high schooler Rachel Yurkovich, the U.S. prep javelin record holder, won with a meet record 52.58/172-6, and Purdue's Kara Patterson also topped the previous meet best with a 50.26/164-11 effort.

Sarah Bowman of Warrenton, Va., became the fourth-fastest prep performer ever with her 4:17.61 win in the women's 1500, five seconds ahead of runner-up Erin Bedell of Plano, Texas. Bedell crossed the line at 4:22.87.

Other medals won on Sunday:

-- Kenneth Hall of Baton Rouge, La., the prep record holder, won silver in the triple jump with a 16.55/54-3.75, the second best ever by a high schooler behind only his record of 54-10.5 at last year's national Junior Olympics in Eugene.

--Pre-meet favorite Alexandria Anderson of Chicago was upset in the women's 200 by Jamaica's Aneisha McLaughlin, 23.00 to 23.06. Brittany Jones of Pompano Beach, Fla., was third in 23.23.

-- Nicole Blood of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Whitney Anderson of Breckenridge, Colo., won silver and bronze in the women's 5000, which was won by defending champion Ines Melchor of Peru. Blood led for much of the race before Melchor took over with just over three laps left.

--Southern Illinois hammer thrower Brittany Riley uncorked a lifetime best 59.72/195-11 on her fifth attempt to win silver. Aras Santovenia of Cuba set a Championships record on her second and fourth throws, taking gold at 64.80/212-7.

--Crashes and spills marred the women's 400 hurdles, as half the field of eight fell at least once during the event. New Jersey's Krystal Cantey managed to keep her balance, and the Sicklerville prep won silver in 59.26. Nicole Leach of Philadelphia sprinted to an early lead but tumbled over the first hurdle and ended up sixth.

--Denver's Chealsea Taylor tied for second in the women's high jump, clearing 1.79/5-10.5. Taylor cleared that height on her second attempt, losing the gold to Trinidad & Tobago's Rhonda Watkins, who made it on her first try.

--Rachel Greff of Rice won silver in the women's pole vault at 3.95/12-11.5. Venezuela's Keisa Monterola set a meet record with her 4.10/13-5.25 leap.

-- U.S. junior 1500 champion Mark Matusak of Torrance, Calif., moved up from sixth to third over the final 600 meters to claim bronze in 3:49.81 behind Canadians Mike Woods and Braden Novakowski.

Full meet results and the final medals table can be found at www.panamswindsor.ca/en.