Team USA athletes advance in Helsinki

08-06-2005

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Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
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HELSINKI, Finland - Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.) and Adam Nelson (Athens, Ga.) advanced to the men's shot put final, and Shawn Crawford (Raleigh, N.C.), Justin Gatlin (Raleigh, N.C.) and Leonard Scott (Irvine, Calif.) all advanced to the quarter-finals in the men's 100 meters in morning competition on day one of the 2005 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Helsinki.

The 2005 USA Outdoor champion, Cantwell advanced to tonight's final on his first qualifying attempt with a throw of 21.11 meters/69 feet, 3.25 inches. Two-time Olympic Games silver medalist Adam Nelson also made it through to the final with a throw of 20.35m/66-9.25. Three-time world outdoor champion and 2005 Visa Championship Series indoor winner John Godina (Mesa, Ariz.), who has been battling a sore elbow and a stomach virus of late, had a best throw of 19.54m/64-1.25, but did not advance.

In the first of seven opening round heats in the men's 100 meters, 2004 Olympic 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford was the runner-up, crossing the line in 10.23 seconds to easily advance to this evening's quarter-finals. 2004 Olympic 100m gold medalist and reigning U.S. 100m and 200m champion Justin Gatlin got out well out of lane 3 in the fourth heat and cruised to victory in 10.16 seconds. In heat 5, 2005 U.S. Nationals third-place finisher Leonard Scott powered to a win in the fastest time of the day of 10.12 seconds.

Messner, Jackson advance in women's steeple

The women's 3,000-meter steeplechase is being contested at a world championship for the first time ever in Helsinki, where 2005 USA Outdoor third-place finisher Carrie Messner (Carbondale, Colo.) established a new personal best in her opening round heat by placing third in 9 minutes, 39.68 seconds. Messner advances to the final on Monday.

Also moving on to the final is four-time U.S. national champion Elizabeth Jackson (Salt Lake City), who placed 6th in heat three in 9:45.24. 2005 USA Outdoor runner-up Lisa Galaviz (Gilbert, Ariz.) placed 6th in her heat (9:47.45) and did not advance.

Three Americans advance in women's 800 meters

In women's 800m action, reigning U.S. champion Hazel Clark (Knoxville, Tenn.) got out well in the opening round before grabbing the lead in the second lap and hanging on for the win in 2:01.91. She'll advance to the semifinals on Sunday. Also competing on Sunday will be 2005 USA Outdoor runner-up Kameisha Bennett (Knoxville, Tenn.), who placed third in her opening round race in 2:01.78.

In heat 3, two-time NCAA champion Alice Schmidt (Chapel Hill, N.C.) took command early on and kept the lead until the final turn before finishing as the runner-up in 2:07.10 to advance to the Sunday semifinals.

Clement, Jackson & Carter win 400m hurdle heats

Men's 400m hurdlers took to the track for first round competition with world leader, U.S. national champion and 2005 Visa Championship Series winner Kerron Clement (Gainesville, Fla.) winning his race in 48.98 seconds. 2005 USA Outdoor runner-up Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.) rallied with 80 meters to go to grab the lead before coasting to a win in heat 3 in 49.34.

Two-time Olympic Games 400m hurdles fourth-place finisher James Carter (Hampton, Va.) looked strong in heat 5, winning the race in 49.05. All three Americans will compete in the semi-finals Sunday evening.

In women's heptathlon action, after two events 2005 USA Outdoor champion Hyleas Fountain (Athens, Ga.) is in ninth place with 2,002 points, with 2005 USA Outdoor runner-up Virginia "Gi-Gi" Miller (State College, Pa.) 13th with 1,913 points.

Team USA athletes who will not advance included 2005 USA Outdoor triple jump champion Erica McLain (Plano, Texas.), who had a best of 13.29 meters/43-7.25. 2005 USA champion James Parker (Tucson, Ariz.) placed 11th in Group B men's hammer throw qualifying with a best of 71.95m/236-0, and 2005 USA Outdoor third-place finisher A.G. Kruger (Ashland, Ohio) placed 7th in qualifying Group A with a best of 73.63m/241-7.

Phillips named flag bearer; Godina, Hill-Thurmond team captains

At a Team USA meeting Friday night at the Athlete's Village, 2004 men's long jump Olympic gold medalist Dwight Phillips (Kennesaw, Ga.) was chosen to be the flag bearer for the U.S. contingent at Saturday night's opening ceremonies.

Additionally, the team voted John Godina men's team captain, and 2004 Olympic Trials discus champion Aretha Hill-Thurmond (Opelika, Ala.) the women's team captain.

For more information on Team USA at the 2005 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org.