Stuczynski clears 16 feet, Gay flirts with WR at Reebok Grand Prix


Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field

Stuczynski clears 16 feet, Gay flirts with WR at Reebok Grand Prix

NEW YORK - Jenn Stuczynski became the #2 woman on the all-time list in the women's pole vault, while Tyson Gay came within a slight breeze of breaking a world record Saturday night at the Reebok Grand Prix. A sell-out Icahn Stadium crowd of 4,990 fans from around New York and the world cheered performances in warm, muggy conditions.

The second stop of USATF's Visa Championship Series, the Reebok Grand Prix will be broadcast from 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. tonight (Saturday) on ESPN2 and from 1-2 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

Stucyznski soars again

Stuczynski became the first American to clear 16 feet in the women's vault with her winning leap of 4.88 meters/16 feet, 0 inches to set her second American record and world leader in two weeks. She broke Stacy Dragila's 3-year-old American record on May 20 at the adidas Track Classic (4.84m/15-10.5). Two weeks later in New York, she had the bar set at 16 feet and took two solid tries that failed. On her third attempt at the height, Stuczynski gave the bar a brush, but it stayed up, giving her the American record as well as the U.S. all-comers record. She then raised the bar to 5.03m/16-6 in an unsuccessful attempt to break Yelena Isinbayeva's world record. Shuying Gao of China was second with a national and Asian record of 4.64m/15-2.75. Dragila withdrew from the competition with a sore left Achilles tendon.

Gay gets closer to WR

Coming dangerously close to a world record was Tyson Gay in the NY Metro men's 100 meters. World ranked #2 in the event, Gay had a quick reaction time of .162 seconds, after which he blasted the rest of the race to run 9.76. His time was under the Asafa Powell's world record 9.77 but is considered wind-aided because the tailwind of 2.2 meters-per-second was just over the legal limit of 2.0 mps. It was the second record scare this year for Gay, who ran a wind-aided (+2.5 mps) time of 9.79 seconds at the adidas Track Classic, which would have tied Maurice Greene's American record.

All-comers records galore

An American all-comers record also fell in the Reebok men's 110-meter hurdles, featuring the pre-ordained star of the Beijing Olympics, world record holder Liu Xiang of China. Liu was quick out of the blocks but rough over the first three hurdles as two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell ran to the lead. Liu started to move over the fifth hurdle and went on to win in 12.92, tying Allen Johnson's all-comers mark from the 1996 Olympic Games and posting a world leader. Trammell was second in a personal-best time of 12.95, with Ryan Wilson third in a PR 13.02. American record holder Dominique Arnold false-started and was disqualified.

The men's mile was the final professional event of the night, going off shortly before 9:30 p.m., and it provided a scintillating finish to the evening. With pacers taking the field through splits of 57 seconds, 1:55 and 2:57, 2005 U.S. champion Bernard Lagat and 2-time national champ Alan Webb entered the final lap 1-2. Heading down the backstretch, runners stretched in short order down the track, with Australian Craig Mottram attempting to pass Webb. Webb turned him back and then sprinted past Lagat in a powerful and controlled homestretch run to win convincingly in 3:52.94. Lagat was second in 3:53.88 with Mottram third in 3:54.54 as nine men dipped under 4:00. High schooler Matt Centrowitz finished in 4:03.40.

Ginnie Powell posted her second win of the Visa Championship Series in the Visa women's 100-meter hurdles and posted a statement to the world that she is to be reckoned with. The 2006 USA and NCAA champion blasted out of the blocks and dominated the field, winning in a world-leading, personal-best and meet-record time of 12.45 seconds. 2007 USA indoor champion Lolo Jones was second in 12.75, with Dolloreen Ennis-London of Jamaica third in 12.79.

Ethiopian victories at 5,000m

Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia stepped out of the shadow of his brother, Kenenisa, to post another U.S. all-comers record in the Reebok men's 5,000m. Hoping to break 13:00, Bekele was on pace until the last two laps, having passed through 4 km in 10:24.89 - 12:59 pace. Running alone, he finished in 13:04.04 to set a U.S. all-comers record, with Micah Kogo of Kenya second in 13:13.53. Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba turned in a bravura solo performance in the Reebok women's 5,000m, running 14:35.67 to finish 40 seconds ahead of second-place Kim Smith of New Zealand (15:15.22).

The Visa women's 100 meters delivered on its promise of excitement. 2003 world champion Torri Edwards, coming off a personal-best victory at the adidas Track Classic in 10.90, was first out of the blocks and in the lead. As the field began to close the gap, Olympic 200m gold medalist Veronica Campbell of Jamaica - second to Edwards by .01 at the adidas TC - nipped Edwards at the tape, thrilling the large Jamaican contingent in the crowd. Campbell was timed in 10.93 (wind +1.2mps), with Edwards second in 10.96 and world 200m champion Allyson Felix third in a personal-best 11.04. Felix came back to win the Reebok women's 400 meters in 50.53 seconds over Novlene Williams of Jamaica (50.97) with a strong stretch run.

Wallace wins men's 200

The Reebok men's 200 meters featured a thrilling duel between world junior record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica and U.S. champion Wallace Spearmon. Running in lane 4, the towering Bolt came off the turn leading Spearmon, running in lane 5. The Jamaican crowd rose in excitement, hoping for a second sprint victory, but Spearmon turned in one of his trademark strong finishes in the final straight to win in 19.82 (+1.3mps), the second-fastest time in the world this year. Bolt was second in 19.89.

More winners

Two-time U.S. champion Hazel Clark came off the final curve to surge into the lead and win the Western Union women's 800-meter run in a U.S.-leading time of 1:59.07. National 1,500m champion Treniere Clement, Clark's training partner, was second in 1:59.15. Also winning with a surge was World Outdoor silver medalist James Carter, who moved with 200 meters to go and won the Vitarroz men's 400m hurdles convincingly in 48.37 over Kenneth Ferguson in second (48.99).

World outdoor bronze medalist Tyler Christopher of Canada came from behind to win the Irie Jam men's 400m with a time of 44.93, while world outdoor silver medalist and reigning U.S. champion Rachelle Smith dominated the Air Jamaica women's 200m from start to finish, winning easily in 22.31 (+1.6) over LaShauntae Moore (22.75).

Winners in other events included Jarred Rome in the men's discus (66.84m/219-3); Giovanni Lanaro of Mexico in the Mt. Sinai men's pole vault (5.70m/18-8.25); Becky Breisch in the women's discus 61.96m/203-3; Malindi Elmore of Canada in the Smartwater womens' 1,500m run (4:07.01); Khadevis Robinson in the New York Road Runners men's 800m (1:46.38);

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