US Nabs 3 Gold in first day of Pan Am Juniors

by Joy Kamani
By Jim Spier Photos by Joy Kamani (Check the Video interview page for Paul Limmer's interviews) Morning Session of Day One Women's 1500m It was Jordan Hasay (Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo) from the gun, running her patented race. She established a 30 meter lead after the first half lap and never relinquished it. Taylor Wallace (Henley, Klamath Falls, OR) established second at that point, followed closely by Mexicans Laura Esther Galvan and Julieta Buatista. Hasay ran splits of 71.1, 2:22.1 (71), 3:33.1 (71), passing 1100m at 3:15.5. He last lap was 70.8, with her winning in 4:26.26. Taylor Wallace was passed with about 1 ¼ laps remaining, ultimately finishing third. Jordan Hasay wins the first gold medal for Team USA Men's 1500m One does not usually see great races at this distance at the Pan Am Juniors, but this was an exception. Jeremy Rae of Canada led through two laps, followed closely by Jose Juan Esperanza of Mexico. Rae passed 400m at 62.8 and 800m at 2:04.8. Mac Fleet (University, San Diego, CA) was in the back third of the 17 person race though just under two laps. With a lap to go, he was in third, trailing Esperanza and Rae, with Ivan Lopez of Chile a close fourth. It was 2:50.5 at 1100m and 3:05.4 at 1200. The pack of four raced together down the final backstretch, with Fleet trying to pass on the last turn. He got by Rae on the turn and challenged Esperanza with 100m to go, with Lopez threatening on the outside. Fleet's strength shone through with 50 meters left, and he won comfortably at 3:48.04. Rae passed Esperanza to hang on for second in 3:48.29 with Lopez at 3:28.29. Mac Fleet Wins the Gold Women's 400m Prelims (Top 2 in each of the three heats and those with the next 2 fastest times advance to the final) Heat 1 — Alisha Usery (U. of Florida — Mc Cluer South-Berkeley, St. Louis, MO '08) had no problem in winning this heat, leading from start to finish. A notable absentee from this heat was Chantel Malone of the British Virgin Island, 52.46 runner. Heat 2 — A good race for Alejandra Cherizola (Mexico), coming in at 53.80, to win in 55.46. Sparkle Mc Knight, the local favorite from Trindad, hung on for second to automatically qualify in 55.76, Heat 3 — No problem for Diamond Richardson (Baylor U — De Soto, TX '08) in winning (54.94). Men's 400m Prelims (Top 2 in each of the three heats and those with the next 2 fastest times advance to the final) Heat 1 — Joey Hughes (USC — Poly, Long Beach, CA '08) ran a smart race against some pretty good talent. He won in 46.75, followed by lanky Rondell Bartholomew of Grenada in 47.12. Heat 2 — Tavaris Tate went out strong, making up the stagger on all by 200. He cruised down the homestretch to win in an easy-looking 46.12. Second, not far behind, and gaining was Hederson Estafani of Brazil in 46.70. Tavaris Tate Heat 3 — We were very impressed in Italy with Kirani James (Grenada), the World Youth 400 meter champion, who won there in 45-low. Here he "toyed" with the field, running just to qualify, clocking 47.61. Second was Michael Trnkus of Canada in 47.72. Women's Pole Vault It was a small (five) but quality field with two sets of rivalries for Shade Weygandt (Mansfield, TX). Rivalry #1 was between her and her teammate, American Junior record holder Natalie Willer (Nebraska — Elkhorn, NE '07) to whom she had placed second at June's USATF Junior Championships. Rivalry #2 was between Shade and Nike Indoor Nationals champion, Ariana Beaumont-Courteau of Montreal, Canada. Beaumont-Courteau took NIN at 13-8.25, 6 inches higher than Weygandt. Weygandt and Willer were even through 13-3.5, with both passing at 13-5.25. Beaumont-Courteau had stayed with both through 12-9.5, though missing twice at that height, pushing her into a tie for third with Sara Santos Silva of Brazil who had identical success. Both the Canadian and Brazilian missed at 13-3.5, leaving the two Americans tied and guaranteeing one a gold. It was a first-attempt make at 13-7.25 for Weygandt and a second-attempt make for Willer, giving Weygandt the lead at that point. Then Willer made on her first attempt at 13-9.25, with Weygandt making it on her third, putting Willer into the lead. Both made 13-11.25. The bar then moved up to 14-1.25, familiar territory for Willer who has a 14-4 best. It would be a PR for Weygandt, who got her 14-0 PR at the Great Southwest meet. Willer made it on her third attempt, and Weygandt missed all three attempts at would have been a personal best. Two of those attempts were very, very close. Shade Weygandt - Silver

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