by Joy Kamani
By Jim Spier
Photos by Joy Kamani (more photos posted on NSSF Gallery)
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Men's Hammer Throw (6k)
It was rough going for the Americans, with Cuba bringing their best, Reinier Mejias Cabrera, the #4 ranked junior hammer thrower in the world. He had three throws over 254 feet, winning at 257-2. Jean Rosario of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational 2008 champion and record holder, was second in 235-3. Justin Welch (Eastwood, Pemberville, OH) got the bronze with a throw of 223-10. Tyler Johnson (Arizona, Bishop Gorman HS '08, Las Vegas, NV) was fifth at 207-10.
Women's Hammer Throw
Like her male counterpart, Cuban Yenislei Fors Carnonell got the gold. She had all four of her legal throws over 194-11, with the winning toos 209-8. Andressa Morais of Brazil, the discus champion, was second, well back at 180-5. Elizabeth Rohl (Michigan State, New Buffalo, MI '08) was third at 174-6. Casey Kraychir (Twentynine Palms, CA) was fifth in 172-8, significantly off her 190-3 seasonal best.
Women's 400m Hurdles
Nikita Tracey, who we have seen at least twice at the last two Penn Relays, took 5 hurdles before passing Dalilah Muhammad (USC, Cardozo, Queens, NY '08). It was Tracey, Muhammad and Turquoise Thompson (Serra, Gardena, CA), in that order through 7 hurdles. Then Danielle Dowie (Jamaica) began to overtake Thompson. They were even over the last hurdle, but Dowie sprinted ahead to edge Thompson for the bronze, 58.92 to 59.08. Tracey won the race in 57.82, with Muhammad in second at 58.42.
Men's 400m Hurdles
William Wynne (Florida, Mc Eachern, Powder Springs, GA '08) was out aggressively. His only mistake was hitting the last hurdle, but that did not deter him very much. He won in an impressive 49.31, a huge PR, his previous best being 49.67. In second the entire race was local favorite Jehue Gordon of Trinidad. Gordon did finish second and ran 50.08. Reggie Wyatt (La Sierra, Riverside, CA), looking sluggish, got third, but not without a struggle. He was challenged down the homestretch but put on a burst over the last 30 meters to get third in 50.61
Chanelle Price (Tennessee, Easton, PA '08) went out very fast, passing 200m at 27.9 and 400m at 58.0. She held that lead through the final turn and began to struggle. Coming on strong was Almanza Blanco of Cuba, who powered by Price to win in 2:03.83. Price barely held on for second, running 2:05.13. Just behind, at 2:05.19, was Helen Crofts of Canada in 2:05.19. Laura Roesler (South, Fargo, ND) was sixth in 2:07.50.
Chanelle Price, Almanza Blanco (Cuba)
Jose Juan Esparaza took it out in 26.5 and 56.5, with Cuban Raidel Acea Morales and Gavyn Nero (Trinidad) just behind. The race began down the backstretch, when Morales broke free, Nero trying to catch him. Meanwhile, Joseph Abbot (Washington State, Galena HS, Reno, NV '08) was caught back in a three-way pack. Abbot made a big move with 100 meters to go and sprinted down the homestretch for third. It was Morales at 1:48.09, Nero at 1:48.90, and Abbot at 1:48.99, only .02 off his lifetime best. Dylan Ferris (Stanford, East Forsyth, Kernersville, NC) was 5th in 1:49.84.
This race had a painfully slow pace, with a pack of four passing 2000 meters at about 7 minutes. It was a duo from Mexico, Laura Esther Galvan and Julieta Buatista, against a duo from the U.S., Lizzie Hynes (East, St. Charles, IL) and Emily Sisson (Parkway Central, Chesterfield, MO). Those four swapped places until 2 laps remined, at which point Sisson started to fade. Down the final backstretch, Hynes made a move but it was short-lived, with Galvan passing her at the top of the final turn. Then Bautista made her move down the homestretch, giving Mexico the top 2 positions, Galvan besting Bautista 10:02.32 to 10:02.66. Hynes was third in 10:04.92 and Sisson fourth in 10:17.14.
Mohammed Ahmed of Canada, Colby Lowe (Oklahoma State, Carroll HS, Southlake, TX '08) and Sean Keveren (Virginia, Brentwood, TN '08) were in the lead pack though 4 laps, at which point they broke away from the pack. With 7 laps to go, Ahmed made a big move, and put 35 meters between he and the Americans. It stayed that way for most of the rest of the race with Keveren on Lowe's shoulder. Down the final backstretch, Keveren "jumped" Lowe and held off his final charge to take the silver, 14:14.46 to Lowe's 14:14.57. Ahmed set a Pan American Junior meet record with his 14:12.11 win.
Women's 3000m Steeplechase
The Cuban, Bueno Ocampo was the class of the field, breaking away from the pack early, never challenged. She won easily in 10:32.38. Second was Florencia Borell of Argentina in 10:40.46, with Jessica Furlan of Canada third in 10:56.22. The Americans, Natalie Busby (Syracuse, New Paltz, NY '08) and Alyssa Allison (Festus, MO) did not look sharp, with Busby fourth (11:02.30) and Allison fifth (11:20.98).
Jamaica is the Americans main competition at these championships historically, and they gave the U.S. team all they could handle. The U.S. team led for two legs, with Alishea Usery (Florida, Mc Cluer South-Berkeley, St. Louis, MO '08) leading off in 54.2, followed by Angele Cooper (Texas, Wilson, Long Beach, CA '08) running 54.1. Kellie Schueler (Summit, Bend, OR) held off her Jamaican counterpart on the back stretch then was cut off at the top of the homestretch, only to recover and retake the lead, running 54.5. Diamond Richardson (Baylor, De Soto, TX '08) anchored in 53.6 to get the 3:36.34 win for the U.S. Jamaica finished second in 3:37.65 and Bahamas 3:42.17
Grenada put a scare in field, leading off World Youth Champion Kirani James and giving his country the lead. Clayton Parros (Seton Hall Prep. Orange, NJ) led off the U.S. team in 46.8, a decent leadoff, but significantly back from James. He handed off to Duane Walker (USC, Compton, CA '08) who ran against the second-best Grenadan athlete, the 400m bronze medalist. He did not make up much ground, though running a fine 45.9. Walker handed off to Joey Hughes (USC, Poly, Long Beach, CA '08) who pulled the U.S. ahead with another great leg, running 45.6. Tavaris Tate pulled away for the American victory, running an sensational 44.9. The U.S won in 3:03.25, a World Junior leader. Trinidad was second in 3:07.70 and Canada was third in 3:09.05.