Pair of Distance Golds for Team USA at Pan Am Juniors
Provided by USATF
MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA -- Khallifah Rosser and Scottie Hearns swept the medals in the men's 400m hurdles and Craig Engels and Matt McClintock added two more golds for Team USA Saturday night at the 17th Pan American Junior Championships at Alfonso Galvis Duque Stadium.
The U.S. leads the medal table with 20 total medals, eight of them gold. Canada is second with 10.
Running in the wake of a torrential downpour, Rosser and Hearns overcame an early deficit and gained ground steadily over the final three hurdles to overtake Brazil's Jucian Pereira on the run-in to take gold and silver. Rosser set a personal best with his 50.75, while Hearns was also under 51 seconds at 50.96.
Team captain Engels was up next in the men's 1500m, and he ran a masterful race, covering the final 400 in under 54 seconds to finish first at 3:53.12. Engels was content to run with the pack for the first three laps before turning on the speed with 300 to go and running away from Andre Thiago de Rosario of Brazil. Justin Brinkley placed ninth at 4:00.42.
In the final event of the night, McClintock showed a balance of tactical savvy and speed to come away with gold in the men's 10,000m. McClintock ran at the back of the pack much of the way and followed his pre-race plan to let the pace be dictated by others. As runners slowly dropped off the pace, McClintock was left in a group of five and with 600 to go he upped his tempo and started to pull away. Speeding down the final stretch, he opened up a gap of more than eight seconds to win at 31:12.39. Brandon Shemonia finished seventh at 32:22.75.
A bronze medal turned into silver for Olicia Williams in the women's 800m after the disqualification of Cuba's Sahily Diago Mesa. The Cuban drifted three lanes out and pushed Canada's Jenna Westaway even wider down the final straight before crossing the line first. The Canadian delegation protested the tactic and Westaway was awarded gold at 2:06.94, with Williams taking silver at 2:08.85. Claudia Saunders ended up sixth at 2:12.17.
It took a Colombian national record by Juan Carlos Moreno to beat Tony Brown in the men's 110m hurdles, eliciting rapturous cheers from the stands as the local athlete clocked 13.42 to 13.47 for Brown. Trey Holloway closed quickly after a very slow start to take fourth at 13.76.
Ana Holland and Riak Reese turned in a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 200m, with Holland matching her time from the semifinals at 23.61, and Reese again going faster than his pre-meet PR with a 21.01. Morolake Akinosun was fifth in the women's race at 23.76.
Another fourth-place finish came with a PR for Brianna Richardson in the women's triple jump. Richardson four times surpassed her previous best, topped by a 13.23m/43-5 third-round effort that added almost a foot to her PR.
Hannah Oneda made a decisive move late in the women's 5,000m to try and put away a pair of Peruvians and a Colombian, but couldn't hold the trio off as she finished fourth at 18:24.04. The race went out quite slowly before Oneda's surge, and Hetaria Palacios of Peru came away with the gold.
Wet conditions appeared to hamper the high jumpers across the board as the top five women cleared 1.76m/5-9.25. Americans Claire Kieffer-Wright and Rachel Proteau finished fourth and fifth on the countback.
In the men's 3,000m steeplechase Brendan Smith clung to the lead pack through the first half of the race but slowly fell back and finished sixth at 9:35.70. Tate Schienbein struggled with illness and was 10th.
Robert Smutsky placed 10th in the men's javelin with a best of 61.13m/200-6, two places ahead of Jay Stell's 58.56m/192-1. Decathletes Wolf Mahler and Devon Williams were both forced to withdraw during the competition due to injury.
Matt McClintock, men's 10,000m gold -- "It went exactly how I hoped. We strategized before to sit in the back of the back and let them take the wind and give myself the opportunity to win at this altitude. I had planned to maybe move with 1000m left, but I decided to go at 600 and it worked. This was surreal. I came out of high school wanting to win international championships and this has given me tremendous hope for the future. I have been going 75 miles a week to prepare for cross country and I am looking forward to November and the NCAA Championships."
Craig Engels, men's 1500m gold -- "That race was so awesome. I'm so happy I won and feel so blessed. I was expecting Justin (Brinkley) to beat me but I felt really good. I came in very prepared and I just went for it with 300 left. So pumped, so cool. The team elected me captain and I was embarrassed at first, but this is so cool to win an international title for Team USA."
Khallifah Rosser, men's 400m hurdles gold -- "(The Brazilian) made me want to chase him down the way he took off from the start. It was wet out there but I didn't let it affect me. I just kept thinking arms, arms, arms, keep it tight and finish fast. I only ran about 39 for the 300m hurdles in high school, but I like to take on challenges. I really didn't expect to do this well."
Scottie Hearns, men's 400m hurdles silver -- "I made a strong move at hurdle six, and all I could keep thinking was 1-2, 1-2 for the finish. That Brazilian guy kind of surprised me going out so hard. I never ran 400H in high school and I started off the event running like 52 to 54. It's a tough event to learn."
Olicia Williams, women's 800m silver -- "Going out I wanted to place myself in the front and go easy and hold on. Then I started thinking I gotta do this for my team and make the podium. It was kind of nerve-wracking, and I was more nervous than at the NCAA meet. The longest break I have taken all year was about a week. It's an honor to be here and I am VERY happy."
Riak Reese, men's 200m fourth place -- "I'm kind of upset to miss out on the medals but it will just make me work harder over the next year. I think I pushed a little too hard because I wanted it so badly. This has been the greatest experience of my whole track career. I always wanted to make a USA team, and I am looking to run fast at Kent State and make the NCAA final my freshman year."
TEAM USA MEDALS
Stamatia Scarvelis, women's shot put
Alexis Perry, women's 100m hurdles
Courtney Okolo, women's 400m
Hayden Reed, men's discus
Matt McClintock, men's 10,000m
Khallifah Rosser, men's 400m hurdles
Alexis Faulknor, women's long jump
Craig Engels, men's 1500m
Jennifer Madu, women's 100m
Kendall Baisden, women's 400m
Andre Jefferson, men's long jump
Rudy Winkler, men's hammer
Olicia Williams, women's 800m
Scottie Hearns, men's 400m hurdles
Tony Brown, men's 110m hurdles
Maggie Ewen, women's discus
Chase Ealey, women's shot put
Trayvon Bromell, men's 100m
Reggie Jagers, men's discus
Thomas Awad, men's 5,000m