20 JAN 2009 General News Fresno, USA

Day jumps 1.93m PB in season opener in Fresno

Sharon Day celebrates after her indoor PB in Fresno (Kirby Lee)Sharon Day celebrates after her indoor PB in Fresno (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

Sharon Day didn’t come to the Run for the Dream Indoor Invitational on Monday (19 Jan) with many expectations but the 2008 Beijing Olympian left with high aspirations.

Day cleared an indoor career personal best 1.93m in her High Jump season debut to begin her first full season as an open athlete at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State. The performance helped redeem a disappointing Olympic showing where Day placed 24th in the qualifying at 1.85m.

“I just wanted to make sure that I was getting my rhythm right and my approach felt really good,” Day said. “It was my season opener so I didn’t try to have to high of expectations.”

Day cleared the first four heights of 1.73m, 1.78m, 1.83m and 1.88m without a miss to defeat 2008 Run for the Dream champion and four-time Olympian Amy Acuff.

Day cleared 1.93m on her second attempt to clinch the win over Acuff, who took two tries to clear 1.88m to finish second. Romary Rifka (MEX) in third at 1.83m. Day, who jumped 1.95m outdoors in the Big West Championships last May, then took three attempts at a career best 1.98m.

“It was an indoor PR so I couldn’t be happier," Day said.

Training for the multi-events

Day, who is entertaining thoughts of taking up the indoor Pentathlon, also ran 8.34 in the 55m Hurdles in her first-ever race over barriers indoors in Fresno. Day, the 2004 World Junior high jump bronze medallist, began training for the other disciplines last autumn.

While attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Day tried the Heptathlon during her junior and senior seasons in 2007 and 2008 and ran sprints and on the 4 x 400m Relay for conditioning. She was also a two-time Big West Conference selection as a forward on the Cal Poly soccer team and scored 27 goals in four seasons, 11 as a sophomore in 2004. Day doesn’t believe playing soccer or training for the multi-events will hinder her progression in the High Jump.

“I think that I can compete better in the High Jump when I have more variety in practice,” Day said. Whatever the 23-year-old Day is doing in workouts, it seems to be working.

Day continues to train with her collegiate coach Jack Hoyt at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Central California where she won the 2005 NCAA Outdoor title and finished second indoors and outdoors in 2003 and 2004.

Breakthrough in 2008

Day clinched her first Olympic berth with a third-place finish in the 2008 U.S. Trials after finishing second in the NCAA Championships to conclude her collegiate career.

“Last summer was a big summer for me coming out of college. It was definitely a big step up,” Day said. “My goal at the Olympics was to make the final I was still there and happy to make the team.”

Mack and Dragila victorious in the Pole Vault

Former Olympic Pole Vault champions Tim Mack and Stacy Dragila are trying to get their careers back on track after being hampered by injuries in recent seasons.

Mack, the 2004 Olympic champion, won the men’s competition at 5.49m. Brian DeCunha and Giovanni Lanaro (MEX) were second and third, both at 5.34m. Dragila, the 2000 Olympic champion and former World Record holder, won the women’s vault with 4.37m.

Purvis, Norman and Glenn lead sprint results

Ashton Purvis, a 2007 World Youth relay gold medallist, ran the two fastest U.S. high school times of the year in the girls’ 55 metres, running 7.02 sec in the prelims and 6.96 in the final.

Josh Norman remained undefeated at the Run for the Dream with his third win in the 55 metres in 6.17.

Brianna Glenn and Jenny Adams, former training partners at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, were winners respectively of the women’s 55m dash and 55m Hurdles. Glenn, the 2001 NCAA champion in the long jump and 200 metres for Arizona, won the 55m in 6.79. Adams won the hurdles in 7.72 sec.

The third-annual meet was held in the honour of Martin Luther King holiday and was the brainchild of former Fresno State coach Bob Fraley. The inaugural meet was held in 2006 on wooden track used at the L.A. Invitational but cancelled in 2006.    The meet was revived in 2007 with the help of a 1,000,000 USD contribution from longtime Pole Vault official Fred Arnold for a Tartan track in the memory of his wife Madeline Arnold, who died of breast cancer in 2005.

Kirby Lee for the IAAF