A spearman and a Spearmon shared centre stage on Sunday at the 47th annual Mt SAC Relays (17 April).
Greer – 87.65 opener – “nothing hurts”
Breaux Greer had an auspicious season-opening performance in the Men’s Javelin with 87.65, only three centimetres away from the US record he threw last year in winning the World Athletics Final in Monaco. Needless to say, his performance yesterday was the best that this young season has yet seen.
Greer termed the throw an “accident”, something that “just happened”.
“I didn’t expect any real consistency today, but it worked out well,” was his analysis. “I just wanted to see what I could do at this point after my winter training.”
Greer, who threw out his already fragile left knee with a 87.25 as the leading qualifier in Athens last summer, limped home in last place two days later in the Olympic final when treatment did not bring immediate relief. A three-week layoff brought him back to full strength for his Monaco win, but the late-summer events dictated that surgical correction was needed.
“I had surgery on my knee immediately after Monaco,” he explained, “but I asked them to have a look at my right shoulder while I was under anesthesia. They found many more problems than anticipated, and they took care of them at the same time.” One-stop shopping rules, it seems, even in the operating room.
Greer referred to today’s performance as one which brings “security”, but not necessarily “confidence”. In the past, “it seemed as if every time things started going good, something would break. Hopefully those days are over,” he continued. “This is the first year I feel like I’m ready to throw. Nothing hurts!”
The affable Louisianan followed his big throw with a 87.25, prompting him to admit that “every time I get a good throw, I get excited and try to get another one.” And this is only the middle of April.
Greer’s summer schedule will include stops in Doha and Ostrava, plus all of the Golden League meets. “If I can do this in every Golden League meet, it will be good.” Quite an understatement.
Spearmon blazes to 19.97
Wallace Spearmon, Jr., seems to have successfully brought his superb indoor season outdoors, judging by his blazing 19.97 time in the men’s 200 metres, aided by a legal 1.7 wind. With a 20.10 performance to his credit last month in winning the NCAA Indoor championships, the 20-year-old Spearmon, son of the former University of Arkansas sprint star also bearing the same name, enjoyed the first sub-20 clocking of his young career. It was also only the third time in athletics’ history that the Northern Hemisphere has seen a sub-20 time as early as the month of April.
Watching Spearmon’s feat from a distance was Leonard Scott with a respectable 20.48 in second, as Wes Felix held third at 20.80.
Marvin Anderson of USC won the combined open sections of the Men’s 200 Metres with a wind-aided (3.6) 20.36.
In the women’s 200 metres, Tonette Dyer held off a strong finish by Angela Daigle to win, 22.84 to 22.99, as a 3.9 wind aided the times.
Limp one lap outing for Jones
The participation of Marion Jones in the women’s 400 metres had captured much of the pre-meet publicity, but the multiple Olympic gold medallist had little to offer. Starting fast, Jones looked intent on making up the stagger on Australia’s Jana Pittman within the first 150 metres, but by the halfway mark, it appeared that her energy resources had become exhausted.
Meanwhile, Lashinda Demus was streaking to an apparent win down the final straight and would have won, were it not for an even stronger finish by Novlene Williams of Jamaica, who stole the race in the final metres with a 51.49 time. Demus was second in 51.79, while Pittman placed third at 52.33.
Jones, meanwhile, shut down coming into the final 100 metres and jogged home sixth, and last, with 55.03.
Davis in impressive form
British Olympian Malachi Davis scored an impressive win from lane eight in the men’s 400 metres with a PB 45.93, nipping James Davis (45.95) at the wire to win the “family feud”. A pair of University of Arkansas runners - Omar Brown and Terry Gatson - were close behind in 46.00 and 46.02, respectively.
Meanwhile, Olympic champion 400m hurdler Felix Sanchez faded down the stretch and finished sixth in 46.32.
Wind aided 10.98 for Campbell
The women’s 100 metres featured a pair of Olympic champions from other events. After a sluggish start, Athens 200m champion Veronica Campbell shot out to the front like a rocket and posted a wind-aided (2.8) win with 10.98w. Halima DeCree took second with 11.25w, ahead of the 11.45w performance of Olympic 100m Hurdles winner Joanna Hayes.
With a late-race push, Aaron Armstrong won the men’s 100 metres in 10.00, a time aided by a 3.3 wind. Coby Miller (10.08w) and Jamaican Michael Frater (10.10w) followed Armstrong into the tape.
Sprint hurdle world leads
World-leading performances came from both of the sprint hurdle races. Reigning World champion Perdita Felicien of Canada eked out a narrow women’s 100m Hurdles win with 12.73, ahead of Virginia Powell (12.75) and Nichole Denby (12.79).
Dominique Arnold prevailed in the men’s 110m Hurdles race with 13.35, winning in the final metres against Ron Bramlett (13.40) and Micah Harris (13.50).
Olympian Jonathan Johnson scored an impressive wire-to-wire 1:46.67 win in the Men’s 800 Metres. The Texas Tech student twice took the backstretch wind for the rest of the field and was pulling away over the final 100 metres of the race, as Jon Rankin fought off Christian Smith for second, 1:47.11 to 1:47.19.
Aneta Denton of Jamaica won the women’s event with 2:03.94, ahead of Frances Santin at 2:03.99.
The Men’s Mile was ruled by Kenya’s Benjamin Kipkurui with a world-leading 3:56.08, as Chris Estwanik (3:58.80) and a second Kenyan, Jonah Maiyo (3:59.88), also broke through the four-minute level.
A pair of Olympic fourth-place high jumper scored wins in their respective events. After jumping 2.27 (and with several good tries at 2.31) on Friday at the Pomona-Pitzer Relays in nearby Claremont, Jamie Nieto had to settle for 2.25 in winning the Men’s High Jump here today. Nieto won on a countback against Jesse Williams, Sri Lanka’s Manjula Wijesekara and Gerardo Martinez of Mexico.
In her season opener, Amy Acuff took the women’s event with 1.93 on a countback with another US Olympian, Chaunte Howard. Both were world-leading marks for this season.
80 metres once more for Charfreitag
Slovakia’s Libor Charfreitag surpassed the eighty-metre mark for the second time in two outdoor starts with his 80.30 win in the Men’s Hammer. In winning the Women’s Hammer, Erin Gilreath upped her season best to 68.88 to defeat Candice Scott of Trinidad with 68.08.
The Women’s Long Jump was won in dramatic fashion with a last-attempt 6.72 by Olympian Rose Richmond. Akiba McKinney, who had held the lead prior to Richmond’s final jump, finished second with 6.55.
Bazhir Ramzy won the men’s event with a wind-aided (2.5) jump of 8.05, just ahead of the 8.03w of Tony Allmond.
Greene tops out in anchor relay action
Spectators who were lured to the stadium in anticipation of a tense matchup between Maurice Greene and Tim Montgomery may have been somewhat disappointed. The two stars did run head-to-head in the 4x100 metres Relay, but the Greene-anchored HSI International team of Allen Johnson, Leonard Scott and Kaaron Conwright - which won in 38.73 - was never challenged by Montgomery’s USA High Performance team, which finished fifth in 39.27.
Right behind the HSI team was the University of Southern California quartet in 38.89, just ahead of the Jamaica squad anchored by Asafa Powell to 38.90.
The USA High Performance women’s team of Nichole Denby, Angela Daigle, Inger Miller and Allyson Felix had a 1.6-second victory margin with their world-leading 43.21 clocking.
400mH - Kamani held off by Ferguson
Kenneth Ferguson solved the moderately breezy conditions in the men’s 400m Hurdles and successfully held off Panama’s Olympic finalist Bayano Kamani for a win, 49.07 to 49.26. Perhaps unjustly assigned to one of the “B” sections was LaRon Bennett of the University of Georgia, whose 49.42 section win was more than 1.3 seconds faster than any other competitor.
Beau Walker of the University of Alabama won the Women’s 400 Hurdles in 56.43, ahead of Andrea Blackett of Barbados with 56.60.
The women’s 4x400m Relay saw an outstanding performance from the USA High Performance “Red” team of Demetria Washington, Lashinda Demus, Kia Davis, and Allyson Felix, who combined for a 3:28.60 clocking.
Lagat runs 5000m
The highlight of Friday evening’s distance carnival (15 April) was Bernard Lagat’s world-leading 13:14.71 in the men’s 5000 metres, as the Athens silver medallist in the1500 enjoyed considerable success in his first race since obtaining US citizenship earlier this month.
Lagat broke the race open coming into the end of the fourth kilometre by tossing in a 62.5 lap to carve out a sizeable advantage ahead of the field. Following Lagat into the finish, albeit at a distance, were his former countryman Boaz Cheboiywo of Kenya (13:22.12), Switzerland’s Christian Belz (13:26.82) and Kevin Sullivan of Canada (13:27.29).
Marie Davenport of Ireland won the women’s 5000 metres in 15:38.64, outkicking Sweden’s Ida Nilsson (15:39.45) in the final straight.
The two races over 10,000 metres were won by Robert Cheseret of Kenya in 28:33.24 and Sylvia Mosqueda with 32:33.22.
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
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