Fast dash for Kimberlyn Duncan in Austin (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
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Fast sprinting as USA dominates NACAC Under 23 Championships

Jason Rogers of St. Kitts & Nevis led fast sprinting performances as the USA easily dominated the 7th NACAC Under 23 Championships over the weekend in Irapuato, a central Mexican city located 1600m above sea level.

Twenty-year-old Rogers, who opened the St. Kitts & Nevis quartet en route to the 4x100m bronze at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, took advantage of the city’s altitude to take the 100m title in 10.06, two tenths of a second faster than his best prior to the regional event.

In the heats, he had run 10.22 and in the final, he prevailed over Americans Keenan Brock (10.15) and Charles Silmon (10.17).

Rogers equalled the championships record set by Canadian Sam Effah in 2010.

In the women’s race, USA’s 20-year-old Aurieyall Scott ran her fastest time this season to secure gold in 11.19, closely followed by countrywoman Octavious Freeman (11.20). Crystal Emmanuel of Canada was a distant third in 11.43.

The top duo eclipsed Jamaican Shillonie Calvert’s championships record of 11.24, also set in Mexico in 2008.

Another close final was witnessed in the men’s 110m Hurdles as Barbados' Shane Brathwaite ran 13.31 to deny gold to USA’s Barrett Nugent (13.32). Both were rewarded with a personal best and the former also erased the previous championships record (13.32) set by 2011 world champion Jason Richardson also on Mexican soil, in Toluca 2008.

Brathwaite will join older brother and 2009 World champion Ryan and bronze medallist Greggmar Swift (13.54) as the Barbadian trio in the men’s sprint hurdles for the London Olympic Games.

The women’s gold went to USA Trials finalist Brianna Rollins, who ran 12.60 into a 4.5m/s tail wind, well clear of Kierre Beckles (13.05) of Barbados (13.05) and Canada’s Ashlea Maddex (13.21).

One week after finishing fourth at the USA Olympic Trials, NCAA champion Kimberlyn Duncan ran 22.72 to smash the championships record of 22.90 set by countrywoman Shalonda Salomon in 2006.

US Virgin Islands` Allison Peter (22.92) and Cambrya Jones (23.00) of the USA joined her on the podium.

After missing the Olympic A standard (20.55) at the National Championships eight days earlier, Tremaine Harris improved his personal in the heats (20.53) and then in the finals (20.22), the fastest time by a Canadian this year, to find some consolation after not making the team for London.

USA’s Prezel Hardy (20.40) and Keith Ricks (20.50) followed him.

The quarter milers also took advantage of the altitude and posted fast times as well. Rebecca Alexander bounced back after failing to make the USA Trials finals and ran a personal best and championships record of 51.13, in a close race with

Marlena Wesh, who broke the Haitian national record with 51.23. Jamaica’s Jodi-Ann Muir secured bronze with 52.44.

In the men’s race, US Trials finalist David Verburg ran the third fastest race of his life (45.14) to prevail over Canadian Philip Osei, who broke the 46-second barrier for the first time (45.51), a huge improvement of over half a second. Bahamas’ Jeffrey Gibson clinched bronze in 46.30.

Other championships records were set by Canada’s Melanie Blouin in the Pole Vault (4.36), Jamaica’s Traves Smikle in the Discus (62.11), London-bound Amanda Bingston in the Hammer (71.39) and Sarah Callister in the 10000m (35:46.12), both of the USA.

Mexico moved up to the second spot in the medal tally on the last day as Karla Diaz (5000m), Edgar Rivera (High Jump) and Abigail Gomez (Javelin). Twenty-one year old Morales improved her national record to 56.89 but still fell short of her 59.00 goal to reach the Olympic B-standard.

With a delegation of 86 athletes, the USA clearly dominated the medal tally with 69 medals (32 gold, 26 silver and 11 bronze), ahead of Mexico (5-3-11) and Canada (4-6-8).

The 7th NACAC U23 Championships drew over 400 athletes from 21 countries. Held biennially since 2000, the event returned to Mexico, a country that hosted the inaugural edition in Monterrey 2000 and Toluca in 2008.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF

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