English Gardner dashes to an 11.03 US junior record in Tucson (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
General News Tucson, USA

Gardner sizzles 11.03 U.S. junior record in Tucson

English Gardner dashed to a sensational U.S. junior record in the women's 100m to highlight the Pacific-10 Conference championships in Tucson on Saturday (14).
 
Competing for the University of Oregon, Gardner, who celebrated her 19th birthday on 22 April, clocked 11.03, to equal the third fastest junior women's performance of all-time, and the quickest by a junior in more than 22 years.

"I wasn't expecting the time I ran, but we're starting to see a pattern here," said Gardner, who crossed the line with her hands clasped overhead in the shape of an 'O' and whose previous career best was 11.30 from earlier this season. "It definitely all came together today."

Her run eclipsed the the previous national junior mark of 11.04 set by four-time Angela Williams in 1999 and the meet record of 11.05 set by Olympic champion Gail Devers in 1987.

Jessica Davis, another freshman from the University of Southern California, was a distant second in 11.19 and with Oregon junior Amber Purvis third in 11.21.

The two-day meeting contested in warm and dry conditions in the Arizona desert also witnessed a meet record by Washington State senior Jeshua Anderson in the 400m Hurdles. The 2008 World junior champion clocked 48.13 to eclipse his own meet record of 48.63 set last season and his career best of 48.47 set as a sophomore in 2009.

Anderson also became only the eighth male athlete in meet history to win an event four years in a row, an elite group that includes the late Steve Prefontaine. Anderson led three runners under 50 seconds with USC sophomore Reggie Wyatt, the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships silver medallist, second in 49.41 and Stanford junior Amaechi Morton third in 49.43.

Historic 400m Win for Berry
 
Oregon freshman Michael Berry continued a breakout season with his 44.91 victory in the 400m. Berry, a 2010 World Junior Championships gold medallist in the 4x400m Relay, broke the school record of 45.07 set by Otis Davis that had stood since 1960. A 46.13 runner entering the season, the 19-year-old clocked 45.79 and 45.65 - the latter in Friday's heats - before breaking through the 45-second barrier on Saturday.

Joey Hughes (45.05), Bryshon Nellum (45.56) and Josh Mance (46.06) of USC finished second, third and fourth. The three teamed with Wyatt on the Trojans’ 4 x 400m relay that won in 3:03.38.

In the women’s 200m, Davis of USC rebounded from a defeat by Gardner in the 100 to win in 22.84 over Oregon’s Purvis (22.97) and Gardner (23.02). Davis also anchored the Trojans 4 x 100m relay to a 43.84 win.

California junior Ray Stewart won the 110m Hurdles in 13.48 over USC seniors Brendan Ames (13.53) and Oscar Spurlock (13.54). In the preliminaries, Ames set a meet record of 13.39 to break the 13.43 mark set by Greg Foster in 1980. USC senior Nia Ali won the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.77.

Another meet record was set by the Oregon women’s 4 x 400m Relay quartet of Chizoba Okodogbe, Purvis, Phyllis Francis and Laura Roesler who ran 3:29.63 to clinch a 154.5-150 team victory over Arizona in the final event for the Ducks’ third straight championship.

The Oregon men won their fifth consecutive title with 129 points over Arizona (111). USC, UCLA and Arizona State tied for third with 99.

Oregon junior Matthew Centrowitz won a tactical 1500m in 3:41.7 over Arizona freshman Lawi Lalang to win for the third year in a row. Centrowitz, the son of former American 5000m record holder Matthew Centrowitz Sr., joined Gabe Jennings of Stanford (2000-02), Bernard Lagat of Arizona (1997-99) and Hailu Ebba of Oregon State (1972-74) as a three consecutive title winner in the 1500m/mile.

Canadian national Shot Put record for Labonté

Canadian Julie Labonté, competing for the host University of Arizona squad, took the Shot Put title with an 18.21m effort to eclipse the national record of 17.83m she shared with Lieja Tunks. Labonté, 21, won the NCAA indoor title in March.

Elsewhere on the infield, Brigetta Barrett, also competing for Arizona, won the women’s High Jump with a career best leap of 1.93m. The mark by the 2011 NCAA Iindoor champion improved on her U.S. and collegiate leading mark of 1.90m set at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in April.
 
Kirby Lee for the IAAF

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