Competing in the second NACAC Combined Events Championships held in the venerable Sixto Escobar stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, (25 - 26 Aug), Virginia (Gigi) Johnson – the USA national champion – and Ryan Harlan – runner up in the USA National Track and Field Championships – won the area titles under wet and windy conditions that plagued the contest throughout the two days of what would otherwise be expected to be sunny San Juan.
Gigi fell just short of the 6000 barrier, which she and her two companions, Hyleas Fountain (5956) and Fiona Asigbee (5779), who claimed second and third places, had surpassed at their national championships. However, with a total of 5991 points, she bettered the area championships record which Fiona had established one year earlier in winning the inaugural event.
Juana Castillo of the Dominican Republic, the Iberoamerican champion and runner up at the NACAC U-23 championships and the Central American and Caribbean Games held earlier this year, was fourth with a sub-par performance of 5581 points, followed by Susan Coltman of Canada (5289), Flor Robledo of Colombia (4815) and Yaritza Rivera of Puerto Rico (4716)
Meanwhile, in the Decathlon, Ryan with 7966 points outpaced Paul Terek (7884) and Chris Boyles, 7703, (fifth and fourth respectively at the USA nationals), followed by Massimo Bartocchi of Canada (7147) and Andres Mantilla of Colombia (6891). James Holder of Canada was sixth with a score of 6807. Mantilla was the bronze medalist at the recently concluded Central American and Caribbean Games.
The next edition of the area championships are scheduled for the weekend on May 26-27th and will be held in the south coast city of Ponce which has the only IAAF Class 1 certified track on the island.