Much like 2014, Trey Hardee used the US Championships to underscore his legacy as one of the world’s best in the decathlon, accumulating a world-leading score of 8725 on Friday (26).
In a competition which formed part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, Hardee led the way after the first event, clocking 10.48 in the 100m. But with Jeremy Taiwo and Zach Ziemek in good form, Hardee only regained the lead after the first event of the second day.
A 7.71m long jump from Ziemek moved him into the overall lead, four points ahead of Hardee, who managed a wind-assisted 7.61m. Ziemek out-performed Hardee in the shot, throwing 14.77m to Hardee’s 14.55m to maintain pole position.
Taiwo, who threw 14.93m in the shot, then took the overall lead after clearing 2.12m in the high jump. Ziemek cleared 2.06m while Hardee jumped 1.97m, meaning the two-time world champion was third after four events.
He moved up one place after clocking 48.41 in the 400m, but still trailed Taiwo overnight after the leader posted 47.83 in the one-lap sprint. Ziemek, who clocked 51.31, dropped to third.
Hardee opened the second day with a season’s best of 13.71 in the 110m hurdles, giving him a 10-point lead in the overall standings. From there on, it was plain sailing for Hardee.
His discus throw of 52.05m was more than 10 metres beyond what Taiwo and Ziemek could manage. Hardee had a slight scare in the pole vault as the pole slipped out of his hand and he got slightly bruised in the fall but he went on to record a personal best of 5.35m.
After a 61.92m javelin, which was more than seven metres short of his best but still good enough to lead the rest of the field, Hardee was as good as confirmed as the winner and had amassed 8081 with one event remaining.
He clocked 4:45.77 in the 1500m to bring his winning tally to a world-leading 8725, beating Taiwo by 461 points.
It was the second-best performance of Hardee’s career, only behind his 8790 from the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin. He now aims to return to the podium after not finishing in Moscow two years ago.
“I woke up this morning. I texted my agent and my coach telling them that I’m not sore. I felt like I didn’t do anything yesterday,” Hardee said. “I was in a good spot."
Ziemek finished third with a PB of 8107, surpassing 8000 points for the first time in his career.
Big breakthrough for Nwaba
In a close heptathlon contest which went down to the wire, three-time national champion Sharon Day-Monroe surrendered her crown to Barbara Nwaba on Sunday (28).
Day-Monroe started her series with a 13.31 PB in the 100m hurdles but Erica Bougard produced the fastest time of the day with a wind-assisted 13.03.
Bougard continued to lead after posting the best mark in the high jump, clearing 1.88m to add three centimetres to her PB. Day-Monroe was some way below her best, clearing just 1.76m to sit in fourth place overall after two events.
But a 15.62m PB from Day-Monroe in the shot moved her into pole position. Nwaba, who ran 13.49 in the hurdles and cleared 1.82m in the high jump, climbed to second place after throwing 13.77m in the shot.
Nwaba narrowed the gap to just 10 points behind Day-Monroe at the end of the first day, clocking a wind-assisted 23.76 in the 200m to the defending champion’s 24.32.
A PB of 6.23m in the long jump saw Nwaba move past Day-Monroe at the start of the second day. Day-Monroe managed 6.05m in the long jump but then threw 44.90m in the javelin. Nwaba, who threw 43.48m in the penultimate event, went into the 800m with an eight-point lead over Day-Monroe.
Nwaba maintained her position thanks to a 2:07.13 PB in the 800m, bringing her winning tally to a lifetime best of 6500 to move to sixth on the US all-time list. It was Nwaba’s first national outdoor title and means she will represent the USA internationally for the first time later this year at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Day-Monroe finished second with 6458, the third-best mark of her life. Bougard was third with a PB of 6288 in a competition which saw seven women surpass the 6000-point barrier, five of them doing so with lifetime bests.
Chris Chavez and Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF