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DeShasier earns surprise gold

Alicia DeShasier

Alicia DeShasier

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Team USA continued to enjoy success in the field events, securing two medals, highlighted by a gold medal from Alicia DeShasier (Carrollton, Ill.) in the women’s javelin, during the fifth day of track and field at the Pan American Games Thursday at Telemex Athletic Stadium.

Three-time USA Outdoor champion (Ovilla, Texas) captured a bronze medal in the women’s shot put at 18.09m/59-4.25.

Eight of the 10 medals Team USA has achieved at the Pan American Games have been in field events.

“This is incredible,” said DeShasier. “I have limited international experience. The whole atmosphere has been amazing. I was an underdog but I prefer to be in that position. I was expecting to be a little bit more intimidated, but being the underdog, no eyes are on you. So you just go out there and compete to the best of your ability.”

DeShasier threw a personal best of 58.01m/190-4 on her first attempt in the women’s javelin which managed to hold up through the competition, toppling a field that included Cuban Olympian Yanet Cruz who entered the meet with the 10th-best throw in the world this year at 63.50m/208-4

It marked the sixth time an American has won the gold medal in the women’s javelin at the Pan American Games.

Carter, a 2008 Olympian and 2003 Pan American junior gold medalist, became the first American to earn a medal in the women’s shot put since Connie Price Smith won the gold at the
1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Two-time U.S. outdoor champ Jamie Nieto (Sacramento, Calif.), who was fourth in the 2004 Olympics and a 2003 Pan American Games silver medalist, placed sixth in the men’s high jump at 2.21m/7-3. Jim Dilling (Fond du Lac, Wis.) was seventh at 2.21m/7-3.

Team USA distance runners had to cope with the mile-high altitude of Guadalajara (elevation 5,138 feet).

James Strang (Memphis, Tenn.) and Ryan Vail (Portland, Ore.) narrowly missed securing the bronze medal in the men’s 10,000-meter race following a valiant effort down the homestretch. Strang was fourth, twenty-three hundreths of a second off the podium, while Vail followed closely in fifth.

Strang fell just short of overtaking Brazil’s Giovani Dos Santos, who finished third in 29:51.71 to Strang’s 29:51.93 clocking. Strang stood in seventh at the 5,000 meter mark — 150 meters behind leader and eventual winner Marilson Santos of Brazil.

Vail, who was sixth at the 2011 U.S. Championships, also came on strong to place fifth in 29:52.04.

In the women’s 5,000, Americans Kim Conley (Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Neely Spence (Shippensburg, Pa.) placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in 17:00.90 and 17:01.11. Conley and Spence kept pace with eventual winner Marisol Romero of Mexico with 1,600 meters left before fading during the final 800 meters.

Annick Lamar (Hamilton, N.J.) was 10th in the women’s 1,500m in 4:32.57, while Jackie Areson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) finished 11th in 4:34.23.

Team USA did manage to send middle distance runners Tyler Mulder (Orange City, Iowa) and Mark Wieczorek (Ponca City, Okla.) into the finals of the men’s 800m. Wieczorek had the second fastest overall qualifying time of 1:48.32, while Mulder won the second semifinal heat in 1:49.65.

Chris Carter (Hearne, Texas) finished sixth in the men’s triple jump, soaring 16.21m/53-2.25 on his first attempt with fouls on the second and fifth tries. Zedric Thomas (New Iberia, La.) was ninth with a mark of 16.15m/53-0 on his last jump.

Alyssa Hasslen (Sheridan, Ore.), who is a junior at the University of Arizona, finished seventh in the women’s shot put at 16.56m/54-4, coming on her fifth throw. Seventeen-year-old Avione Allgood (Las Vegas, Nev.), who is the youngest member of Team USA, finished 10th in the women’s javelin at 50.37m/165-3.

In other finals that were contested on the track, Reuebn McCoy (Sicklerville, N.J.) was seventh in the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.18, followed by Lee Moore (Cordova, Texas) who was eighth in 51.10; and Leslie Cole (Idabel, Okla.), running in lane two, finished seventh in the women’s 200 in 23.46.

110 hurdlers, Relay Teams Advance To Finals

Behind the foursome of Jeremy Dodson (Denver, Colo.), Perrisan White (San Diego, Calif.), Rubin Williams (San Jose, Calif.) and anchor Rae Edwards (Opelika, Ala.), Team USA posted the fastest semifinal round qualifying time in the men’s 4×100 relay in 39.19.

Dodson and White came back and ran the second and third legs, respectively, in helping Team USA advance into the finals of the men’s 4×400 relay being in timed in a pedestrian 3:07.57 in the second semifinal heat. Bryan Miller (Houston, Texas) ran the opening leg for Team USA which was second behind the Bahamas at the first exchange. Six-foot, 7-inch Josh Scott (Winter Haven, Fla.) ran the anchor leg.

With only eight teams entered, the semifinal qualifying round of both the women’s 4×100 and 4×400 relays were canceled with all squads, including Team USA, advancing straight to Friday’s finals.

Jeff Porter (Franklin Park, N.J.) and Dominic Berger (Mitchelville, Md.) advanced into the finals of the men’s 110m hurdles that will be held Friday. Running in lane one of the first semifinal heat, Porter finished third in 13.47. Berger was second, behind Cuban world-record holder Dayron Robles (13.22) in the second semifinal heat with a 13.62 clocking.

For complete Pan American Games track and field results, go to
http://www.usatf.org/events/2011/PanAmericanGames/

TEAM USA MEDALS – 10 total
GOLD
Kibwe Johnson (Kamloops, B.C.), men’s hammer throw, 79.63m/261-3, 10/26
Yvette Lewis (Newport News, Va.), women’s 100m hurdles, 12.82, 10/26
Alicia DeShasier (Carrollton, Ill.), women’s javelin, 58.01m/190-4, 10/27

SILVER
Jarred Rome (Marysville, Wash.), men’s discus, 61.71m/202-5, 10/24
Barbara Pierre (Winter Haven, Fla.), women’s 100m, 11.25, 10/25
Michael Mai (LeMars, Iowa), men’s hammer throw, 72.71m/238-6, 10/26
Shameka Marshall (Quinton, N.J.), women’s long jump, 6.73m/22-1, 10/26

BRONZE
Amber Campbell (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), women’s hammer throw, 69.93m/229-5, 10/24
Becky Holliday (Penryn, Calif.), women’s pole vault, 4.30m/14-1.25, 10/24
Michelle Carter, (Ovilla, Texas), women’s shot put, 18.09m/59-4.25, 10/27