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Johnson and Lewis win Pan Am Gold

Yvette Lewis

Yvette Lewis

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Team USA enjoyed its best performance yet in track and field at the Pan American Games, collecting four medals, including two golds, on Wednesday at Telemex Athletic Stadium to equal its combined previous three-day effort of four.

Kibwé Johnson (Kamloops, B.C.) set a Pan American Games record in the men’s hammer throw, leading a 1-2 finish by Team USA in the event, to highlight the action.

Yvette Lewis (Newport News, Va.) won the gold medal in the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.82, marking first time Team USA has won gold in race since 1987 and first overall medal in the event since 1999.

Michael Mai (LeMars, Iowa) captured the silver medal in the men’s hammer throw at 72.71m/238-6 on his fifth throw.

Then Shameka Marshall (Quinton, N.J.) capped the day off by collecting a silver medal in the women’s long jump, soaring 6.73m/22-1 on her first attempt.

“Wow, that’s awesome,” said a beaming Marshall before she marched to the podium to receive her silver medal. “I’m so glad I was one of our medal winners today.”

Johnson set the hammer record of 79.63m/261-3 on his fifth toss to better the previous mark of 79.61m/261-2 set by Lance Deal of Team USA at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

“(Setting the Pan Am Games record) was one of my goals,” said Johnson, who won the silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. “I knew if I could get a good throw off I’d have a chance. I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in at warm ups; It was hard for me to tell how far my hammers were going until we started marking them. Once I got up over 77 [meters] I knew there was a chance, and I just needed to do a little bit better.”

It marked the eighth time Team USA has won two medals in the hammer throw at the Pan American Games, including the seventh time (others: 1999, 1991, 1971, 1963, 1959, 1955) that Team USA has won the gold and silver at the same PAG.

Mai’s wife, Deirdre Mullen (Princeton, N.J.), finished fourth in the women’s high jump, clearing 1.84m/6-0.5 on her first attempt before missing all three tries at 1.87m/6-1.5.

Lewis also will compete in the women’s triple jump Friday – an event in which she finished sixth in the 2007 Pan American Games.

Marshall became the first American to earn a medal in the women’s long jump since Angela Brown won the silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

In the finals of the men’s 1,500m, AJ Acosta (Oceanside, Calif.) finished fifth in 3:55.27, while Will Leer (Minnetonka, Minn.) was 14th in 4:04.13. Acosta broke out in front going through 400m at 1:06.98 and was in second at 1,200m behind Ecuador’s Bryon Piedra, but couldn’t maintain his position around the final turn.

Takecia Jameson (Upper Marlboro, Md.) placed sixth in the finals of the women’s 400m hurdles in 57.89, while MacKenzie Hill (Long Beach, Calif.) was seventh in 58.08.

In the heptathlon, Bridgette Ingram (Maplewood, N.J.) finished 11th with 4,809 points.

Qualifying rounds in the men’s and women’s 200-meter dash were held with Leslie Cole (Idabel, Okla.) the only Team USA sprinter to advance into the finals. Cole was fourth in the second semifinal heat in 23.55 which was the seventh fastest overall qualifying time. Consuella Moore (Chicago, Ill.) placed sixth in the first semifinal heat in 24.23.

Perrisan White (San Diego, Calif.) improved on his round one time in the 200m but was unable to move out of the semifinal heat. White ran 21.05 in the first round and then finished sixth in semifinal heat one in 20.78. Calesio Newman (Green City, S.C.) placed fourth in third semifinal heat in 20.80, failing to advance into the finals.