Friday at USA Championships
6/24/2011 12:00 AM
EUGENE, Ore. – Duck freshmen took center stage as Parker Stinson won his third straight men’s junior 10,000 meters and Mike Berry advanced to the final of the senior men's 400 meters Friday at the USA Track and Field Championships.
But it was former Duck Ashton Eaton who thrilled the record crowd of 10,057 at Historic Hayward Field by winning his first USA title in the decathlon.
The Bend, Ore., native captured the 10-event crown by scoring a personal-best 8,729 points. The three-time NCAA champion in the event recorded the fifth-highest decathlon score in U.S. history.
“I didn’t expect to score that high,” said Eaton. “I didn’t get any big marks. It was constant. My goal in Korea is to win.”
In the men’s 400 meter semifinals, Berry was part of a five-wide race coming off the final turn. The freshman from Seattle, Wash., hit the jets off the bend and finished in the lead pack to automatically advance to Saturday’s final.
Berry finished third in 45.39. Defending U.S. champ Greg Nixon won the heat in 45.24, while Jamaal Torrence was second in 45.36.
“I’m very excited right now,” said Berry. “It’s a dream come true to come out here and race against all these pros. Last year I was in high school. I just wanted to come out here and show what I have. I’m just very blessed to have my talent.
“I’m just going to come out hard (in the final) and maintain my speed. My goal is to make Team USA.”
Former Duck Keshia Baker advanced to the women’s 400 meter final. She ran fourth in her semifinal in 51.95 to automatically move on.
Two other former Ducks found success in the men’s events.
Galen Rupp, who won the 10,000 meters Thursday night, placed third in the 5,000 meters in 13:25.52 on Friday.
Another 2010 graduate, Cyrus Hostetler, posted his best showing at the USA meet by taking third in the men’s javelin. He had a top throw of 255-4/77.84m. Senior Alex Wolff was 14th with a mark of 229-0/69.81m.
Freshman Laura Roesler was eighth in her semifinal heat of the women’s 800 meters in 2:05.56, while senior Claire Michel was ninth in her semifinal of the 3,000 meters in 10:06.55. Neither runner advanced.
In winning his third straight junior 10,000 meter title Stinson took the lead with a little over five laps remaining and slowly pulled away from the field to win in 30:25.77.
“The strategy evolved throughout the race,” said the Austin, Texas, native. “I went into it without a real strategy; obviously I didn’t want to do anything the first mile or two.
“The weather was great and the guys were right there on me the whole way. I’m glad I kept running as fast as I could the whole way.”
In other junior action, English Gardner was the runner-up in the women’s 100 meters. The freshman from Voorhees, N.J., waged an entertaining battle with Central Florida’s Aurieyall Scott, before the Knight freshman edged Gardner at the line.
Aurieyall won in 11.12, with Gardner next in 11.18. Oregon signee Jenna Prandini was fifth in 11.51.
“My goal was to get my name out there my freshman year,” said Gardner. “This was a tough race and I was happy to bounce back here after nationals.”
Earlier in the day, Gardner took a commanding lead in her 100 meter semifinal at the 75-meter mark before easing across the line in 11.40 to win. Prandini was third in the other semifinal in 11.67.
That was the beginning of Prandini’s day, which ended in a win in the junior long jump. She had a best leap of 20-5.75/6.24m.
Three Ducks signees competed in junior field events on Friday.
Greg Skipper was the runner-up in the junior men’s hammer. He had a best throw of 220-7/67.23m. Alec Fellows finished fourth in the junior decathlon with 6,802 points. Alyssa Monteverdi was fifth in the junior heptatlon with 4,876 points.
Duck freshman Kortney Ross took fourth in the junior women's pole vault. She had a best clearance of 12-11.5/3.95m. Oregon freshman Sammie Clark and UO signee Anginae Monteverde tied for fifth at 12-5.5/3.80m.
In junior semifinal action, freshman Phyllis Francis set a personal best by a second to win her heat of the women’s 400 meters and advance to Saturday’s final. The Queens, N.Y., native timed 53.28, which was the seventh-fastest time in school history.
Freshman Megan Patrignelli was fifth in her semifinal of the women’s 1,500 meters in 4:26.95, and advanced on time to Saturday’s final on time.
Duck signee Elias Gedyon won his junior 1,500 semifinal in 3:56.97 to advance to the final.