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Day 3 at USATFs: $100,000 Run for Sanya Richards, Clement Edges Jackson in Hurdles, First US Title for Lisa Galaviz, and Andrew Rock Shows (Two) White Men Can Sprint
June 24, 2006
Results here

Day 3 of the USATF Nationals saw a $100,000 and world leading run for Sanya Richards in the 400m, a world leader for Kerron Clement to get his second straight USATF title in a tight duel with World Champ Bershawn Jackson, Andrew Rock showing that white guys really can do the long sprint, Russ Buller getting an emotional win in the pole vault, and Chaunte Howard coming close the American record in the high jump.

In the distance action, Lisa Galaviz got her first US title by winning the steeplechase and Treniere Clemente defended her 1500m title.

Recaps below with the detailed distance action first.

Women's Steeple: Lisa Galaviz Gets Gold
Carrie Messner
and Lisa Galaviz were the women to beat heading into the steeplechase final at the 2006 USATF Championships on Friday, as they both had broken the 9:50 (Messner ran 9:41 to win in Belem, Brazil over Galaviz's 9:48, Kelly Strong had run 9:48 this year as well and 6 women in the field had broken 10 minutes) barrier this year, and both had made the World team last year.

Messner was the fittest woman on paper and she wasted no time in trying to assert her dominance. She took the lead on the first lap and opened up a gap on the field. Ann Gaffigan led the chasers followed by NCAA Div II star Kristin Anderson.

Messner would get an 8-10 meter lead on the field and by lap 5 of a little more than 7 lap in the race, Kelly Strong was in 2nd followed by her former Arizona State teammate Galaviz. Messner appeared to be running out of a steam a bit on the next lap as she stepped on a hurdle and Strong and Galaviz were closing on her.

At the bell, Galaviz went by Messner, and it was all over for Messner as she was completely dead on the last lap and would finish 6th. Galaviz powered away from the field on the backstretch and appear to be on her way to her first USA title, but making a late charge was Anderson, the 2005 NCAA Div II steeplechase champ and 2006 NCAA indoor Div II 5k champ (who only had a best of 10:06 coming in), who had been hanging in the top 3 or 4 the entire race.

But Anderson left a little too much too late as she could not quite get up to Galaviz who had appeared to have a nearly insurmountable lead with 100 to go. Galaviz got the win in 9:57.58 to Anderson's 9:57.98, while Delilah DiCrescenzo moved up to get 3rd. Strong faded to 4th, and Messner to 6th.

2008 is the first year the women's steeple will be in the Olympics. As a result, the steeplechase is now being included in a lot of IAAF meets. Galaviz this year had already competed in Doha, Qatar (9:56.18 for 7th) and Belem, Brazil (9:48 for 2nd, her fastest time this year was her opener at Stanford (9:46.87)). But since Belem, she had suffered from an injury that caused her to miss some time, so she figured Messner was the favorite. Galaviz said her goals were a bit more modest and to finish in the top 3.

Galaviz said she was not too worried about Messner's big lead, "I expected her to win. She won Brazil in 9:41, so I expected her to go under 9:40." However, when Messner started to fade and Galaviz caught Messner at the bell she wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Galaviz said she thought, "I'm just going to go now and see if I can hold on for 400 meters. I wasn't sure (if I could hold on, but I was going to go for it). I saw on the results someone almost caught me on the line. Oh man, I didn't hear her."

Galaviz's plans are to train for 4 more weeks then go over to Europe and start racing in Belgium. She said that was her original plan because she thought she might need a few weeks to make up for her lost time due to the injury, but could reevaluate things. She wants to dip under the 9:40 barrier as she's been stuck between 9:40 and 9:50 for 3 years.

Women 3000 Meter Steeplechase
       World: W 9:01.59  7/4/2004    Gulnara Samitova, RUS
    American: A 9:29.32  7/31/2004   Briana Shook, Toledo
        Meet: M 9:39.35  7/15/2004   Ann Gaffigan, Nebraska
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Lisa Galaviz                 Nike                   9:57.58
  2 Kristin Anderson             unattached             9:57.98
  3 Delilah DiCrescenzo          Westchester T C       10:03.31
  4 Trina Cox                    unattached            10:06.32
  5 Kelly Strong                 Asics                 10:07.64
  6 Carrie Messner               Asics                 10:12.91
  7 Liz Wort                     unattached            10:13.77
  8 Amanda Kuca                  unattached            10:14.11
  9 Jane Rudkin                  Team XO               10:15.98
 10 Cassie Hunt                  Illinois              10:16.54
 11 Ann Gaffigan                 New Balance           10:19.71
 12 Rena Chesser                 Brigham Young         10:24.61
 13 Kelly Siefker                Indiana               10:31.32
 -- Dawn Cromer                  Pacers/Brooks              DNF

Women's 1500: Treniere Clement Defends
Defending champ
Treniere Clement took the field out in an opening 300m of 50.8. and continued to lead through the 2nd lap (71.6 to 700).

2005 NCAA indoor mile champ and 1500m champ Anne Shadle, took over the lead at 800m as the pack remained bunched together due to the slow pace (2:20).

Christine Wurth-Thomas, who had a huge breathrough at the Prefontaine meet with a nearly 4 second pr (4:05:00), took over the lead with 600m to go and tried to open up the race. At the bell (3:08.8, 66.5) Wurth-Thomas and Clement were together. Clement made her move with 200m to go and would be able to open up a gap she was able to hold on to the finish to get the win (4:10.44) over a fast closing Lindsey Gallo 4:10.72), former NCAA star from Michigan. Sarah Schwald got 3rd, Carrie Tollefson 4th and Wurth Thomas faded to fifth.

Saturday's race was only the second 1500m outdoors for Clement in 2006 as she prepares for the European season and a crack at the 4 minute barrier. This is her second year of training with 2 time 800m Olympian Hazel Clark (the favorite for Sunday's 800m final), under the guidance of JJ Clark (Tennessee head coach). She gives a lot of the credit to her coach. She said JJ is always telling her, "'I know you can do this, I know you can get close to 4 minutes, I know you can run 1:58, you can run a good 5k.' "" And she added, "So my coach keeps my goals very high, so that's what I like about him."

She said it wasn't her plan to take the lead early in the race but with the slow pace she did so to stay out of trouble. But she said she is prepared for all types of races, "The way I train if for anything to happen because in Europe you never know if the races are going to go fast or slow."

She'll open up her European campaign in Lausanne and she is confident in getting close to 4 minutes. "My training with her (Hazel Clark) is going a lot better than last year... I'm closing in... It has built up my confidence training with her."

*Tiffany McWilliams, the 2004 NCAA indoor and outdoor champ, was reportedly minorly injured when she was hit by a car while running in Indianapolis, so she did not start the race.

Women 1500 Meter Run
       World: W 3:50.46  9/11/1993   Yunxia Qu, CHN
    American: A 3:57.12  7/26/1983   Mary Slaney, Athletics West
        Meet: M 4:01.01  7/16/2000   Regina Jacobs, Mizuno
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Treniere Clement             Nike                   4:10.44
  2 Lindsey Gallo                Reebok                 4:10.72
  3 Sarah Schwald                Nike                   4:11.60
  4 Carrie Tollefson             adidas                 4:12.23
  5 Christin Wurth               Nike                   4:12.82
  6 Shannon Rowbury              unattached             4:12.86
  7 Amy Mortimer                 Reebok                 4:13.44
  8 Jenelle Deatherage           Reebok                 4:13.71
  9 Amy Lia                      unattached             4:15.26
 10 Anne Shadle                  Reebok                 4:15.93
 11 Elizabeth Woodworth          Wisconsin R R T        4:16.92
 12 Natalie Hughes               unattached             4:19.51
 13 Jemissa Hess                 unattached             4:28.58
 -- Sara Hall                    Asics                      DNS
 -- Tiffany McWilliams           adidas                     DNS
 -- Mary Jayne Harrelson         Nike                       DNS

Men's Pole Vault: Russ Buller Gets The Win Thanks to His Late Brother
Russ Buller, the 2000 NCAA champ, got his first national title with the win over Olympic silver medallist Toby Stevenson (they both vaulted 19' 0".25) and it was a very emotional one.

In 2005, Buller was working full time and not sure if he would vault again. His little brother urged him to continue with it. Sadly his brother died in a car crash two weeks later and Buller decided to listen to his brother's advice and follow his passion. Buller said his main goals are in making the 2008 Olympic team, and the win this year was a surprise. "My main goal was just to get back on the horse this year, and make the team in 2008 and for me to win a title means so much more for me now... (tearing up). I just got to thank my brother."

Women's 400m: Sanya Richards And Her $100,000 Run
Sanya Richards ran a world leadering 49.27 40m for a convincing win. More importantly the performance vaulter her to first place in the Visa Championship Series and likely will result in her winning the $100,000 first prize (the Series ends after Sunday's final day at the championships) (Editor's Note: We spoke too soon as on Sunday Lashinda Demus bested Richards' performance to take home the $100,000 prize)

Men's 400: Two White Men Can Sprint
If a black guy does well in a golf tournament it's supposed to be a big deal, but if a white dude does will in a sprint, everyone is supposed to pretend its normal. Well thanks to Jeremy Wariner and now Andrew Rock, maybe it is a normal experience and white men really can sprint (we're still not sure about jumping or playing running back in the NFL)

Andrew Rock, last year's silver medallist at the Worlds in the 400, edged by LaShawn Merritt on the homestretch to get the title in 44.45 to Merritt's 44.50.

Rock not only has had to overcome the color of his skin, but he also has to overcome the biggest obstacle of all, being a Division III athlete.

He said afterwards, "I don't think of myself as a Division III athlete. It was a great college choice for me... I don't think it has anything to do with what division you come from or what size town you come from. When I look at Division III athletes today and follow their careers, if you run the times, you run the times (no matter what division you come from). The stop watch doesn't lie."

Men's 400m Hurdles: Clement Edges Jackson as Both Run World Leading Times
Kerron Clement,
the world indoor 400m record holder, used his great top end sprint speed to overtake 2005 World Champ Bershawn Jackson after the final hurdle to win his second straight US title in 47.39 to Jackson's 47.48. Those were the #1 and #2 times in the world this year.

It also moved Clement to #2 in the Visa Championship standings in place to pick up an extra $30,000. (First place at the champs is worth $4,000 in comparison).

Women's High Jump
Former Georgia Tech star and 2005 World silver medallist, Chaunte Howard set a personal bests of 6'7" (2.01) and then took 3 cracks at Louise Ritter's nearly 20 year old American record, coming close to clearing it on her 2nd attempt.

Women's Long Jump
Rose Richmond
defeated 2005 World Champ Tianna Madison.

Women's Hurdles:
NCAA champ Ginnie Powell (12.63) edged previous Visa Champion leaders, Damu Cherry (12.64) and Michelle Perry (12.67) to win the 100m hurdle crown.

*Former NFL Star Willie Gault ran a 10.72 at age 45. Pretty damn impressive.
Marion Jones Pulled out of the 200m a day after winning the 100
*World champ Bryan Clay ho-heighted in the pole vault a day after suffering in the heat on Day 1, and he withdrew from the decathlon, and 2003 World Champ Tom Pappas won with 8,319 points.
*Gi-Gi Johnson won the heptathlon with 6,183 points.
*Lashinda Demus ran a world leading 53.50 in the semis of the 400m hurdles.

*Results here
*More Athlete Quotes from USATF
*Recap from USATF Communications

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