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(Des Moines, Iowa) Foul weather returned on the final day of the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA. Shortly before the scheduled 7 a.m. start of the men's 20k race walk, meet officials evacuated the stadium as a thunderstorm system approached. For the next three hours, the athletes waited in the Knapp arena. On three occasions, officials announced that lightening was still in the area and the race was still on hold indefinitely.
Three hours later, athletes were allowed to return to the track and given 30 minutes to warm up. The junior women's 10k race walk, scheduled to follow the 20k would now be contested simultaneously so as not to put the rest of the days' events behind schedule. That put CU freshman, Kayla Ovokaitys along with sophomore, Nate Vanderwall and senior Cody Risch altogether in the combined races.
Risch started the 50 lap event walking just under two minutes per lap with Vanderwall ten seconds back after an opening mile of 7:36.
Ovokaitys walked near the back of the Jr. Women's field of ten and worked her way up to eighth but getting two form violations. Kayla slowed a bit in the final laps to minimize the risk of receiving a third mark which would result in disqualification, and didn't respond when passed by Melissa Tylock with 800 meters to go. A careful 25th lap brought her to the finish in 1:00:23.17 for ninth place.
Risch reached halfway passing 10k in 48:38 with one mark on the violation board. Vanderwall survived a digestive disagreement with an energy gel, barley slowing to vomit over the inside rail. He passed 10k in 50:30 and a mark on the board as well.
Risch picked up momentum in the second half, as several in the field faded, passing former NAIA champion Michael Mannozzi. With two miles to go he trailed Alejandro Chavez of Missouri Baptist by nearly 200 meters, but he also had two marks. Needing to avoid a repeat of the NAIA Indoor 3,000 meter championship where Risch beat Chavez in the last lap but was disqualified, Cody worked to find the balance between aggressively pursuing Chavez and avoiding his third mark. With 500 meters to go, Risch pulled even, then moved ahead. Chavez made a half-hearted attempt to go along, but within a few steps his head dropped and he conceded.
Risch held form to the finish, taking fourth in 1:49:39.51, a personal best by seven minutes and the highest finish by a CU athlete at a US Open Championship. Tim Seamam of New York Athletic Club won in 1:30:13.06
Vanderwall also collected a second mark and walked much of the second half trying to avoid his third. He finished eighth in 1:49:39.51.
Both Risch and Vanderwall qualified for prize money but as collegiate athletes were ineligible to accept it.
(Des Moines, Iowa) The third day of the USATF Jr. National Championships dawned cloudy and humid and by mid-morning the rumble of thunder echoed around Drake Stadium. Cornerstone freshman, Michael Mahon sat with the other competitors in the hammer throw in the clerking tent waiting to be led to the throwing venue when the rain started.
A thunderclap exploded nearby and spectators and athletes were evacuated from the stadium. For the next 30 minutes, Mahon sat in the Knapp Basketball arena watching youtube videos of Olympic shot putter, Reese Hoffa with coach Rod Wortley. The all-clear announcement came and Mahon moved back to the staging area. Once the officials cleared the water out of the circle, competition began slightly behind schedule.
First up in the first of two flights, Mahon's first attempt sailed 179' 4" and remained his best of three attempts and placed third in the flight. After the second flight, Mahon stood fifteenth. Of the 23 athletes in the field, four were from Michigan schools. Darien Thorton of Grand Valley State placed third with a throw of 221' 4" with Dylan Banagis of Central Michigan ninth at 191' 6" and Anthony Jones of Eastern Michgian 21st with a throw of 170'. Rudy Winkler from New York won with a mark of 245' 5".
DES MOINES, IA (6/20) Deon Fox ended his freshman season finishing sixteenth in the decathlon at the USA Track & Field Jr. National Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA.
Fox began the second day of the competition by lowering his best time in the 110 meter hurdles. Running the 39' high school hurdles instead of the 42' height, Deon finished in 14.71, more than half a second faster than his PR from his senior year in high school.
An 88' 4" mark on his first attempt in the discus scored 404 points. The next two throws went significantly farther, but failed to land inside the sector.
A strong tailwind and temperatures in the 80's made for a fast runway in the pole vault. Fox cleared 13' 1 ½", more than a foot below his best, but good for 617 points, twelfth in the field. He made up with an eleven foot PR in the javelin, throwing 147' 11" on his first attempt scoring 516.
The long day came to an end with a difficult 1500 meters on the hot track. Fox managed 5:23.49 for 432 more points bringing his total to 6230 and a sixteenth place finish. Wolf Mahler of Belton High School in Texas won with 7419 points.
"This was much different than my first two decathlons," said Fox. "I had a better idea of what to expect and knew what was coming. At Hillsdale and NAIA Nationals, just about everything went right. It was good for me to have to respond when things didn't go the way I planned in the pole vault and discus. "
Friday, CU's Michael Mahon competes in the Jr. Men's Hammer throw.
(Des Moines, Iowa) Cornerstone freshman, Deon Fox completed the first day of the USA Track & Field Junior National Championships in thirteenth place, setting three personal bests in the five events.
Conditions at Drake Stadium were ideal. With temperatures in the low 80's and a pleasant breeze, Fox started the competition running 11.63 in the 100 meters. A personal best, the time was worth 725 points putting Fox seventeenth in the field of 23 competitors.
In the long jump, Fox leaped a PR 21' 4 ¾" for 702 points, then sent the 6 kilogram shot put 38' 6" adding 589 points.
The high jump kept the athletes sitting on the infield for nearly two hours. Fox cleared 6' 1 ½" for 687 points. "The officials did a good job of keeping us relaxed. It was easier to be calm and enjoy the day than it was at NAIA Nationals, even though this is a US championship meet in a big stadium."
Deon added another PR running 53.21 in the 400 meters, ending the day with 3375 points in thirteenth place.
Competition resumes Thursday with the remaining five events.
DEMOINES, IA (6/19) The Cornerstone Track & Field teams have one meet remaining on the 2013 schedule, the USA Track & Field National Championships at Drake University in Demoines, IA.
Half the group will compete in the USATF Jr. meet, for athletes who do not turn twenty years old in 2013. The other three race in the Open US Championships.
Freshman, Deon Fox qualified in the decathlon which will take place Wednesday June 19 starting at 1:30 p.m. (all times eastern standard) and Thursday June 20 at 11 a.m. Classmate Michael Mahon competes in the hammer throw Friday June 21 at 2 p.m. and Kayla Ovokaitys is in the 10k race walk Sunday June 23 at 9:45 a.m.
Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. Monica Lawrence and CU T&F alumnus, Janelle Brown are in the 20k race walk followed by Cody Risch and Nate Vanderwall in the same event Sunday at 8 a.m.
"Not only is it a special honor to compete at the US Championships, it's a great opportunity to see and get to meet the very best Track & Field athletes in the United States," said CU Director of Track & Field, Rod Wortley.
The meet also serves as the trials for the World Championships to be held in Moscow, Russia this summer as well as the Pan Am Junior Championships scheduled for August in Medellin, Colombia.