Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jeremy Taiwo wins national heptathlon title and sets new meet record...

ROXBURY CROSSING, MA.—Just like he did in Seattle at the end of last month, University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) won all three events in day two of the heptathlon to capture his first USA national indoor championship at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center outside of Boston.

Taiwo, the leader at the break with 3471 points, started off with a strong showing in the 60 hurdles, running 7.87, worth 1015 points.

Wearing the red Spiderman jersey that he debuted in Seattle, he then cleared a best of 15-9 (4.80m) after opening at 15-1 (4.60m), and got over the bar at 15-5 (4.70m) on his second attempt to go into the final event with 5335 points.

Needing a sub 2:29 mark in the 1000 meter run to tie his personal best of 6344 points set in Seattle, Taiwo ran a controlled 2:34.26 to win the event and get a final score of 6273, breaking the old meet record of 6232 points set by Gunnar Nixon in 2013.

He becomes the #5 heptathlete in American history, with the four others ahead of him on the all time list--Ashton Eaton, Dan O'Brien, Bryan Clay and Tom Pappas--having won either an Olympic or world title.

Talking about his day, the new national champion said, “There was a little bit later start, so I think I acclimated a little more last night. In the 60 hurdles, I went out and finally was under eight seconds, which is where I should be. So I was really happy about that. That kind of rolled into the vault - I was happy to get some different heights. We backed it back to a seven-step last week, so I wasn’t really that well into it but we did alright. And in the 1,000, I just wanted to take it out with Tom FitzSimmons and Tom Hopkins, and those are awesome guys to run with so I was just happy to finish fast.”

In early events contested at the USA indoor championships, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry was disqualified in the 300 meter dash for a lane violation after running 33.57 to finish second in his heat.

Alexa Efraimson of Camas advanced to the finals of Sunday’s 1000 with a second place finish in her heat.

Washington alum Katie Mackey finished second in the women’s mile behind Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project.  Mackey was tucked in third or fourth for most of the race after a slow first 400 run in 74 seconds.  Mackey finished in a time of 4:34.83, behind Rowbury’s 4:34.40.

In the women’s 600, Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker won her heat in a time of 1:28.24, but did not advance to the final, which took the top six times from the four heats. Phoebe Wright and Megan Malasarte finished second and third in their heat in 1:27.81 and 1:27.87 to advance to Sunday’s finals.

Washington State alum Jacob Sealby finished fourth in his heat of the 600 in a time of 1:19.12.  American record holder Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts won his heat, leading from gun to tape in 1:16.26.  His Beasts teammate Mark Wieczorek won his heat in 1:16.79, following Loxsom’s race strategy. Both Loxsom and Wieczorek advance to Sunday’s final.

In the men’s two mile, Garrett Heath of the Beasts finished fourth in a time of 8:27.99.

The meet resumes Sunday.  Complete day 2 results from the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships are available here.

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