EUGENE, Ore. - Freshman All-American Morgane Gay advanced to the finals of the 1500m at the 2009 USA Junior Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field on Saturday, winning the preliminary round of the event in 4:31.42.
Gay gained a comfortable lead over the field early in the race, and maintained her pace to lead all competitors across the line in the second of two heats.
“I actually wasn’t sure what to expect,” Gay said. “My coaches told me to stay up at the front and relax, so I just did that. I tried to stay calm and finish, so I’ll be ready for the finals tomorrow.”
With her finish, she automatically advanced to the 12-competitor final, which is scheduled to go off at 6:05 p.m., Sunday. Jordan Hasay, the heat one winner, finished with the top time out of the prelims, crossing in 4:28.96. Gay’s time was the second fastest of all competitors in the field.
“I think I’m going to go with the flow,” Gay said of her expectations for the finals. “I’ll probably just try to stay up at the front and see what I can do.”
The top two finishers tomorrow will advance to represent Team USA in the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, which will be held at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad on July 31st through August 2nd.
In other competition throughout the day, junior Meghan Briggs finished 13th in the javelin finals of the senior competition with a mark of 152’ 9”. A 2009 All-American in the event, Briggs was also the ACC, ECAC and Penn Relays Champion this year.
Freshman Erin Wykoff also competed today, concluding her rookie season with an eighth-place finish in the finals of the discus in the junior section, throwing 152’ 4”.
Cavalier volunteer assistant coach and three-time Olympian Adam Nelson will get things started tomorrow, in the final day of the championships, with the shot put finals at 3:35 p.m. Senior Andrew Jesien will run the finals of the 1500m at 5:31 p.m., and freshman Sean Keveren will conclude the national event with the finals of the 5000m at 7:50 p.m.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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