Men's 400m Hurdles final at the NACAC Champs (© c)
The United States clearly dominated the inaugural North, Central American and Caribbean Championships (13-15 July) at the Flor Blanca National Stadium in San Salvador, where USA's Jordan Vaden (20.17 in 200m) and LaRon Bennett ( 48.76 in 400m hurdles) produced the highlights of the weekend.
With the largest delegation of the 26 participating countries, the US claimed 43 medals (28 gold, nine silver and six bronze), well ahead of Mexico (4-14-2), Trinidad & Tobago (3-3-5), the host country (3-1-2) and Jamaica (1-7-1). Canada and Cuba were the two main absentees.
Many of the 300 participating athletes from 26 nations used the 1st NACAC Champs as a tune-up for the 15th Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, whose athletics tournament will be held 22-29 July.
Runner-up at 200m at the 2006 USA Outdoors, 28-year-old Jordan Vaden saved the best of the Champs for Sunday (16) with his swift display over the 200m.
Vaden, who ran 19.98 last year, blazed to a season's best of 20.17, aided by a 1.8 m/s legal wind, to claim the first of his two gold medals on the same day. He then joined the 4x100 squad who won the title in 38.99.
Vaden’s countryman Michael Mitchell, who has clocked 20.45 in the semi-finals, trailed in second (20.48), followed by Dominica's 400m specialist Chris Lloyd (20.73).
The men's 400m Hurdles also witnessed fast times as 2004 NACAC U23 champion LaRon Bennett and Belize's Jonathan Williams ran stride by stride until the final straight, when the American sped up to cross the finish line first in 48.76.
The 24-year old was only 0.02 off his personal best of 48.74, set in 2004, and broke the 49-second barrier for the first time in 2007. Williams was pulled to a new Central American record of 48.88 to give his small country the only medal of the championships.
Puerto Rico's 2006 Iberoamerican champion Javier Culson (49.31) and Jamaica's Bryan Steele (49.48) were third and fourth, respectively.
Other double gold medallists were Americans Calvin Smith (400m), Debbie Dunn (400m) and Latosha Wallace (400m Hurdles), who dominated their respective individual events and joined their 4x400 winning quartets.
Outside of the USA, Saint Kitts and Nevis' Virgil Hodge was impressive in the half-lap, dipping under 23 seconds both in the semis and in the final. After a disappointing sixth in the 100m final, the 23-year old sprinter ran 22.73 in the final with a 2.2 tail wind.
Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson took the 100m crown in 10.33, only 0.002 seconds faster than USA's Monzavous Edwards in a very close photo finish.
Jamaica had to wait until the final day to clinch its first and only goal as Nadine Palmer, Rose Whyte, Annaisha McLaughlin and Peta-Gaye Dowdie joined efforts to win the 4x100m relay in 43.73 seconds, ahead of the USA (43.91) and Trinidad and Tobago (43.98).
El Salvador celebrated the two Race Walking wins, thanks to Walter Sandoval and 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games champion Cristina Lopez.
A total of 42 events were contested, 21 in each sex. The men's High Jump and women's 10,000m were not staged.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
Here are the inaugural NACAC Senior champions:
100m Michelle Lewis USA 11.37 (-0.3)
200m Virgil Hodge SKN 22.73 (+2.2)
400m Debbie Dunn USA 52.68
800m Mary Harrelson USA 2:05.10
1500m Mary Harrelson USA 4:30.09
5000m Whitney McDonald USA 16: 42.12
100mH Candice Davis USA 13.12 (+0.2) 13.09 in SF
400mH Latosha Wallace USA 56.54
3000m ST Kristin Anderson USA 10:21.82
HJ Levern Spencer STL 1.89m
PV Becky Holiday USA 4.15 m
LJ Shameka Marshall USA 6.34m (-0.2)
TJ Ayana Alexander TRI 13.29w (+2.1)
SP Cleopatra Borel-Brown TRI 17.53m
DT Stephanie Trafton USA 59.27m
HT Jessica Cosby USA 65.15 m
JT Ana Gutierrez MEX 51.52 m
Heptathlon Gabriela Carrillo ESA 5.022
10km W Cristina Lopez ESA 44.16.21
4x100m Jamaica 43.73
(Nadine Palmer, Rose Whyte, Annaisha McLaughlin, Peta-Gaye Dowdie)
4x400m United States 3:29.15
(Latosha Wallace, Shareese Woods, Latonia Wilson, Debbie Dunn)
100m Richard Thompson TRI 10.33 (+0.8)
200m Jordan Vaden USA 20.17 (+1.8)
400m Calvin Smith USA 45.52
800m Golden Coachman USA 1:49.01
1500m Pablo Solares MEX 3:45.29
5000m Benjamin Bruce USA 14: 27.90
10,000m Julio Perez MEX 29:38.31
110mH Dexter Faulk USA 13.35 (-1.1)
400mH Laron Bennett USA 48.76
3000m ST Michael Spence USA 8:39.51
PV Jose Montano MEX 5.15m
LJ Carlos Jorge DOM 7.89m (+1.4)
TJ Marc Kellman USA 16.50m (-1.2)
SP Rhuben Williams USA 18.43
DT Nick Petrucci USA 56.17 m
HT Thomas Freeman USA 70.32
JT Justin St. Clair USA 73.16m
Decathlon Darvin Colon HON 6.330
20km W Walter Sandoval ESA 1: 28.29
4x100m United States 38.99
(Abidemi Omole, Jordan Vaden, Michael Mitchell, Monzavous Edwards)
4x400m United States 3:02.78
(Reuben McCoy, Calvin Smith, Michael Mitchell, David Neville)
For full results, please got to http://siada.revsys.net/index.php