Jenn Suhr next to the scoreboard after breaking the World indoor Pole Vault record with 5.02m (© Kirby Lee)
Albuquerque, USA – Jenn Suhr set a World indoor record of 5.02m* in the women’s Pole Vault at the USA Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Centre on Saturday (March 2).
The London Olympic gold medallist was in peak form with first-attempt clearances at 4.65m, 4.70m 4.80m, 4.90m and then the World indoor record of 5.02m. The record vault surpassed Yelena Isinbayeva’s standard of 5.01m set in Stockholm last year and added 14 centimetres to Suhr’s own indoor PB.
“I was in a groove,” said Suhr. “It is stressful coming on second and third (attempts) and getting behind so I wanted first-attempt makes. It doesn’t always happen like this all the time but I was glad coming off the Olympic pressure that this one wasn’t as much pressure.”
It was Suhr’s ninth American record in six years but her first World record. Suhr was confident of a good showing in the 1600m altitude of Albuquerque after clearing 4.79m at a low-key meet last week.
“I knew some big things could happen,” said Suhr. “I just had to be healthy and come down the runway. That was the main goal, to be healthy, and I knew that if I could execute and stay focused and listen to the instructions that I had that it could happen. So I knew where I was in my training. I just wasn’t going to let everyone else know.”
The thin air of New Mexico appeared to take its toll on Suhr after three attempts at 5.07m, which would have been an outright World record. Suhr appeared winded after her record clearance and laid on her back alongside the runway before her third attempt. She had a look of relief more than exuberance once the competition had ended.
“I’m glad that I got five metres out of the way because it is a mental barrier,” said Suhr. “And once you clear it, you know 4.80m is going to look really bad to me.”
Suhr had to work for her victory on Saturday with four vaulters over 4.60m. Runner-up Kylie Hutson cleared 4.75m to move into third on the US all-time list. Mary Saxer and Suhr’s training partner Janice Keppler were third and fourth at 4.60m.
“I think it does help having competitors, but if you’re on, you are on,” said Suhr. “I knew what my goal was coming in and I knew I was going to be disappointed without it. But it is good to have that feeling of pressure where I know that I need to make that next bar or else I am not in first place.”
Nixon and Day win combined events
Gunnar Nixon won the men’s Heptathlon with a meet-record and world age-20 best of 6232 points, while Sharon Day won the women’s Pentathlon contested on Friday (March 1) with 4478 points.
Nixon, who last year broke the World junior record for the event, topped a field that included two-time World champion Trey Hardee and 2012 USA Decathlon champion Jake Arnold. Nixon, the reigning World junior decathlon champion, recorded personal bests in four of the seven events in the 60m (6.86), Shot (14.62m), 60m Hurdles (7.93) and Pole Vault (4.80m).
Curtis Beach finished second with 5895 points with an effort of 2:33.40 in the 1000m to move up from fifth.
Hardee, who was in second behind Nixon after the first day, 3527 to 3405 point, did not run in the 1000m after failed to score in the 60m Hurdles, having lined up to the starting blocks in training flats and then walking off the track after the gun had fired. After the hurdles, Hardee returned to the competition to equal his PB of 5.30m in the Pole Vault.
In the women’s Pentathlon, Day defeated Bettie Wade, 4478 to 4333 points, to successfully defend her title. Day had the best mark of the field in the High Jump at 1.82m and a PB of 15.07m in the Shot. Day’s other marks were 8.57 in the 60m Hurdles, 5.82m in the Long Jump and 2:20.86 in the 800.
DeLoach wins third consecutive Long Jump title
Janay DeLoach won her third national indoor title in a row in the women’s Long Jump with an effort of 6.80m. The London Olympic bronze medallist took the lead in the second round with a jump of 6.75m before extending her lead with her best effort in the sixth round. Whitney Gipson was second with 6.65m and Alesha Walker jumped 6.57m for third.
Jeremy Hicks won the men’s Long Jump with 7.99m for his third national indoor title in four years. Dusty Jonas won the High Jump with 2.25m with Keith Moffatt in second at 2.22m.
Thomas Freeman and Gwen Henry were the men’s and women’s Weight Throw winners. In the men’s competition, Freeman knocked off seven-time champion AG Kruger, 23.51m to 23.37m. Henry beat six-time reigning champion Amber Campbell to win the women’s competition, 24.70m to 23.68m.
Will Leer won the men’s 3000m in 8:07.84 after steadily pulling away from Benjamin Bruce over the final two circuits of the 200m banked oval. The women’s 3000m went down to the wire with Chelsea Reilly winning in 9:23.12 to hold off Emily Infeld (9:23.24) and Lisa Uhl (9:23.37).
Wariner top qualifier in 400m
Athens Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner was the top qualifier in the 400m heats in 46.40 with 2005 World 400m Hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson claiming the second heat in 47.36. Mary Wineberg was the fastest qualifier in the women’s 400m in 52.51.
World junior champion Ajee’ Wilson, who turned professional in January, had the fastest time in the women’s 800m heats with 2:04.66. In the men’s 800m, Tyler Mulder and American indoor 600m record-holder Erik Sowinski had the fastest times of 1:47.18 and 1:47.28 respectively.
* pending the usual ratification procedures
Kirby Lee for the IAAF