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Posted: February 14, 2009  :

Athletics: Two American records fall at Tyson Invitational

FAYETTEVILLE - In front 4,397 screaming fans, American records for Galen Rupp and Shalonda Solomon Friday night highlighted the 2009 Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

The third stop of USA Track & Field's 2009 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the Tyson Invitational will be televised on February 15 from 5-7 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.

2008 Olympian Galen Rupp broke the American Record in the men's 5,000m, running 13 minutes, 18.12 seconds in finishing second to Ethiopia's Bekana Daba (13:17.89WL). The previous American record of 13:20.55 was set by Doug Padilla in 1982, four years before Rupp was born. Rupp's performance also was a collegiate record, breaking Suleiman Nyambui's record of 13:20.4 from 1981 and Alberto Salazar's American Collegiate record of 13:22.6 from 1981.

Rupp ran a strategic race, sitting in fifth through the first 2km (5:23.35) and moving into second with 7.5 laps to go. He then moved into the lead with 2.5 laps left but couldn't hold it as Daba took the lead heading into the final lap and Rupp was unable to respond. Rupp's finish is the 11th fastest time ever and makes him the #9 performer of all time.

2006 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor 200m champion Shalonda Solomon set an American record in the women's 300m, leading wire-to-wire, to finish in 36.45. The previous accepted American record of 36.67 was set in 2007 by Francena McCorory. Monica Hargrove was the runner-up in 36.85. For her efforts, Solomon was given the Team USA Athlete of the Meet award presented by Visa.

2008 NCAA Indoor champion and Collegiate record-holder Bianca Knight easily won the Tyson Foods women's 200m in a world-leading 22.88. Jamaica's Nickeshsa Anderson was the runner-up in 23.60 and 2008 Olympic 4x400m gold medalist Natasha Hastings was third in 23.70. On the men's side, Chris Berry was the eventual winner in 20.67 with Michael Rodger the runner-up in 20.83 after Lionel Larry and Chris Lawson were disqualified for lane violations.

2008 Olympic silver medalist Jenn Stuczynski won the Nutrilite women's pole vault with a clearance of 4.63 meters/15 feet, 2.25 inches. She then had three good attempts at 4.83m/15-10, which would have been an American record, but was unable to clear the bar. 2000 Olympic gold medalist Stacy Dragila was the runner-up at 4.53m/14-10.25.

2008 Olympian Nick Symmonds went out in his usual style, sitting in the back of the pack for the first half of the Tyson Foods men's 800m. Moving up throughout the race, Symmonds took the lead with just under 200m to go and was scared at the end by a surging Khadevis Robinson, but was able to hold on for the win in 1:47.72 to Robinson's 1:47.76. Nothern Iowa's Tyler Mulder, who led for most of the race, was third in 1:48.53.

Two-time Olympic 110mH silver medalist Terrence Trammell brought Michael Rodgers undefeated streak to an end as he won the Puma men's 60m in 6.56, just edging out Rodgers who finished as the runner-up in 6.58. Ivory Williams was third in 6.59.

Four-time 2006 NCAA champion Xavier Carter shot out of the blocks in the men's 400m and was in the lead at the 200 mark. Florida's Calvin Smith came on strong at 300 with Michael Tinsley kicking at the end but Carter was able to hold them off for the win in 46.98 with Tinsley second (47.01) and Smith third (47.03).

In the Visa women's 60m, 2006 World Indoor champion Lisa Barber was first out of the blocks. Two-time Olympian Muna Lee surged halfway through to take the lead but was nipped at the tape by 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter, who won in 7.20. 2008 NCAA Indoor 200m champion Bianca Knight took the runner-up position in 7.26 with Gloria Asumnu third in the same time. Barber was fourth and Lee fifth, both in 7.28.

The Visa men's shot put saw a battle between two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time World Outdoor medalist Adam Nelson and 2007 World Outdoor champion Reese Hoffa. Nelson took the lead on his first throw (20.64m/67-8.75) and improved on his second (20.90m/68-7) and third attempts (21.01m/68-11.25) while Hoffa had a best of 20.62m/67-8 through three rounds. On the last throw, Hoffa was able to pull one out and win with a best heave of 21.06m/69-1.25, just 5cm ahead of runner-up Nelson. Russ Winger was third with 20.42m/67-0.

Winners in other events included Alex Becker of Canada in the women's 3,000m (9:23.78) and 2008 Olympic trials steeplechase champion Anna Willard in the women's mile (4:30.69). 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand won the Tyson Foods John McDonnell mile in 4:02.70 over Chris Lukezic (4:03.87). Penn State won the women's 4x400m relay (3:36.77) and Georgia won the men's 4x400m (3:07.96).

For complete results and quotes, visit or www.visachampionshipseries.com.

ATHLETE QUOTES

Men's 5,000m Run
Runner Up Galen Rupp
"Coming in, I was confident because I have been running well the last couple weeks. I was really looking forward to this event because the 5K and 10K are my bread-and-butter."

"The first part of the race I was pretty relaxed. But I knew the two Ethiopians would run in the low 13s, so the pace was bound to get faster. I had to turn into a bit of a sprinter the last couple laps."

(On setting a new collegiate record) "Anytime you set a record it's special. They're all great to me. With about two laps to go I knew about how fast I had to run. I didn't focus on it too long though because I had a race to run."

Men's 400m Dash
Winner Xavier Carter
"I felt I ran a pretty good first 300 meters but lost my footing a little bit in the last 100. I haven't run on a banked track like this since college so that might have had a little to do with it."

(On the close finish) "I tried to my best to lean at the line because I knew I might need it. (Florida runner Calvin Smith) was on my hip down the stretch. I figured (Michael) Tinsley would make a push too because he's a good 400m hurdler and is usually there at the end."

Men's Shot Put
Winner Reese Hoffa
"I thought I threw pretty well. I hurt my knee in December so I'm still a little behind schedule in terms of how far I'm throwing. I'm starting to get my technique back which is paying off for more distance."

"I'm used to easily throwing in the 69-70 foot range by this time so to get my first throw in that range tonight gives me some confidence."

"I'm going to sit out the rest of indoors so my knee is good to go come outdoor season. I'm defending world champion, so I want to make sure I'm in peak throwing condition to defend my title."

Women's Pole Vault
Winner Jenn Stuczynski
"I'm always happy to come away with a victory regardless if I didn't necessarily get the mark I was hoping. I was hoping to build off last week's record mark and set another one here in Arkansas, but it just didn't happen."

"I have been on the road a lot the past few weeks, so I haven't been able to practice. When I went for the 15-10 mark, I thought my first couple of attempts were good efforts, but my third one I needed a longer pole probably to get the mark."

Men's 800m Run
Winner Nick Symmonds
"I had to run a lot faster than I anticipated coming into the race. (Tyler) Mulder was leading a fast pace at the beginning and the rest of the college kids are really fit at this point in the season so I knew they all would be pretty fast. I didn't anticipate (Khadevis Robinson) on my hip at the end. It was definitely a wake up call for USAs."

"I started to let up at the end because when I looked at the video board coming around the last turn, (Robinson) was a good five yards behind me. I should know that you can never do that against a runner like him."

Women's 300m Dash
Winner Shalonda Solomon
"Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect coming into this race. It was my first 300 to run indoors in my career so it was hard to gauge expectations. I have practiced and ran plenty outdoors so that was helpful."

"I was trying to look at the board so I could see what type of lead I had, but it was so blurry I just had to keep running my race."

"I'll go home and run one more indoor race, but then, I will start shifting my focus to outdoors.
Men's 60m Dash
Winner Terrance Trammell
"It feels good to get a win in the sprint. I'm usually having to worry about the hurdles and the sprint, so it's nice to just focus on the sprint and not hurdles for once."

"These are some prime time athletes I'm going up against. To get in there, mix it up a little bit and get the win feels great."

Women's Mile
Winner Anna Willard
"It was a hard effort. I just wanted to commit. When I made my move, I made my move."

"It was my indoor personal best. I wanted to be more like 4:25. I didn't feel comfortable making my move earlier on. I did make my move later based on how I was feeling."

"I think every time I get a chance to work on my speed, it obviously helps. I love the steeplechase. But I'm going to focus more on the 1500 this year."

Women's 200m winner
Bianca Knight
"It was a really fast time, but it wasn't as fast as I had hoped. I really wanted to go faster. I'm not totally pleased with it, but it's my first 200m race of the year, so I can't be too disappointed."

"I feel like I'm going in the right direction with my training. I'm faster in the 200 this year at this point in the season than I was last year. So, I know the training is going well and I'm glad to know that I'm improving."

Men's 200m winner
Chris Berrian
"I'm not feeling too good. It was an okay race. I kind of stumbled. It's good that I ran better than the last time. I'm going to try to do better than I did. It's something to work for."

"I'm done with indoor. I'm going to focus on outdoor and try to make the world championship team."

Women's 60m
Carmelita Jeter
"The gun went off and I didn't get out as well as I did last week in Boston, so I was a little disappointed with that. But I was pleased with my movement from 30 to 60 (meters)."

"John (Smith) and I are working on my first 30 meters, just taking it one meet at a time."

Men's Mile Run
Nick Willis
"It wasn't the fastest race because no one seemed to want to run with the rabbit. I thought I closed really strong so I was pleased with that aspect of my race. The race was delayed for about 30 minutes so all the warm-ups might have caused the race to be a little slow."

"As I have more success, I feel like I can take more risks. I ran more in lane 2 tonight, which usually I'm a little hesitant to do. Given the slow pace, I expected a strong push from all the young guys at the end, but fortunately, I was able to hold on and get the victory."

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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