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Posted: June 22, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: Clay, Cantwell lead men's decathletes & throwers at USA Outdoor Championships

INDIANAPOLIS - 2008 Olympic medalists Bryan Clay and Christian Cantwell will headline the men's combined and throwing events at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 25-28 at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

The final event of the 2009 USATF Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships will be televised on the following dates:

June 26: Live on ESPN from 8-10 p.m.
June 27:  Live/tape on ESPN from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
June 28: Live on NBC from 4-6:00 p.m.
(All Times Eastern)

The USA Outdoor Championships will feature the nation's finest professional track and field athletes competing for national honors and spots on the Team USA roster for the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany. The World Championships will be held at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium, where National Track & Field Hall of Famer and American icon Jesse Owens won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.

Decathlon

2005 World Outdoor champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay will look to qualify for his fifth World Outdoor Championships team when he competes this week in Eugene.

Clay claimed the "world's greatest athlete" moniker with his dominating decathlon win at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The first U.S. Olympic decathlon champ since Dan O'Brien in 1996, Clay amassed 8,791 points in capturing the Olympic gold medal. His winning margin was a whopping 240 points over his nearest competitor, which is the largest winning margin at an Olympic Games since 1972.

At the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Clay tallied 8,832 points in shattering the previous Olympic Trials record of 8,726 set by Dan O'Brien in 1996, the year O'Brien won Olympic gold. Clay's score was a personal best, the best by an American in 16 years, and the best in the world in four years. Clay ended the 2008 campaign ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News for the third time in his career, he was named T&FN's U.S. Athlete of the Year and was named USATF's Jesse Owens Award winner.

2005 NCAA champion Trey Hardee posted a personal best score of 8,534 points when he finished second to Clay at the 2008 Olympic Trials. Earlier this year he was the runner-up at Gotzis with the second-highest score in the world this outdoor season of 8,516 points. Also keep an eye on the University of Oregon's Ashton Eaton, who earlier this month successfully defended his NCAA D-I national decathlon title with his total of 8,241 points. A hometown favorite at Hayward Field, Eaton finished fifth at last year's Olympic Trials.

Olympic Trials fourth-place finisher and two-time NCAA champion Jake Arnold, who finished 13th at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships, will look to qualify for his second World Champs team.

Shot Put

The 2004 and 2008 World Indoor champion, Christian Cantwell captured the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and is considered a favorite to make his second World Outdoor Championships team. The #2-ranked shot putter in the world going into this year, Cantwell posted the second-farthest throw in the world last year of 22.18 meters/72 feet 9.25 inches.

Cantwell will be challenged by 2008 Olympic Trials champion and World Indoor Champs silver medalist Reese Hoffa, who also won last year in Doha, New York and London. Hoffa posted the farthest throw in the world this outdoor season with his winning toss June 7 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic of 21.89m/71-10. Also keep a keen eye on two-time Olympic silver medalist, 2005 World Outdoor champion and 2008 Prefontaine Classic winner Adam Nelson, who posted the best throw in the world last season of 22.40m/73-6.

Contenders include former Ohio State University standout and 2009 USA Indoor champion Dan Taylor, who finished fourth at last year's Olympic Trials and ended the season ranked #10 in the world, and Arizona State junior Ryan Whiting, who won the 2009 NCAA Outdoor title and finished sixth at last year's Olympic Trials.

Discus

With wins at the Olympic Trials, Reebok Grand Prix in New York and with the fifth-best throw in the world (68.90m/226-0), Ian Waltz clearly demonstrated that he was America's finest discus thrower in 2008. A two-time World Outdoor Championships team member, Waltz will expect to face Olympic Trials runner-up and 2007 national champion Michael Robertson, and 2004 Olympian and seventh-place finisher at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships Jared Rome, who has been ranked top-five in the U.S. in seven of the last eight years.

Others to watch for include 2008 Olympic Trials third-place finisher and two-time Olympian Casey Malone, and 2008 NCAA champion Rashaud Scott.

Hammer

Two-time Olympian A.G. Kruger demonstrated his U.S. dominance in the hammer throw again in 2008 by winning his third consecutive national title and ending the season ranked #1 in the U.S. for the third straight year.

Kruger, who will be looking to make his third World Championships team, will be challenged by Jake Freeman, who finished third at the 2008 Olympic Trials and is the #3 ranked hammer thrower in the U.S. 2008 NCAA champion and sixth-place Olympic Trials finisher Cory Martin will attempt to win his first national title, as will LSU sophomore Walter Henning, who was the runner-up at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

Javelin

Beijing Olympian Mike Hazle will return to Hayward Field where he finished second at the Olympic Trials last year en route to earning the first #1 national ranking of his career.

Hazle will be challenged by University of Georgia sophomore Chris Hill, who finished fourth at the 2008 Olympic Trials and recently won his second consecutive NCAA Division I men's javelin throw title. Also look for USC senior and Olympic Trials finalist Corey White, who was the runner-up to Hill for the second consecutive year at the recently completed NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Also look for 2008 Olympic Trials winner Bobby Smith to be in the hunt to win his second national title.

The University of Oregon's Cyrus Hostetler currently owns the top throw by an American this year with his April 4 toss of 83.16m/272-10 in Eugene.

For ticket information to the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com or www.tracktown.net. USATF welcomes you to purchase tickets with your Visa Card. Visa, the only credit card accepted by USATF.

For more information on the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships and the USATF Visa Championship Series, visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com.

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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