Collegians at the Pan Am Games Preview – Wednesday
NEW ORLEANS – Track & field action at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto continues on Wednesday, with collegians looking to position themselves for multiple Pan Am titles.
Shamier Little, Andre De Grasse, Jeannelle Scheper, Conor McCullough and more will all be looking for titles, while early-round action in other events promises some intriguing collegiate match-ups.
A full list of collegians competing today can be found below the following previews.
Women’s High Jump (10:05am ET)
NCAA Champion Jeannelle Scheper of South Carolina (St. Lucia) may be the top-seeded woman in this field at 1.96m (6-5), but she’ll once again have to outjump a crowd of familiar faces from the college level to take the title here.
Kimberly Williamson of Kansas State (Jamaica) has already come close to upsetting Scheper, as both cleared 1.90m (6-2¾) but Scheper took just one try and Williamson needed three. She’ll be joined by two of her Wildcat teammates in NCAA heptathlon champ Akela Jones (Barbados) and 2014 NCAA runner-up Alyx Treasure (Canada). Jones was fourth at NCAAs earlier last month, while Williamson will look to bounce back from a 12th-place finish.
Also in the field is Maryland’s Thea LaFond, who was fifth at NCAA Indoors.
Women’s 400 – Semifinals (10:30am ET)
When collegiate record holder and reigning national champion Courtney Okolo of Texas didn’t qualify for the NCAA Championships in June, a pair of young sophomores emerged atop the descending order list as frontrunners for the national title: Americans Shakima Wimbley of Miami (Fla.) and Kendall Baisden of Texas.
Well, it turned out that neither would go on to stand atop the NCAA podium as Kala Funderburk of Florida State, while Baisden and Wimbley were runner-up and fifth, respectively.
The duo once again find themselves atop the descending order list for Pan Ams, with Baisden having run 50.50 this season and Wimbley not far behind at 50.84. Wimbley is in semifinal heat 1, with Baisden in the second heat.
They’ll look to duel for the top spot and hold off a field that includes South Plains’ Chrisann Gordon (Jamaica), who won the NJCAA Outdoor title. She’ll square off with Baisden in heat 2.
Men’s 400 – Semifinals (11am ET)
Bralon Taplin of Texas A&M (Grenada) was the national NCAA runner-up in the event during the indoor season. Marcus Chambers of Oregon (United States) was the outdoor NCAA runner-up last month. Both men have dipped below the 45-second barrier this season.
But, believe it or not, the two have yet to tangle head-to-head on the track this year.
If Taplin, who is looking to bounce back from a 14th-place finish at outdoor NCAAs, advances from semifinal heat 1 and Chambers navigates through heat 2, that match-up will come to fruition in Thursday’s final.
Men’s 800 – Semifinals (11:35am ET)
He may not have an NCAA title to his name, but there’s arguably been no bigger breakthrough mid-distance runner than Clayton Murphy of Akron (United States). The sophomore followed up third-place finishes at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships with three consecutive career bests in the three rounds at the USATF Championships, culminating in a fourth-place 1:45.59 in the final.
Who’d have thought he’d never broken 1:50 prior to this season?
His next test will be a rematch with the 2014 indoor/outdoor NCAA Champion Brandon McBride of Mississippi State (Canada). He edged out McBride by .10 at NCAA indoors, and just over half a second separated the two at NCAA outdoors as McBride was sixth.
McBride has long said his training was designed for him to start peaking for summer competition. We’ll see if that pays off starting this week.
Murphy will be in semifinal heat 1, while McBride will run in heat 2 against Florida’s Andres Arroyo (Puerto Rico), who finished eighth in the NCAA Outdoor final.
Men’s 100 – Semifinals & Final (6:50pm ET & 8:50pm ET)
Each of the top collegiate contenders made it safely through Tuesday’s round 1 competition, though not all without incident. Reigning NCAA 100/200 champ Andre De Grasse overcame a slow start to cruise to a heat 1 victory in 10.06, and SEC champ Shavez Hart of Texas A&M (Bahamas) finished third in heat 3 in 10.13 to safely advance.
Here’s where the fun started. Beejay Lee of Southern California (United States) ran both 10.07w and 9.99w to win heat 2, twice. He ran 10.07 in an initial running of the heat that was marred by a false start that wasn’t properly signaled, causing the race to be re-run following the conclusion of heat 3. He again took the win in that race.
All three now find themselves in the same semifinal heat #2, and only three from each of the two semifinal heats advance automatically to the final with the next two fastest getting additional bids.
Women’s 400 Hurdles – Final (7:15pm ET)
Reigning USATF champion and two-time NCAA champion Shamier Little of Texas A&M (United States) had no issue getting through the semifnals with an easy, yet authoritative, win in 56.08.
She’ll look to add yet another trophy to her collection as she lines up next to another collegian who won her semifinal heat in Sparkle McKnight of Arkansas (Trinidad & Tobago) and Western Carolina’s Jessica Gelibert, who took the final qualifing spot.
Here’s the full list of collegians competing today, in chronological order (events with both semifinals and a final on the same day are listed in order of their semifinal).
|Women’s High Jump*||Deandra Daniel, Coppin State||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Akela Jones, Kansas State||Barbados|
|Alyx Treasure, Kansas State||Canada|
|Kimberly Williamson, Kansas State||Jamaica|
|Jeannelle Scheper, South Carolina||St. Lucia|
|Thea LaFond, Maryland||Dominican Republic|
|Men’s Decathlon||Lindon Victor, Texas A&M||Grenada|
|Women’s 400||Taylor Sharpe, George Mason||Canada|
|Shakima Wimbley, Miami (Fla.)||United States|
|Kendall Baisden, Texas||United States|
|Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Tulsa||Canada|
|Chrisann Gordon, South Plains||Jamaica|
|Men’s 400||Bralon Taplin, Texas A&M||Grenada|
|Marcus Chambers, Oregon||United States|
|Men’s 800||Clayton Murphy, Akron||United States|
|Andres Arroyo, Florida||Puerto Rico|
|Brandon McBride, Mississippi State||Canada|
|Women’s 100**||Morolake Akinosun, Texas||United States|
|Women’s Shot Put*||Danniel Thomas, Kent State||Jamaica|
|Men’s 100**||BeeJay Lee, Southern California||United States|
|Andre De Grasse, Southern California||Canada|
|Shavez Hart, Texas A&M||Bahamas|
|Women’s 400 Hurdles*||Jessica Gelibert, Coastal Carolina||Haiti|
|Shamier Little, Texas A&M||United States|
|Sparkle McKnight, Arkansas||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Men’s Hammer Throw*||Conor McCullough, Southern California||United States|
** Semifinal and Final