Current And Former Bruin T & F Greats To Compete This Week At 2005 USA Championships In Carson
June 22, 2005
LOS ANGELES (from USA T & F) - Current UCLA track & field standouts Monique Henderson (400m), Dawn Harper (100m hurdles), Candice Baucham (long jump/triple jump), Lara Saye (discus) and Jessica Cosby (hammer throw), along with Bruin greats Joanna Hayes (100m hurdles), Michelle Perry (100m hurdles), Sheena Johnson (400m hurdles), Tracy O'Hara (pole vault), Amy Acuff (high jump), Seilala Sua (discus), Suzy Powell (discus) and Cari Soong (hammer throw) will lead a galaxy of stars who will compete June 23-26 in Carson, California, at the 2005 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Visa. The sixth and final event of USATF's Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the USA Outdoor Championships will be televised on ESPN on Saturday, June 25 from 4-6 p.m., and from 5-7 p.m. on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 26 (All times Eastern).
In addition, the Visa Championship will be up for grabs, and in the women's events, hurdler Michelle Perry is the current leader. The male and female athlete with the top overall single performances in the 2005 Visa Championship Series will be named Visa Champion and each receive a $25,000 bonus to assist them on their journey to achieve their athletic goals. In addition, each Visa Champion will be awarded an invitation to their choice of a premiere Visa-sponsored event.
Nearly 1,000 of America's top athletes will compete at the Home Depot Center in Carson, vying for the right to represent Team USA August 6-14 at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki, Finland. The 2005 USA Junior Championships will be held concurrently with the USA Outdoor Championships in Carson, as the nation's best under-20-year-old athletes compete for spots on the Team USA roster for the 2005 Pan American Junior Championships, July 28-31 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Monique Henderson in 400m
Americans have staked their claim on the women's 400m world list this year with Sanya Richards rising above the rest. Richards owns the second, third and fourth-fastest times in the world this season, which include a win at the adidas Track Classic (50.00), a runner-up finish at the Nike Prefontaine Classic (49.98) and a win in Kingston, Jamaica on May 7 in 49.96. Others to watch include 2004 Olympic relay gold medalists Monique Hennagan and Dee Dee Trotter, who finished fourth and fifth in the Olympic 100, and 2005 NCAA champion Monique Henderson of UCLA.
Perry leads Visa Championship Series
2004 Olympic heptathlete Michelle Perry has really made her mark as a 100m hurdler this outdoor season, highlighted by her world-leading time of 12.45 seconds at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York. Perry's performance gave her 1,212 points and the lead in the Visa Championship Series by one-point over Olympic 200m silver medalist Allyson Felix, whose 200m time of 22.14 at the adidas Track Classic (1,211 points) on May 22 also is a world-leader. Olympic gold medalist Joanna Hayes, who ended the 2004 season ranked #1 in the world, currently owns the second-fastest time in the world this year of 12.47 from her runner-up finish to Perry in New York. Other contenders include 2005 USA Indoor champion and 2004 Olympic Trials fourth-place finisher Danielle Carruthers, 2001 World Outdoor Champion Anjanette Kirkland and two-time World Outdoor Championships team member Jenny Adams.The women's 400m hurdles also will be quite competitive with Lashinda Demus and Sandra Glover leading the way. A 2004 Olympian and 2002 world junior champion, Demus currently owns the third-fastest time in the world this year of 53.56. Glover had 14 wins during the 2004 season, including the World Athletics Final en route to her global #1 ranking. 2004 Olympic Trials champion and Olympic fourth-place finisher Sheena Johnson is in the field, along with Olympic Trials runner-up and Olympic finalist Brenda Taylor.
Acuff, O'Hara, Baucham in Field Events
In field event action, Amy Acuff will look to build on her 2004 Olympic Games fourth-place finish last year in the women's high jump, where she'll face a resurgent Erin Aldrich, who posted wins earlier this year at Nike Prefontaine (1.95m/6-4.75) and at the adidas Track Classic (1.92m/6-3.50). Chaunte Howard will enter this competition as a favorite, as she and Aldrich share the best clearance by Americans this year of 1.95m/6-4.75.
2000 Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder Stacy Dragila has been battling injuries all year, but is slated to be in Carson to fight for her ninth USA Outdoor title. Contenders include Tracy O'Hara, whose personal best clearance of 4.60 meters/15-1 in winning the Payton Jordan U.S. Open is the second-best mark in the world this outdoor season. 2004 Olympic Trials runner-up Jillian Schwartz owns the sixth-best mark in the world this year (4.55m/14-11) and look for veterans Kellie Suttle and Mary Sauer to challenge for a spot on this year's world outdoor team.
Other field event favorites include 2004 Olympic finalist Grace Upshaw and Rose Richmond in the women's long jump, current U.S. leader Candice Baucham in the triple jump, 2004 Olympian Kristin Heaston in the shot put, 2004 Olympian Aretha (Hill) Thurmond in the discus and U.S. record holder, 2004 Olympian Erin Gilreath in the hammer throw and Hyleas Fountain in the heptathlon.
More Bruins Competing
Also competing in Carson this week for UCLA will be - in the U. S. Junior competition - freshman Jolanda Diego in the 100m/200m; incoming freshman Nicole Leach in the 400m hurdles and freshman Ingrid Kantola in the heptathlon.
For more information and day-by-day results on the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships presented by Visa and the Visa Championship Series, visit www.usatf.org/visa.