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Ryan Hill captures first national title as action continues at USATF Indoors


BOSTON -- A thrilling men’s two-mile finish closed day two action at the USATF Indoor Championships, as 12 national champions were crowned at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center on the campus of Roxbury Community College.

Jostling for position, Ryan Hill (Portland, Oregon), Ben Blankenship (Eugene, Oregon), Evan Jager (Portland, Oregon), Garrett Heath (Seattle) and Chris Derrick (Portland, Oregon) traded the lead until Derrick made his move with four laps to go. Jager quickly followed and looked to be out in front for good, until Hill jumped to the front of the lead pack in the final two laps. Hill stormed through the bell lap in 25.8 to take his first track national title in 8:26.72, a new meet record.

The 2015 USATF Indoor Championships, which take place at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center on the campus of Roxbury Community College, will be broadcast live on Sunday, March 1 on USATF.TV and NBCSN. All events from the broadcast window will be made available for on-demand viewing on USATF.TV. On-demand action from the 2015 USATF Indoor Championships is already available on USATF.TV.

Erik Kynard (Manhattan, Kansas) defended his USATF high jump title with a mark of 2.34m/7-8, the best by an American this year and second in the world in 2015. He was second for much of the competition behind multi-time collegiate All-American Ricky Robertson (Oxford, Mississippi), who turned in an indoor personal best clearance of 2.31m/7-7.

Shannon Rowbury (Portland, Oregon) staved off a late surge from Katie Mackey (Seattle) to take the women’s mile title in 4:34.40. Rowbury’s victory was her first USATF title since winning the 1,500m at 2009 USATF Outdoors and first USATF Indoors title since 2008. Mackey finished as the runner-up in 4:34.83.

Jeremy Taiwo (Seattle) set a meet record in the men’s indoor heptathlon, scoring 6,273 points to win his first USATF indoor title. Taiwo crushed the second day of competition, turning in the top time in the men’s 60-meter hurdles in 7.87 to start the day, the only competitor to break eight seconds. Taiwo captured the pole vault with his clearance of 4.80m/15-9 and won the 1,000 meters in 2:34.26 to finish with 6,273 points, the second-best heptathlon score of his career.

Felisha Johnson (Indianapolis, Indiana) took home her first USATF title with her win in the women’s weight throw. Johnson utilized her third attempt of 23.45m/76-11.25 to take over the top spot from Jeneva Stevens (Dolton, Illinois), who registered a throw of 23.43m/76-10.50 on her fifth attempt to solidify her runner-up finish.

Two-time Olympic medalist Will Claye (Chula Vista, California) won his first indoor men’s long jump title, leading the entire competition with his best mark of 7.93m/26-0.25 easily giving him the win.

Natasha Hastings (Locust Grove, Georgia) ran the sixth-fastest time ever by an American to win the 300 in 36.52, picking up her second USATF indoor title to go with the 400-meter crown she won in 2011. Hastings held off Jessica Beard (Clermont, Florida), who clocked the seventh-fastest U.S. time ever in 36.65.

In the men’s 300 meters, Manteo Mitchell (Asheville, North Carolina) just edged Clayton Parros (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) to take home the crown in 32.86. Parros finished as the runner-up in 33.00.

Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Missouri) won his fifth USATF indoor shot put title, and his first since 2010, throwing a best of 20.41m/66-11.5 in the second round to win by four feet. All four of Cantwell’s legal throws were good enough to win easily.

Defending USATF outdoor champion Sam Kendricks (Oxford, Mississippi) dominated the pole vault to win his second national title with a 5.76m/18-10.75 clearance. Kendricks missed his first attempt at the opening height of 5.35m/17-6.5, but was clean through 5.76m, which he cleared on his second try.

In the women’s long jump, three-time World Championships qualifier Funmi Jimoh (Missouri City, Texas) won her first USATF title with a fifth-round 6.37m/20-10.75 leap. Jimoh never trailed in the competition and had four jumps good enough to win.

Nick Christie (San Diego) won his first USATF title in the men’s 2-mile race walk in 12:42.12. Christie defeated Olympian John Nunn (San Diego), who took the runner-up spot in 12:44.43.

Click here for live results and the competition schedule for the 2015 USATF Indoor Championships. Tickets are still available online here.


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