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Grunewald advances to World Indoor finals in Sopot

SOPOT, Poland — Led by the fantastic performances of some first-time national team members, Team USA advanced nine athletes out of qualifying rounds in the morning session at the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships. The meet runs Friday-Sunday, March 7-9, in Ergo Arena.

Shannon Rowbury (Beaverton, Ore.) ran a season’s best 8:58.85 in a very experienced, controlled women’s 3,000m heat to finish fourth and move on to the final. Gabriele Grunewald (Minneapolis, Minn.) advanced on time, finishing sixth in 8:58.10 in the second heat.

“You always want to conserve a little energy to be ready for Sunday and I did that,” Grunewald said. “There was a lot of pushing and I got pushed pretty hard from behind. The pack got a little frantic and that was when I wanted to make my move so it threw me off for a lap. After something like that happens, you have to collect yourself and finish the race. I kind of knew we’d be okay if we finished strong the last 1,000m. We started a little slow but I knew it’d pick up. I’m happy with my time; it’s the second-fastest indoor 3000m this season. I’m okay taking a time qualifier because it means I have five seconds more in the tank on Sunday.”

Americans David Verburg (Gainesville, Fla.) and Kyle Clemons (Lawrence, Kan.) won their respective 400-meter heats, as 46.62 gave Verburg the win in the second heat and Clemons dominated the last 100 meters of his heat, crossing the line in 46.42.

Quartermilers Francena McCorory (Hampton, Va.) and Joanna Atkins (Minneloa, Fla.) easily advanced to the evening’s semifinal. Atkins crossed fourth in the second heat in 52.61 and advanced on time, while McCorory was second in heat 3 at 52.36, crossing the line with Denisa Rosalova (CZE).

Ryan Whiting (Port Matilda, Pa.) advanced to Friday evening’s shot put final with a 20.75/68-1 toss on his first attempt to surpass the automatic qualifying mark of 20.70m/67-11. Kurt Roberts’ (Ashland, Ohio) last throw of 20.17m/66-2.25 was just short of qualifying for the final. Whiting is the defending champion in the event and has the world-leading mark of 22.23m/72-11.25.

A pair of season’s bests for Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Ore.) set him on track for a solid performance on the first day of the men’s heptathlon. Eaton matched his personal best of 6.66 to win the men’s 60 meters in the first event of the heptathlon and had a season’s best in winning the long jump with a leap of 7.78/25-6.25. The defending champion and world record holder in the event leads through the morning session with 2,012 points.

Sharon Day-Monroe (Los Angeles, Calif.) got the pentathlon off to a great start, turning in a personal best 8.43 in the 60-meter hurdles for 1,032 points. Day-Monroe was also solid in her second and third events of the morning, clearing 1.84m/6-0.50 for 1,029 points in the women’s high jump. Shot put was equally good to Day-Monroe, as she used her final throw of 14.95m/49-0.75 to move into second with 858 points.

The American record holder in the pentathlon, Day-Monroe closed the morning session with 2,919 points to sit just behind the leader, Nadine Broersen (NED), who has 3,035 points after the first three events.

In the men’s 1,500 meters, Will Leer (Marina del Rey, Calif.) finished third in heat three with a time of 3:38.02 and advanced to the final with the third-fastest time overall. Heat three was run much like a final with Ethiopia’s Aman Wote winning in 3:36.75. Two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong (Portland, Ore.) swung to the outside and hit an all-out sprint with 150 meters to go to finish fourth in his 1500m heat, but was unable to advance in 3:48.06.

Chanelle Price (Knoxville, Tenn.) ran the third-fastest time in the women’s 800m heats to advance to the final after finishing second in her heat. Ajeé Wilson (Philadelphia, Pa.) didn’t advance after crossing the line in 2:02.90 in fourth in heat two.

Neither American in the men’s 800m advanced. USA Indoor champion Erik Sowinski (Iowa City, Iowa) was fourth in his 800m heat with a time of 1:48.04. Despite a season’s best of 1:47.29, Nick Symmonds (Eugene, Ore.) also did not advance.

U.S. Indoor Champion Inika McPherson (Houston, Texas) cleared 1.92/6-3.50 in the women’s high jump but did not advance, finishing 12th.

The meet will be streamed live online on throughout the weekend with primetime broadcast coverage on Universal Sports beginning at 8 p.m. ET Friday-Sunday. Click here for local listings.

A full timetable of events can be found on The official hashtag for the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships is #Sopot2014. Join the conversation along with USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Story courtesy USA Track & Field.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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