Best of the West


HepsNation finished their competitions in Canada this past weekend, travelling home with three gold medals, a silver, two bronzes, and a championship record.

Princeton alumna Ashley Higginson highlighted the Pan Am results in Toronto earlier this month.  Not only did she win the 3,000m steeplechase, she won it in a new championship record.  Higginson and USA teammate Shalaya Kipp ran together with the rest of the field for the first 2/3 of the race, but Higginson and Kipp broke away with about 1km to go, pushing the pace such that both she and Kipp went under the previous championship record of 9:51.13.  Higginson won with a time of 9:48.12, while Kipp received the silver in 9:49.96.  Higginson reportedly talked to her high school track coach after her victory, telling him “This is contagious. It makes you want to come back and do it again.”  This is Higginson’s second appearance wearing the Team USA uniform – she was a member of the 2013 World Championship team that competed in Moscow

The other two golds came from the Pan Am Junior Championships in Edmonton.  Near the end of the Day 1 , Harvard’s rising freshman Erin Dietz took off at the start of the 3,000m and dominated the race as soon as she stepped off the line.  She won the event for Team USA by 4 seconds in 9:37.51.  Brown’s rising sophomore Josie Natrasevschi earned her first international win on Day 2 in Edmonton.  In the discus throw competition, she was the only athlete to surpass 50 meters more than once during the competition.  The second time she passed that mark was good enough for the gold medal, as she threw 52.60 meters (172-07).

Other medal winners include current and former Ivy Leaguers.

Conor McCullough, a former Princeton Tiger who is finishing up at USC, earned a bronze medal in his Team USA return.  In the Pan Am men’s hammer throw, he got five legal throws, with his best distance coming from this second one – 73.74 meters.  His USA teammate Kibwe Johnson won the event with a 75.46 meter throw, while Cuba’s Roberto Janet claimed the silver.

Cornell’s Taysia Radoslav is returning to her hometown in Ontario with two medals from the Pan Am Junior Championships.  In her individual specialty, Radoslav sprinted to a silver medal in the 400m hurdles with a time of 59.08.  Anna Cockrell of USA won in 57.10.  A little over 2 hours later, Radoslav anchored Team Canada to a bronze medal in the 4×400 relay.  She ran a 54.765 leg, helping the team finish in a time of 3:40.00.  The event was won by Team USA in 3:31.49, followed by Team Jamaica in 3:38.77.

Other top finishers at these championships include Princeton alumna Liz Costello (4th in the 10km, 32:53.52), Dartmouth alumnus Sean Furey (5th in the javelin throw, 77.41 meters), Harvard alumnus Samyr Laine (6th in the triple jump, 16.43 meters), and Dartmouth’s Allison Frantz (7th in the Pan Am Jr heptathlon, 4732 points).

Higginson and Laine will compete in the NACAC Championships in Costa Rica this weekend.

photo of Higginson by AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

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