Aiming for the Cutoff

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Donn Cabral and Conor McCullough represented HepsNation on the first full day of competition at the IAAF World Championships.  Both men competed in the preliminary rounds and both of them had the benefit of participating in later flights or heats so they had an idea of what was needed to advance to the next round.jn-cabral-s

Cabral had a bit of a messy preliminary race in the men’s steeplechase.  While he felt good, Cabral shared with Flotrack after his heat that the race had sporadic pacing and there was a bunch of pushing around between the athletes in the tight cluster.  All that mattered though was that he finished in the top 3 of his heat to grab an automatic qualifier, which he did by running 8:27.33 to grab the third auto in his heat by having one of the strongest final 100m of the field (see finish here).  What Cabral was happy with about the heats was how all three American entrants – himself with Evan Jager and Dan Huling – all qualified for the final, a first for American men at the World Championships.  Previously, only two American men have ever made the same steeplechase World final, which happened back in 1993.  “We are going to represent [USA] well,” Cabral stated for the final.  He will compete in the final on Monday morning at 9:15am.

In the hammer throw, automatic qualifiers included anyone who surpassed 77 meters, and then the rest of the final field would be the next best so many throwers so that it would be a 12 person final.  Only two men passed 77m in the first flight.  McCullough’s all time best is 77.20m while his season’s best was 76.91m going into this meet, so he was capable of making the automatic cutoff.  But unfortunately,  he did not hit the auto.  At the end, he was 8 inches (20 cm) away from making the 12th and final spot for the final as his best throw of the competition was 74.31m which he got on his final attempt. “My performance was low,” McCullough shared with USATF after he finished the competition, “I came out a little slow. I was 72 to start and another 72. On my last one, I got a little better, but I have to place the top. It’s my first time at the big show. I was at World Juniors twice. It’s a stepping stone in the right direction.” McCullough was the top American hammer thrower of the competition.  The finals will be contested at 6:30am on Sunday morning.

Zimbio Day 1 Photo Gallery

Nepolitan Day 1 Photo Gallery

McCullough photo by Ian Walton; Cabral photo by John Nepolitan

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