US OPEN, Palo Alto: -31May05- Godina s.p.


Godina’s rich seam of form continues in Palo Alto
Tuesday 31 May 2005
Palo Alto, California, USA - Stanford, USA - John Godina was the stand out name at the Payton Jordan U.S. Open - IAAF GPII - meet last night. With two mighty heaves of the Shot he continued to mine the rich seam of form which he has struck this season, producing the second and third best performances in the world this summer.

Happy Birthday!

John Godina shot putting in Palo Alto
(Kirby Lee/The Sporting Image)

The city of Mesa, Arizona isn’t exactly known as a centre for American throwing but for John Godina, the laid-back desert town suits the former three-time World Shot Put champion fine.

Godina, who currently stands a relatively low seventh in the IAAF World Ranking for the Shot event, has enjoyed a slew of success since getting married and moving from Los Angeles to Mesa eight months ago. In the adidas Track Classic on 22 May, Godina threw a world-leading 22.20m for his first personal best since 1999, to which last night he has now reinforced by two more huge efforts of 21.93m and 21.84m.

In all, Godina, who turned 33 today (31 May), now holds the world’s top four marks this year. “I just tried to take a different approach as far as life,” said Godina, a Cheyenne, Wyo. native. “Everything is nice and relaxed in Arizona.”

John Godina 22.22m personal best in Carson
(Kirby Lee/The Sporting Image)

Godina’s four legal throws were 21.23m or better and surpassed Jamie Beyer, who was second at 21.13m. Adam Nelson was third at 20.72m.

It was the fifth U.S. Open victory for Godina. He is the only Shot Put winner in the five-year history of the meet that was named after former Stanford coach Payton Jordan.

Change of coach

Godina concedes he had second thoughts about leaving UCLA coach Art Venegas, who coached him since his freshman year in college. “I had some serious doubts.” However, he is in familiar company training at Arizona State under throws coach David Dumble, a former college teammate and roommate at UCLA.

Muna Lee - 100m winner in Palo Alto
(Kirby Lee/ The Sporting Image)

“I am not doing any major things differently. Everything is just clicking,” said Godina.

His performances in the last two weeks followed an indoor season in which he won the USA Track & Field indoor title at 21.83m, and won the VISA Championship Series.
There may be even better marks ahead for Godina, who said he is in the midst of heavy weight training and didn’t have a quality throwing work out during the week because of fatigue.

Godina believes he is capable of throwing in the 74-foot range before the season is through. “I’ve had it in my head,” said Godina. “Hopefully, it will happen. I don’t know when. I felt awkward when I was throwing indoors and it went far. Now, I am actually looser so I am going to get better and better.”

Dominique Arnold hurdling in Palo Alto
(Kirby Lee/ The Sporting Image)

Rome and Chaput win

In other throwing events, Jarred Rome won the discus on his sixth-and-final attempt to nip training partner Ian Waltz, 63.04 to 63.02. Brian Chaput won the men’s Javelin at 80.45m.

In the women’s throws, Kristin Heaston won the women’s Shot Put competition at 18.55 to move into second on the yearly U.S. List. American leader Liz Wanless (18.58m) was second at 18.00m.

Capel and Lee win at the dash

John Capel and Muna Lee were the men’s and women’s 100m winners. Capel, the 2003 outdoor World 200m champion, won in 10.08 to defeat Jamaica’s Dwight Thomas (10.12) and Brian Lewis (10.13. Lee, who advanced to the 2004 Olympic 200m final, won the women’s race in 11.16. Rachelle Boone-Smith was second in 11.23 and Angela Daigle was third in 11.30.

Ramzi back to winning ways

Bahrain’s Rachid Ramzi who so famously trounced the Rome TDK Golden League 1500m field last summer, a line-up which included Hicham El Guerrouj, yesterday won the 1500m in 3:34.74, ahead of Boaz Cheboiywo of Kenya (3:35.20).

Heptathlete Perry tops Hurdles

Michelle Perry, a 2004 U.S. Olympian in the Heptathlon won the women’s 100m hurdles in a career-best 12.65 running in a 1.4 mps headwind to turn back Delloreen Ennis-London of Jamaica (12.77) and USATF Indoor 60m hurdle champion Danielle Carruthers (12.83).

It was the second career-best in eight days for Perry, who finished second in 12.71 to training partner and Athens gold medallist Joanna Hayes in the adidas meet. Despite her recent showings in the barriers, Perry has no intent of dropping the heptathlon.

“The hurdles has always been my favorite event but I think that I can do good things in the heptathlon to so that I think that I am going to push for both,” Perry said. “Being a heptathlete, I didn’t get to run that many (hurdle) races. Everybody thought that ‘Oh, she is just a heptathlete,’ but now that I have an opportunity to get into the races.”

Coaching change good for Arnold

Dominique Arnold won the 110m Hurdles in 13.21 for the second-fastest time by an American this season.

Arnold, 31, emerged on the national scene after winning the 1996 NCAA title as a Washington State senior advancing to the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials finals. The last two seasons, however, Arnold failed to qualify for the finals of the 2003 USA Track & Field Championships hampered by “turf toe” and the 2004 Olympic Trials with an Achilles’ tendon injury.

“People have said `Nique where have you been?’,’’ Arnold said. “Well I’ve been hurt. Fortunately God Bless my Body, I’ve been healthy.” And happy to be back in California. Arnold trained for the last two years at Penn State under Jeff McAuley, but was left without a coach when McAuley, who coaches 2004 Athens Olympic women’s 200m Olympian Connie Moore, was hired at South Carolina last June.

Arnold strained his Achilles’ tendon while training on a banked-200-metre indoor track while trying to escape the frigid Pennsylvania winter. He only managed a best of 13.31 and did not advance out of the first round in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. That’s when high hurdler and acquaintance, Larry Wade, who is also coached by Smith, offered to lend his assistance to Arnold while he searched for a coach. One thing led to another and Arnold was invited to train with Smith’s HSI team.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Arnold said. “I didn’t have a coach anymore and I wanted to come back to California. I always had a relationship with Coach Smith. I felt like I was part of HSI because I hung out with the guys anyways. The circumstances kind of worked themselves out.’’

Pauli and O’Hara Pole Vault winners

Jacob Pauli was the surprise victor in the Pole Vault after the showdown between Athens Olympic gold medal and silver medallists Tim Mack and Toby Stevenson fizzled after both vaulters failed to clear a height. Pauli won at 5.75m with Brad Walker in second at 5.65m after Mack and Stevenson were eliminated at their opening heights.

Tracey O’Hara won the women’s pole vault with a career-best 4.60m for the No. 2 mark in the world this season to move into fourth on the all-time U.S. list. Dana Buller broke the Canadian record for the second week in a row to finish second at 4.60m. Last year, O’Hara became the seventh American to scale the magical 15-foot barrier.

“I am kind of excited because the bar didn’t feel that high. It’s a big barrier for the women’s pole vault in general. For me, it is just a number. I want to jump 15-5 this year.”

Two days before the meet, O’Hara was informed that the women’s Pole Vault was withdrawn from prize money eligibility. The 2002 NCAA outdoor champion from UCLA said that helped serve as her inspiration on Monday. “All of us were pretty bitter about it,” O’Hara said. “Everyone kind of had a negative attitude and I just tried to think of it as an opportunity to get into meets into Europe and get bonuses with my contract. I looked at it in a different way and tried to make a positive out of it."

And elsewhere in Palo Alto…

Grace Upshaw, who lives in nearby Menlo Park and trains at Stanford, spanned 6.73m to win the women’s Long Jump over Brianna Glenn (6.60m) for the No.2 mark by an American in 2005.

In the men’s Triple Jump, Kenta Bell overtook Marcus Jones on his final attempt to win, 16.93m to 16.57m.

Brian Johnson and Miguel Pate each posted best of 8.17m in the Long Jump to equal the second-best mark of the season by an American. Johnson was the awarded the victory with his wind-aided jump on the basis of a longer second-best mark.

David Krummenacker and Frances Santin came on strong at the finish to win the men’s and women’s 800m. Krummenacker clocked 1:45.19 to overtake Gary Reed of Canada by a hundredth of a second at the finish. Santin, a former 400m hurdler, edged Canadian Amy Teteris at the line, 2:01.44 to 2:01.90.

Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica was the women’s 1500m winner in 4:07.11. Steve Slattery was the steeplechase winner in 8:38.89.

Kirby Lee for the IAAF