BEIJING - Team USA's women had a relatively easy time in qualifying rounds Saturday morning at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium.
The U.S. women's 400 trio of Sanya Richards, Mary Wineberg and Dee Dee Trotter all will compete in Sunday's semifinal round. The #1-ranked Richards (Austin, Texas) won her quarterfinal heat in 50.54, the fastest time of the day. Wineberg (Cincinnati, Ohio) was second in heat 3 in 51.46 to advance automatically, and Trotter (Knoxville, Tenn.) was fourth in heat 1 in 51.41 and had to wait until all 7 rounds were completed to see if her time would hold up as one of three time-qualifying spots. It did, as the fastest non-automatic qualifier.
The United States will be represented by two women in tonight's shot put final as second-generation Olympian Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) and Jillian Camarena (Tucson, Ariz.) surpassed the automatic qualifying mark of 18.45m/60-6.5 in Saturday morning qualifying action. Carter beat the mark on her first attempt of 18.49m/60-8 to finish 12th overall in qualifying, while Camarena tossed a season-best 18.51m/60-8.75 on her third and final throw to sit in 13th. Kristin Heaston (Opelika, Ala.) was 23rd overall with a mark of 17.34m/56-10.75 and did not advance.
A pair of Americans will be in the women's pole vault final Monday night. American record holder Jenn Stuczynski (Churchville, N.Y.) cleared 4.50m/14-9 on her first attempt to advance, while April Steiner (Springdale, Ark.) also cleared 4.50. Erica Bartolina (Hammond, La.) failed to make her first height of 4.30/14-1.34 and will not be in the final.
Fam fares well in steeple
Competing in the city where he won the 2001 World University Games gold, Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tenn.) advanced to Monday's final of the men's 3,000m steeplechase with a bold, front-running effort in Saturday's semifinals. "Fam" took the lead from the gun, enjoying a gap of as much as 8 seconds, and wasn't passed until going over the last hurdle in the final stretch of his race. He ended third in his heat in 8:17.34, a new personal best, to get to the final. Billy Nelson (Longmont, Colo.) was 10th in the same race in 8:36.66, and Josh McAdams (Orem, Utah) was ninth in heat 3 in 8:33.26 as neither man advanced.
Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, Ohio) avoided disaster in the heptathlon and was in second place with 5,029 points after the fifth event, Saturday morning's long jump. After fouling on her first two attempts, Fountain was forced to play it safe and get in a legal mark in her third and last try. Barely getting her foot on the take-off board, she posted a mark of 6.38m/20-11.75 (969 points), the seventh-best jump of the competition. She owned the top personal best in the field (6.88m/227) heading into the meet but still stands in strong position heading into the last two events, the javelin and 800m. Natalia Dobrynska of Ukraine won the long jump with a mark of 6.63m/21-9 (1,049) and re-took the overall lead with 5,045 points. American Jaquelyn Johnson (Tempe, Ariz.) was in 21st place with 4,405 points after a long jump of 5.88m/19-3.5 (813).
The women's 100m crew eased through the quarterfinal round as Torri Edwards (Irvine, Calif.)
won heat 1 in 11.26, Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.) was second in heat 2 in 11.39, and Muna Lee (College Station, Texas) was third in heat 3 in 11.33.
Day 2 Team USA Quotes - morning session
Women's shot put qualifying
Jillian Camarena (Tucson, Ariz.): Practice has been going really well. Coming out today, I felt great. I would love to be on that medal stand tonight.
Michelle Carter (Austin, Texas): I'm feeling good. I started out a little nervous, but I made it. When I threw, I wasn't sure, but I made it through.
Kristin Heaston (Opelika, Ala.) I actually warmed up great, so it's a little disappointing. I hit the standard in warm-ups. I'm done competing for the year and I'm going to focus on cheering for my two teammates in the final.
Women's 100m, 1st round
Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.): It's nerve-racking. The key is stay relaxed. The stadium is packed at 9 a.m. and I'm really excited about fans showing up. I'm really excited about not having any pain in my body. I think it went excellent. I'm looking forward to tonight and working the kinks out and getting to the finals.
Muna Lee (College Station, Texas): It was really good. I'm just working on the beginning part of my race. I was nervous yesterday, I kind of relaxed once my coach came around. My coach just wanted me to go out and blast out of the blocks in the beginning. Its hard in the 8th lane, but I'm glad that I won. I want my body to be ready to do it (blast out of the blocks) the next time.
Torri Edwards (Irvine, Calif.): Itwas easy. I tried to go out and run as slow as I could and advance. I tried to gauge what everyone else was doing.
Women's 400m quarterfinals
Mary Wineberg (Cincinnati, Ohio): "I feel a little sluggish. That's sometimes how you feel the first day. I want to get faster each round. I wanted to get in the top three and that's what I did. I could have pushed for first but I just wanted to get through."
Sanya Richards (Austin, Texas): "I felt very good. I came out hard and ran the first 200 well. When I came off the curve, I wanted to make sure I secured the win. I never worry about time. I was surprised to see 50 (seconds). I thought it was a 51-pace race."
Dee Dee Trotter (Knoxville, Tenn.): "I'm very pleased with my performance today. I was pleased with my time. It was faster than just about every third-place time. I have not had a race since the Olympic Trials because of my knee. It was doing OK but over the last three or four days, my knee has become a problem. I've got some swelling. It wasn't until today that it started to go down."
Women's pole vault qualifying
Jenn Stuczynski (Churchville, N.Y.): "It wasn't pretty, but the goal was to get over any way you can. It was a lighter pole than I was used to."
Erica Bartolina (Hammond, La.): "I don't think I was prepared. I went for a little much, but I guess it wasn't my day. I felt like I have more experience and I learned from it. The plan was to go 4.30, 4.40, 4.50, and 4.50 made it in. It shouldn't have been that hard to do, but it turned out that it was. I didn't really execute any of my jumps well.
I'm coming away disappointed. I wasn't prepared for all the excitement and emotion. My biggest meet before this was the U.S. Trials. I went out there and gave it my best but sometimes when you go out there and give it your best and it's just not enough."
April Steiner (Springdale, Ark.): "I struggled a little bit in the beginning. I don't know what happened. But each bar got better and better, and I got through (to the final).
You just look up and 'holy crap, it's the Olympics!' I had to smile."