ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ex-Charger has two personal bests
So, which was better – Curtis Beach’s day or Sharon Day? You be the judge.
Beach, the former Albuquerque Academy star, established two personal bests Friday on the first day of the heptathlon at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships. It was his first performance in his hometown since he left for Duke University in 2009.
“It was just so easy to get motivated with my whole family here,” Beach said after compiling a first-day total of 3,318 points at the Albuquerque Convention Center – placing him third entering today’s final three events.
The case can be made, however, that Day’s day was even better – because her event is over. The two-time Olympian defended her U.S. indoor pentathlon title in comfortable fashion, finishing with a points total of 4,478 – 145 better than runner-up Bettie Wade.
Lindsay Lettow was third, another 32 points back.
Pleased but not satisfied describes Day’s reaction afterward.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was trying to go after the American record (shared by DeDee Nathan and Hyleas Fountain), which is 4,753,” she said. “With a little better hurdles, a little better high jump, it would have been a lot easier to achieve that.
“But the score is still OK, and I’m happy with the win, definitely, coming back and winning two years in a row.”
Day also is entered in Sunday’s high jump, the event in which she represented the U.S. at Beijing in 2008. She competed in the outdoor heptathlon in London.
Pleased and delighted described Beach’s outlook after the first four of seven.
After a so-so start in the 60-meter dash, a clocking of 7.13 seconds that left him in eighth place, he just missed a personal best in the long jump with a leap of 24-2 1/2.
In the shot put, by far his weakest event, the slender 6-footer easily surpassed his previous best with an effort of 42-10 1/4.
Then came the high jump, in which he faced elimination at three different heights with two misses before clearing the bar on his third attempt. One of his flirtations with disaster came at 6-2 3/4.
Yet, Beach wound up finishing second in the high jump with a clearance of 6-11 – surpassing his previous best, set four years ago as a senior at Academy, by an inch-and-a-half.
“Almost everything I do, I don’t do it until I have to do it,” he said. “… Third attempts, I have to do it.
“For some reason my mindset changes, and I make it happen. … Being here in Albuquerque, it was easy to get motivated. I was just able to get over each bar.”
Had Beach not been successful on that third jump at 6-2 3/4, it would have cost him almost 200 points.
As it stands, he trails leader Gunnar Nixon by 209 points and second-place Trey Hardee, the 2012 decathlon silver medalist, by 87. Beach typically has a strong second day: the 60-meter hurdles, the pole vault and the 1,000 meters, his best event.
The effort he expended during the high jump – 18 attempts – he believes, won’t affect him today.
“I think with everyone here (family and friends), I’ll find the energy,” he said.
Daniel Gooris, the former Cibola star and Beach’s close friend, is 10th in the heptathlon after the first day with a score of 2,876. His marks were 7.43 in the 60-meter dash, 21-8 3/4 in the long jump, 44-6 in the shot put and 6-2 3/4 in the high jump. The Northern Iowa senior’s best event, the pole vault, is yet to come.
It was truly a great Day and a BeachEx-Charger has two personal bests
USA TRACK & FIELD
— This article appeared on page D3 of the Albuquerque Journal