Filip and Champman win historic double for the USA in Ottawa

After a four-year drought, Scott Filip and Quintunya Chapman won a historic double for the USA at the 5th Pan American Combined Events Cup, part of the IAAF World Challenge, held at Ottawa’s Terry Fox stadium.

Second after Day 1, Champman moved to the lead after fellow American and overnight leader Chelsea Carrier pulled up her left quadriceps in the long jump. The 23-year old from Athens, Georgia, dominated the javelin with an equal season’s best of 42.26m and finished strong by running the fastest 800m of her career in 2:13.58.

Third at the US Championships in 2015, Champan scored her second heptathlon over 6000 points (6035) this season as she continues to aim at the Olympic qualifying mark of 6200.

This result “means that I have potential do a lot more with my training , mental wise and physically, just to get better for (the Olympic) trials” in two weeks. “I have not competed much this season, but I know where my potential lies and what I can go from here. I was definitely satisfied with my 200m and 800m times and my shot put. I know I can do the hurdles faster and once I perfect my high jump, get the technique down, I will be good to go,” commented Champman.

USA’s Allison Reaser finished strong to claim the silver medal with 5988, only two points less than her lifetime best. Two-time Olympic finalist Jessica Zelinka finished third with 5855 and clinched the national title as the Cup also served as the Canadian Championships.

The 2007 Pan American Games champion, who completed her first heptathlon in Ottawa 19 years ago, will retire after the 2016 season. She is still trying to qualify to her third Olympic Games.

Ottawa Lions´ Michele Krech finished 16th overall with 4552.

In the men’s field, 20-year old Pierce LePage of Whitby, ON, was en route for a massive personal best after an impressive 4393 total on the first day, thanks to excellent performances in 100m (10.63), long jump (7.52m), high jump (2.06m) and 400m (47.64).

He continued to lead after the Discus, but failed to clear a valid height in the pole vault after three misses over 4.25m. He continued to compete and finished 10th overall.

That paved the way for Filip, second after Day 1, who moved to the front with a 4.75m clearance. He remained consistent in the two last events and went on to win with 7726, a personal best by almost 80 points.

“The long jump was one of the highlights of my competition here. Ultimately when all the points added up, I had an overall score that was a personal best so I am pretty happy. For my first decathlon in a year after a surgery, it’s a great benchmark to start with. I was trying my best to focus on myself. I just wanted to stay on my own head and focus of doing the best that I could,” said Filpip, a Rice University student in Houston who still has two years in the NCAA circuit.

“It was surreal to step on the podium and listen to the national anthem. It was a great feeling, especially for my first international competition. I really didn’t expect it. I am really glad I had this opportunity,” he added.

Rustam Turner had a solid second day and moved from seventh to second to claim the Canadian title with a new personal best of 7565.

A pole vault specialist, USA’s Michael Morrison cleared a season’s best of 5.15m to move into a medal position. He eventually finished third with 7422.

Ottawa Lions´ Patrick Arbour finished improved his personal bests in the high jump (2.00m) and went under five minutes in the 1500m (4:58.63) for the first time in his career to finish fourth overall with 7386. This was the last decathlon of his career.

With the women’s gold and silver and the men’s gold and bronze, the team of the star and stripes also lifted the Capital Cup in both genders.

The pole vault proved to be disastrous for two other medal contenders: Grenada’s 2015 Pan American Games silver medallist Kurt Felix, and USA’s Tim Ehrhardt, third after Day 1. Felix finished seventh overall after two solid performances in the javelin and 1500m.

The Pan American Combined Events Cup ends on Sunday with the youth and junior competitions. A total of 81 athletes from 10 countries are taking part.