June 28, 2009
Eugene, OR – Shawn Crawford won the men’s 200m dash Sunday to cap a solid week’s worth of performances from five former Clemson track & field standouts at the USA Outdoor Championships. Crawford’s victory was his third USA Outdoor crown. He previously won the 200m dash in 2001 and 2004.
“I feel like I’m blessed,” Crawford said after his win. “I still wake up every morning and go to practice. For me to still be able to come out here to these championships and run around with these younger guys, I just feel blessed. At my age, I know a lot of people that I came into the sport with are gone, they’re not in it any more. So I just feel blessed to still be able to beat some younger guys.”
Crawford cruised to a first-place finish in the 200m after posting a time of 19.73 (wind-aided). He returns to the IAAF World Championships, scheduled for August 15-23 in Berlin, Germany. Crawford, who competed at Clemson from 1997-2000, won the Olympic gold medal in the 200m dash in 2004 in Athens, Greece.
Perhaps the most impressive factor for Crawford was that his championship followed three grueling rounds of the 100m dash and two rounds in the 200m. Crawford competed in the 100m final alongside former Clemson great and NCAA record-holder Travis Padgett (2005-08). Padgett was fourth (10.02), while Crawford placed fifth (10.07) in a wind-aided final. Padgett and Crawford are both strong candidates for the 4x100m relay pool. The two combined to help Team USA to a Penn Relays championship and meet record earlier this outdoor season.
The best story of the week was courtesy of former ACC long jump champion George Kitchens, who competed at Clemson from 2002-05. Kitchens placed third in the long jump Saturday evening with a personal best jump of 27 feet. He recorded the mark on his first jump of the finals. His mark hit the A standard for the IAAF World Championships, but his performance was wind-aided Saturday. He has until August 1 to hit a B standard with a legal wind, which is 26’5″, to compete at Berlin.
A four-time All-American for the Tigers, Kitchens’ collegiate best was 25’10.75″. Kitchens still resides in the Clemson area and has continued to train throughout the past several years at the school’s track & field facilities. For the last six weeks, he has shown steady improvement under the watchful eye of Clemson’s Director of Track & Field, Lawrence Johnson.
Matt Clark had a solid outing in his first-ever USA Outdoor meet. The Hyannis, MA native and 2008 All-American for Clemson was 13th out of 24 runners in the 5000m final. He posted a time of 13:56.84. Clark runs for McMillan Elite, a club based out of Flagstaff, AZ.
Mitch Greeley also competed this past week. A three-time All-American in the pole vault and school record-holder in the event, Greeley was 15th out of 22 competitors on Saturday. He cleared the opening height of 17’8.5″ on his second attempt, but fell short in three tries at 18’2.5″. Greeley currently trains in Jonesboro, AR.
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