DES MOINES — UNO standout Sami Spenner finished 10th in the heptathlon Friday at the U.S. track and field championships.
Spenner, a senior-to-be from Columbus, finished with 5,768 points, just off her personal best and school record of 5,806. She set four personal bests in the competition at Drake Stadium.
Sharon Day, a 2012 Olympian, won the heptathlon with 6,550 points, the best score in the world this year. Bettie Wade (6,018) and Erica Bougard (5,990) finished second and third, respectively. The trio will represent the U.S. at the World Championships in Moscow in August.
Arizona State’s Shakeia Pinnick, who finished third in the heptathlon at the NCAA outdoor championship this season, was the only collegian to finish ahead of Spenner. Pinnick placed seventh with 5,933 points.
The top 10 heptathletes — including Spenner — are eligible for the Thorpe Cup, the annual competition pitting the U.S. against Germany. This year’s Thorpe Cup will be held July 27 and 28 in Chula Vista, Calif. Seven multi-event athletes will represent the U.S. in the competition, but UNO coach Steve Smith said he likes Spenner’s chances of being selected to the event.
“Typically the three athletes going to the World Championships will decline invites to the Thorpe Cup to spend more time in training,” Smith said. “Sami was officially invited to be a part of the pool of athletes eligible for the Thorpe Cup, and she will find out soon of that status. We were told her selection was about 95 percent assured, so we’ll be hoping for positive news.”
Also Friday, Tyson Gay overcame a slow start to win the 100 meters, surging past Justin Gatlin halfway through the race.
Gay proved his surgically repaired hip is just fine as he finished in 9.75 seconds, the fastest in the world this season. Gatlin wound up second, but there was a momentary delay to decide third place. Charles Silmon ended up holding off Michael Rodgers by two-thousandths of a second.
In the women’s 100, Oregon star and NCAA champion English Gardner — who recently turned pro — breezed past the field. Octavious Freeman was second and Alexandria Anderson took third to round out the team headed to Moscow for the world championships in August.
Rebekah Topham, a junior-to-be at Griswold (Iowa) High School, finished second in her heat of the junior women’s 1,500-meter run. Topham, running for the Omaha-based Cornhusker Flyers, ran a 4:40.11, sixth-best overall. She will compete Saturday afternoon in the final.
Also Saturday, the senior women’s 1,500-meter final will feature 17-year-old Mary Cain of Bronxville, N.Y. Cain posted the second fastest time in Thursday’s preliminaries, at 4:11.48.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.