Thursday, August 04, 2016

Chantae McMillan wins first USATF Athlete of the Week in wake of Thorpe Cup record

Chantae McMillan wins first USATF Athlete of the Week in wake of Thorpe Cup record

INDIANAPOLIS -- Chantae McMillan is no stranger to international competition, competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games and most recently, the 2016 Thorpe Cup. Last weekend, the 2012 Olympian struck gold at the Thorpe Cup competition against Germany, as she blew away the heptathlon competition to a new meet record of 6,260 points and her first USATF Athlete of the Week honor.

The Thorpe Cup, taking place at the University of Arkansas, featured the match between Team USA and Germany, in which 14 athletes competed in multi-events. McMillan (Rolla, Missouri) began her weekend strong by placing second in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.22 and placing third in the 200m, putting her in first place after the first day of competition.

On the final day of heptathlon events, McMillan continued her success from day one by placing second in the long jump and first in the javelin throw.

In addition to McMillan’s performance on the track, she performed exceptionally well in the field events. In the high jump, McMillan won the event with a leap of 1.79m/5-10.5, and following her performance by narrowly placing second in the shot put. McMillan’s throw of 14.46/47-5.25 was scarcely beaten by teammate Barbara Nwaba’s throw of 14.47/47-5.75.

McMillan rounded out the Thorpe Cup by finishing in the top three in six of the seven events, including two first-place finishes (high jump, javelin throw). McMillan’s 6,260 point total earns her a new meet record, besting Nwaba’s record of 6,205 points set in 2014.

“I went in knowing the meet record was in reach, so that was one of the goals going in, and I’m thankful for that knowing I have my name in the record books,” McMillan said. “I’m still growing as an athlete physically and mentally, and I look forward to getting back out there next meet.”

McMillan’s record-setting performance contributed to Team USA’s own record-setting performance, scoring a team record 18,330 points in the heptathlon. McMillan and fellow Americans Lindsay Lettow, Lindsay Schwartz, and Allison Reaser, improved upon the previous team record set by Team USA in 2013.

“I just really stressed the importance of enjoying the process,” McMillan said. “I was just trying to go about this meet in a different way. I was trying to enjoy it and learn about myself mentally and not stress about pressure like other meets.”

McMillan’s performance at the Thorpe Cup comes after her fifth place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials - Track and Field in July.

Other notable performances include:
  • Yamilet Lopez (Fontana, California) set a national youth record in both the 800m and 1500m this weekend at the USATF Junior Olympic Championships. Lopez started off her showing by winning the girls’ 8 & under 800m with a time of 2:38.11. Lopez continued on the final day of competition by winning the 1500m with a time of 5:16.29, breaking the existing record by more than 5 seconds.
  • Joe Gray (Colorado Springs, Colorado) won his eleventh national title at the USATF 30k Trial Championships on Saturday, winning the race by nearly six minutes in a time of 1:47:35. Gray, 32, collected another national title as a distance runner that competes over various distances and terrains. Gray will represent Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria this fall.
  • Alina McDonald (Pacolet, South Carolina) won the women’s 17-18 pole vault at the USATF Junior Olympics with a national youth record-setting vault of 4.23m/13-10.5, clearing the record that was previously set by Natalie Willer in 2008. This victory marks McDonald’s second of the summer, after taking gold at the USATF Youth Outdoor Championships in June.
  • Braylon Thomas (Fayetteville, North Carolina) set a duo of National records at the USATF Junior Olympics, breaking boy’s 8 & under records in both the 200m and 400m. Thomas broke the 400m record with a time 1:04.67 in the semi-finals round, after breaking the 200m record in the semi-finals round before bettering his time in the finals, 27.92.
Now in its 15th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2016 Winners: Jan. 13, Garrett Heath; Jan. 20, Donavan Brazier; Jan. 27, Keni Harrison; Feb. 3, Jenn Suhr; Feb. 10, Vashti Cunningham; Feb. 17, Galen Rupp; Feb. 24, John Nunn; March 2, Curtis Beach; March 11, Bill Collins; March 16, Da’mira Allen; March 24, Michelle Carter; March 31, Janet Bawcom; April 8, Maria Michta-Coffey; April 14, Keni Harrison; April 22, LaShawn Merritt; April 28, Courtney Okolo; May 6, Ida Keeling; May 12, Willie Gault; May 18, Marquise Goodwin; June 2, Keni Harrison; June 9, Tia Brooks; June 16, Donavan Brazier; June 23, Sydney McLaughlin; June 30, Tia Jones; July 7, Allyson Felix; July 15, Bernard Lagat; July 22, Allen Woodard; July 29, Keni Harrison; August 5, Chantae McMillan.

We welcome your nominations!
To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to

Andrew Eisch
Communications Intern

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