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McNaney 13th with Best-Ever Day One Score

June 27, 2008  Eugene, Ore.  RSS
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Danielle McNaney is currently in 13th place in the heptathlon at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, and recorded her best-ever day one point total. (Photo by Pete Aiken)

Danielle McNaney is currently in 13th place in the heptathlon at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, and recorded her best-ever day one point total. (Photo by Pete Aiken)

Danielle McNaney, a 2005 Liberty graduate, sits in 13th place after Friday's opening-day heptathlon action at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field, but it was hardly an unlucky day for her at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Sparked by a personal best in the 100-meter hurdles, she tallied her highest-ever day one score, 3,354.

McNaney was one of numerous athletes to take advantage of strong tailwinds on the opening day of the Trials. Pushed along by a stiff, 3.5 m/s tailwind, the Liberty and Big South Conference heptathlon record holder inaugurated the day with a personal-best 100-meter hurdle clocking, 13.80. The stellar performance set the stage for her three remaining events.

"I came into the meet with a lot of confidence, because my practices have been going well," noted McNaney. "To do that well in the hurdles just solidified my confidence and served as a springboard into the rest of my events."

McNaney used a pair of clutch, third-attempt clearances in the high jump to come within 1.25 inches of her personal best, at 5-6.5. She then closed out the day with two more solid marks. She stretched the measuring tape to 38-9.75 in the shot put, and another strong breeze aided her to a 25.35 effort in her final discipline, the 200-meter dash. At day's end, McNaney found herself 62 points ahead of her personal-best pace.

Perhaps no one enjoyed Friday's tailwinds more than Nike heptathlete Hyleas Fountain. She opened the meet with a bang, setting an American record for the heptathlon 100-meter hurdles at 12.65. When all was said and done, the defending national champion accumulated 3,989 opening-day markers. Fountain will take a 239-point lead over second-place Diana Pickler into day two.

McNaney will complete the heptathlon on Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Her three remaining events are among the Kansas native's best disciplines—the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run. A year ago, McNaney jumped from 17th place to ninth on day two of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships heptathlon.

"Day two is usually a better day for me," admitted McNaney. "I'm really looking for a solid long jump, because my competitions have not been a good representation of my training. I've been practicing better than I've been competing. To start off well in the long jump would be huge."