Sharon Day-Monroe wins the USA pentathlon for the fourth straight time, by Elliott Denman

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Sharon Day-Monroe, winning in 2015, numero four in a row! by PhotoRun.net


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Sharon Day-Monroe, winning in 2013 (she has now won in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015), photo by PhotoRun.net

In a year when NOTHING is on the line in USA indoor champs but bragging rights, there have been some surprisingly outstanding events. The penthathlon showed just how good Sharon Day-Monroe, an ASICS athlete, is. The women's and men's 300 meters gave Under Armour two titles with two athletes entered in the meet (not bad), and the women's mile gave us Shannon Rowbury (Nike) and Katie Mackey (Brooks). 

Elliott Denman, channelling Harry Belafonte, the famous singer and activist, writes poetically and enthusiastically about Ms. Day-Monroe, who is an exceptional athlete, standing out in a year when few are enthused on the USA Indoor. But,the crowd has been decent and running races like the 2 mile, not contested in a USA Indoor Champs since 1931 (with a record of 9:07, from 1929 by Edvin Vide of Sweden), are classics. 
 By ELLIOTT DENMAN
    BOSTON - Day-o, day-o-o-o, Harry Belafonte would have loved it.
   USATF's tallymen tallied all of Sharon Day-Monroe's performances in the two-day women's
pentathlon at the USA Indoor Championships and they turned out remarkably well for the 29-year-old
 California Olympic veteran.
    Daylight came Friday and it turned into Sharon Day-Monroe's day. Saturday, too.  No
one who came to the Reggie Lewis Track and Field Center was in a rush to wann-a go home. 
   Me-sa-day, me-sa-day,  o-o-o, SDM's tally was 8.56, 1.83, 15.41, 5.94, 2:13.45 and 4,654.
   And those impressive numbers, let us tell you, mon, were not bananas.
  Only a decidedly diligent, determined track and field devotee might be able
to tally the meaning of those figures - so we'll save you the effort.
   Sharon Day-Monroe ran the 60-meter hurdles in 8.56 seconds, high jumped 1.83 meters (6 feet even)
 and put the shot 15.41 meters (50 feet, 6 ¾ inches) Friday to take a big opening-day lead.
   And she carried right on with a 5.94-meter  long jump (19 feet, 6 inches) and the 2:13.45 800 meters
Saturday to wrap up a 4,654-point tally for her fourth consecutive win in the Indoor National
pentathlon.
  Four in a row was an unprecedented feat and SDM won three of the five events outright (HJ, SP and 
LJ) to make it even more of a runaway.
It's too darn bad the Indoor Nationals wasn't a qualifying meet - the next edition of the World Indoor
Championships comes to Portland, Oregon in March 2016.
   But you know that SDM will be ready to roll - in a big-time way - when the USA Outdoor Nationals return to
Eugene in late June 2015 as the official qualifier for the IAAF World Outdoor Championships to be
 held in Beijing, China, in August.
    Her 2014 National pentathlon tally - when  the meet was held in Albuquerque - was 4,805 points and
 that's still the American record. But her 4,654 score this time was nothing to sneeze at, either.
  Santa Barbara Track Club's Barbara Nwaba was a distant second with 4,389 points and Kaylon
 Eppinger third at 4,318 in the field of 10.
   SDM had done it all in brilliant careers at Costa Mesa High School and then Cal Poly San Luis
 Obispo - with soccer and volleyball also on her list of favorite pursuits - but has emerged 
as America's best hope of someday-somehow emulating the world record-breaking, triple Olympic 
medal-winning feats of Jackie Joyner, generally recognized as the nation's - maybe the world's - 
finest-ever female athlete.
  And some even suggest removal of the word "female" from that sentence.   It's not hard to argue that
JJK was the finest athlete - ever - of either gender.
  America's tallymen of track and field anxiously await the day the similarly double-barreled-named
Day-Monroe emulates the Joyner-Kersee feats.
   "To be the first one to do that (four consecutive National Indoor pentathlon crowns), that's really 
cool, awesome, in fact," said SDM, after she'd - yes - cooled down.
   "It feels great to be even mentioned in the same conversation as Jackie," said SDM.
  "She was amazing, We can all be inspired to be like her.
   "A lot of what Jackie did was due to consistency.  Just being great in the same events, every 
time,  every meet.
   "I know I can put together a great meet, I have marks that individually can add up to a really big 
score, I know I can do that.
   "I don't know what that score is exactly, but it would be pretty close to 6900, maybe 7000(compared 
to JJK's long-standing world record of 7,291.) "
    SDM's strongest events of the pentathlon are the first two - 100 meter hurdles and
high jump. "Shot put's a pretty strong event for  me, too," she reminds you.
   So she's off and running after a typical heptathlon and, with low 24ish 200-meter sprint speed (she 
aims to break into the 23s soon), she's as good a first-day heptathlete as any American since JJK
   
  "My goal is to ultimately score over 4,100 points that first day, and then continue to improve
over the second day," says SDM.
  Typically, though, trouble looms as day two opens.
  "The long  jump (first event on day two of the heptathlon) is where I run into trouble," she
confesses.  "It is definitely my weakest event; I'm just very inconsistent."
 Ironically so,too, since the long jump was Jackie Joyner-Kersee's very best individual event.
In fact, she has a LJ Olympic gold.
  "The long jump's been a struggle for me my whole heptathlon career and I don't know why," says 
SDM..
   "It's putting everything together, good speed down the runways, good takeoff, then
pretty good landing.  Doing all that at high speed is what I struggle with, and I can't
tell you why.
  "Then again, I'm definitely working on it."  (With coach Jack Hoyt) at their UCLA-
based training  sessions.
   "My javelin is a solid event for me, a lot like my shot put. I'm pretty good at it, and getting better, 
but it's hard to get a lot of points out of it. "
  So, finally the 800 meters.
  "I've run a 2:08 but only problem there is a lot of other people these days are running that 800 pretty 
fast, 2:10 at least," she analyzes.
  Through it all, Sharon Day Monroe's tallies of major meet finishes show a steady upward climb.
   SDM was fourth in the pentathlon at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland,
after taking sixth in the heptathlon  at the 2013 World Outdoor Championships in Moscow and 16th at 
the 2012 London Olympic Games.
  A seven NCAA All-American high jumpermultiple champion of the Big West Conference, and
 keen anayst of her athletic numbers game, she tallies up her multi-event totals and comes out 
convinced every time, 
"slowly but surely I am getting there."

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