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Leslie Posts Top-Five Finish At Pan Am Cup

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Breanna Leslie won the 800 meters of the 2013 Pan American Combined Events Cup when she passed Canada's Rachael McIntosh with 50 meters to go, wrapping up a fifth-place finish in the heptathlon in her first-ever international meet representing the U.S.

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June 5, 2013
Joe Reinsch
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2013 Pan American Combined Events Cup: FULL RESULTS

OTTAWA, Canada -- In her first-ever international meet representing her country, Azusa Pacific senior Breanna Leslie posted a top-five finish with 5,552 points in the heptathlon at the Pan American Combined Events Cup June 1-2 in Ottawa, Canada.

Leslie finished the meet on a strong note, winning the 800 meters by passing Canada’s Rachael McIntosh in the final 50 meters for a time of 2:14.72. The 800-meter win solidified her top-five standing, and it pulled her within eight points of Cuba’s Yusleidy Mendieta (5,560 points) for fourth place in the meet.

“The whole thing was incredible, and it was unlike anything I’ve experienced,” Leslie said. “Being at a meet where you hear people speaking, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and English, but still being able to relate with each other and develop bonds with people even though I had no idea what they were saying was a unique experience. The marks weren’t exactly what I wanted, but the whole experience was really special.”

The U.S. and Cuba each had a pair of athletes finish in the top five, with Cuba’s Yorgeli Rodriguez winning the gold medal with a score of 5,947 points, while Lindsay Schwartz was the top American finisher in third place with 5,645 points. Paraguay’s Ana Camila Pirelli Cubas took second place, scoring 5,683 points. Throughout the competition, Leslie was never lower than seventh place overall, climbing into fifth by the end of the first day with an opening-day score of 3,379 points. She turned around and posted the fourth-highest day-two score of 2,173 points.

Leslie’s score of 5,552 was the second-best of her career, although she was 210 points off the career-best 5,762 she scored to set Azusa Pacific’s school-record at the Mt. SAC Relays Combined Events in April this year. Since that performance, Leslie wrapped up her collegiate outdoor season as the Track Athlete of the Meet at the 2013 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She registered NCCAA All-American performances in all six events she competed to lead the Cougars to the national title.

After opening with a time of 14.10 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, Leslie tied her high-jump PR of 5-feet, 7.25-inches after clearing the third attempt on consecutive heights. She threw 36-feet, 9.75-inches in the shot put before closing out the first day of competition with the third-fastest time in the 200 meters (24.45).

Leslie opened up day two with a jump of 17-feet, 0.75-inches in the long jump, her lowest mark in competition since her 2011 sophomore year, but she made up for it in the next event when she shattered her personal-best in the javelin by over six-and-a-half feet by throwing 130-feet, 3-inches. She closed out the day with the 800-meter win, settling in after the first 200 meters behind McIntosh, who spent the final lap fighting off several challenges for the lead. Leslie held steady ground before making her move on the final straightaway, finishing just 56-hundredths of a second off her season-best in the event.

“There were parts of the meet where it was rainy and windy, and there were times where the weather was great, but it took some adjusting on my part to realize that the majority of my meets from here on out aren’t going to be in beautiful Southern California,” Leslie said. “I might have put too much pressure on myself in a few of the events, but I was very pleased with javelin. I hadn’t PR’d in that event in two years, and although my 800 wasn’t a PR, I also felt relaxed and thought that race went very well.”

Leslie, who also made her first appearance in a U.S. senior national meet earlier this year at the U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships in March, has also qualified for next month’s U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which are held June 19-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

800 METER RACE VIDEO (courtesy of YouTube user APU TrackFan)