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Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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Ryan Crouser stayed in his groove, topping 72-feet for the 9th time in 11 meets this year. (GIANCARLO COLOMBO/PHOTO RUN)

Zagreb, Croatia, September 04—With the end of a long season approaching, the the year’s final IAAF World Challenge meet produced a mixed bag of performances. While the efforts of some athletes reflected the fatigue of an extended outdoor grind, others were able to dig down deep and produce some impressive late-season showings.

The affair opened with the men’s shot staged at dusk in the beautiful park-like Lenuci Horseshoe on the eve of the competition proper. Olympic champion Ryan Crouser vented some of the frustration of a season with some major losses with a fourth-round bomb of 72-5¾ (22.09), a put strong enough to vanquish new Diamond League champion Tom Walsh’s 71-5½ (21.78), giving the American a 5–3 lead in the yearly meetings between the two fierce rivals.

Other field-event highlights included a meet record vault by Diamond League champion Timur Morgunov (18-10¾ /5.76), discus victories by local favorite Sandra Perković (221-9/67.60) and Fedrick Dacres (a meet record 223-8/68.17), and a long jump win by Luvo Manyonga (27-9¼/8.46).

Nigel Amos uncorked a strong surge over the final 230m to capture the 800 in 1:44.08. “When I feel good with 200m to go, nobody can beat me,” declared the Botswanan winner, who stormed away from Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (1:44.43) and Kenya’s Jonathan Kitlit (1:44.50), with Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy fading to 6th (1:45.79).

Great starts settled the short dashes quickly. Ivory Coast speedster Marie-Josée Ta Lou (11.05) broke first and was never headed in the women’s 100. On the men’s side U.S. veteran Mike Rodgers (10.06) executed his usual quick getaway and held off Jamaican Tyquendo Tracey (10.18).

Andrea Ivančević set a Croatian Record 12.85 in the 100H, but she couldn’t rattle the high-powered American trio of Sharika Nelson (12.65), Brianna McNeal (12.66) and Christina Manning (12.79) who finished 1-2-3 ahead of her. The race marked the final competition of revered U.S. hurdler Dawn Harper-Nelson (7th in 13.25). One of the great hurdlers of all time, now 34, paused when asked how she would like to be remembered. “If you had to bet, you knew you’d put your money on Dawn because you know I’ll get the job done. I actually left that print on track & field. So that’s what I am,” offered the multiple-time global medalist. In response to a final inquiry about what’s next for her, the ’08 Olympic champion blurted, “Babies!”

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