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Mike Malloy / Special to The Forum, Published June 26 2010

USA Outdoor: Januszewski gets berth in 800 finals

DES MOINES, Iowa – Overheated and boxed in. Certainly doesn’t sound like the start of a happy ending, but such was the case Friday for North Dakota State graduate Laura Januszewski at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Januszewski placed sixth in the women’s senior preliminary 800-meter run, good enough to advance to Sunday’s eight-woman final. She won the same race in New York City at the Adidas Grand Prix two weeks ago, but Friday she shaved more than a second off that time to finish in 2:02.13.

Initially it didn’t look as good. Januszewski, running in Lane 1, was pinned amid a cluster of seven other runners. Running in the second of two heats, she knew she needed at least 2:02 to advance. An opening eventually came, and with a chance to advance both on the track and in the meet.

“This is probably the first race that I felt that I could get boxed in. Someone was on my side the whole time, but luckily Hazel (Clark) moved out just enough for me to get through (on the last turn). I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “It might have been a little dangerous to run like that.”

Januszewski, who holds school records in the outdoor 800 and 1,500 and four indoor events, has had success in Des Moines before, winning the 800 at the 2009 Drake Relays. Later that season she finished second in the NCAA meet, becoming the first Bison to earn Division I All-American honors.

Her previous trip to Des Moines did little to prepare her for the high humidity and 86 degree temperature at race time.

“I’m not used to this, as you can see, I’m sweating like crazy,” said a glistening Januszewski said. “Fargo can get hot, but not like this.”

She used the day (race began at 7:15 p.m.) to acclimate to the heat, and also search the crowd. Despite being a ways from home, Januszewski had a strong rooting section, some of which also were running against the clock.

“My husband, Jake, my mom, my dad, my brother, my uncle and Jake’s mom, dad, and sister,” she said. “His mom, dad, and sister barely got here. I saw them walking in when I was getting ready.”

Heather Zander of North Dakota State finished Day 1 of the heptathlon in 13th place. Through four events – 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, and the 200-meter dash – Zander had compiled 3,238 points. The final three events – long jump, javelin, and the 800-meter run – are today. Hyleas Fountain leads with 4,068 after winning all four events.

Purdue alumnae Kara Patterson sent an “ooh” through the Drake Stadium crowd when it was announced that she had set an American record in the javelin. Her toss of 218 feet, 9 inches sailed past the old mark of 210 feet, 7 inches set by Kim Kreiner in 2007.