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July 25, 2010
MONCTON, Canada - Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) capped his sensational 2010 campaign in style on Sunday, capturing silver-medal honors in the 800-meters at the IAAF World Junior Championships, at Moncton 2010 Stadium. Loxsom joins fellow Nittany Lion Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas) on the list of Penn State athletes on the medal stand at the Championships, after Britton turned in a third-place effort in the 400-meter hurdles yesterday afternoon.
"It was a phenomenal race out of Cas Loxsom today, to bring back a silver medal from the World Championships," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field Beth Alford-Sullivan. "He ran such a gutsy and tenacious race strategy, and it paid off in the end. Credit goes to (Assistant Coach) John Gondak for having Cas prepared for such an exciting effort. The future looks great for Penn State Track and Field, and of course, Cas Loxsom."
Loxsom was out to the front of the pack from the gun, sticking to the shoulder of Kenyan Dickson Kipsang Tuwei, who took the field through the first 400-meters in 52.19. With 200 meters remaining, Loxsom pushed to the head of the field, hanging on for second in a furious finish, in which Kenya's David Mutinda Mutua sped up on the outside, nipping Loxsom in the closing meters, 1:46.41 to 1:46.57. Fellow American Robby Andrews of the University of Virginia turned in a third-place effort in 1:47.00.
"I had the same game plan as yesterday," said Loxsom postrace in an IAAF interview. "I sat on the Kenyan - man, he was strong at the end. I thought I had it. He snuck up on me. It was a tough prelim yesterday; maybe I opened up a little too much."
The two-three finish by the Americans is a historic one, as Loxsom and Andrews are the first U.S. athletes to ever make the medal stand in the men's 800 at the World Junior event. Not only are Loxsom and Andrews the first two Americans to ever medal in the men's 800, but are the first American medalists in any distance event from 800- to 10,000-meters since the meet's inception in 1986. The previous best American finish in the men's 800 was a seventh-place effort by David Krummenaker in 1994, with the highest overall finish in a men's distance race being fifth-place standings on three different occasions. The only distance medal won by a U.S. athlete - male or female - was a bronze by Rebekah Noble in the 800 in 2006.
"This has been a wonderful experience for Cas to represent the United States on the international level," said Gondak, the Lion's middle distance coach. "Cas and Robby did a fantastic job in earning the first medals ever in the event. To end your season running your personal best after three rounds is pretty impressive. Cas definitely has some very exciting things in his future."
"But, I mean, I still felt strong. I'm happy with the PR. I think I can go a little faster," continued Loxsom. "I'm happy with silver. I'm happy with two medalists. It's definitely a cool experience to be able to run around the track with another American. It's good exposure to an international competition that I haven't had before. I felt really good. I'm content. I'm happy with what I did."
Loxsom's effort will also go down in Nittany Lion history, as the mark stands as the second-fastest ever run by a Penn State athlete, passing Ray Levitre's 1:46.62 from 1987. Randy Moore owns the Penn State record, after clocking 1:45.96 in 1985. The New Haven, Conn., native's 1:46.57 is also the seventh-best performance by a U.S. junior (19 and under).
"What an honor to have our two athletes represent the U.S. and bring home silver and bronze medals," said Sullivan. "This will certainly give our programs a great deal of momentum going into next year."
The U.S. ended the meet atop the medal standings, tying Kenyan with 15 total medals. Russia had the third most with nine.
All-Time U.S. Junior 800-Meter Standings
1. 1:44.3* (hand-time) Jim Ryun 1968 (converted from 1:44.9 for 880-yards)
2. 1:45.34 Jose Parrilla 1991
3. 1:45.54 Robby Andrews 2010
4. 1:46.42 Anthony Tufariello 1978
5. 1:46.45 Michael Granville 1996
6. 1:46.5 (hand-time) Mark Winzenried 1968
7. 1:46.57 Cas Loxsom 2010
8. 1:46.58 George Kersh 1987
9. 1:46.67 David Mack 1980
10. 1:46.99 Gabe Jennings 1998
All-Time Penn State 800-Meter Standings
1. 1:45.96 Randy Moore, 1985
2. 1:46.57 Cas Loxsom, 2010
3. 1:46.62 Ray Levitre, 1987
4. 1:46.78 Ryan Foster, 2009
5. 1:46.81 Chris Mills, 1987
6. 1:46.82 Ken Wynn, 1983
7. 1:47.63 Mike Cook, 1982
8. 1:47.83 Mark Miller, 2008
9. 1:48.84 Steve Balkey, 1988
10. 1:48.85 Owen Dawson, 2010