Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


June 22, 2013

Seeing double

Awards continue to pile of for Neeley sisters as summer begins


The top two finishers in each event will represent the United States in the Junior Pan American Games in Medellin, Colombia August 23-25, meaning Bethany will represent her country in South America.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet," she said. "We just found out a week and a half ago that we were coming out here [to Des Moines]. My goal was to make the top two, and meeting that goal is special, but it’s kind of tough because Britt finished third in her event. She’s an alternate, so if one of the top two get hurt or pull out of the race, she would be the next one to go.

Brittany finished third in Friday's 800 run finals in 2:06.68, narrowly missing the nod to the Pan American junior squad. Baylor University freshman Olicia Williams won the event in 2:06.35, while Stanford University freshman Claudia Sanders was second in 2:06.46 to claim the final Pan American qualifying spot. Brittany made a late charge down the homestretch, moving from sixth to third but came up .22 seconds short of the top two. She finished ahead of competitors from colleges such as Oklahoma State, Iowa, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.

“It’s just frustrating being so close, within .2 of qualifying for Pan Am," Brittany said. "But I definitely can’t complain. I was talking with Beth and it dawned on me that I went from a 2:14 or 2:16 800 runner to this, so there’s not much more I could've asked for. If I had to choose one of us to go it would be Beth. I’m coming out of here with no regrets and trying to keep a smile on my face.”

Brittany won her preliminary heat Thursday in 2:09.75. That made her the No. 4 seed in the event’s final heat. She ran a 2:07.91 in the state finals' 800 to set a new state record. Friday's time was the seventh fastest time run in the United States this season according to the Indianapolis Star's David Woods.

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