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Queen Harrison, Tenaya Jones Start Pan Ams Track Competition Off Right With 1-2 Finish For Team USA

By Daniel Kramer | July 22, 2015, 12:27 a.m. (ET)

Queen Harrison (R) and Tenaya Jones celebrate after winning the gold and silver medals, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games on July 21, 2015 in Toronto.

Watch the Pan American Games on the networks of ESPN.

TORONTO -- Queen Harrison and Tenaya Jones swept the top two podium spots in the women’s 100-meter hurdles on a day where Team USA’s track and field squad amassed nine medals at the Pan American Games.

Harrison and Jones, competitors on the IAAF Diamond League circuit, crossed in 12.52 and 12.84 seconds Tuesday night after each winning their semifinal heats earlier in the afternoon. Yet they embraced as confidantes while cloaked in two American flags.

“The whole time, the whole goal was always to go in there and get 1-2,” Harrison said. “I know Canada was going to try to go in there and get the gold and the silver, and sneak in there too, so we had to tell each other we have go and get the gold and silver and bring it back to the U.S. And I’m so glad we did.”

For Jones, it marked her first international assignment as part of Team USA.

“USA, just to say that name and just say you medaled and made a team, that’s an awesome feeling,” Jones said.

Watch the Pan American Games on the networks of ESPN.

Harrison narrowly missed qualifying for next month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing with a fourth-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships in June (only the top three advance), but said she views the Pan Ams as one of the top elite events of 2015.

In the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Cory Leslie’s bronze secured his first major international medal after circling the course in 8:36.83, while fellow American Donnie Cowart followed in fourth, finishing in 8:49.00. Canada’s Matt Hughes and Alexandre Genest took the top two spots.

Leslie surrendered the lead to Genest in the final 200 meters when crossing one of the final water jumps.

“I was fading, you can say it,” Leslie said. “I could tell (Genest) was coming just from the roar of the crowd. I had a pretty poor last water jump and I think I gave up a couple seconds there. Hats off to him. He ran a great last lap and was able to catch me.”

Wind was also a factor at the front of the 13-competitor field, Cowart said, with gusts reaching nearly 20 miles per hour.

Watch the Pan American Games on the networks of ESPN.

“A few guys kind of took it and would go and slow down, go and slow down,” Cowart said. “There were a few water jumps with a lot of traffic. I got stepped on a little bit there. I’m a smaller guy and my elbows can only span so far. So I was just kind of fighting my way through there.”

Meanwhile, Aron Rono’s silver-medal performance in the 10,000-meter was part of a down-to-the-wire finish that featured a pass for second in the final 200 meters of the 25-lap marathon.

With roughly 300 meters to go, Rono made an outside pass on Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed to take the lead, but said he expended energy in doing so and failed to maintain the spot over the final stretch.

“I knew he was strong and I was trying to run away because I know he’s a 5k runner so I know he’s got more speed than I do,” Rono said. “He’s strong. I saw him just coming on my shoulder and I was like: ‘Oh shoot.’”

Teammate Shadrack Kipchirchir finished fourth after experiencing tightness in his hamstring.  

Team USA’s other five medals of the day came from Amber Campbell (silver, hammer throw), Kara Winger (silver, javelin throw), Jake Blankenship (bronze, pole vault), Mark Hollis (bronze, pole vault) and Kellyn Taylor (bronze, 5,000-meter).

Related Athletes

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Queen Harrison

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Tenaya Jones

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Cory Leslie

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Aron Rono

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Amber Campbell

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Kara Winger

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Jake Blankenship

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Mark Hollis

Track and Field
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Kellyn Taylor