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Gwen Berry, Noah Lyles Break World Indoor Records At USA Track & Field Championships

By Associated Press | March 05, 2017, 2:35 p.m. (ET)

Noah Lyles celebrates victory in the men's 100-meter at the IAAF World U20 Championships at Zawisza Stadium on July 20, 2016 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Gwen Berry broke the world indoor record in the women's weight throw and Noah Lyles toppled the 300-meter mark Saturday in the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships.

Berry heaved the 20-pound weight 84 feet. Lyles finished in 31.87 seconds, pushed throughout the race by Paul Dedewo.

Berry made the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in the hammer throw, but was suspended for three months for using an asthma medication and her American record was stripped.

"It brought me to tears," Berry said. "My old teammate brought it up. I cried for a second because I've really been through a lot. It's just like in life, you go through a lot of things, but what defines you is if you fight back."

Losing the record has just made her work harder, even though a back injury a month ago almost derailed her effort.

"I really injured myself pretty bad four weeks ago," Berry said. "Two weeks ago, I wasn't even going to come. And I had the title snatched away from me, but I didn't give up. And I'm here today with a world record. You just have to keep fighting. That's what my coach has been preaching to me."

Now she aims to regain the record that was briefly hers.

"The weight ball has made me a better hammer thrower," Berry said. "The weight throw gives me more stability and it helps me with my speed and technique for the hammer. So hopefully, it translates into the American record for the hammer throw. That's my goal, and to make the World team."

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Lyles edged Dedewo by 0.05 seconds.

"I basically wanted to make it just like the prelims," Lyles said. "Get out hard. Stay out. I had a great guy out in lane six (Dedewo). I truly wanted to pass him the first chance I got. He just got out and I used that to sweep me along. I was definitely trying to battle him. He wasn't letting go and I'm glad he didn't let go because if he had let go, I wouldn't have gotten that world record."

In the end, Lyles had just enough of a kick to bust the tape first.

"I just stuck with my form," he said. "My coach always says, `Stick with your composure.' And I know that if I keep my composure, they might die out. I have really good confidence in my endurance so I knew if I just pumped hard and kept my stride for stride, I'd be good."

Erica Bougard, the pentathlon winner Friday, became the first woman to win two field events when she took the long jump at 21-1 1/2. She'll go for a third in the high jump Sunday.

"I really didn't expect win," she said. "I just wanted to go out there and have fun and that's what I did. I went out there carefree. I had already won what I needed to win."

High jumper Erik Kynard won for the fourth straight year, clearing 7 feet, 6 1/2 inches.

"At this level, as far as training and competing, you just get in the groove and put it in straight autopilot and just go," he said. "I look to take on the world but on any competitive stage I need to secure my responsibility here in America first. I actually take a little bit of pride in coming here and winning. I don't want to give anyone else any room to breathe as far winning the U.S. title."

Sam Kendricks won his third straight indoor pole title, getting over the bar at 19-2 1/2.

"I put the pole specifically at that and retired it because that's what won the European championships," he said. "And I want to be par with those guys because those are the guys I'm going to be competing against at the worlds this fall."

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