Track and Field: Day-Monroe on pace for national title in heptathlon with strong first day

lead in the women’s heptathlon at the U.S. Track and Field Championships at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento.

Day-Monroe, who also won national titles in 2011 and 2013, scored 3,925 points to lead runner-up and former UC Santa Barbara Barbara Nwaba by 123 points.

Erica Bougard is a distant third with 3,698 points.

Day-Monroe opened the heptathlon with a PR time of 13.42 seconds in the 100 hurdles, the second-fastest time of the competition.

She then cleared 6 feet, one-half inch in the high jump for the top mark in that event.

Day-Monroe also won the shot put when she unleashed a PR of 50-8 1⁄4, bettering her old PR by almost two feet.

She finished the day with a time of 24.40 in the 200.

“It was a weird day for me” Day-Monroe said. “The hurdles were good but I struggled through all the events. The heat kind of bothered me in the 200. I came out with good marks so I’m happy.”

Day-Monroe, who set her PR of 6,550 points in winning the national title last year, is on pace to better that score today when she will contest the final three events of the heptathlon — long jump, javelin and 800 meters.

Two other former Cal Poly stars had good performances Friday as Maggie Vessey advanced to Sunday’s women’s 800-meter final, and Ben Bruce advanced to Sunday’s men’s final of the 3,000 steeplechase.

Vessey, who won her preliminary 800 heat Thursday, finished third in her semifinal heat Friday in 2:02.95 to automatically qualify for Sunday’s final. She had the seventh-best time Friday. Bruce, meanwhile, won his semifinal heat Friday in 8:39.44 to qualify for Sunday’s final. His time was the sixth-best of the day.

Another former Cal Poly star competing Sunday will be Stephanie Brown Trafton, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s discus.