"The 800, I got to the line, I just decided I was going to finish on empty and give it everything I had." --- Anna Hall
- - -
SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA -- PRs tend to bring out euphoria in athletes, and when Anna Hall was interviewed a few minutes following her career best 2:10.11 in the 800 meter run on Sunday at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, culminating in a new personal record point total in the heptathlon, she couldn't contain herself.
"I'm just glad to be part of the best track team in the world!" she said.
The Valor Christian High School graduate wasn't wrong. The American U20 team scored a total of 50 medals, including 21 golds and three new U20 records, at the Pan American U20 Championships.
Hall's gold, though, was one of the best of the bunch.
She raised her national high school record in the multis with a total score of 5,848, which surpassed her best of 5,798 from the Great Southwest Classic last year and her ninth-place finish at the IAAF U20 Championships in 2018 when she scored 5,655 points.
Her point total is now fourth best in the world for U20 athletes.
"It capped it off really well," Hal said. "I didn't have any other PRs. That was my goal coming in, was to get some good PRs and some good marks and go out with a bang. The 800, I got to the line, I just decided I was going to finish on empty and give it everything I had."
- - -
Anna Hall's Heptathlon Scoresheet
|Shot Put (4kg)
One look at Hall's scoresheet reveals something important.
She's incredibly consistent.
Her high jump performance, converted to 5 feet, 11.5 inches, marked the seventh time since 2018 (only outdoors) she went over at least 5-10 at the discipline. Her hurdle and 200m times, while not under 14 or 24 seconds, remained in line with her recent performances in those events -- right around the middle.
Her surge in recent seasons has been in the throwing disciplines. Her 5.55 meter throw in the javelin was roughly just eight feet off her PR and she popped a new PR in the shot put -- and won the event on Sunday.
Her true breakthrough over the course of two days in action, however, was in the 800m. Hall went through the 400 meter split in approximately 62 seconds, then powered home for another 68-second lap to hit a best of 2:10.11 in the half-mile.
That marked a 4-second PR over the outdoor season and a 5-second improvement year-over-year in outdoor performances.
Hall said afterward that her consistency was due, in part, to balance.
"This was the first multi where I kept a level head," she said. "Throughout it all, I never got too high or too low."
Hall's two-day outing following a somewhat underwhelming performance at the USA U20 Championships, where after coming through Day 1 in a good position, Hall struggled on Day 2 -- part of that was due to a light ankle injury. She finished with 5,646 points.
"I was really motivated by that, because the score was something I would have been happy with last year and it was a disaster," she said. "So just knowing I was ahead, if I don't have a disaster, was really exciting. I still wasn't really happy with most of the marks in this multi, but I kind of avoided any big mishaps and kept a level head, so it paid off in the end."
The performance was another reminder of Hall's promise in the multis. She'll leave as the high school national record in the outdoor heptathlon and indoor pentathlon, and will join a program at the University of Georgia that traditionally has yielded great returns in development of athletes.
Hall said she'll look back on her career and remember the opportunities that led to such accomplishments.
But there's something incredibly meaningful competing for Team USA.
"It's definitely not something I take lightly," she said. "It's such an honor to represent team USA. You have to make it every year. So you just don't get to represent them. You have to earn it. Once I did earn it, I said, 'It's time to show out for them.'"