Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Turns Up the Heat on the Track

The weather wasn't always cooperative this weekend, but that didn't stop an onslaught of athletes turning up the heat on the season this weekend. The meet I was most looking forward to was the Texas Twilight. Put together at the last minute it still put together some solid fields and had Tyson Gay once again taking on the 400 meters as he prepares to defend his sprint titles in Berlin - and neither Texas nor Tyson disappointed!

A lot of races benefitted from the favorable breezes one usually finds in Texas and there were some great times albeit windy. The best being barely windy times by Alonzo Edward in the men's 100 (9.97, +2.3) and Brendan Christian in the men's 200 (19.98, +2.1). Outstanding races from two young men that could end up having an impact on this season. If so it started here in Texas.

But the race of the day for me was the 400 meters where Tyson Gay took his second shot at the distance in two weeks and set another PR of 45.57 while finishing third a very decent field. Just ahead of Tyson was Lionel Larry who qualified for the World Championships in this event in '07. And Tyson finished ahead of sub 45 quarter milers Kelly Willie and Lajerald Betters. Tyson's recent runs bode well for improvement later this season in his regular events (100, 9.77, 200 19.62) as his speed endurance appears much improved over previous seasons.

Video of Tyson Gay's 400 here.


While the winds were a benefit in Texas, in Guadaloupe negative winds hampered the times all day. None the less Lashawn Merrit flew around the oval to take over the world lead in the 400 at 44.50. Merritt now hold the world lead in both the 200 (20.17) and 400. Everyone else spent the day fighting for decent times, though Carmelita Jeter continued to show her dominance in the 100 with a .17 win in 11.16. Not a great time, but a nice margin of victory over a field that included Lauryn Williams, and Torri Edwards.


Jeter lost her world lead in the 100 on this day however as Kerron Stewart blitzed a 10.92 (+1.2) in Kingston at the Jamaica International Invitational. Stewart also had a large margin of victor (.22) in beating Marshavet Hooker and Olympic gold medalist Shelly Ann Fraser. Like Jeter, Stewart is a powerful sprinter and we could be in for a treat when these two square off against each other.

In the women's 400 Novalene Williams-Mills handed Sanya Richards a rare defeat outside of majors as she ran a world leading 50.98 over Richard's 51.12. Another world leader was run around the oval as Javier Culison took the 400H in 48.42 setting a Puerto Rican National Record in the process.

And in the men's 100 Darvis (Doc) Patton was just off the world lead as he won a very competitive 100 meters in 10.02 (+0.1). Patton was just ahead of Daniel Bailey (10.02), Yohan Blake (10.07) and Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson (10.07). Patton came back to take the 200 as well in 20.49.


At Stanford steeplechaser Jenny Barringer (Colorado) took over the world lead in the 5000 meters as she set a new Collegiate Record with her 15:07.64 victory. Her mark broke the old record of 15:09,72 and is also an "A" standard for the event - giving her the option to compete here or the steeple in her search for a World Championship berth . This is Barringer's second world leader in consecutive weeks, as last week she ran 4:08.38 in the 1500 meters. Jenny is having a very nice spring and her early season bodes well for great things in her pet event, the steeplechase, later in the season.

The 5000 meters saw another record broken in this meet as Stanford's Chris Derrick set a new American Junior Record in the event at 13:29.98 breaking Galen Rupp's '04 mark of 13:37.91. Frosh mile star, German Fernandez was also under the old mark with an outstanding 13:31.78 of his own.


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