Saturday, June 6, 2009

Prefontaine Preview

Prefontaine and Reebok have become the two preeminent meets in the US. Just as we saw some outstanding performances last week in New York I expect that there will be a few events that should be outstanding in Eugene. I'll be most looking forward to:

Women's 800 Meters - This should be one hot race as we get to see defending World Champion Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN) vs Olympic Champion Pamela Jelimo (KEN)! No mark so far this year for Jepkoskei, Jelimo has only run 2:02.46, but both have the ability to run away from a field and tend to do their best running from the front. If both are in shape they could push each other to something in the 1:56 range or better. We don't get to see that kind of running on US soil very often.

Men's 300 Meters - Not often you see a 300 in track and field. Half way between the 200 and the 400 it becomes endurance work for the short sprinter, speed work for the long sprinter. In this field we have a fairly equal mix of short and long sprinters but three that do well at both the 2 and 4 in Wallace Spearmon, Xavier Carter and Lashawn Merritt. Spramon and Carter have run 19.6 for 200, Merritt has run 43.7 for 400 meters. Merritt has been hot and has appeared unbeatable so far this season, but Spearmon too over the #2 spot on the yearly 200 list last week with his 19.98. And vet Shawn Crawford is almost guaranteed to take it out and make everyone run. The safe bet is probably Merritt, but Spearmon has shown a lot of improvement the past couple of weeks.

Women's 1500 Meters - Another HOT middle distance race for the women! Geleta Burka (ETH) won the sizzling Hengelo race at 3:58.79 with Anna Alminova (RUS) in hot pursuit at 4:01.54. Anna Willard won 800 in New York with her PR 1:59.29, so is showing improved speed - which she will need to run with these women. Last year's top American at this distance, Shannon Rowbury is also in the race. These are the headlliners in a field that includes Jenny Barringer and Shalane Flannagan. Sub 4:00 is definitely possible in this race.

Men's Long Jump - Irving Saladino and Dwight Phillips battled over 28 feet in Hengelo. Its been a while since we've watched a battle over 28 feet here in the states, I think these two are going to end that draught.

These are what I think will be the highlight events of what should be a meet filled with outstanding performances. Tom Jordan has done an outstanding job of putting together a very solid meet. Complete start lists can be found here. The meet will be televised on NBC starting at 11am Pacific Time. There should be highlights galore. Set your TIVO!

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