Friday, February 26, 2010

US Indoor Championships Watch List

2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Day 4

The biggest US indoor competition of the year takes place this weekend as the US Indoor Championships run Saturday and Sunday in Albuquerque New Mexico. On the line will be berths to this year's World Indoor Championships in Doha Qatar next month. So for many we will be seeing the culmination of their indoor preparation.

For me I'll be taking a look at a few athletes in particular, less in anticipation of Doha, but more to see how they look heading into the outdoor season. Below is my "Watch List" for this weekend's competition.

Ivory Williams - Men's 60

The last couple of seasons Williams has been one of our more solid performers during the summer. His 9.93 last summer was a nice follow up to clocking 9.94 in '08 and has him on the cusp of being competitive with the big guns. This year he's shown an improved early race. This race could be a break through of sorts for him.

Ryan Bailey - Men's 60

Another up and coming sprinter, Bailey is that tall (6' 4") Usain Bolt like sprinter. He had huge breakthroughs last year in the sprints becoming the Junior College Record holder over 100 meters at 10.05 sec. If that seems a long way from the current WR of 9.58, consider that Bolt (6'5") ran 10.03 in his first few real attempts over 100! This kid is just learning how to sprint and it will be exciting to see how his start - a big weakness - is coming along in this meet.

Nick Symmonds - Men's 800

Until we can get a quarter miler or two to try this event, Symmonds is clearly our best hope internationally. He finally got under 1:44 last year outdoors (1:43.83) and it will be interesting to see how he is developing so far this year. If he can somehow manage to trim another second off his race he can become a serious international contender.

David Oliver - Men's 60 hurdles

Oliver was the second fastest hurdler in the world last year - off a time he ran in MAY! He missed a large portion of the season last year due to injury, something that seems to plague him. He's run 12.95 and seemingly has the potential to run with the likes of Dayron Robles and Liu Xiang. Health will be the key. So looking to see how healthy he is this year.

Carmelita Jeter - Women's 60

Jeter ran 10.64 in the 100 last year making her the second fastest all time in the event! She entered the indoor season with the stated goal of taking down Irina Privalova's 60 WR of 6.92. Instead she has watched Laverne Jones-Ferrette go 6.97 ahead of her in Stuttgart - 7.05 PR for Jeter. With the season winding down I'm less concerned with Jeter getting the record as I am in seeing improvement in her start. Something she will need if she is to get into that 10.5x zone outdoors.

Allyson Felix - Women's 400

I'm excited to see Felix taking on the open 400 because personally I think could be her best event. That's saying a lot considering that she is a three time World Championships gold medalist over 200 meters! But whenever Felix takes on the 400 she does well with seemingly little effort. Running the event infrequently she's run a PR 49.70 in the open event and routinely splits around 49 flat or just under in the 4x4 relay. She's so smooth when she runs the quarter that it's almost scary. This could signal that Felix may spend more time in this event outdoors. If so look for some serious clashes with last year's #1 Sanya Richards.

Anna Pierce - Women's 800/1500

Anna (formerly Willard) is one of our fast rising women's middle distance runners. I love her grit and tenacity and am excited to see her listed in both events for nationals. After breaking through with 1:58.80/3:59.38 marks last year, I'm dying to see just how well she will do as she seems to have a very high competitive IQ. I'm looking for her to step into the spotlight this weekend.

I wish all the athletes good luck and good fortune. And look forward to sending a very strong contingent to compete in Doha.

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