(Martina in Berlin)
Saturday’s action has been highlighted by some stellar sprinting coming out of El Paso Texas. The matchup of Churandy Martina and Ryan Bailey turning world leading performances twice today. In the 100 meters it was Martina (10.03) over Bailey (10.09) with a legal 1.6 mps wind. Excellent season opening times for both, with Bailey’s just .04 off his PR. The times bode well for both athletes this season. I’m sure some will say the altitude helped (3,762 ft), but clearly both athletes are in good shape and ready to roll. They proved as much when they took to the track again in the 200 with Bailey turning the tables with a 20.40 win over Martina’s 20.48. Bailey’s time was a PR and current world leader.
Also turning in a hot, world leading sprint was UTEP’s own Blessing Okagbare. The Nigerian triple jump record holder at 46’ 4.25”, she’s also long jumped 22’ 8” and run 11.16 in the 100 meters. Today she blasted a hand timed 10.7 in El Paso. Though hand timed 9I’m assuming a malfunction in the auto timing equipment for that race) it is still “worth” 10.94 on conversion. So though not an automatic time it still says much about the sprinting abilities of Okagbare – a legitimate threat come NCAA time!
Elsewhere, most of the top marks coming in today have been in the sprint events. In Tallahassee, Walter Dix was the highlight of the day debuting over 200 meters with a nice 20.44. What makes the time special is that it was nearly a world leader in spite of Dix running INTO a –1.4 mps headwind.
Also some interesting results in speed events coming out of the Pepsi Team Invitational in Oregon. As expected Oregon and Texas A&M were the top two schools. What was surprising was the sprint double turned in by Oregon’s Amber Purvis. Twice Purvis beat her A&M counter parts; First with an 11.38 to 11.57 victory over Porsha Lucas. Then again with a 23.00 to 23.61 win over Dominique Duncan. If Purvis can consistently provide this kind of sprinting for Oregon their women will be hard to beat come nationals! Today could be a preview as they handily defeated A&M’s women. as Purvis’ sprinting went nicely with the running of Nicole Blood (4:19.67/16:20.60), Anne Kesselring (2:06.90) and Jordan Hassay (16:16.02).
The Oregon men followed suit as they turned in solid middle distance wins with Matt Centrowitz (3:46.29) and Mac Fleet (1:49.19). But it was the 13.64 (2.4) turned in by Ashton Eaton that caught my eye. One it’s a near world level time for the hurdles, but two it bodes very well for his decathlon prospects as the season unfolds. A&M countered with Gerald Phiri (10.30), Curtis Mitchell (10.50/20.69) and Demetrius Pinder (46.76) but with Oregon running well in both hurdles and piling up the distance points it was an easy win. With Oregon handily defeating Texas A&M on both the men and women’s sides it could give them some mental strength when they meet again at Nationals.
Some interesting running by quarter milers in Los Angeles at the JJK/Johnson Invitational. World silver medalist Intermediate hurdler Lashinda Demus turned in solid long sprint efforts with a nice 32.62/51.88 double. Former World and Olympic champion 400 hurdler Felix Sanchez added a lap with a solid 1:50.04 half mile effort. And quarter miler Greg Nixon worked on speed today with a 10.43 (1.1), 20.46 (1.4) sprint double.
All in all a good day of track.