Each weekend things seem to be getting a bit more exciting. This weekend we have a couple of solid relay meets and one of those collegiate rarities – a hot dual meet – as Oregon hosts UCLA.
Of all the collegiate programs out there, Oregon seems to be the one that is most “old school” in its philosophy. Their schedule seems to have more “head to head” type match ups where they are taking on other high level programs as opposed to spending a lot of time at invitationals prior to the end of season run of conference/regionals/nationals. Last week they took on the high powered Texas A&M program in a multi team meet and came out on top. This weekend they will be going head to head with the rebuilding UCLA program. Hard for me to bet against the Ducks this week. Especially since top hurdler Kevin Craddock has left school and is now working with coach Darrel Smith and hurdlers Jason Richardson and Ryan Wilson as training partners. UCLA will be vulnerable in both hurdles with his loss and Oregon is too strong to give points away. Having handled the Aggies last week, I’m not sure if Oregon will have another real test until nationals in June.
An athlete that will be tested this week will be current world 100 meter leader Churandy Martina (AHO). Fresh off his world leading 10.03 from last week, Martina heads to Lawrence KS for the Kansas Relays where we will see if he can become the first sprinter to run under 10.00 this year. Also headlining the meet will two time Olympic 200 meter champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM) who is slated to compete in her specialty here.
Heading east the top event should be the Freedom Games in North Carolina which routinely attracts top talent. This year’s meet will feature a strong group of hurdlers lead by current 110 hurdler world leader David Oliver and long hurdlers Bershawn Jackson and Johnny Dutch.
Fans on the west coast will be treated to the Mt SAC Relays. Always an exciting meet I see some interesting names as I scan through some of the relay heats with Virginia Powell, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, and Miki Barber on various 4x1 relay squads. Also looks like we’ll see Bryan Clay in the invitational 110 hurdles.
I expect we will see some nice results coming out or Oregon, North Carolina, Kansas and California this weekend.