Over the past week or so results have been flying in so fast and deep that there have a few things that I have overlooked mentioning as I’ve tried to comment on various competitions.
One of the biggest was the results of the NACAC Under 23 competition held last weekend – a regional (North and Central America) meet highlighting the areas youngsters. There were lots of sterling marks turned in at this meet, none more so than Curtis Mitchell’s (USA) 19.99 200 meters in his semi final. The mark was no fluke as he returned to run 20.06w in the final as he dominated both his semi and the final – second place 20.46. Mitchell was a key to Texas A&M’s national championship run this year and had already run 20.23 and 20.27 during the collegiate season. He’s one of the bright young American sprint hopes sitting on the horizon and based on his sub 20 could make an impact over the next couple of seasons.
Another superlative individual mark was turned in by Ronnie Ash (USA). Ash was the collegiate leader all season until he hit a blip at nationals finishing second in what was a very sub par race for him. Since then he has run well internationally finishing high among the elite’s and bringing his PR down to 13.19. He showed what could be a glimpse of the near future at this meet with a 12.98w clocking over the hurdles. Although the race was wind aided, it made him only the 13th person in history to run under 13 seconds under any conditions. Like Mitchell, Ash appears to be in position to make an international impact, sooner rather than later.
The other outstanding mark at NACAC was the 4x4 relay mark turned in by the young US team. These “kids” turned in a world leading mark of 2:58.83 on the legs of LaJerald Betters (44.6), O’Neal Wilder (45.5), Joey Hughes (44.53) and Tavaris Tate (44.23). Only seven countries outside of the United States have ever run a faster time! We look to be well set for 4x4 legs for quite some time to come.
The other mark that I was remiss in mentioning happened just a couple of days ago in Paris. While extolling on some of the fine races that occurred in Paris I didn’t comment on the men’s 800. In part because Abubaker Kaki (SUD) really didn’t bring anything to the table remotely looking capable of challenging David Rudisha who is taking the event in another direction. Behind Kaki in 4th, however, was Andrew Wheating, running his first international 800 meter race. Wheating went into the race with a PR of 1:45.03, and a season’s best of 1:45.69. He had, however, recently set a PR in the mile of 3:51.74 and looked ready to improve upon his 800. That he did in fine fashion in Paris running 1:44.62 in his first Diamond League race. More importantly he outran Nick Symmonds (1:44.93) and looks ready to assume the mantle of America’s top middle distance runner – something we desperately need heading into the upcoming championship cycle.
As I said it’s been a busy week in the sport, but I didn’t want to miss these efforts, as all bode well for US fortunes going forward. With the World Jr Championships on tap beginning tomorrow and the Diamond League’s Monaco meet this week, there will be a lot more to discuss.