Last week was a very quiet week. Not much new to really talk about. I was hoping that the weekend would change that – and while somewhat quiet the weekend did have its moments.
Thank you to the New Balance Indoor meet, which was televised – it served as my lead in to the Super Bowl. Aside from Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel’s stirring 3000 meter win (7:35.37 while running the entire race with only one shoe) the performances were just ok – as my grandfather used to say “nothing to write home about”. Don’t get me wrong, Jenny Simpson showed her competitive nature with a strong effort in the women’s 3000, taking second to Kenyan Sally Kipyego’s WL (8:49.74 to 8:50.78). And it looks like the Oregon TC has another potential mile find in winner Russell Brown (3:54.81, #8 all time US indoors). But, as we’ve seen with the outdoor meets, we just aren’t getting enough top talent to our meets – something that we will have to work on with more vigor both indoors and out.
Most big names are not taking part indoors or are doing so in a limited capacity – clearly focusing their seasons on the World Championships in August and using this time of year for their “base” training. Too bad, because when we do get a glimpse we’ve seen some nice performances. For example, last week we saw some outstanding efforts from Teddy Tamgho (FRA) and Jessica Ennis (GBR). This weekend we saw a blitzing 7.37 WL from David Oliver (USA,) that moved him to = #7 all time indoors; and another WR from Ashton Eaton (USA) as he improved his record from last year to 6568 pts. – a 69 point improvement. We also got the return of Yelena Isinbayeva to the track, where she proceeded to take over the world lead in the pole vault with a 15’ 9.25” clearance.
Hopefully we’ll get more of our top athletes out as the indoor season goes along, but I really don’t expect to see much over the next few weeks – not until we get outdoors in March and April. Until then look to the collegiates to give us a few highlights. Defending men’s indoor team champ Florida got footballer Jeff Demps back this weekend, and he immediately went to the head of the 60 meter list with a 6.57 dash at Virginia Tech. Demps took last year’s 60 and 100 collegiate titles and lead the Gators to the 4x1 title outdoors. His dash comes on the heels of Texas A&M sprinter Gerald Phiri running 6.59 last weekend. Keep an eye on the sprinters from both schools as they will have a say in which team takes this year’s indoor title.
Also keep an eye on Indiana’s Andy Bayer who is currently leading the NCAA over both the mile (3:57.75) and 3000 (7:48.35). Last time I checked Indiana alums include Jim Spivey and Rob Kennedy, and Bayer is beginning to look like he might be next in line.
So, though the season is taking its sweet time heating up things point to a very good season once it does.