There were lots of meets this past weekend. And as I scan through more of them, there were some performances that really need to be pointed out, because I think they are going to have an impact on the season going forward.
Most impressive of the marks was a 9.90 (+2.0)/20.17w (+2.2) sprint double by Steve Mullings (JAM) at the Lacoste Invitational in Starkville MS. The 100 meter time is a world leader by a huge margin, as well as a major improvement over his previous PR of 10.01. Mullings was 5th in the 200 in Berlin (19.98) and the leadoff on the gold medal relay, and now has to be considered a threat to make the Jamaican team in the 100 in what is becoming a rapidly crowded field – Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake, Mario Forsythe, Michael Frater, et al.
Another athlete who seems to be moving into a competitive position is Mookie Salaam (USA). Salaam ran a world leading 20.27 (+0.3) in the 200 in Norman Oklahoma. The Oklahoma junior has been on a roll this year dropping his 60 best to 6.54, and winning the NCAA indoor 200 title at 20.41. He’s very competitive and could be interesting to watch late spring at both the NCAA’s and US Nationals.
Also showing much improvement this year has been young Grenadian Kirani James. James sizzled to a 44.80 400 indoors before falling at the NCAA Championships. While the fall slowed him briefly, he’s right back at it outdoors running 20.41 for 200 in El Paso this weekend – taking a large chunk off his previous outdoor PR of 20.76! I have to believe that the 18 year old sophomore is going to play a major role in Daegu. Not since Steve Lewis in 1988 have I felt a teen was a real medal threat in this event! But his increasing speed has to have a positive effect given that he was just short of the 45 second barrier (45.01) with a 200 best of 20.76.
I talked a lot about what was going on in Southern California earlier, but failed to mention a huge leap that took place in the Southern Hemisphere. At the Australian Championships Mitchell Watt (AUS) had a world leading long jump of 27’ 8.25” (8.44m). His second best jump was 27’ 0” (8.23m) which was also better than anyone else has jumped so far this year. Watt currently has the four best jumps in the world and is looks like he’s looking for another medal to go with the bronze he won in Berlin.
The women were busy this weekend too. Lauryn Williams (USA) ran a world leader in the 200 going 22.65 (+1.7) at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami. After taking a year off from the sport last year, she is rounding into shape nicely and should play a significant role at Nationals in June.
So should South Carolina senior Kya Brookins, who is following up quite well on her successful indoor season – NCAA 60 champ at 7.09. Brookins blitzed a PR 11.10 at the War Eagle Invite in Auburn AL. Making her a threat to win the outdoor title as well as make an impact US Nationals.
And Brittney Reese (USA) leaped out to 22’ 5” (6.83m) to show that she is ready to put up a strong defense of the long jump title she won in Berlin. Add all this to what I talked about on Monday, and this was a great weekend of track and field. The performances has seriously begun to heat up. I’m already looking forward to what the coming weekend will bring.