Monday, June 13, 2011

Time to Start Looking Forward to Nationals


After a week that left me wondering what the heck is going on, it’s time to start to attempt to look at some of the National Trials that are coming up to try and gauge what Daegu is going to look like. And after Des Moines and New York that may not be easy at all!

I’ve already talked in depth about what happened in Des Moines – a lot of bad weather and a lot of Texas A&M in the end. The college kids put forth some sterling efforts, but there was a lot of “weirdness” going on – especially for athletes considered favorites. I mean, would you have bet that even one of the following occurrences would have happened? 

  • Jeff Demps didn’t qualify for the 100 final.
  • Neither did Jeneba Tarmoh who didn’t even get to start her semi after getting dq’d for a false start.
  • Omo Osaghe only cleared one hurdle before crashing out in the final.
  • Jordan Hasay appeared tired. I’ve watched her since she was a high school freshman and she’s never looked tired.
  • Kirani James was supposed to win going away, but instead found three others within .08 at the line! He won by mere thousandths over Gil Roberts who was then dq’d for a lane violation! (Talk about bad luck for Texas Tech – the home of both Roberts and Osaghe.)
  • Bad Luck, the song by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, must have been the theme music for Florida this past weekend as not only did Jeff Demps (defending champion) not make the 100 final, but the 4x1 didn’t finish the race, Christian Taylor didn’t make the LJ final, Terrell Wilks didn’t make the 200 final (but finished 5th in the 100) yet they still finished 2 points away from the team title – the third year in a row that they were 2 points or less away from the trophy!
  • Florida State, after being on a roll all meet, entered the final event in the lead for the team championship but WITHOUT a team in the relay even though they have a 4x4 squad that has run 3:02.41 this season! Had they been in the race they would have been guaranteed the one point they needed to hold off Texas A&M!

Was there something in the air other than lightning and rain? Then there was New York – same day different time zone – and there was weirdness there too!

  • Rain and headwinds were once again the rule of the meet – in June.
  • Jeremy Wariner, who earlier this season appeared to be headed back to the zone of “You Can’t Catch Me” found himself struggling to win over Germaine Gonzales and Rondell Bartholomew by .03 & .04 – and Bartholomew seriously ran him down!
  • Half miler Kenia Sinclair put a beat down on a 1500 meter field that included Gelete Burka, Jenny Simpson, Shannon Rowbury and Sally Kipyego.
  • Half miler Abubaker Kaki, fresh off a SB in Oslo, just pulled up while running the 800. No jostle, no acceleration, just went down around the first turn and stayed down while the others circled the track. He was still there when they came back to mount their finishes.
  • Lolo Jones, who looked like she was ready to take the hurdles and run away and hide just two seasons ago, was beaten yet again – this time into 4th place – as she looked hesitant and unsure of herself.
  • Allyson Felix won the deuce (her pet event) with what finally looked like a decent turn for her as she outran speed demon Carmelita Jeter in the first 100, yet found Bianca Knight closing on her like a freight train in the final 50 meters as Felix won by only .04.
  • The men’s 100 saw THREE men dq’d (one at a time) before they finally got the race off. Then Tyson Gay finds himself down some 3 to 4 meters on a blazing Steve Mullings only to come back and lose on the photo. And if having three athletes thrown out in the same race isn’t weird enough, in spite of that huge discrepancy at the start Gay and Mullings had the exact same reaction time (.154)!

And that’s just what happened this past weekend! I haven't even mentioned Bolt being only 9.91 & 19.86 and it’s mid June. Or Sanya Richards not being able to get out of third gear.Or the cooling off of L.J. Van Zyl after a blistering early spring. The bottom line is this season has been CRAZY, and nearly unpredictable. One thing is clear, there is going to be change this year. I’m expecting some old names to just not make it, and some new names to make some serious inroads towards the medal stand. I just have to figure out who – that’s going to be the hard part.

So I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks trying to handicap our nationals as well as a few events at some other nationals. Really with the hope of trying to get a bead on Daegu – which I think may end up being the most unpredictable major in quite some time.

I want to start by taking a look at the speed events, which have been experiencing a lot of volatility since Berlin. Below is a chart I’ve started that I’m calling Speed Watch. Basically a snapshot of what’s going on in the speed events. Over the next week I hope to take these names and put them into a meaningful Preview of the U.S. and Jamaican Trials – and eventually the World Championships, which is why you will see a few names on here already that are separate from the two major powers. I will also take a look at the middle distances this week, as we have had a lot of movement there as well.


Speed Watch


Season Best

Last Mark

Tyson Gay 9.79 10.26 WL in the 100, Says he’s not running deuce, horrible start in New York saw first loss of the season to Mullings
Michael Rodgers 9.85 10.36 Rodgers has been consistent under 10.00, New PR in Eugene, but terrible race in an ugly New York 100
Darvis Patton 9.94 9.94 Back under 10.00 after a year’s absence, 9.89 in ‘08 & ‘09
Justin Gatlin 9.97 9.97 Post ban PR in Eugene, first sub-10 since June ‘06, steadily improving
Travis Padgett 9.99 10.02 Back under 10.00 (w max wind) after 3 year absence, f/s in New York
Walter Dix 10.00 / 20.06 20.19 Only 3 races this year, seemed sluggish early in Eugene 200
Ivory Williams 10.02 10.02 A sub-10 performer who isn’t there yet this year
Wallace Spearmn 20.18 20.18 3rd in only outing so far this year behind Ashmeade and Mullings
Mookie Salaam 9.97 / 20.05 9.97 First sub-10 at NCAA’s, steady improvement this year
Maurice Mitchell 10.00 / 20.19 19.99w 3rd in NCAA 100, won NCAA 200, looks ready to emerge this year
Jeff Demps 10.16 (9.96w) 10.40 Bad race in NCAA semi after dominating collegiate competition all year, will he compete or go back to football
Usain Bolt 9.91 / 19.86 19.86 WL in the 200, starting year much slower than ‘08/’09/’10
Nickel Ashmeade 9.96 / 19.95 9.96 Lead world in 200 until Bolt in Oslo, new to both sub-10 & 20, find of year so far
Steve Mullings 9.80 / 20.15 10.26 Blazing all year in the 100 with 5 sub-10s, PR in Eugene, edged Gay in New York
Yohan Blake 9.95 / 20.33 9.95 Started year w windy 9.80 but has cooled off since
Nesta Carter 9.92 / 20.25 9.92 Last year’s revelation in limited action so far, just pulled out of New York
Asafa Powell 9.93 / 20.55 36.13 That 36.13 is for 100 not 300, Powell felt something in Rabat, back home til Nationals
Michael Frater 9.94 9.94 PR run in Eugene, just pulled out of New York
Christophe Lemaitre 9.96 9.96 With marks of 10.08, 10.00 & 9.96 appears settled in at elite level
Ngoni Makusha 9.89 9.89 NCAA Champion, twice under 10.00 this year
Carmelita Jeter 10.70 10.70 WL 100, four times sub-11 in five races, fourth behind Felix over 200 in New York
Allyson Felix 22.38 / 49.81 22.92 WL in both 200/400, dominant in 400 until Eugene, won 200 in New York into strong headwind
Marshevet Myers 10.86 10.86 Big PR behind Jeter in Eugene, better start & better close this year
Alex Anderson 11.01 11.02 Running well, horrible start in Eugene (hesitated at start as did a couple others) yet still nearly went sub-11
Shalonda Solomn 11.98/10.90w 23.03 Three of four races have been windy so far in the 100, Third in New York 200
Lauryn Williams 11.15 / 22.65 11.19 Solid but unspectacular season so far
Kimberlyn Duncn 11.31 / 22.24 22.24 NCAA 200 Champion who seems to be peaking
Jeneba Tarmoh 11.27 / 22.34 22.34 F/S NCAA 100, NCAA 200 runner up, also seems to be peaking
Veronica C-Brown 10.76 / 22.95 10.76 PR 10.76 to win in Ostrava, has been hot in the 100 in limited action
Kerron Stewart 10.87 / 22.74 10.87 Very limited season so far, SB in hot Eugene race behind Jeter & Myers
Shelly F-Pryce 10.95 / 22.69 10.95 100 mark is only 100 of the season, beat Campbell Brown in 200 w windy 22.10
Sherone Simpson 11.00 11.00 SB came in taking 5th at Pre, also 5th in Shanghai
Shillonie Calvert 11.05 11.13 PR in Hengelo win, third in Ostrava behind Campbell Brown’s 10.76

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