Track Shorts 2016: Lap 2

I swear we’re not sitting on our hands here at the AB offices but the pile of results since our last post (not counting the OT marathon) is daunting.  I count at least 12 important competitions and probably 50+ potentially notable performances.  How to boil this down into something manageable?  We soldier on, just like the athletes.

Women Milers

Possibly the hottest event this indoor season has been the women’s mile, especially for ABers.  Take for instance the stacked Wanamaker Millrose mile this last Saturday.  Following Shannon Rowbury to the line were Amanda Eccleston (3rd – 4:26.63 – 9th best USA ever!), Heather Kampf (4th – 4:27.26), Katie Mackey (7th – 4:28.84) and Heather Wilson (9th – 4:30.80).  Stephanie Garcia already has two sub 4:30s, Brenda Martinez has a 4:32, a 4:04 1500, plus a 2:00.14 800m and Chelsea (Reilly) Sodaro and Jamie Cheever have indoor PRs.  Probably forgetting somebody but you get the picture.

Versatility

Heath_BeardWe knew Garrett Heath could run fast with a beard but turns out he is just as fast without facial hair.  This is evidenced by his 7:48.48 3K win at Camel City and a 3:55.10 6th in the Wanamaker mile.  Ashley Higginson clocked a mile PR and a 9:02 3K, all while preparing for the bar exam this week.  Amy Van Alstine got a 2nd in the USATF Cross Country Championships plus a fine 5K indoors.  Rachel Schneider has been tough at both the mile and 3K.  Tara Welling turned in a quick 3K just weeks after an impressive half marathon debut. Curtis Beach may have the best “double” though; moments after completing the heptathlon, he dropped a 1:53.11 to win his heat of the 800 meters.

Wracking Up the W’s

ABers have been taking firsts all over the place.  Take the Millrose Games.  AB winners there included Maria Michta-Coffey in the mile race walk, Kibwè Johnson and Gwen Berry in the weight throw, and Ryan Hill in the 3K.  Hill’s win was impressive as he unwound his long legs on the tight Armory track to kick past the field late.  Craig Lutz has got his rookie season off to a great start with a win at the USATF Cross Country Championships and some good work on the roads to boot. Alexi Pappas helped break in the new Portland track with back-to-back 3K PRs and a win. Brandon Hudgins went to Notre Dame campus for his 3K win.  Hurdlers?  How about wins in the 60HH for Jeff Porter, Kori Carter, and Jade Barber.  Pole vault?  Got that covered too with ever-higher PRs from Sandi Morris and wins from Mary Saxer and Melinda Withrow.  Whitney Ashley, normally a discus thrower, has been “dabbling” in the shot; by “dabbling” we mean getting wins and top 10 throws.  And in the sprints, we have Patrick Feeney with a 46.6 win in the 400 at the Meyo Invitational.

Did You Notice?

The fine pace work of Kyle Merber at the Wanamaker Mile.  I thought the NBC announcer was a bit critical about the second quarter being too slow and potentially costing a sub-3:50 finish.  From my vantage point (albeit the sofa in my living room), my sense is that Kyle gauged the field’s need perfectly.  Sure the second quarter was a bit slow but 1) it’s possible he would have lost the field if he pushed too hard and 2) he then carried them to the 3/4 mark in 2:56 with momentum, setting up a great finish.

Indoor Season Climax

The indoor season can be somewhat meteoric – it burns brightly but quickly.  It’s only a few more weeks before we have the USATF indoor championships followed a week later by the World Indoor championships.  Both events will be in Portland on the new track that has already produced some fine performances this winter.

Upcoming TV Coverage

  • USA Indoor Championships, NBC Sports Network, Friday March 11 from 11:30am -1:30pm and Saturday, March 12, 8pm – 10pm Eastern
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