Yes, this is a year with our favorite quadrennial event – leap year…the European soccer championships…the presidential election…the Summer Olympics. Most of our sport’s events take place within the context of that larger competition and its riveting preliminary, the Olympic Trials. And January’s been chock full of events in all kinds of venues.
Halves and More Halves
The biggest news was down in Jacksonville, where Olivia Mickle and Nicole DiMercurio both picked up Olympic qualifiers by dipping under 1:15. Tyler Pennel (1:04:31) in 14th and Esther Atkins (1:13:46) in 2nd had good tune-ups for the rapidly approaching OT marathon.
A trio of ABers did well at the Chevron Houston half marathon. Sara Hall was the top American in 5th with a 1:10:07 with her newly retired husband and coach Ryan Hall cheering her on. Katy Moen ran an impressive 1:14:30 in her debut. This qualifies her for the OT but she plans to focus on the 10K.
Tara Welling and Scott Bauhs emphatically announced “We’re back!” with solid performances at the Arizona Rock n Roll event. Tara dropped an eye-opening 1:13:05 to take second. Scott is a friend and Running Warehouse business partner to AthleteBiz, so he gets a shout-out for his win in Arizona with a solid 62:23.
When I say road mile, what’s the first name that pops into your head? Heather Kampf, am I right? Well she’s at it again, this time at the Bermuda Front St. mile, winning for the fourth consecutive year with a 4:42.68. AB colleague Jamie Cheever was third in 4:47.68.
Back on the Boards Superfast Composite Tracks
The indoor season is heating up with big events in Reno and Seattle. Reno was the site of the National Pole Vault Summit, a weekend of competition, clinics and immersion into the event. Sandi Morris showed no signs of the “sophomore slump” as she took first with a vault of 4.71 (15-5-1/2). Mary Saxer also cleared that height for 3rd. Indoor PRs for both plus qualifiers for World Indoor Champs in March. ABers were out in full force with Melissa Gergel, Melinda Withrow and Becky Holliday taking 4th, 6th and 8th respectively. Jordan Scott cleared 5.30 (17-4-1/2) for 4th on the men’s side.
University of Washington Indoor Preview meet yielded a string of quality performances for ABers. None was better than Amanda Eccleston‘s nifty double – a 4:36.13 win in the mile followed by a 9:10.95 PR in the 3k. Afterwards, she tweeted “I think I’m in love with a new event.” Lianne Farber did well in the 3k too, posting a big PR of 9:14.04 for 6th. We don’t get to report often on the triple jump in the winter but Blessing Ufodiama took advantage of the opportunity and leaped 43-05 to easily win the competition. In the sprints, Jordin Andrade ran 21.93 to take second in the 200. Interesting – three guys ran the exact same time (at least in 100ths of a second) in three different heats. Guess they must have sorted it out with 1000ths of a second.
Also under cover recently, Erik Sowinski took the 600 meter dash at the Holiday Inn Invitational (they still haven’t taken my suggestion to rename the meet the Holiday Innvitational – no sense of humor) and Rachel Schneider got a PR at 1000 meters at the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge; the “bad” news is that she was second, losing to Georgetown’s Andrea Keklak, who broke Rachel’s school record in the race. What happened to respecting your elders?!?
While the East Coast was getting hammered with 2+ feet of snow, athletes were testing out the new facility in Portland which will be the site of the US Indoor Nationals and the IAAF Indoor Championships in March. Bridget Franek and Kendra Chambers both took advantage to “kick off the cobwebs” with solid opening season performances. Bridget got second in the 1500, clocking 4:23.35 while Kendra was second in the 800 at 2:08.02.
And speaking of the snowy East, the weather did postpone the pro section of New Balance Games at the Armory but just for a day. ABers Stephanie Garcia, Rachel Schneider and Lianne Farber were part of a fast mile, taking 3rd, 5th and 7th respectively.
That would be Garrett Heath, who three-peated at The Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge, an event that features a team competition between Great Britain, Europe and the United States. This year, he edged out unbeatable Mo Farah after taking down Kenenisa Bekele and Asbel Kiprop in the previous two editions of this race. On the women’s side USA Champ Amy Van Alstine took 6th and Kaitlin Goodman was 21st in the women’s race. Looking at the pictures, I can confirm that this was legit cross country, not held on some cushy golf course…
Here’s a short list of the bigger indoor meets this winter:
- 1/29-30 – Camel City Elite – North Carolina
- 2/5-6 – Armory Track Invitational – New York
- 2/20 – Millrose Games – New York
- 2/27 – New Balance Indoor Grand Prix – Boston
- 3/11-12 – USATF Indoor Championship – Portland
- 3/18-20 – IAAF Indoor Championship – Portland
Coming soon – Olympic Trials Marathon preview