While ABers picked up some gold at last weekend’s USATF Indoor Championships, the dominant colors were silver and bronze. By my count, the tally was four gold, eight silver and eight bronze. Beyond the medals though, ABers were a significant presence at the meet as we typically saw two or three of our athletes in each event.
World Record for Berry
Gwen Berry already had gold in the weight throw when she stepped into the ring for her final effort. She proceeded to add the world record to her resume with a toss of 25.60m (84 feet on the dot), surpassing Brittany Riley’s throw nearly 10 years ago. Upon hearing the measurement, Gwen then did a credible long jump into the arms of a colleague. Good way to get the weekend rolling.
I had thought the women’s mile might be the deepest event for AB but many passed on that event. No worries as other events came to the fore. Like the men’s 600m. Though he would end up 5th, Chris Geisting’s gutsy mid-race move ensured that the time would be fast. Erik Sowinski made a powerful move to get past Geisting, which new ABer Casimir Loxsom followed. In the end, Sowinski held on for the win with Loxsom second and soon-to-be-ABer Shaquille Walker for a sweet 1-2-3 finish. Clearly all those European 800 races paid off for Sowinski and he is now three-for-three in Indoor National Championships. Speaking of sweeps, Maria Michta-Coffey and Miranda Melville go 1-2 in the 2-mile race walk.
The women’s 60 HH and pole vault were also multiple medal events. Jasmin Stowers made a statement as she chased the indomitable Keni Harrison to the tape, missing gold by just .01 with a solid 7.82 effort. Christina Manning had a rare clocking over 8.00 but did come home with the bronze. Jade Barber continued her comeback with a creditable 6th in a competitive final. Hardly a surprise, Sandi Morris was first in the pole vault; Mary Saxer vaulted well too, taking 3rd and missing out on 2nd only because of the tie-breaking rules.
Multiple Medals (Individual Category)
Undaunted by the altitude of Albuquerque, Heather Kampf (and a few others) went for the mile-two mile double. Though she got 3rd in the mile, she might have been expecting to challenge for the win there. Sunday she was back out on the track for the two mile and might be a bit happier with the 2nd there. Two national championship medals – not bad Heather! Katie Mackey was in the mix in the two mile but had to settle for 4th. Though not (yet) an ABer, we tip our hat to Shelby Houlihan who scored a nice double, winning both events.
A bunch of ABers faced some stiff competition but put up performances worthy of silver. Lauren Johnson showed a nice turn of speed as she chased Charlene Lipsey all the way to the tape, clocking 2:38.33 for the 1000m; New ABer Stephanie Schappert was 6th in 2:41.76. In the shot, Brittany Smith took 2nd to American record holder and Rio Gold Medalist Michelle Carter. In the men’s triple jump, Donald Scott was looking good with his 16.99 jump until Chris Carter bounced 17.10m (equal 9th on world list this year) on his final effort to snatch the win. Sharon Day-Monroe spent the weekend chasing Erica Bougard and got 2nd for her efforts. ABer Barbara Nwaba had finished the first day in second but dropped out because of a minor knee injury.
2nd place today at the Indoor USA Championships. Also a PR 16.99(55'7). I'm never satisfied with my results but outdoors will be fun! pic.twitter.com/IuwFYKIBvu— Donald Scott (@__dscott) March 6, 2017
Some new names on the medal stand. Kendra Chambers continues to progress and impress as she stuck close to the heavy favorites and finished first among the 600m competitors not named Wilson or Okolo; Cecilia Barowski closed a strong first season as a pro finishing close behind in 5th. Sean Donnelly put up a good opening toss in the weight throw and ended up 3rd there; Andy Fryman was close behind in 5th. Blessing Ufodiama bounded 13.33 m (43-09) on her last jump to sneak in for third in the triple jump; Andrea Geubelle was close behind in 5th (okay getting repetitive but just highlighting AB depth at the meet).
We won’t suggest they are new names but Garrett Heath (mile) and Ryan Hill (two mile) also came away with 3rd place finishes. Garrett will likely be the happier of the two, as he bested Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong and fellow ABers Kyle Merber and Johnny Gregorek for his bronze. Defending champion Hill might have been hoping for more, though he did beat out Olympian Hillary Bor for 3rd.
The Green Monster
The 40th annual running of the Gate River Run took place over the weekend, which was also the USA 15k Championship. Neely Gracey took 3rd, which certainly establishes her as a contender in any race she enters. While on her tune-up for Boston, Esther Atkins finished 14th and set a PR at the distance, despite a “pity party with the Green Monster.” Esther was followed by Meghan Peyton in 15th and Samantha Bluske in 20th. On the men’s side, Biya Simbasa followed his win at the NACAC Cross Country Championships from the week before with an 8th place finish in Jacksonville. Donnie Cowart finished in 23rd.
With no Indoor World Championships this year, the track and field scene will go quiet for a little while. But there will still be plenty of road racing and the World Cross Country Championship in Uganda on 3/26. We’ll check back late March/early April to find out what amazing things our crew has done.