Track Shorts 2017: USATF Outdoor Championship Wrap Up

Johnny Gregorek on the phone with his parents following his huge kick and 3rd place finish in the 1500, earning him a spot on the World team. Photo: @kylemerber on Instagram

Well that was cool, um, hot, whichever.  Four days of great competition.  For those of us not able to be there, the TV coverage was decent enough to feel like we got a sense of the action (uh, except for those cutaways in the middle of the distance events).  As usual there were ups and downs and also as usual, the AB athletes got their share of both.

As Expected

Sometimes the formcharts hold up pretty well.  Tori Bowie dominated the 100, Gwen Berry got the hammer title, Riley Dolezal won the javelin with his 2nd best throw ever, and Kara Winger continued her dominant year.  Happy to see that TS did not jinx things for Maria Michta-Coffey and Miranda Melville, who got their predictable 1-2 in the walk. They make it look easy – but we know better. Other expected medalists that came through were Dani Bunch (silver in the shot in a breakthrough year), Andrea Geubelle (bronze in triple jump), Whitney Ashley (silver in the discus), Sean Donnelly (bronze in the hammer), and Sharon Day-Monroe (bronze in the hep).

Not Really Surprising (at least to us)

We specifically mentioned Ryan Hill’s experience and kick so his bronze in a very fast and competitive 5000 was not an upset in our minds.  Christina Manning has been solid all year so her third place finish in the event the USA owns, the 100H, is barely an upset.

The women’s 800 wasn’t exactly according to the script but that may be because Ajee’ Wilson was an unknown quantity after not racing all spring.  Bronze instead of gold for Brenda Martinez was a bit of surprise but Charlene Lipsey’s silver can’t be viewed as that big an upset; both were sub 1:59.  This was a deep and talented field but you feel that in the end, these three just had the stronger credentials and deserved to be at the top, regardless of the order.

You’ll notice in our preview we also saw Donald Scott in the mix for a medal and indeed he got bronze.  Same for Sandi Morris; we had her as the favorite even if others didn’t and she came through nicely. Frankly we don’t anticipate betting against her ever until she retires.


In case you were wondering how proud Johnny's teammates are of him

In case you were wondering how proud Johnny’s teammates are of him

Unfortunately this group comes in good and bad.  Our favorites were the 1500 duo of Johnny Gregorek and Sara Vaughn, who both ran smart races and used breathtaking, timely kicks to capture third place in their respective races.  Sara’s result nearly broke the internet – wonderful T&F community response to this 31 year old Mom of three kids and full-time realtor. Kori Carter not only made the team but she did so in the defacto greatest 400H race in history (52.95!).

It must be nice to be so good that you can be way off your game and still make the team like Tori Bowie did in the 200m.  Pre-meet favorites Kibwé Johnson (hammer) and Jeff Henderson (long jump) weren’t as lucky.  This is one of those times when the US approach for international qualifying feels really harsh – doesn’t allow for an off day.

So Close

Four is the loneliest number at these qualifying meets.  Ask Lauren Johnson who valiantly went after a spot on the WC team and came up just .28 short in the 1500.  Amber Campbell wasn’t at her best and missed third by about .5 meters.  Biya Simbassa was 4th by less than a second in the 10k.

Amateur Prognosticators

We better keep our day jobs.  Yes, we realize that Aaron’s day job is with AthleteBiz, but in Management, not Projections, so leave him alone. Aaron’s pick, Cecilia Barowski didn’t make the final but that was an incredibly deep field as witnessed by the final and she’s just getting started.  Jack picked Donnie Cowart, who showed his experience and ran a smart race in the steeple final but some guys ran really fast despite the heat.  Jack also picked Brittany Smith in the shot put but the big throw she was looking for never came. Steve’s pick, young Shannon Osika did lead briefly in the final and fought gamely down the stretch for 7th; note she was top five, if you don’t count the other ABers.

Did You Notice?

  • Jeff Porter retired after the meet. Always a gamer and a solid source of good media stuff, he will be missed. Happily he plans to stay on as a member of the AthleteBiz Athlete Advisory Group
  • Erik Sowinski’s gutsy running in both the 800 semi and final
  • Curtis Beach still does not know what event he wants to be when he grows up – he ran 49.93 to get to the semis of the 400H, where he ran 49.96 but missed out on the final
Great championship weekend but no time to rest as the Tracktown Summer Series starts Thursday.  Look for the Track Shorts preview on Wednesday!


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