The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Myers Pregnant, Who Takes Her Place?

Apr 16th, 2012
2:00 pm PDT

Marsevet MyersNews out this weekend is that Marshevet Myers its pregnant and will be out for the season. While I wish her all the best , I can’t think of a worse time than an Olympic season.  World Championships come  often enough that if you miss one there’s another next year – or at worst in two years. But the Olympics only come once every four years  – half a lifetime in track and field.

For the 27 year old Myers, who is due in October, her next opportunity at a global medal could be the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. If not, she’s looking at 2015 and the Beijing World Championships with her next shot at the Games being Rio 2016 when she will be 31 -  not impossible, but definitely a more difficult task at that point.
So, where does that leave US sprint fortunes this year? After all Myers had a big break out season in 2011 running 10.86 and making the final in Daegu – and many may have forgotten that she made the Beijing team in ’08 in the deuce – placing 5th in that final. So losing "Vet" is somewhat of a big deal.

That leaves us with two questions, the first of which is: Who will step up to give us at least a one/two punch in the 100 along side Jeter? The pool of eligible veterans is shallow, consisting of Lauren Williams and the Barber twins – Lisa & Miki. Williams (10.88) is one of those athletes that always shows best in championship settings – making the Daegu squad and leading off the gold medal 4×1 just this past year. She was World champion in ’05; silver medalist in ’07; 4th in Beijing; and 5th in Berlin.  I wouldn’t put it past her to make the team again and turn in another solid relay leg,  but it might be asking a lot for her to medal again at this stage of her career. I’m thinking Evelyn Ashford in Seoul here.

As for the Barber twins, Lisa (10.95) has performed best over the years with a 5th at Worlds back in 2005. But that was some 7 years ago and we need performance today. Miki (11.02) was on last years’ Daegu squad but didn’t make it out of her heat. So what Myers’ announcement really does is place a spotlight on the fact that our women’s sprint crew is aging at the top and we’re headed for a transition – sooner rather than later. Interesting enough,  perhaps the most likely to step into prominence could be 26 year old long jumper Tianna Madison who had a near flawless indoor season running 7.02 twice and losing only to the venerable Veronica Campbell Brown. in Turkey Based on her indoor races, she could be ready for a break out season in the 100 – which could mean sub 11 and a ticket to London. There’s also 26 year old Shalonda Solomon – better known in the deuce where she led the world on the clock last year (22.15) but also the possessor of a 10.90 PR in the100. This could open up the possibility of a sprint double for Solomon.

After this "middle aged" duo we have to look at the current crop of young women in or coming out of the college ranks. At the top of this list, in my opinion, would be Alexandria Anderson (11.01),  English Gardener (11.03), Kimberlyn Duncan (11.09), and Octavious Freeman (11.10) – not because of their times but their abilities. Anderson and Duncan are the most powerful finishers of this quartet. Gardener a super starter. And Freemen simply a raw talent that’s improving at warp speed. This foursome comprises what could be the future of the100 meters in the US. There are few others that could surprise. Jeneba Tarmoh (11.19) and Bianca Knight (11.07) while not as consistent are very competitive and certainly could come through on the day.  In some combination I think somewhere among these women lies our second and third finishers in Eugene. 

That said, the next question becomes: who will replace"Vet" on that third leg of the 4×1? Last years’ team of Lauren Williams, Allyson Felix, Myers, and Carmelita Jeter took gold at the World Championships and seemed to have good chemistry. It would be nice to keep the squad intact and find a replacement for the third leg. For my taste I think Solomon could fill that roll quite well.  As a 200 meter runner she’s a capable turn runner AND she has the strength to push Jeter through the zone. Bianca Knight, though not at the top of my 100 list, its also a very strong 200 sprinter – capable of a good turn and pushing Jeter through the passing zone.

I’ll also throw another name out there – Sanya Richards Ross. Yes the quarter miler. She’s 10.97/22.17 in the shorter sprints; looks to be back to form and ready to roll; and can run the turn and push through the passing zone. I think Felix to Richards Ross could be deadly in both the 4×1 and the 4×4 – and if  you haven’t figured it out by now I’m big on 200 meter sprinters on the 4×1!

They say babies change your life – and they do. This one its going to change the complexion of the US sprint team in London as well. Good luck to all. To Marshavet as she takes that leap into motherhood.  And to the women pursuing a spot on that flight to London. With a little luck this will work out fine all the way around.

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9 Responses to “Myers Pregnant, Who Takes Her Place?”

  1. Fortyacres and a mule says:

    I notice you didn’t even mention Muna Lee.What’s up with that? I don’t see Lauren Williams making an individual event. I am going with Jeter, Solomon and Anderson to make the 100m team for London.I am not so bullish on the collegians.

    • CHill says:

      Have you seen results from Muna lately ?? She was only 11.13 in ’09 – then things went really bad … Nothing in ’10, 11.98 last year … She has run 11.45 this year, but she has a ways to go … She’s 31 and trying to come back … Different if she had been competing all along, but she’s got a rough road ahead …

      I like Solomon and Anderson and see Williams as more of a relay leg … But my gut says one of the “kids” will slip in …

  2. michael roth says:

    Watch out for Barbara Pierre. She was on the US team for World Indoors, finishing 4thjust behind Tianna Madison, and was the top D2 sprinter in her days at St Augustine under George Williams. She’s also an excellent relay person who knows how to get the stick around the track.

    • CHill says:

      I remember Pierre from indoors .. If she can hold the speed she showed indoors she could play a roll … That’s the great thing about an Olympic season, people show up out of “nowhere” … There are always surprises ..

  3. MIKE B. says:

    I THINK IT WAS BIANCA KNIGHT WHO LED OFF THE 4 X 1 TEAM THAT WON GOLD AT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!

    • CHill says:

      You’re right .. I was thinking she just ran the semi, but she ran both the semi and final .. Ironically she and Myers were the only ones to run in both .. So we should keep her on lead off and perhaps put Shalonda on third .. My mistake .

  4. Roy says:

    Richards-Ross is a great replacement for third leg, especially after how she’s ran in the 100m and 200m so far this year. Her and Felix could be the difference makers on that 4 x 1.

  5. Quinn says:

    Not to be corrective but in the World Championships in Daegu was Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix, Marshevet Myers, and Carmleita Jeter. In my opinion, the two best line-ups would be Tiana Madison, Allyson Felix, Sholonda Solomon, and Carmelita Jeter, or either Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix, Tiana Madison, and Carmelita Jeter. I would rather go with the first one for 3 reasons. One Tiana Madison has a great start and can handle of Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce who has a great start and is fast. Two The whole team is made up of speed in both the 200m and the 100m, the main sprints. Three because in the Penn Relays, they had the exact same line-up and had amazing hand-offs, and they had a time 42.19. So I believe the USA quartet can break the Olympic and World record with one of these quartets. That’s if they have good hand-offs and they’re running at the top of their game.

  6. Quinn says:

    But a great semi-final without using any of your top guns, would be Bianca Knight, Alexander Anderson, Jeneba Tarmoh, and Kimberlyn Duncan. I think they can get a sub 42.00 or 42.20. But if you want a fast time for qualification, Bianca Knight, Kimberlyn Duncan, Sholonda Solomon, and Tiana Madison/Lauryn Williams.

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