I’m getting antsy, it’s Friday night and no big results can be found – everything major will be happening Saturday. So my mind is wandering in the direction of the Trials. After all, once the smoke clears everything comes down to two meets this year – National Trials and the Olympic Games.In some countries the Trials may be the years most important meet, beside if you don’t get past the Trials you’ll never see the Games – at least not from the stadium in London.
So I’m anticipating the Trials almost as much as the Games. With everything on the line and great depth in several events, the US Trials its often only second to the Olympics themselves for sheer excitement and drama. And this year should be another doozy. If you don’t believe me take a look at these 8 events that I guarantee will thrill and excite in Eugene.
Tyson Gay. This could be his seasonal debut. The number two sprinter of all time looking for a trip to London and a rematch on the global stage against Usain Bolt. That’s the back drop, and potentially the biggest story in Eugene. Especially if you take into account that 2004 gold medalist, Justin Gatlin should be in the final. Or how about Walter Dix, double silver in Daegu and now being coached by John Smith who has a history of Olympic and World champions? Or community college record holder, Ryan Bailey who is also coached by Smith now – and a Bolt like physical specimen. High school and WJR holder Jeff Demps will also be trying to make the team as will current high school star Marvin Bracy, and community college stand out Diondre Batson – and that’s just the list of name athletes! Names aside this will be one knock down drag out fight and at the end of the day we’ll know the status of Gay and the status of sprinting in America.
Allyson Felix is looking for her third trip to the Games in this event. Carmelita Jeter is looking for her first. They’ll be taking on a field that could include last years world leader, Shalonda Solomon. Bianca Knight who closed out last year very strong and was ranked in the top five globally. Collegiate stud Kymberlyn Duncan and young pros Jeneba Tarmoh and Porscha Lucas sit say the too of a group hungry to upset Felix. Three spots, two vets and a whole lot of talent. That’s a recipe for a blazing stretch run and a photo finish. And did I mention that Felix will certainly be looking to reassert her supremacy in this event?
How often do you get the last two Olympic champions going head to head for another trip to the Games? That’s what we’re going to have when Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt step on the track. They’re also the last two men to run sub 44 – #3 & 5 all time. That battle alone should be worth the price of admission. Now throw in the fact that the Men’s 400 routinely has athletes that run PRs – and usually substantial ones -and you end up with an event that could have Olympic like results! Especially with a slew of young studs that should be lead by last years national champion, Tony McQuay and what could be one of the biggest comeback stories ever in Bryshon Nellum.
I’ve already talked about this race. Five of our best ever in the event and only three available slots! A woman who loves to lead – Christin Wurth Thomas. A very savvy tactician – Morgan Uceny. And three fierce kickers – Jenny Simpson, Anna Pearce, and Shannon Rowbury. This race should be as exciting as any sprint, because in the end that’s exactly what it’s going to be, a sprint! Wurth Thomas missed her spot on last years team by .01 sec. Don’t be surprised if we’re looking at the photo and going to the thousandths to figure out who gets plane tickets again this time around.
Men’s 110 hurdles
Another event I’ve talked about before, this final could have a field with every finalist having a PR under 13.10 – faster than every Olympic final before 1988. That would include AR holder David Oliver (12.89), multiple global medalist Terrence Trammell, and current World champion Jason Richardson. Add seasoned veterans like Aries Merritt, Ronnie Ash, Joel Brown, and Ryan Wilson and once again we have a photo finish in the making.This race could be every bit as close as the 100 meter dash. Actually maybe closer.
Women’s 100 hurdles
Sally Pearce gets all the headlines but quiet as it’s kept US women dominate the list behind her. And this is one of those events where several women that will be left home could easily be finalists in London. And the crazy thing is they’re all fairly evenly matched! Joanna Hayes (12.37) is working on a comeback as is Michelle Perry (12.43). Lolo Jones (12.43) looked back to form indoors, and Damu Cherry (12.44), Ginnie Crawford (12.45), Danielle Carruthers (12.47), Dawn Harper (12.47), and Kellie Wells (12.50) will all be vying for golden tickets to London. Now that’s depth. It’s also too close to call and that makes it potentially one of the most exciting events at the Trials!
Men’s shot put
You want excitement? How about an event where the lead can go back and forth several times and the athletes get a chance to come back over and over to out do each other. That’s the potential of the field events where you get six opportunities to win your event. And in the case of the shot putters a large group of men capable of winning the event. Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa, and Adam Nelson have a treasure trove of global medals between them and each has won gold. Ryan Whiting, and Cory Martin will be leading the youth movement trying to keep them from adding to their already bountiful haul of medals. If things go as I expect this should produce high drama in Eugene, because this group of putters is as competitive as any in history and there are only three available spots.
Men’s triple jump
We’re not as deep here as we once were. And frankly unless someone seriously rises to the occasion the first two spots are a lock. That said however, World champion Christian Taylor and World bronze medalist Will Claye ALWAYS put on a show. And with six available jumps and two competitive egos the likelihood is very high that the title in this event will come down to the very last jump. A jump that could potentially be pour in the rarefied air of 59 feet, because that’s how good and competitive this pair is. Don’t be surprised if by meets end they have rewritten the all time US list in the event – and that would be exiting.
Ok, there’s my wandering look ahead to the Trials. Let’s see how several of these athletes perform this weekend.
Tags: Batson, Bracy, Cantwell, Carrruthers, Cherry, Claye, Crawford, Demps, Dix, Duncan, Felix, Gatlin, Gay, Harper, Hayes, Hoffa, Jeter, Knight, McQuay, Merritt, Nellum, Nelson, Oliver, Pierce, Richardson, Rowbury, Simpson, Solomon, Taylor, Trammell, Uceny, Wariner, Wells, Whiting, Wurth Thomas