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

Indoors Closing With a Bang

Mar 6th, 2013
6:26 pm PDT

Mary Cain
This past weekend saw a rash of big time indoor performances as the European and US Championships were held.

Below are my top half dozen performers/performances from the weekend. Initially I was going to do a top five as that’s a more common number, but that Mary Cain just had to be thrown in there! Another rash of times should be expected this weekend with the NCAA Championships on tap. Then it’s outdoors we go!

Jimmy Vicaut (FRA)

6.48 to win Euro indoor title. Huge PR and win for Vicaut who looks like he’s maturing physically and ready to drop into the sub 10 zone this year. A standout for France as a junior, he’s been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of teammate Christophe Lemaitre on the world scene. If Vicaut continues to run like this however, France will have two sprinters making big noise this year!

James Dasaolu.  (GBR)

6.48 in runner up position at Euro indoors. While Vicaut had been a known commodity for a while, I had to go looking for information on Mr. Dasaolu! Because heading into this weekend the Britt I expected to challenge for a medal was Dwain Chambers not James Dasaolu. I’d vaguely remembered seeing the name and went looking for his PR – 10.09 from ’09. With recent seasons of  10.13 (’12), 10.11 (’11), & 10.23 (’10) Dasaolu hasn’t exactly been a threat. That may have changed this weekend as he ran 6.52 in his semi prior to the final. Indoor success and outdoor success often have little correlation in the short sprints, but given that his previous PR of 6.7 was also set in ’09, Mr. Dasaolu could be headed for a breakout season.

Jenn Suhr (US)

5.02m / 16′ 5.5″ to set new WR to win US indoor title. Can Jen be the new queen of the event? Time and competition will tell, but she appears to be healthy, and when healthy she vaults extremely well. She’ll get tested severely outdoors as this event had several women now at the upper ranges of 25 feet – not to mention that Yelena Isinbayeva is still patrolling the vault pit. But Jenn is fit and looking ready to take a good shot at the crown in Moscow.

Darya Klishina (RUS)

7.01m / 23′ 0″ to set world leader to win Euro indoor title. I’ve often said that just as Britney Reese is the best physical talent in the long jump, Klishina may be its best technician! Today she was sharp and the result was an indoor PR and world leader. If she can stay away from injuries she just might give “da beast” a run for her money on her home turf in Russia.

Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)

6.01m / 19′ 8.5″ to win Euro indoors then clears 6.07m / 19′ 11″ for indoor WR but bar bounced and landed back on standard and called “foul”! Lavillenie has become the closest thing to Sergei Bubka the sport has seen since the WR holder retired. No one has been consistently at the heights the Frenchman is now regularly attempting. It’s a tragedy that he was denied this record. My gut says that this is his year however, and I expect to see great things from him outdoors.

Mary Cain (US)

National champion women’s mile. The time was pedestrian (5:02) and irrelevant. What was relevant is that the grown women in the field were clearly running afraid of the young phenom. The pace for three quarters of a mile looked like a jogging group out for a leisurely stroll. And then Cain struck with a withering 59 second final 400 that dropped the rest of the field like a bad habit! This girl is the real deal. She may have a bit more difficulty against the like of Morgan Uceny, Shannon Rowbury, et al but I have no doubt she’s up to accepting the challenge and will acquit herself well when the time comes. I’m looking forward to it!

7 Responses to “Indoors Closing With a Bang”

  1. Waynebo says:

    Mad props to Jenn Suhr! Gold in London, now indoor WR. Isi should be concerned. There is now a real challenger for her crown.

    I found the women’s indoor mile very irritating to watch. I hate the way middle distance runners jog and feel each other out with everybody lacking the guts to lay it on the line. I wanna see somebody run their own race and dare the other runners to beat them! The whole “wait for the kick” thing is A)boring B)stupid for those who know they don’t have strong closing speed. Cain is a phenom for sure, but they made it too easy for her. 5:02? Come on. That was shameful to watch a 16-year old make those “seasoned” runners look that pathetic. I know the real “big girls” weren’t there, but there were several women in that field that have the talent to challenge her if they would have had the heart to run a real race. If a 16-year old is gonna beat them for the national championship, they should at least make her run a 4:30 to do it.

    That said, I’m gonna go on the record with this prediction: barring any major injuries, Mary Cain will break the AR in the mile/1500 before she turns 20. Yes, the 30-year-old mark held by Mary Slaney will be broken by a teenager. You heard it here first :-) The girl not only has huge natural talent, she LOVES to run and she is a competitor. Heart & guts. And, unlike most female American middle distance runners, she’s a kicker. She closed in 58.6 for the last 400. 2 more years with Alberto Salazar plus natural physical maturing and she’ll be closing in 56. That will put her up there with the big girls and she will break that record competing against the Kenyans and Ethiopians.
    (ok, I’m done. Sorry. got a little fired up :-) )

    • CHill says:

      I don’t mind a tactical race as long as it’s “honest” .. Like a men’s 1500 that goes in 3:34 instead of 3:29 .. That can be entertaining … But that women’s race last weekend was just tragic !!

      The horror was that those women showed fear of the “kid” !!! Instead of going out there to let her know who the adults were ..

      That said, Cain was spectacular, because she was the one in control the entire time .. She never wavered, and ran them into the ground at the end ..

      And I’m gong to crawl out on that limb with you and go a tad further out and say she’ll get that record before she graduates high school ..

      • Waynebo says:

        A high schooler setting an AR. Can’t argue against you on that one. Has that been done before? In the modern era? Seems like it would be unprecedented. I guess the middle-distance folks are about to find out how all the sprinters felt in 2008 when Bolt had his breakthrough. :-D

        • CHill says:

          I don’t believe so, not in the modern era .. But she’s almost there now .. And we have yet to see what she does outdoors .. My guess is she’s close to 4:20 before the year is out .. I don’t even want to think about what she may be capable of …

        • CHill says:

          After sleeping on that I was wrong .. Sort of .. In ’75 Houston Mc Tear ran 9.0 for 100 yards to equal the WR at the time … So yes for a hand time in the modern era .. The next year hand times were dropped and only fully auto times qualified for WR status … None since then ..

          • Waynebo says:

            9-flat in high school? #Beast
            Tying the WR in HS is impressive whether It’s hand timed or automatic.

          • CHill says:

            McTear was a beast !! Qualified for the Games in ’76, but didn’t compete because he was injured in the Trials final (ran 10.16 in that final) .. Ironically another high schooler took his place in Montreal – Johnny Jones .. Jones made the Games final and ran on the winning 4×1 … AND another high schooler represented in the 200 at the Games – Dwayne Evans .. Evans ran 20.22 at Trials and took bronze in Montreal !! So not a bad test for high school sprinters .. Matter of fact Tony Darden qualified for the Trials at 45.7 in the 400 .. Best ever year for high school sprinters .. IMHO

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