We’re a weekend away from the Penn Relays, which is typically the meet that sets things off for the outdoor season. After this weekend’s performances however,I think things were set of just fine and we’re on our way to one hot track season.
Things started off on a down note with word that Yohan Blake won’t be competing until the Jamaican championships in June. The cramp he suffered last week turned out to be a tear, so no more racing til then. Of course the way the top sprinters compete we won’t be missing much in terms of head to head competition, but it could affect his sharpness at Trials. He does have a bye to Moscow in the 100, we’ll see if he makes the squad for the deuce.
That said, there were several outstanding performances over the weekend. The lions share coming at the Mt SAC Relays with world leaders and solid performances coming in a variety of events. Here are my highlights from a weekend that saw a plethora or early season PRs. Either this season is going to be blazing fast or some people are going to fade. I hope it’s the former.
Ashton Eaton 20.76 PR (1.8), 13.37 – You heard it here first, Eaton is going to scare 9,100 points this year! He was 61 points short in horrible conditions last year in Eugene – that’s not too hard to make up. Liking at his marks here plus his recent 400 PR and overall outstanding spring and I believe this young man CAN score 9,100.
Will Leer 13:21.55 PR, WL – Nice PR for a miler. He could be the next globally competitive American miler.
Brenda Martinez 4:04.86 PR, WL – Outstanding early season run for Martinez. She’s got great late race speed. If she can stay with the likes of Simpson, Rowbury and Uceny over the first two laps, she could wreak havoc and become a contender.
Bryshon Nellum 20.49 (2.9) – Bryshon is getting his speed back! This was windy but near his HS best of 20.43. I expect a new PR this year in both long sprints. And I won’t be surprised to see him on the plane to Moscow.
Georganne Moline 23.37 (1.0) – Moline is working on her speed and I like that. She’s already tough in the stretch, now she’s trying to get closer to use that strength. I see her close to 53.00 this year.
Laura Roesler 2:01.75 – Nice to see another young middle distance runner begin to develop. Roesler is coming along nicely. Could she join the sub 2:00 club this year?
Team Jet 41.79 – Mandy White, Carmelita Jeter, Lauren Williams, Blessing Okagbare – What amounts to a pick up team turns sub42! And before this meet I’d never heard of Mandy White. Got comparison, the Jamaican NR set last year in London is 41.70! These women were rolling. Will we see another sub 41.00 this year?
Mike Rodgers 10.04 WL & Ryan Bailey 10.18 (-0.4) – Nice opening races for both men. Especially Rodgers who’s season ended in injury last year. If both men can improve their PRs this year (9.85/9.88 respectively) we’re that much stronger in the sprint game where sub 9.80 is now a requirement to medal.
English Gardener 11.00 (1.8) WL & Mandy White 11.07 (1.2) – All I can say is WOW.Gardener almost became the year’s first sub 11. Of course she’s run 11.03 so not completely unexpected, just how early she’s done it. White sent me to the archives. Her best before the start of the year – 11.44. She opened on Apr 6 st 11.40, now 11.07! Uh, put her on your watch list!
Blessing Okagbare 22.31 (1.3) WL – Okagbare’s run is a PR by .31! Could a 100 best, currently 10.92 be far behind?
Erik Kynard 2.34m/7’8" WL PR – Nice PR for Kynard who I consider one of the most talented (natural) jumpers out there.
Natoya Goule 2:00.76 PR, WL – Including indoors, this is Goule’s third PR race in a row! Clearly she’s headed for sub 2:00 this year.
Deon Lendore 45.00 PR – Lendore has been hot all year – and it’s only April. Sterling relay legs indoors and now an early season PR and Lenore is looking like a potential Moscow finalist.
Aries Merritt 13.37 (-0.2) – A ho hum race for Merritt at this point, but you have Rio keep an eye on the WR holder.
Ameer Webb 20.59 (-3.6) - Not too many athletes can run a deuce this week into this strong a wind. Webb just keeps tempting that her could be the next great long sprinter to arrive on the scene.
Tom Jones Invitational
Justin Gatlin 10.05 (0.8) – Gatlin is back to making it look easy. Question is can he drop his PR enough to improve on last year’s bronze in London?
Tony McQuay 45.88, Tyson Gay 45.96 – I hear the wind was rough in this race. Knowing that and that McQuay recently went 10.22 in the 100 tells me this race was slower on the clock than it could have been. So a solid race for Mc Quay who could be becoming one of those consistent national team members. Coming on the heels of his 45.6 lead off at the Florida Relays, I’d say Tyson Gay is close to his early season ’09 form. Let’s see where that leads.
VCB 22.18 (2.6) – Windy, but as usual we see that Veronica Campbell Brown is still as competitive as ever. So ladies beware.
Dentarius Locke 10.08 (1.6) – Locke ran this in his heart then won the final at 10.13. Potentially one of the next wave of young US sprinters.
James Harris 45.25 – Another young quartermiler performing very well early. I said a couple weeks ago to keep your eye on the 400 – this race is going to be HOT!
Michael Tinsley 48.77 WL – Tinsley "emerged" last year after several years of being close. This year he comes out early and set a WL. This event should be VERY competitive at nationals this year and Tinsley should be in the mix.
David Verburg 45.56 over Jeremy Warner 45.72 – Very early seasonbut just not used to seeing a "fit" Wariner get beat. Good race for Verburg but Wariner’s supposed to repel that! I need to see more of both men.
That was a nice way for things to hear up. This week should get all the way turn’t up with the Penn Relays on tap! One of the most recognizable events in the US we get publicity, TV, and lots of stars! There will be other meets this weekend, but this is the one that matters!
Tags: Bailey, Eaton, Gardener, Gatlin, Gay, Goule, Harris, Kynard, Leer, Lendore, Locke, Martinez, McQuay, Merritt, Moline, Nellum, Okagbare, Rodgers, Roesler, Tinsley, VCB, Verburg, Wariner, Webb, White