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

Rollins’ 12.26 Leads Weekend at Nationals

Jun 24th, 2013
7:56 am PST

Brianna RollinsAs I thought prior, this was one of the hottest National Championships in a long time – and it was lead by women and youth. Don’t get me wrong, the men got the job done and we’re sending a nice male squad to Moscow. But the women were doing spectacular things everywhere you turned – and none were any more spectacular than Brianna Rollins.

Rollins started looking like gold at the NCAA Championships when she screamed collegiate records of 12.47 & 12.39 – but that was just a warm up for Des Moines. This weekend saw her run 12.33w, 12.30w before blazing 12.26 (1.2) in the final for a new American Record. In the last month she’s moved from being a very good hurdler to =#3 all time and within inches of the world record of 12.21! The scary thing is she didn’t look to be pressing – just another race. Watching that race I’d say she has at least another tenth in her – more in a perfect race. We could be witnessing a historical season from this young lady.

We’re already witnessing a historical season from young Mary Cain who went out and did what is becoming common place for her – showing the adults how it’s done! Lining up with the likes of Morgan Uceny and Shannon Rowbury, the 17 year old watched as the "adults" went out like snails – and must have been licking her lips. This was the same tactic that was used at the indoor championships and resulted in a Mary Cain victory. Apparently none of the women in this race have that on their DVR’s. Fast forward outdoors and as the pace dawdled Cain took her time and worked her way from the back of the pack to the front at the bell lap, then set sail for home. Only training mate Trenier Moser was able to keep up – going past for the win in the final few meters. None the less the 17 year old’s runner up finish earned her a ticket to Moscow as world rankers Rowbury and Uceny trailed! This young lady is going to take US middle distance running to a new place and I wouldn’t bet against her making that final in Moscow.

Rollins’ win was expected, and for me Cain making the team was expected. Unexpected however, was the victory of Kimberlyn Duncan over Allyson Felix in the 200! Felix made her first World team ten years ago (as a young exciting teen) and has been the top US 200 woman for a decade. Meanwhile Duncan has been ripping up the collegiate scene – looking in my humble opinion like the second coming of Gwen Torrence. Duncan made the final at the Trials last year but running against Felix, Jeter and Richards Ross looked, well collegiate. But Duncan graduated from LSU earlier this month and went pro. Her matriculation in Iowa was a huge success as she went from the collegiate version of Torrence to the professional one with her first national title. Staying close to Felix on the turn she did what few have done in the last decade – ran by Felix in the stretch! And her 21.80w (Felix 21.85w) was VERY Torrence like. Suddenly Felix has a peer here at home, and we’re looking at the potential of two Americans under 22.00 in Russia.

Now it wasn’t all about the young females. Senior women like Jenn Suhr, Alysia Montano, Michelle Carter, and Jenny Simpson continued their winning ways. Simpson impressive as she bypassed the 1500 (she has a bye) to run and win the 5000 against Olympian Molly Huddle. And Carter setting a new AR in the shot at 66′ 5", and moving to #2 in the world on the yearly list – a serious medal threat for World’s.

But for every vet that came through there was a Brigetta Barrett who took the world lead in the high jump at 6′ 8.25". A Delilah Muhammad who won the 400 hurdles as she shattered her PR with a 53.83. Or an Ajee Wilson who’s 3rd place 1:59.55 would be an AJR if Mary Cain hadn’t best her to it at Pre (1:59.51)! In a meet with many outstanding performances it was the young ladies that were the stars of the show!

Now there were men in Iowa, and they did their thing too. Ryan Whiting continued to look like the new American leader in the shot winning with a huge toss of 72′ 6.5". Duane Solomon moved Nick Symmonds to #2 for the first time in half a decade at nationals with a sizzling 1:43.27 win. A world leader and tremendous follow up to his performance at the Olympics. Veteran Ryan Wilson won his first national title ahead of David Oliver and Aries Merritt – saying that ten years of hard work finally paid off.  And Tyson Gay had his second world leading time of the weekend winning the deuce in 19.74. But the theme of this meet was young talent, and taking the two spots behind Gay were youngsters Isaiah Young (19.86) and Curtis Mitchell (19.99) – continuing the theme of a core of veterans and a large compliment of youth leading the way to Moscow.

The youth movement in Des Moines was as big as I’ve ever seen. And as much as this was the selection meet for the World Championships, it also marked a changing of the guard for US track and field – something I’ll take a more in depth look at later this week. Suffice it to say that we have a very strong team headed to Moscow. And they say the sport is dead in the US!

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