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

US Nationals – Keep an Eye on the Collegians

Jun 21st, 2010
12:32 pm PDT
Jun 12, 2010; Eugene, OR, USA; Queen Harrison of Virginia Tech defeats Ti'erra Brown of Miami to win the women's 100m hurdles, 12.67 to 12.84, in the 2010 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.Photo by Image of Sport Photo via Newscom

Without a World Championships or Olympic Games berth on the line, this year’s national championships could see a number of individuals choose to focus on things like making money, letting nagging injuries heal, or simply train through nationals while focusing on meets later in the season. If so we could see several top level athletes choose to skip the national championships with the only real gain being the title of “National Champion”. So it’s not surprising that we’ve already heard that Tyson Gay won’t be competing in Des Moines and names such as Kerron Clement, Sanya Richards and Lashinda Demus are missing from the preliminary start lists. 

With that being the case, this year’s meet could be a good time to keep an eye on young emerging talent. Athletes that could be the back bone of the US team heading into the global championship cycle of Daegu ‘11 / London ‘12 / Moscow ‘13. For example the last ”off” season of 2006 was Nick Symmonds’ big breakthrough season before he made the US teams for Osaka, Beijing and Berlin.

Prime candidates would be some of the athletes from the recently completed NCAA Championships that are looking to see how they stack up against their counterparts on the next level. So with that in mind here are some youngsters that I feel bear watching at this week’s meet.

 

Ryan Whiting – Shot Put

Whiting is coming off a double win in the shot put and discus at the recently completed NCAA Championships. His winning put of 72’ 1” was just shy of the collegiate record and makes him #2 in the world entering the meet. Whiting was very consistent as a collegian throwing the shot over 70 feet in 10 meets during his career. He will take to the field in Iowa against veterans such as reigning World Indoor and Outdoor Champion Christian Cantwell. Whiting could be the next in a long line of top floight shot putters from the US. This meet could give us a glimpse into his future.

 

Christian Taylor – Long Jump / Triple Jump

Christian Taylor is another collegiate champion who will be taking a shot against the big boys. Taylor won the NCAA triple jump title with a leap of 56’ 1”w and had a legal jump of 55’ 10.25”. He becomes an immediate contender in an event that has been suffering here in the US. With the world’s top jumpers leaping in the 57 to 58 foot range we need someone to step up and be competitive – Taylor could be the guy.  He has bests of 56’ 4.5”, 26’ 4.75” and is a 45.34 quarter miler – he has serious talent. Competing for Florida he’s also had relay duty, but here he will be focusing on the jumps so will be interesting to see just how far he may leap. I think he may be able to compete in that 57 foot range by the time the next set of championships comes along.

 

Johnny Dutch – 400 Hurdles

Dutch heads to Des Moines having pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the NCAA championships by defeating 2 time defending champion Jeshua Anderson. His defeat of Anderson came two weeks after improving his PR to 48.12 and becoming the #4 all time collegiate hurdler – giving validation to his recent improvement. He will get his toughest test to date going up against Olympic and  World Championship bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson as well as collegiate nemesis Jeshua Anderson who will be looking to avenge his NCAA loss. We are not lacking in this event internationally but it’s been a while since we’ve had some “new blood” enter the fray. We will see how Dutch matches up against the vets.

 

Queen Harrison – 100 / 400 Hurdles

Queen proved to be a fitting first name for Ms Harrison as she won BOTH hurdle events at the NCAA meet in sizzling fashion with times of 12.67 & 54.55. She stated during interviews in Eugene that she likes both events and is entered in both in Des Moines. Her toughest test may come in the shorter event where international vets Lolo Jones and Damu Cherry lie in wait. In the 400 hurdles she’ll get to go against veteran Sheena Tosta – whom she edged out at the Trials in ‘08. While we’re fairly deep in the short hurdles, it would be nice to see a bit of new blood in the 400 event.

 

Jordan Hasay – 1500 Meters

In 2008 Hasay competed in this meet as a high schooler and made the final. This year she shows up as a college freshman who took charge in the NCAA championships as the third place finisher after taking charge mid race and nearly pulling off the upset. Watching Hasay for me is less about seeing if she can win, than it is about watching her growth. I have little doubt that she is going to become a middle distance mainstay for the US. It’s not a question of “if” but a matter of “when”. This meet should be one more stepping stone for Hasay.

 

Ronnie Ash – 110 Hurdles & Jeshua Anderson 400 Hurdles

I put Ash and Anderson together because their stories are the same. Both were heavily favored in their events at the NCAA meet and both suffered upsets. They both bear watching because they have potential to be among out best in their events, and a single loss doesn’t lessen that potential. It will be interesting, however, to see how they respond to their upset losses here in Des Moines. How they compete will give us a glimpse at their character. We already know that both have talent. Now we will get to see how they respond to adversity.

 

Some combination of these youngsters will be representing us internationally over the next few seasons. This meet will be a chance for us to get to know them.

4 Responses to “US Nationals – Keep an Eye on the Collegians”

  1. skydance7 says:

    "Off-year" or not, I always enjoy this meet as a rite of passage of sorts – the collegians moving to the next level, trying to make a name for themselves.

    …and inevitably some old war horses trying to go out in a blaze of glory.

    As an Oregon fan, another duo I'm interested in watching is Cyrus Hostetler and Alex Wolff in the javelin. It's redemption time for them…I hope.

  2. Mike says:

    Going off of the declared athletes list on usatf.org, I saw that Kerron Clement is entered in the 200 and 400 open, so while he may not be entered in his primary event it looks like he will still be running.

    Also according to that list, Queen Harrison has not declared yet. I don't know enough about how this all works to know if that means she isn't running. I hope not, because I'd love to see how she does on the next level.

    Two other events with collegiates that I think will be worth watching are the Men's 400 and the women's 10000. Both Calvin Smith and Tavaris Tate are entered in the 400. With Jeremy Warner struggling this year, it should be interested to see how they do.

    It will be interesting to see how Lisa Koll does in the 10,000. I would imagine Amy Begley will win, but Lisa Koll has been running well enough lately it should be fun to watch.

  3. Conway Hill says:

    I also like watching the collegiates every year .. Off years seem to level the field a bit though with defections from the meet ..

    I'm also looking forward to Lisa Koll .. And unless Wariner comes much better than he has this season I think the men's 400 is wide open ..

  4. M.G.M. says:

    Looks like Queen has scratched from both events.

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