Usually the first day of Nationals is fairly quiet. But I found yesterday actually somewhat exciting. Lots of action for a first day, and I actually learned something new!
Who is Kibwe Johnson?
I try to be up on as many events as possible, but I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about Kibwe before yesterday! I know who he is now. Hammer Thrower. A VERY good Hammer Thrower. So good in fact that his winning toss of 263’ 6” (80.31m) makes him #2 in the event on the season! He’s #3 American all time behind Lance Deal and Jud Logan – and I know that they were pretty good. I’ll be keeping an eye on Kibwe this summer because he gets my nod as the top athlete on opening day!
Eaton Looking Like Superman!
Took a lot for me to say Johnson was my athlete of the day, because Ashton Eaton came out looking like he had a cape waving from his back. 10.33 in the 100 – leaving Bryan Clay WAY back even though he ran a very nice 10.64 of his own! A 25’ 7” long jump, a 46’ 4” shot put, and then a 6’ 8.75” high jump before he put the hammer down once again on a 46.35 quarter – Miller Moss eating dust this time at 48.06! A HUGE 4604 points on Day One – and a 408 point lead over Bryan Clay in second place. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I think he has a shot at the AR (8891, Dan O’Brien) and maybe 9000 points (WR is 9026). The first event today is the 110 hurdles and he’s run 13.35 already this year. Anything close to that and a typical second day could put him close to something VERY special.
Taylor and Claye go 1, 2
I’ve been watching these two all season long – Florida’s 1, 2 punch of Christian Taylor and Will Claye. They went 1, 2 at the NCAA Championships and repeated that finish in Eugene. Taylor jumping 57’ 4” (+3.5), Claye going 56’ 1” (+2.4) – and both passed their last three jumps! Along with Kibwe Johnson, they give us something to look forward to in Daegu in a couple of events that we have had little success in lately!
Women’s 100 Showdown Looming
The opening round of the sprints is usually about dropping the dead wood. But unless something happens of significance in the semis later today, two women clearly emerged as the best of this lot. No surprise that it was Carmelita Jeter and Marshevet Myers, but they opened up at 10.88 (+1.7) and 10.87 (+1.8) respectively – Myers mark just off her recent 10.86 PR – Holla! Barring catastrophe this final could end up being the race of the day.
Tyson and Walter Need Block Work
Speaking of the 100, everyone made it through yesterday in the men’s heats, but Tyson Gay and Walter Dix need some serious work on their starts. Tyson is known for coming out slowly and turning it on, but he runs 9.7 at will. Having said that, however, while he should win this final regardless of his start he can NOT start like this against Bolt and have any hope. Best to get it straightened out here! And if Walter starts like that in the final today (should he make the final) it won’t be good enough to get that third spot. Because it still looks like Tyson and Mike Rodgers and a whole lot of hungry folk eyeing that third spot! Judging from the first round there are 12 men vying for 8 spots in the final. The semis are going to be brutal.
That’s all I can say about Jeremy – a question mark. Pressed in his opening round by Joey Hughes (46.02) as he won in “only” 45.94. Yes he won, but he’s supposed to walk across the line in 45.50 in his opening round, not get pressed to a 45.94! I don’t see three men in this field keeping him off the team, but I don’t see it as the easy victory that one might expect – especially with Lashawn Merritt not in the race. He’s back with coach Hart, so we can no longer talk about the coaching change. Maybe he’s training through on his way to Worlds? All I know is that he’s not looking like the “Human Metronome” who once had his race so dialed in that I could take his split at 200 and 300 and pretty much tell you what his final time would be. Let’s see what the semi and final bring.
There were finals in the 10,000 meters last night and as much as Wariner didn’t look like his race was dialed in, Shalane was like clockwork! She got out, set her pace, ran away from the pack and just kept going. She didn’t need any help, she just ran. Her 30.59.97 was beautiful to watch. It was her second sub 31 this year, and I think she has a solid shot at a medal in Daegu and should be able to challenge for the top spot on the podium.
Should be another great day today. 100 meter semis and finals. The semifinals in the 800 and 400 should be HOT. And two deep 5000 meter finals!