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

Kansas Gets Things Rolling Early

Apr 20th, 2012
6:35 am PDT

Reese HoffaWeekend results are coming in early as the Kansas Relays have already gotten started with some "Downtown" events. On Wednesday evening the shot putters were up, throwing in a ring placed in the middle of downtown Lawrence. The result was a stunning competition as Reese Hoffa (21.73m / 71′ 3.5") out dueled Christian Cantwell (21.71m / 71′ 2.25"). Hoffa takes over the WL with Cantwell becoming #2 on the year. Both men had a pair of throws over 71 feet and were extremely consistent throughout the competition. It’s still a bit early, but both men are looking like the perennial Majors competitors that they are. The shot put is going to be another one of those very deep events at the Trials – a la the men’s 110 hurdles and the women’s 1500.

Thursday evening it was the long jumpers turn as Jenay Deloach jumped 6.61m / 21′ 8.25" to move into the #4 position on the yearly list. We should see more outstanding performances over the next couple of days as Kansas has attracted some solid fields.  That would include a 400H race featuring current WL Bershawn Jackson. The 100 meters has a pair of men that could make the finals at the Olympic Trials in Ivory Williams (PR 9.93) and Rae Edwards (PR 10.00).While in the women’s event we’ll also get a look at ’08 Olympian Muna Lee as she attempts to work her way back to her ’08 PR of 10.85. The men’s mile could also preview some Trials performers in Will Leer, Russell Brown,  A. J.  Acosta, and half miler Nick Symmonds.  It will be interesting to compare weekend results between Symmonds in the mile here and Charles Jock who’s running the 800 at Mt SAC as they could be competing for the top two 800 spots in Eugene .

Speaking of potential performances this weekend,  I hear that speed will be on display again in Florida – this time at the Tom Jones Classic. Most notable could be the women’s 200 which is slated to have Veronica Campbell Brown,  Shalonda Solomon, and Kelly Anna Baptiste (TRI). With that trio going at it we could see a new WL. Of course while they’re going after Carmelita Jeter’s 22.31, Jeter will be running her 100 opener – will have to compare races after the weekend is over. 

Florida will have a battle of future stars as Jeff Demps and Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) are set to square off over 100 meters.  Justin Gatlin will open his season in the deuce against quarter miler Tony McQuay in a classic sprinter/quarter miler match up. And following up the swift 110 hurdle race from the Florida Relays will be another race with 9 men entered with PR’s under 13.30.

Of course the last time we were watching track in Florida, high school sprint star Marvin Bracy was tossed from the 100 thanks to the "one and done" false start rule. Is it just me,  or is this one of the most ridiculous rules in the sport?  It took Using Bolt out of the Daegu 100 final – and several others in various events/rounds in Daegu. 

Proponents of the rule said it would speed up meets – for TV. I guess they forgot that races are still stopped and reset and the time is still lost. Of course with this rule not only is time lost but so are competitors. If you watched last year’s New York Grand Prix, the 100 finished with only a third of the original field as three men were thrown out of the race.  Three men gone, and the race still went off late with the TV cameras rolling!  What would it have hurt to let them stay in the race?  It certainly would have made for a better race – which is why the fans parted with their money in the first place.  And if you’re worried about preventing "cheating" don’t you do that when you call the false start?  When you reset the field, everyone gets the fair start we say we want – even if the original perpetrator gets to run!

And it sure would have been nice to see Bracy and Whitaker (winner in 10.21w) go head to head in Florida. I mean, how often do you get a high school race with athletes of that caliber? And wouldn’t you like to know if Blake would’ve won that gold medal with Bolt shifting gears beside him in Daegu? Yes they made mistakes, but why is it that only the sprinters and hurdlers aren’t allowed to make mistakes?  Field event performers get at least three chances to get it right – six when they make the finals. In the distances if the starter doesn’t like the way the field starts out he can call them back, let them calm themselves, and just start over. But if you happen to compete in an event that has the MOST stress associated with the start, YOU are allowed nothing. Don’t flinch, move, react to sound, react to movement, slip, feel uncomfortable ,or get tired during the set position if the starter holds you too long!  Because the timing of the meet is predicated on YOUR event. And if YOU cause the meet – and our beloved TV – to fall off schedule you will pay by watching your peers run from the best seat in the house!  So it shall be written, so it shall be done.

So, as we watch the rest of this weekends activities I hope none of those speed demon sprinters has the audacity to slow down a meet. Why are they in such a hurry anyway? You’d think they were actually trying to outrun each other or something! If you’d like to watch the action in Mt SAC or Kansas, in spite of possible sprint/hurdle delays, FloTrack is providing live streaming from both events! A big thanks to FloTrack.

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