THAT’S RIGHT, we’re writing this in December and in this weirdest of years there’s still significant track & field action to talk about, outdoors as well as in.
Jenna Hutchins Claims Prep 5000 Record
Columbia, South Carolina, December 11—Of the handful of distance events on offer at the Five & Dime meet, the most notable moment came from one of the youngest entrants. Jenna Hutchins (Science Hill, Johnson City, Tennessee) paced herself impressively to a 15:34.47 High School Record in the 5000.
The 16-year-old junior followed a rabbit through the 1600 in 4:56 and took the lead a half-lap later. She cruised past 3000 in 9:21.18 and 3200 in 9:59. With a lap to go, she had Mary Cain’s ’13 outdoor mark of 15:45.56 in the bag, but needed to kick hard to get under Katelyn Tuohy’s absolute best of 15:37.12, set indoors in ’18.
Hutchins finished with a 70.63 and needed much of that strength to hold off fast-closing pro Annie Rodenfels, who clocked 15:35.18 in 2nd.
Said the new recordholder, “Coming on that last 100 and having the crowd cheer me on and being able to watch that clock, I didn’t really know I had the record until right after I crossed the line.”
Hutchins also broke Tuohy’s American Youth (U18) record and is now No. 3 among U.S. Juniors (U20) all-time. Though well short of the indoor best of Wisconsin’s Sarah Disanza (15:20.57 in’14), she sliced 2.48 off the official outdoor record of Molly Huddle (15:36.95 in ’03)
In the men’s mile, Victor Palumbo of the Central Park TC became member No. 563 of the U.S. sub-4:00 club, timing 3:58.79. As a statistical aside, note that that makes him the latest-in-the-year inductee of the club ever.
One Last Shot For Crouser
Manhattan, Kansas, December 04-05—Ryan Crouser had already put up one of the great seasons in shot putting history, but when the K-State Winter Invitational rolled around he said, “I really wanted to get a meet in!”
In enquiring about having his client in the indoor meet, Crouser’s agent said, “He feels he is in good shape and would like to take a shot at the World Record. Can we get him in?”
In he was, and while he didn’t claim the WR, he did produce history’s No. 3 undercover mark, 74-1 (22.58), coming up just a hair shy of Randy Barnes’s standard of 74-4¼ (22.66). That was throw No. 4 in a series which also featured marks of 71-2¾, 71-10¾, 71-5½, 72-¾, and 72-1 (21.71, 21.91, 21.78, 21.96, 22.58, 21.97).
Kansas State senior Tejaswin Shankar cranked out a nifty pentathlon score of 4343, an Indian Record which moved him to No. 10 on the all-time world list and No. 4 among collegians.
The Track Meet Men: Grijalva & Jenkins
San Juan Capistrano, December 04-05—Northern Arizona’s Luis Grijalva may be a man without a country, but he is not a man without skills.
Reportedly, the Guatemalan federation says he’s not theirs, even though he was born there, so they won’t be counting his 13:16.75 at The Track Meet as a national record. He’s lived in the U.S. since he was a baby and while he hopes to be a citizen eventually, right now he’s in the “No Olympics for you!” gray area.
On the last few laps of a barnburner 5000 in a pop-up meet where some of America’s best distance talents gathered, no one was checking passports. Grijalva blistered his final lap in 57.12 to get past Oregon’s Cooper Teare (13:17.13) and Drew Hunter (13:17.55 PR), moving to No. 5 all-time among collegians, with Teare going to No. 8. Two others broke 13:20: Britain’s Sam Atkin (13:18.57 PR) and Eric Avila (13:18.68 PR).
“I was happy to just tag along,” said Grijalva. “It’s been like 8 months since our last race.”
The 10,000 the following night was just as revelatory, as Eric Jenkins put an exclamation mark on the fact that he is healthy and training well. In his first 25-lapper in 4 years, Jenkins, 29, proved that he will be a force in the future, clicking off an impressive 27:22.06 that sliced 26 seconds off his best and made him the ninth-fastest American ever.
“Feeling very lucky and grateful for everything to come together,” he said.
The Nike Bowerman veteran proved his kick is still crisp, beating a crowd to the line that included Aussie Patrick Tiernan (27:22.55 NR), Edward Cheserek (27:23.58), and Atkin (26:26.58 PR). Joe Klecker impressed with a PR 27:35.57 in 5th, while Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo made himself the No. 10 collegian ever at 27:37.29.
The Track Meet Men’s Results
5000: I–1. Luis Grijalva’ (NnAz-Gua) 13:16.75 NR (5, 5 C);
2. Cooper Teare (Or) 13:17.13 PR (8, 8 C; 2, 2 AmC);
3. Drew Hunter (adiTinE) 13:17.55 PR; 4. Sam Atkin’ (GB) 13:18.57 PR; 5. Eric Avila (adi) 13:18.68 PR; 6. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot’ (Can) 13:22.44 PR; 7. Sam Parsons’ (Ger) 13:32.41; 8. Brian Barraza (adi) 13:33.43 PR.
II–1. Matthew Centrowitz (NikBowTC) 13:32.92; 2. ***Cole Hocker (Or) 13:32.95 PR (6, 7 AJ); 3. Tom Anderson’ (GB) 13:34.05 PR; 4. Kasey Knevelbaard (Wesf) 13:34.91 PR; 5. Drew Jordan (unat) 13:39.59 PR; 6. Cameron Griffith’ (Aus) 13:39.80 PR.
10,000: I–1. Eric Jenkins (Nik) 27:22.06 PR (9, x A);
2. Patrick Tiernan’ (Aus) 27:22.55 NR; 3. Edward Cheserek’ (Ken) 27:23.58 PR; 4. Atkin’ 27:26.58 PR; 5. Joe Klecker (OnA) 27:35.57 PR; 6. Wesley Kiptoo’ (IaSt) 27:37.29 PR (10, x C); 7. Hillary Bor (Hoka) 27:38.53 PR; 8. Robert Brandt (Gtn) 27:39.20 PR (4, 4 AmC); 9. Frank Lara (TracksmRR) 27:44.65 PR; 10. Connor McMillan (adi) 27:53.17 PR;
11. Girma Mecheso (unat) 28:03.95; 12. Zachery Panning (HansB) 28:04.32 PR; 13. Reid Buchanan (OnMamm) 28:07.62; 14. Alex Masai’ (Ken) 28:11.05 PR; 15. Reed Fischer (adi) 28:12.53 PR; 16. Brogan Austin (TinE) 28:18.57 PR;… dnf—Tyler Day (US).
II–1. Abdihamid Nur (unat) 28:12.06 PR; 2. Sydney Gidabuday (TinE) 28:15.41 PR; 3. John Reniewicki (BellL) 28:15.65 PR; 4. Simon Bedard’ (Fra) 28:16.06 PR.
The Track Meet Women: Schneider & Houlihan
San Juan Capistrano, December 04-05—In a year of crazy distance times, the women’s 10,000 at The Track Meet was exhibit 99. A dozen women broke 32:00, led by Rachel Schneider’s debut 31:09.79, a mark that made the 29-year-old Georgetown alum No. 8 American ever.
Schneider needed every bit of it to get past newly-minted pro Weini Kelati, 2nd in 31:10.08 (an Eritrean NR). Wisconsin alum Alicia Monson finished 3rd (31:10.84 for No. 10 U.S. all-time), followed by Kenyan Sharon Lokedi (31:11.07 PR), Natosha Rogers (31:12.28 PR) and Kellyn Taylor (31:15.65). In this year of major shoe upgrades, results read like Christmas come early, with PRs going to 20 of the first 21 finishers.
“It was a different event for me,” said Schneider, who has recovered from a summer Achilles injury. “Definitely one I’m excited to keep trying.”
The previous night’s 5000—while not the parade of PRs the 25 lapper turned out to be—still provided a solid race, with Nike Bowerman’s Shelby Houlihan (15:02.55) and Elise Cranny (15:04.88) dominating. Third went to Emily Lipari (15:17.72 PR) ahead of Dana Giordano (15:18.06 PR).
Said Houlihan, “It was harder than I felt like we wanted it to be, but given it’s December and we’re in the middle of training… We just came out here to check that box and get an Olympic standard and did what we needed to.”
The Track Meet Women’s Results
5000: I–1. Shelby Houlihan (NikBowTC) 15:02.55; 2. Elise Cranny (NikBowTC) 15:04.88; 3. Emily Lipari (adi) 15:17.72 PR; 4. Dana Giordano (BAA) 15:18.06 PR; 5. Laura Galván’ (Mex) 15:29.14; 6. Eleanor Fulton (unat) 15:32.98 PR; 7. Kim Conley (NBal) 15:36.05; 8. Heidi See’ (Aus) 15:36.68; 9. Roisin Flanagan’ (Adams) 15:38.27 PR; 10. Stephanie Garcia (NBal) 15:39.80.
II–1. Allie Schadler (unat) 15:33.47 PR; 2. Sarah Lancaster (Paras) 15:34.28 PR; 3. Grace Barnett (OnMamm) 15:37.60 PR.
10,000: I–1. Rachel Schneider (UArm) 31:09.79 PR (8, x A);
2. Weini Kelati’ (Eri) 31:10.08 NR; 3. Alicia Monson (OnA) 31:10.84 PR (10, x A); 4. Sharon Lokedi’ (Ken) 31:11.07 PR; 5. Natosha Rogers (HansB) 31:12.28 PR (11, x A); 6. Kellyn Taylor (HokaNAZ) 31:15.65 PR; 7. Danielle Shanahan (HokaNAZ) 31:22.86 PR; 8. Stephanie Bruce (HokaNAZ) 31:24.47 PR; 9. Erika Kemp (BAA) 31:35.63 PR; 10. Elaina Tabb (BAA) 31:45.27 PR;
11. Olivia Pratt (HansB) 31:48.72 PR; 12. Galván’ 31:54.63 PR; 13. Lauren Paquette (HokaNAZ) 32:01.25 PR; 14. Maggie Montoya (RRP) 32:06.87 PR; 15. Vanessa Fraser (NikBowTC) 32:09.57 PR; 16. Elly Henes (NCSt) 32:12.06 PR; 17. Gwen Jorgensen (NikBowTC) 32:12.12; 18. Amy Davis (HansB) 32:13.54 PR; 19. Cailie Logue (IaSt) 32:19.37 PR.
II–1. Maria Mettler (AF) 32:09.37 PR (10, x AmC);
2. Carrie Verdon (TBou) 32:09.82 PR; 3. Sam Palmer (unat) 32:11.92 PR; 4. Jess Watychowicz (CSTC) 32:11.93 PR;
5. Fiona O’Keeffe (NM) 32:12.28 PR; 6. Maya Weigel (PenDC) 32:14.23 PR.
Mayer Highlights Rush Of Late Decathlons
High quality 10-event marks simply weren’t a thing for the first 11 months of the year, but December was uncommonly entertaining south of the Equator.
Felipe dos Santos kicked things off at the Brazilian Championships in São Paulo on the 12th and 13th, raising the yearly world lead to 8364…
That lasted only a week, until WR holder Kevin Mayer embarked on a quest to get his Olympic qualifier out of the way. To do that he traveled to a special meet set up on the small Indian Ocean island of Réunion on the 18th and 19th.
Looking for an 8350 or better, the 28-year-old Frenchman started solidly with a 4350 first day built on marks of 10.68, 24-3½ (7.40), 53-1¾ (16.20), 6-5½ (1.97) & 48.87. “I’m a little rusty,” he told athle.fr. “ I had a great day with some friends, I had a lot of fun. I’m a little below what I usually do, but it is December, so there’s no need to panic.”
He picked up 4202 points on Day 2 off marks of 13.54, 165‑1 (50.32), 15-3 (4.65), 222-0 (67.66) & 4:47.74 for a world-leading 8552 total.
“I’m relieved,” he said. “It takes off a lot of pressure and a burden has been lifted.” As a safety valve, he guarded against a deadly no-height in the vault—which had knocked him out of the World Champs in Doha—by opening at 14-3¼ (4.35), more than a meter under his PR.
Mayer, who normally sports a healthy head of tousled hair, showed up shaved bald for the 1500 as a tribute to retiring teammate Gaël Querin…
The final big 10-eventer came a day after Mayer’s exploit, as Aussies Ash Moloney and Cedric Dubler turned in PR scores in Brisbane. The 20-year-old Moloney had a 4-PR first day, headed by his 45.82 in the 400, the third fastest time in deca history. He went on to raise the national record to 8492. Behind him, 25-year-old Cedric Dubler raised his best to 8367.
World Youth Girls Javelin Record
Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia, March 07—Yes, March, as this one really fell through the cracks. Way back when, 16-year-old Serbian Adriana Vilagoš tossed the 500g spear out to 225-7 (68.76) for a World Youth (U18) Record. That added a big chunk to the old standard, 216-2 (65.90) set by Elína Tzénggo of Greece in ’19. □