Frustrated that he missed the World Indoor standard in winning his fifth straight USATF Indoor, high jumper Erik Kynard tore off his number and then spiked the crossbar.

He explained, “Not so much animation. More exemplifying passion. It’s not rehearsed. I’m blessed, and everybody else is blessed that the crossbar didn’t turn into the javelin after I missed.”

The frustration was exacerbated by his bout with the flu a week earlier. “I was out of training for 6 days. And it showed. I just wasn’t sharp.”

Team USA For The WIC

The American squad that’s heading to Birmingham was pretty much chosen in straightforward fashion from the first 2 finishers in Albuquerque. The team:

60—Christian Coleman, Ronnie Baker
400—Michael Cherry, Aldrich Bailey
800—Donavan Brazier, Drew Windle
1500—Ben Blankenship, Craig Engels
3000—Paul Chelimo, Shadrack Kipchirchir
60H—Jarrett Eaton, Aries Merritt
4×4 Pool—Vernon Norwood, Paul Dedewo, Fred Kerley,
Marqueze Washington
HJ—Erik Kynard
PV—Scott Houston, Sam Kendricks
LJ—Jarrion Lawson, Marquis Dendy
TJ—Will Claye, Chris Carter
SP—Ryan Whiting, Darrell Hill
Hept—Zach Ziemek

60—Javianne Oliver, Destiny Carter
400—Courtney Okolo, Shakima Wimbley
800—Ajee’ Wilson, Raevyn Rogers
1500—Shelby Houlihan, Colleen Quigley
3000—Houlihan, Katie Mackey
60H—Sharika Nelvis, Kendra Harrison, Christina Manning
4×4 Pool—Phyllis Francis, Georganne Moline, Quanera
Hayes, Joanna Atkins
HJ—Vashti Cunningham, Inika McPherson
PV—Katie Nageotte, Sandi Morris
LJ—Brittney Reese, Quanesha Burks
TJ—Tori Franklin, Keturah Orji
SP—Dani Hill, Jeneva Stevens
Pent—Erica Bougard, Kendell Williams.
See separate sidebar for staff members.

The good news came a few days later when the IAAF extended Kynard a fieldfilling invite to Birmingham.

Jasmine Todd won social media love after displaying the Wakanda Forever salute when she was introduced at the USATF meet—a tribute to recent hit movie, Black Panther.

At this writing, the video of her salute has garnered over 600,000 views. She explained on Twitter: “was going to wear all black today but forgot my black warmups!”

Team USA Staff For The WIC

USATF has named its team leaders for the World Indoor Championships:

Men: head coach Ralph Lindeman, assisted by Darryl Woodson (sprints/hurdles), Norm Tate (jumps) & Teddy Mitchell (distance); head manager Clif McKenzie.

Women: head coach Megan Watson, assisted by Chandra Cheeseborough (sprints), Gwen Mikinski (jumps/multis) & Dena Evans (distances); head manager Marsha Seagrave.

For her part, USATF long jump winner Brittney Reese was so impressed by the movie that she rented out the Cinemark 16 in her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi, to put on a free showing for area kids up to the age of 11.

She told the local paper, “My son is 10, so we go to see all of the superhero movies. Younger people get to see someone their color being a hero and a king, which is very important, especially right now.”

Asked his most memorable racing moment after announcing his retirement, 800/1500 veteran Andrew Wheating didn’t pick his 2nd in the pulsating ’08 OT 2-lap final that put him on his first of two Olympic teams.

Track Shorts
Jarret Eaton turned back Devon Allen (c) and Aries Merritt in Albuquerque – VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN

“Naturally, that finish was beyond thrilling,” confirms the 30-year-old Vermont native. “Everything I have done comes from my passion of wanting to do things for other people; my teammates and coaches.”

But No. 1 on Wheating’s bestmemories list is in keeping with that passion: the 1-2-3 Duck finish in the ’10 NCAA 1500 with A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz.

Says Wheating, “It was so much more rewarding to share that with my friends and teammates.”

In winning the SEC men’s team title, Alabama claimed its first indoor loop crown in 46 years. Said coach Dan Waters, “This was a total team championship. Everyone contributed.

“One of the most impressive things about this championship was where the points came from.

TrackTown Stands By Its Bid

In late January the New York Times reported that U.S. prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas in connection with a wide corruption investigation into bid processes for major championships in various sports. Included in that is Eugene’s being awarded the ’21 Worlds. TrackTown USA’s CEO, Mike Reilly issued a brief response:

“Our role was to put the best bid forward. We are proud of our bid and stand by it.”

Meanwhile, backlash from the affair has ensnared Track- Town’s president, Vin Lananna (see sidebar).

Our freshman triple jumper, Christian Edwards, finishing 2nd. Kord Ferguson finishing 2nd in the shot put with an amazing mark. Shelby McEwen winning the high jump for our only individual title. Our distance runners scoring 31 points in the 3000 and 5000.

“It was a total team effort and that’s how we built this program. Everyone chipped in one way or another.”

Another drought ended with the Ohio State men claiming their first Big 10 indoor title in 25 years, clinching it with a dramatic 4×4 win over Nebraska. The Buckeye anchor was frosh Andre Jeff as the top 5 teams all finished within a second.

“I’m proud of the young ones,” said coach Karen Dennis. They really fought to the end.”

So who owns the American Junior Indoor Record in the 5000? Officially, it’s Louis Luchini of Stanford at 14:08.37 in ’00.

In December, Indiana’s redshirt frosh Ben Veatch ran 13:57.27, apparently laying claim to the record. Note, however, that there is a pending mark of 13:48.26 set by Stanford’s Chris Derrick in ’09 that has a good chance of being ratified by USATF.

Road stat guru Ken Young passed away on February 3 at age 76.

The founder of the Association of Road Running Statisticians, he spent more than 40 years in single-minded pursuit of accuracy.

Paul Chelimo, after his USATF wins, said one of his goals this season is to work on tactics. “To be on top of the world now, it’s not just about strength. It’s about mental strength too, and being smart.”

As to whether he and teammate (and 3000 runnerup) Shadrack Kipchirchir had an advantage with the races at altitude, he said, “It’s just the preparation. We were well-prepared today. We did a lot more speedwork. It might be the advantage of altitude, but then you never know. I was struggling today too. I grew up at altitude, but I was struggling.”

Lananna On USATF Leave
Citing conflict of interest concerns over Vin Lananna’s dual role as the president of both USATF and TrackTown USA, USATF’s Board Of Directors has placed the accomplished event impresario, Oregon athletic department administrator and former coach on temporary administrative leave from his federation post.

Naming ’92 Olympic TJ champion Mike Conley—the chair of USATF’s High Performance Division—as interim president, the Board stipulated Lananna’s leave will last until a Justice Department investigation of Eugene’s successful World Championships bid (first reported last summer) is resolved.

“USATF has no reason to believe Track- Town and/or Mr. Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation,” Board chair Steve Miller said in a press release.

Miller added that the Board, which recently pledged $6 million to Oregon ’21, the Worlds organizing entity, took action “to avoid any conflict or appearance of conflict of interest in relation to the investigation.”

Lananna told, “To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised and I guess I’m taken aback by the Board’s decision. I’ve been committed to track & field, this federation and the sport itself for 40 years. I’m going to put my energy into continuing to serve the sport.

“I don’t think this was a necessary action.”

The Erica Bougard win over Kendell Williams in the USATF pentathlon took on extra meaning for both now that they train together in Chula Vista. Says Bougard, “We compete against each other every day in practice to get better.

“When she came here I was super stoked about it because in college she would always beat me. In college she was always No. 1 and I wanted to know what that feels like so in practice I’m always going full force all the time just so I can keep up with her.”

Says Williams, who rooms with Bougard at the training center, “We both have similar strengths. It definitely is fun to be in practice and push each other in the blocks or high jump one after the other.”



Brodey Hasty

Michael Norman

Michael Saruni

“Why Don’t We Go For Sub-3:50?”

Edward Cheserek breaks through a mile barrier

S. Houlihan & M. Hall

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