YES, THERE WILL BE A USATF Championships this weekend. But while we’re expecting some nice performances, the fact of the matter is that the cancelation of the World Indoors has taken away the motivation of many of our top Olympic prospects for making the trip to the Albuquerque Convention Center. NBC will be showing the meet live. You can view start lists and results here.
One event to keep your eye on: the men’s 60 featuring Christian Coleman. He’s the indoor World Record holder at 6.34—set on the same high-altitude track two years ago. He will be facing off against world leader Demek Kemp. Other big men’s events include the 1500 (Craig Engels), 60 hurdles (Daniel Roberts) and shot (Ryan Crouser).
On the women’s side, look for the 400 (Wadeline Jonathas & comebacking Quanera Hayes), 800 (Ajee’ Wilson, Raevyn Rogers & Athing Mu), the 1500 (a loaded field including Elle Purrier & Shelby Houlihan), 3000 (Houlihan going for another double) and the vault (Sandi Morris, Jenn Suhr, Olivia Gruver).
Just one of the many absentees will be Donavan Brazier. The world 800 champ, according to coach Pete Julian, “accomplished the things we wanted to accomplish indoors. We sharpened the blade a little bit. It’s time to keep our eyes on the big prize.”
Bryce Hoppel, who moved to No. 5 American all-time with his 1:45.70 runnerup finish at Millrose, will race for the USATF title. “I haven’t been here before,” said Hoppel at an Albuquerque press conference. “So I’m hoping to make some memories. I’m actually from the Southwest so it kind of feels like home and it’s definitely a welcoming city to be in. Tacos are just kind of my fuel, I’ve definitely already had some since I’ve been here and hopefully that will give me a little bit of an advantage over the other guys.”
The same track will also host the Don Kirby Elite Invitational on Thursday/Friday. Expect to see solid entries in the speed events from Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA and others.
Internationally, the World Indoor Tour will continue with a Saturday stop in Glasgow, Scotland. The prep scene will feature the annual Simplot Games in Idaho. Then, of course, there will be many collegiate spectaculars to keep your eyes on:
Much of the collegiate speed action will be centered on Fayetteville this weekend, though many of the D1 attendees will be sending their distance runners elsewhere. Says Razorback head Chris Bucknam, “The Tyson meet has turned into a real ballistic-type meet and the distance runners are gravitating to either Iowa State, Boston or Seattle.”
All the same, 10 of the top 25 teams will be at Arkansas. Among the athletes set to compete: 400 world leader Randolph Ross of North Carolina A&T (45.44), and NCAA leaders in the long jump—Rayvon Grey of LSU (26-6½/8.09)—and weight—Gleb Dudarev of Kansas (80-0/24.38).
Expect plenty of fast times on Washington’s 307m oval. The women’s mile will feature Arkansas’s Katie Izzo taking on Penn State’s Danae Rivers. A top-notch 3000 will feature Katie Rainsberger and Melany Smart of Washington as well as Wisconsin’s Alicia Monson and BYU’S Whittni Orton. The Arkansas men’s distance runners, including NCAA 5K leader Gilbert Boit, will also be in Seattle in force.
Tiger Paw Invitational
Some of the nation’s speed as 16 ranked programs will battle at Clemson, among them Florida, Texas, Texas A&M and USC. The hurdles will feature Florida State’s Trey Cunningham as well as Grant Holloway in his first pro indoor season. On the women’s side, Chanel Brissett and Anna Cockrell of USC will face Miami’s Tiarra McMinn as well as Keni Harrison.
Among others, the dash will feature the USC sprint crew led by Twanisha Terry. The fast heat of the 200 brings together hurdler Harrison, NCAA 60 leader Julien Aldred of Texas, No. 2 at 200—Anavia Battle of Ohio State, and Kentucky’s No. 4, Abby Steiner. The women’s 400 showcases the three-fastest in the NCAA: Kennedy Simon of Texas, Alexis Holmes of Kentucky and Taylor Manson of Florida.
On the men’s side, a solid men’s 400 will feature Jamal Walton and Bryce Deadmon of Texas A&M, along with South Carolina’s Quincy Hall and Jonathan Jones of Texas. The 4 x 400 is filled with powerhouse teams, many of them loaded. “This is an opportunity for our team to get a quality look and prepare for the biggest meet of the season,” says Aggie head Pat Henry. “Our main focus is to keep improving and stay healthy.”
As always, Boston U will feature a variety of great distance races. The men’s mile, for instance, has four sections that will be rabbited at sub-4:00 pace. Jenny Simpson is entered in the 5000. The women’s mile features pros Marta Freitas and Leah O’Connor. The men’s 3000 should be solid, with Northern Arizona’s Geordie Beamish and Tyler Day in a field that has 14 entrants under 7:50.
Internationally, the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin on Friday will feature the home country’s Worlds long jump gold medalist Malaika Mihambo among some strong fields, plus a men vs. women undercover discus comp. Read all about it here.
The next day, the World Indoor Tour visits Glasgow, where vault World Record holder Mondo Duplantis will jump against American Sam Kendricks. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will run her first indoor race in 6 years. Laura Muir will chase the World Record in the 1000 while her breakout training partner Jemma Reekie will take on the 1500.