Weekly Review, Preview for April 10, by Bob Ramsak

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It is early on Saturday morning and I am finishing up the blog from last night. Bob Ramsak, a long time global journalist for the IAAF and Shooting Star Media, Inc. has given us a great weekly review and preview. Ramsak's keen eye for details and his obvious love of the sport is what our readers have come to expect from this Clevelander who lives in Slovenia! Thanks, Bob!
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TRACK PROFILE Report #738
10-Apr-2008

WEEKLY REVIEW/PREVIEW FOR APRIL 10

By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2008 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

Up Front...

SPRINTS - Who is Richard Thompson?

In late April of last year, an unheralded sprinter by the name of Derrick Atkins produced a 9.98 performance at a small meet in Berkeley, Calif. Hardly a one-hit wonder, the Bahamian cruised onwards through the season and eventually claimed the silver medal at the World Championships in Osaka, beating among others, his distant cousin, Asafa Powell, the world record holder.

Like that of Atkins last year, other names will likely emerge from the heap to challenge in the wildly popular sprint wars. Richard Thompson's most likely won’t be the only such name, but his is the first after his impressive 10.00 victory last Saturday at the Texas Relays.

“I’ve been here three years, and I’ve had my worst performances each year until now,” Thompson, a native of Cascade, Trinidad, said of his annual visits to the Texan capital, Austin. “So it feels really good to finally come out and do what I knew I could.”

His 10-flat eclipsed the Louisiana State record of 10.02 set by 2006 NCAA runner-up Trindon Holliday less than one year ago, and took down the Relays’ record set by another big name in 2004: world champion Tyson Gay.

“I’m running with a lot of confidence right now,” he said.

Just a 10.27 performer two years ago, he was fifth in the 100m at the NCAA Championships last June but reached his season’s peak a few weeks later at the Trinidad & Tobago national championships where, propelled by a hefty 3.0 m/s wind, he finished second to Darrel Brown in 9.95. In Port-of-Spain he did manage to lower his wind-legal career best to 10.09 in the semis before his collegiate schedule finally caught up with him. After winning the low-key NACAC title in San Salvador, El Salvador, in July (10.33), he didn't advance from the heats at the Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, and didn't move beyond the quarter-finals at the World Championships in Osaka.

Over the winter, he gradually staked the claim as the leading collegiate sprinter. Beginning the indoor season with a 6.64 career best, he went on to win each of his five 60m outings, including the NCAA indoor crown in 6.51, the second fastest performance in the world.

That’s now history, and the 22-year-old is clearly looking forward.

“I just want to prove to myself and to everyone else this outdoor season that I can be one of the greatest sprinters to ever come through LSU.””

- Quick Start for X-Man…

Speaking of LSU, the best sprinter to ever come through Baton Rouge, Xavier Carter, cruised to a comfortable 10.15 (w +2.0 m/s) victory at the Florida Relays last Friday, the fastest the 22-year-old has run so early in the season. His 100m PB of 10.09 was set with his victory at the 2006 NCAA Championships, when he became the first man since Jesse Owens to collect four victories at the NCAA meet.

Carter blasted to the athletics forefront after his 19.63 200m performance in Lausanne in July 2006, currently the third fastest performance of all-time. Injury in the 200m semi-finals at the US championships last June limited Carter's 2007 campaign, although he returned late in the season to win the 200m in Zurich (19.92) and finish second in Brussels. Carter has indicated that he will contesting both the 100m and 200m at the US Olympic Trials in June, arguably the most difficult task in the sport.

His management confirmed that he’ll continue his tune-up with a 100m/200m double at this weekend’s Spec Towns meet in Athens, Georgia.

... and for Baptiste as well

NCAA indoor 60m champion Kelly-Anne Baptiste made her outdoor opener a notable one, with her 11.06 Trinidadian national record and early season world leader. The 21-year-old LSU senior knocked a few hundredths from her previous best of 11.08 set in 2006. In a solid race, Texas junior Alexandria Anderson was second in 11.10, just edging Texas A&M senior Simone Facey (JAM), who clocked 1.11. Both set personal bests.

-- Elsewhere…

There was little action elsewhere this past week in the sprints. World and Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner is the early season world leader in the 200m (20.37 in Arlington, Tex., 29-Mar); LaShawn Merritt is the fastest in the 400 (44.72 in Raleigh, N.C., 28-Mar). For the women, Sanya Richards leads the world in the 200m (22.56, Arlington, Tex., 29-Mar) and Mary Wineberg the 400 (51.22, Cincinnati, 5-Apr).

MID & LONG DISTANCES – Koll Impresses at Stanford, Manzano Continues his Roll

Of particular interest to U.S. fans was the 10,000m performance by unheralded Iowa State sophomore Lisa Koll, who broke Alicia Shay's American collegiate best in the 10,000m, with her 32:11.13 run at the Stanford Invitational last Friday. The 20-year-old, who finished runner-up in the 5000m at the NCAA indoor championships, was gunning for a 32:45.00 U.S. trials 'A' standard, and instead crossed the line with the Beijing 'B' standard. In the right race, the NCAA record, 31:56.72 by Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego (KEN) last year, doesn’t seem very much out of reach for Koll, who will have two years of eligibility remaining after this season.

Texas star Leo Manzano, an NCAA 1500m champion indoors and outdoors, lowered PB in the mile to 3:56.98 at the Texas Relays on Saturday, eclipsing Seneca Lassiter's 3:59.09 meet record from 2000. His mile time is still inferior to his 3:35.29 1500m PB (roughly equivalent to a 3:52.5 mile) set at last year's US championships, which earned him a ticket to the world championships in Osaka.

Behind him, finishing sixth in 3:59.99 (!), was Darren Brown, who also entered the record books. The 21-year-old Browne joined his father, the late Barry Brown, in the event’s sub-4 club, marking the first father-son team to achieve the milestone.

There is a video of the race on the University of Texas website at: http://media.texassports.tv/multimedia/multimediacenter.aspx

Elsewhere...

Little action elsewhere last week. Yeiman Lopez of Cuba remains the world leader in the 800m (1:45.0h, Havana, 13-Mar); Brad Woods of Australia the world leader in the 1500m (3:37.63, Sydney, 16-Feb); Aussie Craig Mottram in the 3000m (7:48.26, Brisbane, 28-Feb) and 5000m (13:11.99, Melbourne, 21-Feb); and American Sean Quigley in the 10,000 (28:03.72, Stanford, 4-Apr). For the women: Australia’s world indoor champion Tamsyn Lewis leads the 800m (1:59.59, Sydney, 16-Feb); South African Rene Kalmer the 1500m (4:09.83, Melbourne, 21-Feb); Australian Donna MacFarlane the 3000m (9:04.51, Hobart, 18-Jan); and Yuriko Kobayashi the 5000m (15:07.37, Kumamoto, 5-Apr).

HURDLES – Windy 13.10 for Oliver

Pushed by a +2.4 m/s wind, 25-year-old David Oliver, a semi-finalist at both the 2007 World Championships in Osaka and at the World Indoor Championships last month in Valencia, stormed to a 13.10 victory at the Florida Relays on Friday.

With his dash, Oliver, a prodigious racer, indicated that his legal PB of 13.14 set at the Doha Super Grand Prix meeting last year is under threat. Indeed, most hurdlers consider tailwinds as more of a hindrance than assistance. Oliver’s 13.33 from the Disney Invite (22-Mar) is the season’s fastest wind-legal time.

Other world leads: Pieter de Villiers of South Africa in the 400m hurdles (48.71A, Germiston, 22-Feb); women’s 100m hurdles Sally McLellan (12.72, Canberra, 26-Jan); and Christine Spence in the women’s 400m hurdles (55.45, Gainesville, 4-Apr).

JUMPS – Manson Improves to 2.33m (7-7 ¾ )

A month off has treated Andra Manson well. Four weeks after jumping to world indoor championships bronze in Valencia, the 23-year-old former Texas star added two centimeters to his personal best with a third-attempt clearance at 2.33 at the Texas Relays in Austin. One attempt at 2.36m (7-8 ¾ ) was reportedly quite close as well.

Two others have scaled 2.30m (7-6 ½ ) or more thus far: UTEP’s Mickael Hanany (FRA) who bettered 2.31 on 29-Mar, and American Scott Sellers, who finished second to Manson in Austin with a 2.30 leap.

On the women’s side of things, the leading jumps performance of the week also came at the Florida Relays by Brittney Reese in the long jump. The 21-year-old Osaka finalist leaped 6.89m (22-7 ¼ ) with the help of a +2.4 m/s wind. Tailwind notwithstanding, her mark was in the ballpark of the 6.83m career best she reached in the Osaka qualifying round last August. Reese, the NCAA indoor long jump champion, competed almost simultaneously in the high Jjump which she also won with a 1.80m effort.

Other current world leads: Australian Steve Hooker in the pole vault (6.00m/19-8 ¼ , Peth, 27-Jan); South African Godfrey Mokoena in the long jump (8.25m/27- ¾ , Stellenbosch,14-Mar); and Cuban David Giralt in the triple jump (17.50/57-5, Havana, 15-Feb). For the women, 2005 world championships silver medalist Chaunte Howard of the US leads the high jump (1.95m/6-4 ¾, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 22-Mar); Cuban Yarisley Silva the pole vault (4.50m/14-9, Havana, 8-Feb); Rice grad Jimoh Funmi the long jump (6.91m/22-8, Houston, 29-Mar); and Cuban Mabel gay the triple jumps (14.03m/46- ½ , Havana, 7-Mar).

THROWS – Little to Report...

Little significant action over the past week in the throws. Current world leaders:

For the men: Jamaican Dorian Scott leads the shot (21.45m/70-4 ½, Tallahassee, 28-Mar); Estonian Gerd Kanter the discus (65.25m/214-1, Split, 15-Mar); Slovak Libor Charfreitag the hammer throw (78.84m/258-8, Dallas, 28-Mar); and Australian Jarrod Bannister the javelin throw (89.02m/292-1, Brisbane, 29-Feb).

For the women, world champion Valerie Vili of New Zealand leads the shot put (20.13m/66- ½, Waitakere, NZL, 19-Feb); Cuban Yania Ferrales the discus (65.02m/213-4, Havana, 15-Feb); Cuban Yipsi Moreno the hammer throw (75.00m/246-1, Las Tunas, CUB, 6-Mar); and Briton Goldie Sayers the javelin (63.65m/208-10, Split, 15-Mar).

- Early Season World Leads in the MULTIS

In his first decathlon in two years, 23-year-old Trey Hardee returned to action from an injury-riddled 2007 to tally 8371 points at the Texas Relays. It was shy of the 8465 points he racked up at the 2006 edition of this meet, an American collegiate record, but a solid performance nonetheless as he was primarily aiming to nab a qualifying performance for the US Olympic Trials.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Jackie Johnson, the NCAA indoor pentathlon champion, tallied the first 6000-point plus meet of her career at the Jim Click Shoot Out in Tucson last weekend. Wit personal bests in the 200m and 800m, Johnson improved to a 6143 total, an early season world best. The Arizona State senior set her previous PB of 5984 with her win at the NCAA championships last spring.

THIS WEEKEND...

While most of the sport’s attention will be focused firmly on Sunday’s Flora London Marathon, there will be plenty of key action on the track, particularly on the US collegiate front.

Leading meets include the Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn.; the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invite in Los Angeles; the UTEP and LSU Classics, and the always entertaining Cal/Berkeley-Stanford dual, or, “The Big Meet.”

The primary attraction in Europe is the European Cup 10,000m in Instanbul (see TPR # 737).

ENDS

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The
TRACK PROFILE REPORT is a news and feature service published by the Track Profile News Service. In addition to regularly dispatched news, profile and interview features, subscribers also receive exclusive on-site updates from major national and international competitions, usually within 24 hours. Copyright (c) 2008 by Bob Ramsak and TRACK PROFILE. All rights reserved. Reproduction, republication, reposting and retransmission in ANY form is strictly prohibited without express permission from the editor. Small portions may be reproduced ONLY if accompanied by source citation and *ADVANCE* notice in writing to Track Profile. Please contact the editor at [email protected] for reprint permission. [ Visit www.trackprofile.com for more. ]
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