RunBlogRun's Top Five Spoilers for an Otherwise Predictable 2012 Oxy High Performance Meet
by Jon Gugala
Kick the tires and light the fires; we're counting down the minutes to the 2012 Oxy High Performance. But while the big guns are throwing down, the fun of a race is that anyone can take it. Our RunBlogRun top spoilers for 2012, and why they're going to break some hearts.
Erica Moore: the 2012 World Indoors bronze medalist with a 1:59.97(i) best, Moore has been quiet so far outdoors. Last week at Georgia Tech she ran a 2:01.09 off of wonky pacing; she comes into Oxy with the guts to lead and the history of succeeding. Track and Field News ranked her number two American in the 800m based off her 2012 indoor season alone.
Brenda Martinez: Martinez has both guts and speed; she learned racing tactics through the school of hard knocks in Istanbul after going out in the rounds of the 1500m. She was the runner-up to 2011 World Championships gold-medalist Jenny Simpson (not a bad person to learn tactics from), and ran a PR 4:08.66 as the runner-up to Anna Pierce at the Payton Jordan Invite in April.
Jackie Areson: Destroyed the 5000m field at the Stanford Invite in early April, running under the Olympic "A" standard with her PR 15:18.31. Still looking as sharp as she did to claim the runner-up spot behind Simpson at the 2012 U.S. Indoor Championships. She would finish 11th in the final at World Indoors. With the girls around her at Oxy chasing the standard, she rides the train and crushes the last lap.
Donald Cowart: The U.S. men's steeplechase is so wide open right now. Enter Cowart. He's got an 8:26.38 best from last year, and he was sixth at the 2011 U.S. Championships. At Payton Jordan, he ran an unheralded 8:29.05 as the second American (third overall) to Kyle Alcorn. From his training base in Virginia, he's back tonight to run under the standard (which Alcorn failed to do last year, and therefore did not go to the World Champs) and to take scalps.
Jamal Aarrass: "Who is this guy?" That's what people asked when he won the "B" heat at the Stanford Invite with a faster time than the "fast heat" (3:39.04). And it was the same when he was able to crane his neck to watch his competitors lose at the Puma Mile at the Mt. Sac Relays, where he again left a top-caliber field in shambles with a PR 3:52.21. While he served a doping ban from 2005 to 2007, he's looking sharp and overlooked, and people will again wonder who he is when he wins his 1500m race tonight
Elliott Heath: This kid's got legendary kick. The 2011 NCAA 3000m champ for Stanford, he's exhausted his outdoor eligibility and is now all-systems-go toward the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June. He popped a 3:41.55 1500m at the Payton Jordan Invite, but his focus is on the 5000m, which he'll race tonight. And coach Jason Dunn knows how to coach distance (case in point: Chris Derrick).