Four Potential Match-Ups at 2015 USATF Outdoors, by Alex Mills

Matthew Centrowitz, photo by

Leo Manzano, photo by

One of the true battles that many are looking forward to this weekend is Leo Manzano vs Matthew Centrowitz. It is just one of the four that we asked Alex Mills, our columnist from the British Isles, to write about. 

There are tons of top potential match-ups during this weekend's USATF Outdoor championships, so choosing the best four was tough.

Nonetheless after lots of deliberation here are my five head to heads to watch out for.

1500m Leonel Manzano VS Matthew Centrowitz

These two athletes have been setting the standard for the metric mile for years now, and as they've done so, their rivalry has intensified.

First Centro won world bronze, then Leo took Olympic silver, then Centro gabbed world silver. 

Both runners are very fast athletes as shown by their epic runs in Monaco last year, but they are also brilliant tacticians who love to play cat and mouse with one another. 

Although they may not admit it in interviews, you know that both will want to beat one another almost as much as they desire a place at Beijing 2015.

Head to head record: 


2015 -                              LEONEL MANZANO 1 : 1 MATTHEW CENTROWITZ

2. 1500m Jenny Simpson VS Shannon Rowbury

This one is often talked up a little more than it exists, especially given their head-head to record. Yet in the dusk of the 2014 outdoor season, with both in brilliant form, they really did battle it out. 

First at the Zurich DL in the 1500m when Simpson literally fell over line to beat Rowbury and then a week later in the 3000m at the Brussels DL. A race where a mere .35 of a second gave the world champion victory once more.

So far this year it's 1.0 to Simpson thanks a comfortable win at Pre Classic, so undoubtably she will be the favourite. Yet Rowbury, who had a brilliant indoor season, will be eager to capitalise on her position of underdog, taking confidence from the fact she won their last battle at a US champs over the distance in 2012.

Head to head record:



3. Pole Vault Demi Payne VS Sandi Morris

Having gone to and fro on the college scene during an incredible a season of pole vaulting these two will go head to head in the professional environment of the US Champs for the first time ever.

No college rivalry has been quite as intense as that of Payne and Morris', who between them have improved the NCAA records indoors and out in almost every competition they've competed in. 

After gold for Morris indoors it was victory for Payne at Hayward Field two weeks ago. Now as they return to Eugene as the US number two and three they are big contenders to make it to Beijing 2015 and maybe even to beat Olympic champion Jen Suhr.

Expect even more personal bests this weekend!

Head to head record:


Indoors -    DEMI PAYNE 1 : 5 SANDI MORRIS

2015 -         DEMI PAYNE 4 : 2 SANDI MORRIS

4. 110 metre hurdles Aries Merritt VS David Oliver

One's the world champion, one's the Olympic champion, one owns the American record, one did. Quite simply Merritt and Oliver are two of the world's greatest ever hurdlers and in Eugene they will battle it out for yet another national title.

While Oliver has a bye to Beijing, Merritt still has to get there, and so his focus will be on ensuring a place in the top three. Nonetheless you can bet it won't make an ounce of difference to how much they will want to beat each other.

Although neither is in sub-13 form they are both back in great shape after disappointing seasons in 2014, and go into the event as the US Number one and two.

Admittedly due to the depth of the 110 metre hurdles and the regularity they face-off, this is not quite as vintage a rivalry as the other four above, yet it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Head to head record:

110 Metre Hurdles - ARIES MERRITT 20 : 37 DAVID OLIVER

2015 -                        ARIES MERRITT 2 :   2   DAVID OLIVER

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