Salazar has really revitalized Moser this season. For the past few years she was not at all in the picture for making team USA. But with her.85 today she definitely is in great shape and has a great shot at making it to Moscow. Especially since the USA will send four women in the 1500 with Jenny Simpson’s wild card. Morgan Uceny, who raced last week and is making progress is going to have to work a lot harder to make the team this year than the past two seasons when she was one of the favorites in Daegu and London. As of today (6/3) my picks for the women’s 1500 USA team are: Simpson (defending champ- automatic bid), Moser, Rowbury and Martinez. But if Martinez only does the 800, then I like Mary Cain’s chances, she already has the “A” and has shown she is not intimidated running against the best in the world. Before this weekend I would have picked Katie Mackey. However, she scratched from Pre, citing wanting to be “healthy for USAs”. Whatever that means, there really isn’t any room for anything more than a minor setback with the current crop of USA 1500 women.
Men’s 400 Meters
One of the biggest statements of the day was made by LaShawn Merritt, who earned himself some serious confidence by beating Kirani James. LaShawn got out well and was able to hold off Kirani down the stretch to take the win in a season’s best 44.32. This was a big win for LaShawn. With a win over the man who took over his throne as current king of the 400, he is closer to reclaiming it.
Women’s 800 Meters
Even though she didn’t win athlete of the meet, or even her event, Mary Cain truly stole the show. She broke Kim Gallagher’s 31 year old high school record and became the first high school girl to run under two minutes. She ran a very smart race, she came through one lap in just under 60 seconds and ran the third 200 well. She ran much smarter than many of the more experienced women in the race. Olympic Trials Champ Alysia MontaÃ±o lead through 400 in 57.8. Burundian Record holder Francine Niyonsaba made a huge move on the backstetch that sent her well clear of everyone else. Brenda Martinez made a move of her own to go for second. Niyonsaba never looked back and won easily in a meet record and world leading.72. She is looking very good so far this season. Martinez was solid all the way to the finish and ran a one second pb in .18. But back to the main story, Mary Cain battled MontaÃ±o all the way to the line and finished fifth in a very impressive .51 and even beat London Bronze medalist Poistogova. In a very classy move, MontaÃ±o gave her trademark flower to Mary Cain after the race.
In her post-race interview with Katharine Merry, Cain noted that she is “still a star-struck kid” in reference to running with MontaÃ±o down the homestretch. Apparently “star-struck” and intimidation don’t go hand-in-hand because she showed no fear trying to chase down MontaÃ±o.
How would Savinova have fared against Niyonsaba had she not had visa problems?
Men’s 5000 Meters
The men’s 5k went out in a solid 62 that had the field strung out early. The field stayed strung out for a while, before condensing once the pace slowed a bit around the halfway mark. The pack condensed more going through 3200, it was destined to be a kicker’s race. With 600 to go Ritz and Rupp were in a good position. At the bell the leaders were atand it was anyone’s race. Farah and Longosiwa lead going into the Bowerman curve, but Edwin Soi made a good move around the outside and lead off the turn. Farah’s trademark kick wasn’t there and Soi powered home for the win. Farah’s illness from a couple weeks ago clearly still affected his race. He looked fine for 4900m, but he couldn’t change gears down the stretch. Mo will be fine and should regain his lethal closing speed well before Moscow. The American foursome of Lagat, Rupp, Derrick and Ritz all ran well, finishing in 5th, 6th, 7th and 9threspectively. Derrick actually lowered his outdoor pb by 20 seconds.
Men’s 800 Meters
The men’s 800 was Mohamed Aman’s race from the start. He was never challenged after taking an early lead and winning easily in. 42. It felt as if the crowd was quietly waiting for Nick Symmonds to chase down Aman coming off the final turn. It seemed they were waiting to roar once Symmonds, as he has often done at Hayward Field, made a big move over the last 100m. However, he was unable to cut down the gap, which left the crowd eerily not that loud. Nothing impressive in terms of time, but a very smart win by Aman against very good competition. London Bronze Medalist Timothy Kitum held off Symmonds to take second in .16. Symmonds was third in .40.
Symmonds and Solomon still need the “A” standard of.30 for Moscow. They were both less than four tenths away at Pre.
Will Rudisha be beatable when he comes back? Probably not, but the longer he’s out the closer the rest of the world gets.
The final event at every Pre Classic is always the Bowerman Mile and the goal is always to see how many guys can break. This year’s edition was especially loaded as it featured all three 1500m medalists from both London and Daegu. The rabbits went through 880 yards in mid with the pack a little behind. There was a big pack throughout the race and, like the 5k, it was going to take a solid kick to win. Asbel Kiprop made a move down the backstretch to take the lead with Aman Wote trying to move around him on the final turn. Kiprop managed to hold off Wote, but Silas Kiplagat had an absolutely incredible last 50 meters to get the win. Kiprop, Wote and Kiplagat were all under and made for a very exciting race, especially Kiplagat’s finish. Lopez Lomong ( .45), Matthew Centrowitz ( .79) and Olympic Champ Taoufik Makhloufi ( .94) were not satisfied in 9th-11th place. Leo Manzano continues to struggle as he finished way back in last place (for some reason unbeknownst to more than just me he is listed as DNF on the official results. The scoreboard at Hayward Field listed him at an official time of .04 after the race).
Lomong thinks “it’s gonna be tough to make the team (for Moscow)”. He is not sure which event will be his primary focus: “Right now I’m strong in 5,000. I need to close better in the last 300 (of 1500)”. With Manzano seemingly out of the picture and Wheating and Torrence only running(in night’s International Mile), Lomong’s best shot is probably at the 1500 this year. I would take Lagat and Rupp as virtual shoe-ins for the 5k, leaving one spot left. With three days between the 10k and 5k at USAs this year, I’d expect Ritz, True and Derrick to be ready to challenge for that third spot. Centro looks to be the only thing close to a sure thing for the 1500. The one thing that might really steer Lomong to the 5k though is the “A” standard. He has it for the 5k, and if he doesn’t get it for the 1500, that will probably make his choice for him.
After the race Centro noted that he and the rest of the Oregon Project are just coming back from altitude training in Park City, which could explain why he was not able to run as fast as he hoped. He also noted that he is well ahead of where he was last year and his training has been going extremely well. I would not be surprised if he is able to get on the podium at the World Championships again this season.
What’s up with Leo?
Brief Field Event Thoughts: Lavillenie can work a crowd like no one I’ve ever seen.
The crowd really responded to the Pole Vault, Triple Jump and High Jump.
Barshim might break Sotomayor’s WR sooner rather than later