In Des Moines, Iowa, besides making the top three, there are several events where US athletes need to still make the standards. Kevin Mangan, our intern for Runblogrun.com and American Track & Field, takes a look at some of the more challenging events!
Chasing Standards in Des Moines
by Kevin Mangan
Four USA High Jumpers?
As of right now, Jesse Williams is the only lock for Moscow as the defending champ. Erik Kynard and Dusty Jonas are the only two other Americans who have the “A” standard of 2.31. Jamie Nieto has only jumped once this year because of struggling with injuries, but he is entered and has a lifetime best of 2.34. He is hoping the adage that class is permanent holds true and he can get that 2.31 “A” standard. Four men currently have the “B” standard of 2.28, which doesn’t mean anything to them other than they have gotten close to the “A”. Keith Moffatt is a veteran who might get the “A” amongst a pack of hungry collegians. Keep an eye on the height of the bar and how many men are still if and when 2.31 comes up.
Four USA Decathletes?
The Decathlon is more or less the same story: one wild card (Trey Hardee) and two people with the “A” standard (WR holder and Olympic Champ Ashton Eaton and NCAA Runner-Up Jeremy Taiwo), and a horde of hungry collegians who have been close to the “A” standard of 8200 points as recently as two weeks ago. If another guy can get over the 8200 point mark, then he can punch his ticket to Moscow. Keys, Murphy and Nixon have all gone over 8000 points so far this year, just a slight improvement should get them on Team USA. (Curtis Beach has scratched from the Decathlon, probably from his injury that held him back during NCAAs)
1500: Where are the “A” standards?
The only American man with the “A” standard at 1500 meters heading into Des Moines, will not be running the 1500 in Des Moines. Only Galen Rupp has run underso far this season. Not Centro, not Leo, not Wheating. Per the current weather report, the men’s 1500 final will be run in high 80 to low 90 degree heat with decent winds. It will be tough to run a fast time in those conditions, and they will know it and a tactical race should result. This will likely mean that whoever finishes top 3 (Centro looks good this year. The other top guys from last year have struggled so far) will have until July 20th to run under and punch their ticket. These will be the best meets to run under , especially Paris, the only one of four Diamond League meets during this time with the men’s 1500 (although Birmingham and Monaco have a non-DL 1500), neither of the two World Challenge meets have the men’s 1500. I expect the top three in Des Moines to be racing the clock in the Stade de France on July 6th. If one or all of them still don’t have the “A” then Monaco will effectively be a last chance qualifier.
Sainsbury’s Grand Prix Birmingham Diamond League June 30th (1500 is not a DL event in Birmingham, but will be contested)
Harry Jerome National Track League Burnaby, BC July 1st
Victoria International Track Classic National Track League July 5th
Meeting Areva Paris Diamond League July 6th
Herculis Monaco Diamond League July 19th
Horizontal Jumps: Phillips, Taylor…Dendy…that’s it?
Dwight Phillips is the defending champ in the Long Jump and Christian Taylor is the defending champ in the triple jump, so they’re going to Moscow. Other than them, only Florida Gator standout Marquis Dendy jumped 8.28 to get the “A” standard and win NCAA Indoors, but was unable to qualify for NCAA Outdoors in the Long Jump and has not been able to jump over 8 meters since SEC Outdoors. Former Gators Christian Taylor and Will Claye both are very capable of jumping well and getting the “A” standards in both jumps, not that Taylor needs the TJ standard. Dendy’s teammate Omar Craddock won the NCAA Triple Jump and is going into Des Moines with the goal of jumping 17.20 to get the standard. NCAA Runner-Up Mike Hartfield and Tyron Stewart have gotten close in the Long Jump and Bryce Lamb has gotten close in the Triple Jump. Hopefully between all of these guys Team USA can take advantage of Dwight Phillips and Christian Taylor’s wild cards and send four great guys in both horizontal jumps.
Curtis Beach scratched from the Decathlon but is currently entered in the Long Jump, he jumped 7.81 twice during the Decathlon at the NCAA Championships a few weekends ago, both with and aiding wind, but one with a barely illegal +2.3m/s. He will be much fresher since he won’t have nine other events to worry about during the weekend. He’s a wild card pick.
Every Throwing Event Besides Shot Put
America is loaded at Shot Put again. However, none of the other throws have anyone with an “A” standard. The Hammer and Javelin have two guys with the “B” standard, so at least one will go and all four of them are close to the “A”. The Discus has a few guys who have thrown in the neighborhood of the 66 meter “A” and have been above the 64 meter “B” in the past, but none have done so this year. Keep an eye on the throws and hope for favorable winds in Des Moines. The Americans must throw farther this year to send full three-man teams in every event.