To say that this was one of the finest US Indoor Champs is not exaggerating. To say that, even with the rumors of many of our stop stars not competing, I had some concerns, would also be an honest statement. But the amazing women’s field events, the gutty 1,500 meters, and the fast 3000 meters, as well as the men’s pole vault, made me forget about my misgivings.
I would like to, someday, see USA Track & Field actually spend the money to promote their championships. I spoke to half a dozen people who came to the meet, who loved it, never having come to a track meet at the elite level before.
But, in the same frustrating fashion, our federation reinvents much, without working with groups already established, who have access to the community. Want to grow the sport? Work from the inside out.
This is a fine piece on day 2 performance of the Golden State, by Mark Winitz. We hope that you enjoy!
Five Californians Hit Winners Podium on
Day Two of U.S. Indoor Championships
By Mark Winitz
March 12, 2016 – Athletes who hail from California’s Golden State turned in five gold medal performances on the second and final day of the 2016 U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. For top athletes competing in the event, slots on the U.S. team headed into the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships beginning on Friday in the same facility were on the line.
Boris Berian (age 23, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) captured his first U.S. championship title by winning the men’s 800-meter title in 1:47:19. Berian commanded the race, going into the lead early on the first lap. In late 2014, Berian quit his job at McDonald’s in Colorado Springs and moved to California to join the Big Bear Track Club. Renowned coach, Joe Vigil, saw him as a tremendous talent. Berian proved that talent outdoors last season when he recorded a 1:43.34 in Monaco, the fourth fastest time in the world in 2015.
Shannon Rowbury scratched from the women’s 1,500m final following her 3,000m win the day before giving Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga. Calif.) a clear shot at the title. The 2013 World Outdoor 800m bronze medalist started the race conservatively, well back in the bunched pack of 11 competitors. With four laps to go she was in 4th place, moved to the lead on the last lap, and pulled away for the win in 4:08.37
Martinez, who co-founded the Big Bear TC with her husband, ran indoor PRs of 4:32.05 in the mile and 2:00.14 for 800m within the last month.
In the women’s 60m hurdles final, Brianna Rollins (Canoga Park, Calif.) claimed a photo finish victory in 7.84. In the process, the American record holder at 100m hurdles outdoors scored the fastest 60m hurdles time of the 2016 indoor season.
In the women’s long jump final, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and American record holder Brittney Reese (who trains at the USOC Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Calif.) recorded a huge 6.89m/22-7.25 opening jump. It held up for a comfortable victory in front of 2nd placer Janay DeLoach (6.64m (21-9-1/2).
Just three weeks after winning the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials 50K race walk in Santee, Calif., John Nunn (Bonsall, Calif.), went to an immediate lead in the men’s 3,000m Race Walk in Portland and proceeded to extend it to victory. His winning time was 11:37.09. Emmanuel Corvera (San Diego, Calif.) placed 4th in 12:09.75.
Katie Burnett (El Cajon, Calif.) and Robyn Stevens (Mountain View, Calif.) finished 4th and 5th respectively in the women’s 3,000m racewalk with respective times of 13:27.94 and 13:43.64.
Elizabeth Patterson, photo by PhotoRun.net
Among 12 starters in the women’s high jump, Elizabeth Patterson (Santa Cruz, Calif.) also qualified for a spot on the U.S. World Indoor team by placing second with a personal record jump of 1.93m/6-4 behind winner Vasthi Cunningham’s 1.99m/6-6-1/4. Patterson placed second in the high jump at last year’s U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships and was the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships titlist at the University of Arizona.
Chris Benard (Chula Vista, Calif.), a former All-American for Arizona State, grabbed 3rd place in the men’s triple jump with a best jump of 16.93m/55-6-1/2.
Additional top performances by Californians:
Men’s 60m hurdles final: Ronald Brookins II (Spring Valley, Calif.), 4th, 7.78
Women’s 60m final: Jenna Prandini (Clovis, Calif.), 4th, 7.18
One week from now over 600 of the world’s best track and field athletes from more than 150 countries will compete at the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Portland. It promises to be an incredible sporting spectacle.
# # #