The Track & Field Superblog

The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Moving to a New Website!

I have a new website for the blog:

So update your bookmarks.  Call the neighbors.  Wake the kids.

Don't worry, the blog will still be there will all the same stuff you've come to tolerate love.  But there's more.  Lots more.  Tons more.  And more added every day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

College Power Rankings

Not much has changed at the top since last week. Powerful performances by LSU and Texas A&M at the Penn Relays prove why they're at the top of the rankings for both men and women.

The Superfan’s Men’s Power Rankings for May 4, 2011
(last week's ranking in parenthesis)
1. Texas A&M (1)
2. LSU (2)
3. Florida (4)
4. Florida State (3)
5. BYU (9)
6. Texas (5)
7. Arkansas (6)
8. Stanford (20)
9. Minnesota (7)
10. Nebraska (12)
11. Oregon (11)
12. Wisconsin (14)
13. Texas Tech (13)
14. Virginia Tech (10)
15. UCLA (15) - beat Southern Cal
16. Southern Cal (8) - lost to UCLA
17. Arizona State (16) - beat Arizona and Northern Arizona
18. Georgia (17)
19. Arizona (22) - lost to Arizona State, beat Northern Arizona
20. Indiana (18)
21. Ohio State (21)
22. Oklahoma (24)
23. Washington (19) - beat Washington State
24. Iowa (23)
25. Penn State (NR)
Close, but not quite: Air Force, Akron, Baylor, Cornell, Houston, Mississippi St., New Mexico, North Carolina, Princeton, Washington St.

The big movement upward was made by Stanford. This is partly due to me still tinkering with the formula, but also because they ran some pretty good times at the Cardinal Invitational.

The big movement downward was made by Southern Cal, who lost at home to UCLA.

The Superfan’s Women’s Power Rankings for May 4, 2011
(last week's ranking in parenthesis)
1. Texas A&M (1)
2. LSU (2)
3. Oregon (3)
4. Arkansas (5)
5. Nebraska (7)
6. Clemson (4)
7. Texas (6)
8. Oklahoma (9)
9. Arizona State (11) - beat Arizona and Northern Arizona
10. Arizona (8) - lost to Arizona State, beat Northern Arizona
11. Stanford (14)
12. Florida State (10)
13. Southern Cal (15) - beat UCLA
14. Texas Tech (12)
15. BYU (13)
16. Tennessee (17)
17. Penn State (20)
18. Georgia (18)
19. North Carolina (16)
20. Ohio State (19)
21. California (22)
22. Auburn (24)
23. Florida (NR)
24. Indiana (25)
25. Central Florida (21)
Close, but not quite: Baylor, Duke, Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Sacramento St., South Carolina, Southern Illinois

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

More to the story

Lots of time to kill at this meet. Plus I'm learning how to blog efficiently on an iPhone.

You may have heard the naked marathoner tased by police story. It even made it onto NPR today.

The guy, Brett Henderson, evaded police and refused to stop when ordered. Yeah, he was racing, but it's not like he could have been wearing a race number. I don't think there's a police officer in the country who would have let it go.

His story doesn't pass the smell test.
Both Henderson and his mother (!) said Monday that he had borrowed a pair of running shorts from his father, but they kept slipping down as he ran. “I looked but couldn’t find a drawstring … I kept fighting and pulling on them, and then the elastic gave way so I let them drop,” said Henderson.
That sounds fishy. But this is the kicker:
“This is something that happens and is tolerated in the running culture, along with runners who sometimes (urinate) or defecate during a race. Shouldn’t that be considered indecent exposure, too, if what I did was indecent? In fact, running naked was encouraged in a marathon I ran in San Francisco, so I don’t know why this was such a big deal.”
That's just weird.

Who is Brett Henderson? I got the following in an e-mail. Now, let me say that I haven't been able to check out the story yet. But this is what was sent to me.
This guy was a 2 time state wrestling champion at Graham HS. He was a former student of mine in elem. His mom was a teacher and his dad and mom now are bigtime realtors here. He was at West Point for 3 yrs and a varsity wrestler and letter winner there; kicked out for some unknown reason. He just moved back here from LA, where he was arrested a few yrs. ago by FBI for insider trading......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Major track facility expanding

A quick note as I sit in the pressbox working a truly dull high school tri-meet...

There is major expansion going on at an already major facility for track (and all kinds of other sports too). The GaREAT Sports Center in Geneva, Ohio, is changing its name to the Spire Academy.

The place already has a 300 meter 8-lane indoor facility which has fantastic spectator amenities and hosted this year's NAIA Championships. It already has a top-quality outdoor track.

So how is it being expanded? A second outdoor track. A throws stadium. Yeah, stadium. Michael Johnson will be training athletes on-site, and there will be dormitory space.

The facilities for other sports are similarly off-the-charts excellent. Read on. It's amazing..

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Who Did What: College Track Weekend Roundup

This is the Penn / Drake Relays edition of the roundup.  Penn takes and publishes splits, Drake does not.  Get with it, Iowans!

Rankings within each event reflect the latest Track and Field News formcharts.


100 meters
1. Jeff Demps (Florida) - ran 4x100 and 4x200 at Penn
2. Ngoni Makusha’ (Florida State) - idle
3. Mookie Salaam (Oklahoma) - won Drake Relays (10.20)
4. Maurice Mitchell (Florida State) - idle
5. Gerald Phiri' (Texas A&M) - ran 4x100 and 4x200 at Penn
6. Prezel Hardy (Texas A&M) - idle
7. Charles Silmon (TCU) - 2nd at Penn Relays (10.41) behind Mvumvure (LSU)
8. Michael Granger (Mississippi) - 2nd at Drake Relays (10.24), ran 4x100
9. Woodrow Randall (Baylor) - did not qualify to Drake finals (10.96), ran 4x100 and 4x200
10. D'Angelo Cherry (Mississippi State) - idle

200 meters
1. Mookie Salaam (Oklahoma) - see 100 meters
2. Maurice Mitchell (Florida State) - idle
3. Brandon Byram (Florida State) - idle
4. Horatio Williams (LSU) - did not qualify to Penn 100m finals, ran 4x100 and 4x200
5. Antonio Sales (South Carolina) - ran 4x100 and 4x200, split 47.22 at Penn
6. Terrell Wilks (Florida) - ran 4x100, 4x200 and sprint medley at Penn
7. Gerald Phiri' (Texas A&M) - see 100 meters
8. Charles Clark (Florida State) - idle
9. Whitney Prevost (Baylor) - ran 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 at Drake
10. Dentarius Locke (Tennessee) - ran 4x100 at Penn Relays

Monday, May 02, 2011

Monday Morning Decathlete: Special Penn Relays Edition

What I learned in my first-ever trip to the Penn Relays, and lessons from its astounding success for the broader world of track and field...

It's a party.
They call it a carnival. Circus might do too.

Both the spectators and the participants take the Penn Relays seriously as a competitive event. They also see it as more than that. It's three days of tremendous fun. Not only is there stuff going in inside the stadium, but outside the stadium in the "festival" area.

The festival area had all kinds of sponsor tents set up with sales and giveaways and promotions. The sales tent set up by Nike included free haircuts and braiding, and the kids lined up and waited an hour or more to get them. Runnerspace was doing live broadcasts. During a storm delay on Thursday, an impromptu break dance competition broke out in the stands.

This is how college football and basketball operates. Tailgating is nothing but partying which is sometimes only nominally associated with a football game. When you go to a college basketball game, part of what you get out of it is the atmosphere: the crazy student section, the band, the cheerleaders, the announcer.

We need to work on keeping track meets fun. We can't sacrifice competitiveness for it, and we need to make sure it's actual fun, not what some fuddy-duddy thinks is fun (like head-splitting music during races). Fun is subjective, and what's appropriate is dependent on many things like place and time. What works at a massive meet like Penn is different than what works at, for example, a college dual meet. But if people start to think going to a track meet is fun, then everything else takes care of itself.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

College Power Rankings

This week's college power rankings show no movement at the top, but some shakeups below that.  The big winners were the teams that did well at the ACC Championships.

The Superfan’s Men’s Power Rankings for April 27, 2011
(last week's ranking in parenthesis)
1. Texas A&M (1)
2. LSU (3)
3. Florida State (6)
4. Florida (2)
5. Texas (4)
6. Arkansas (10)
7. Minnesota (5)
8. Southern Cal (7)
9. BYU (9)
10. Virginia Tech (21)
11. Oregon (8)
12. Nebraska (11)
13. Texas Tech (15)
14. Wisconsin (13)
15. UCLA (12)
16. Arizona State (17)
17. Georgia (16)
18. Indiana (18)
19. Washington (22)
20. Stanford (14)
21. Ohio State (20)
22. Arizona (19)
23. Iowa (23)
24. Oklahoma (24)
25. Princeton (25)
Close, but not quite: Air Force, Akron, California, Cornell, Houston, Mississippi St., New Mexico, North Carolina, Penn State, Washington St.

ACC Champions Florida State moves strongly into third.

This week there are some good dual meets. On Saturday Washington State goes to #18 Washington and #22 Arizona goes to #16 Arizona State, and on Sunday is the big one as #15 UCLA goes to #8 Southern Cal.

The Superfan’s Women’s Power Rankings for April 27, 2011
(last week's ranking in parenthesis)
1. Texas A&M (1)
2. LSU (2)
3. Oregon (3)
4. Clemson (9)
5. Arkansas (4)
6. Texas (5)
7. Nebraska (7)
8. Arizona (6)
9. Oklahoma (8)
10. Florida State (15)
11. Arizona State (10)
12. Texas Tech (13)
13. BYU (12)
14. Stanford (14)
15. Southern Cal (11)
16. North Carolina (NR)
17. Tennessee (16)
18. Georgia (17)
19. Ohio State (18)
20. Penn State (19)
21. UCF (20)
22. California (25)
23. Minnesota (21)
24. Auburn (23)
25. Indiana (NR)
Close, but not quite: Baylor, Florida, Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Southern Illinois, UCLA, Wichita State

Again, the big move up was by the ACC Champions, Clemson. Florida State and North Carolina moved up in a big way as well.

The big scored-meet showdown this weekend is between #8 Arizona and #11 Arizona State in their annual double-dual with Northern Arizona.

Who is Where

Here's my weekly roundup of where all the top college athletes are competing this weekend.  However, the heavy team emphasis this week makes it a harder task than usual.

There are essentially only six meets this weekend featuring top collegiate talent: the Penn Relays, the Drake Relays, the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, Washington State at Washington, Arizona and Northern Arizona at Arizona State, and UCLA at Southern Cal.

The first two, Penn and Drake, are so relay-oriented that about 90% of the country’s best collegiate athletes in the flat running events are doing nothing but relays this week. And with relays, you don’t always know who’s running what, and even the coaches who make the lineups are still juggling things.

The last three meets on the list are two dual meets and a double-dual.  Those aren’t easy to figure out lineups either.

If I tried to make my usual list of who is where, there would be an awful lot of “I don’t know”s. That doesn’t help the fan follow what’s going on.

Instead, this week only, I’m breaking things down differently. I’m only listing the top athletes entered at Penn, Drake or Stanford, and dividing it up by meet and then by event.

Remember, the ranking refers to Track and Field News’ most recent NCAA formcharts.

117th Penn Relays
Thursday through Saturday, Franklin Field, Philadelphia PA
Website | Schedule and live results (with splits!)
Live webcast link ($$) | Flotrack coverage
TV coverage: 8:00 PM Saturday on ESPN2

Monday, April 25, 2011

Penn Relays Preview

You want a Penn Relays preview?  You bet you do.  And while I'm a fan, and a self-styled pundit, and an obsessive, there's another guy out there who is the expert.  His name is Walt Murphy.

Murphy writes the Eastern Track newsletter and does stats for USATF Visa Championship Series broadcasts.  He's the man.  ESPN Rise has his Penn Relays preview issue online.
Here we go again. For many fans of the Penn Relays, this is the best weekend of the track and field year, second to none. Anticipation starts back in the fall, during the x-country season, and builds to a crescendo during indoors and the first few weeks of April. And now it’s here, with three days of action that has something for everyone.

With the Relays falling as late in the month as possible. hopes were high that we might be treated to warm temperatures. Fans have been checking the always-changing long-range weather forecasts for more than a week and the current outlook is a relatively good one. It looks like there will be highs near 70-degrees all three days, with a possible thunderstorm on Thursday.

Penn is always great, but it will be hard to match the excitement of last year’s Relays, when Usain Bolt’s presence helped draw a record crowd of 54,130. It’s not likely that he will be back this year, but he will hardly be missed(well, maybe a little).

There is great depth in the college men’s and women’s sprint relays this year, with Texas A&M and LSU leading the way in all six events.

No less than four men’s teams have already gone under 39-seconds in the 4x100 this spring--Texas A&M(38.71), LSU(38.78), Florida State(38.87),and Florida(38.81). A&M also tops the list in the 4x400 with a great time of 3:00.45, which is better than the Relays Record of 3:01.10. LSU is the #1 seed in the 4x200 with a time of 1:20.45.

In the women’s sprint relays, A&M has run 3:27.33 in the 4x400, which is faster than the Relays Record of 3:27.64, and they also have the fastest time in the 4x100--42.87. LSU has run 1:30.88 in the 4x200.

If the Tennessee women have another good weekend(they’ve won the three long relays the last two years), Chanelle Price could emerge as the all-time Penn Relays “watch-leader”. The junior from Easton Area(Pa) H.S. already has five prized watches, which are given to each winner at Penn, in her possession and is chasing Tennessee’s Cathy Rattray and Villanova’s Kathy Franey and Michelle Bennett, who share the lead at seven.

Price is entred in the distance medley on Thursday, the 4x1500 and sprint medley on Friday, and the 4x800 on Saturday. Whichever races Price runs(she’s not likely to do all four), Tennessee will be among the favored teams.

Villanova, with Sheila Reid on the anchor, won the women’s distance medley at the NCAA Indoor Championships and is favored in that event at Penn. The Wildcats haven’t won at Penn since taking the DMR in 2006. A hoped-for rematch with Oregon, which finished 2nd at the NCs, fell apart when the Ducks suffered some minor ailments and decided to pass on the Relays this year.

Robby Andrews, a freshman at the time, provided one of the great thrills at last year’s Relays when he ran down Oregon’s Andrew Wheating on the anchor leg of the 4x800 relay to give Virginia the victory. He missed the indoor season with a foot injury, but showed he’s back in top form after finishing 2nd in the 1500-meters at this past weekend’s ACC Champinships(running a 53.5 last 400). It’s not known at this time if he will run in all three events, but, in addition to the 4x800, Andrews is also entered in the sprint medley and distance medley.

Brigham Young has never won a relay at Penn (Clint Larsen won the men’s high jump in 1917!), but the Cougars are among the favorites in the men’s distance medley(they won the NCAA Indoor title) and the women’s 4x800.

Another team looking for a rare win at Penn is Indiana, one of the favorites in the men’s 4-mile relay. The Hoosiers haven’t won at Penn since they won the same event in 1954!

As always, Jamaica will be strong in the high school sprint relays, led by Munro College in the boys 4x100(39.92) and 4x400(3:10.66) and Vere Tech in the girls 4x400(3:33.17).

Bernard Lagat, Allyson Felix, and Sanya Richards-Ross are among the U.S. and international stars expected to be on hand for the 11th edition of the USA vs the World Series.

My thanks to Penn Relays Director Dave Johnson, Tim Hickey, Jack Pfeifer, Jim Spier, and for their help in putting together this preview.

Following is an event-by-event look at the 117th running of the Penn Relays. Bib numbers/letters are listed where available, as well as 2011 bests. Be sure to buy the Penn Relays program--it’s the best in the sport.

Really, there's a preview of every event. About 36 hours' worth of running events plus at least 50 field events. The mind boggles.

Read on...and on and on...

Monday Morning Decathlete

What did we learn this week?

The Boston Marathon discussion won't die down. Last Monday, Geoffrey Mutai won the annual Patriot's Day race in an astounding 2:03:02, followed closely by Moses Mosop in 2:03:06. Both were well under the official World Record of 2:03:59. But, due to Boston's course quirks (point-to-point and overall downhill) it won't be approved by the IAAF as a world record.

This hasn't stopped the Boston Athletic Association from submitting an application, though. It will be rejected. From the perspective of the larger sports media, this all seems very silly. No one has to submit an application for a record in Major League Baseball or the NFL or NBA; when a record is set there, it's just a record. Why does track and field have to have such rigamarole?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who Did What (Women)

Here's the roundup of the weekend's action for the top collegiate women athletes in each event.

100 meters
1. Jessica Young (TCU) - 2nd at Michael Johnson Classic (11.22w) behind McGrone (Okla)
2. LaKya Brookins (SoCar) - idle
3. Jeneba Tarmoh (TAMU) - see 200 meters
4. Semoy Hackett (LSU) - won LSU Alumni Gold (11.08w)
5. Tiffany Townsend (Bay) - see 200 meters
6. Marecia Pemberton (FlSt) - 3rd at ACC Championships (11.52w)
7. Shayla Mahan (SoCar) - idle
8. Terra Evans (TxT) - won 200m at Texas Tech Open (23.59w)
9. Dominique Booker (UCF) - idle
10. Amber Purvis (Ore) - see 200 meters

200 meters
1. Kimberlyn Duncan (LSU) - won LSU Alumni Gold (22.18w)
2. Jeneba Tarmoh (TAMU) - 2nd at Michael Johnson Classic (23.09) behind Young (TCU)
3. Shanequa Ferguson (Aub) - won 100m at Mississippi Open (11.41)
4. Amber Purvis (Ore) - won Oregon Relays (23.13)
5. Dominique Duncan (TAMU) - 4th at Michael Johnson Classic 100 meters (11.33)
6. Auriyall Scott (UCF) - idle
7. Tiffany Townsend (Bay) - 4th at Michael Johnson Classic (23.25)
8. Candyce McGrone (Okla) - 5th at Michael Johnson Classic (23.34)
9. Semoy Hackett (LSU) - see 100 meters
10. Shavon Greaves (PennSt) - won Jesse Owens Classic (23.70)

Who Did What (Men)

Here's the weekly rundown of the weekend's action by the top ten men in each event (as projected by Track and Field News).

In my mind, the biggest development of the weekend is only included here as a footnote: Florida State's Ngoni Makusha ran 9.97 (+2.0) to win the 100 meters at the ACC Championships.  That stamps him as a major player in the event on a national level, which not only has implications in the 100 meters but for the team championship as well.

100 meters
1. Jeff Demps (Fla) - idle
2. Mookie Salaam (Okla) - 2nd (1st collegian) at LSU Alumni Gold (10.04w)
3. Gerald Phiri (TAMU) - false start at Michael Johnson Classic
4. Maurice Mitchell (FlSt) - 2nd at ACC Championships (10.03) behind Makusha (FlSt)
5. Keenan Brock (Aub) - idle
6. Prezel Hardy (TAMU) - won Michael Johnson Classic (10.13)
7. Woodrow Randall (Bay) - 3rd (2nd D-I) at Michael Johnson Classic (10.23)
8. Harry Adams (Aub) - idle
9. Charles Silmon (TCU) - false start at Michael Johnson Classic
10. Michael Granger (Miss) - 3rd (1st collegian) at Mississippi Open (10.27)

200 meters
1. Maurice Mitchell (FlSt) - won ACC Championships (20.19)
2. Mookie Salaam (Okla) - idle
3. Brandon Byram (FlSt) - 2nd at ACC Championships (20.57)
4. Horatio Williams (LSU) - won LSU Alumni Gold (20.32w)
5. Antonio Sales (SoCar) - idle
6. Charles Clark (FlSt) - 3rd at ACC Championships (20.78)
7. Terrell Wilks (Fla) - idle
8. Gerald Phiri (TAMU) - see 100 meters
9. Dentarius Locke (Tenn) - idle
10. Justin Austin (Iowa) - won Musco Twilight (20.87m)