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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

USA Championships Preview - Day One

Over the next few days I'll preview the USA Track & Field Championships by filling you in on my choices for USATF's online fantasy league. I'm currently 35th out of more than 2000, so I think my opinion may carry some weight. Here goes with Thursday's final events.

Late update: Let's Run's Day 1 previews for men and women are up.

Men's Javelin, 6:30 PM EDT
Defending champ: Bobby Smith
T&FN pick: Mike Hazle
My pick: ditto
Analysis: The long throws are a bit outside the areas of my expertise. Further complicating the matter is the fact that none of these throwers are competitive on the international level. So I see no reason to argue with the Mountain View gang.

Women's High Jump, 8 PM
Defending champ: Chaunté Howard
T&FN pick: ditto
My pick: ditto
Analysis: Howard's major competition will come from Destinee Hooker, but for Hooker to win she must be at her best at the same time that Howard has an average day or worse. Not likely.

Men's Triple Jump, 8:15 PM
Defending champ: Aarik Wilson
T&FN pick: Brandon Roulhac
My pick: ditto
Analysis: Roulhac has been consistently the best US triple jumper in 2009, the only American who can claim to belong in the top 20 or so in the world.

Women's Discus, 6:45 PM
Defending champ: Aretha Thurmond
T&FN pick: Stefanie Brown-Trafton
My pick: ditto
Analysis: She's the defending Olympic champion and has the world's leading throw by a meter and a half.

Women's 10,000 meters, 10:50 PM
Defending champ: Shalane Flanagan
T&FN pick: ditto
My pick: Amy Yoder-Begley
Analysis: My pick is based on trying to score points in USATF's online contest, and when in doubt you must follow the "do no harm" strategy. I don't really think Begley will beat Flanagan, but Flan has been oddly inconsistent this year and could possibly lay an egg. Begley is solid as a rock for second at worst.

Men's 10,000 meters, 11:30 PM
Defending champ: Abdi Abdirahman
T&FN pick: Galen Rupp
My pick: ditto
Analysis: Rupp has had a long season so far, but that's the only thing he's got going against him. He's proven he can win under any style of racing, and there are sober observers speculating he could run sub-27:00 right now.

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