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Friday, February 05, 2010

Fantasy League Preview

USATF's Pick'n'Win game enters its second week. As always, obsessively check changes to start lists.

My rundown on the likely winners at tomorrow's adidas Boston Indoor Games...

Men’s 60 meters
Right now, Mike Rodgers is a heavy favorite among the Pick’n’Win contestants. But so far he isn’t anywhere near the level of sharpness he showed in the last two years. Ivory Williams is running very well, and I see no reason to pick against him.

Men’s 400 meters
This is a tough call. Bershawn Jackson won the 600 yards last week over Renny Quow, who is also entered. Chris Brown has been a tough 400 runner over the last two years as well. I think it’s likely to come down to Jackson and Quow. I’m going with Quow, but I don’t think you could go too wrong with either one.

Men’s Mile
Nick Willis is probably the best runner in the field. Manzano could surprise him, but I doubt it.

Men’s 5000 meters
This is the headline race. Bernard Lagat is a great runner and is running very well for so early in the season. It’s hard to pick against him, but the field is hardly a bunch of pushovers. Bekana Daba is a sub-13:00 runner, Shedrack Korir ran 7:35 last year, and Sam Chelanga is coming off an impressive XC season. I would not pick Galen Rupp; he’s a bit under the weather and it’s not assured that he’ll be there.

Men’s 60m Hurdles
Trammell. If you’re determined to go for the upset, pick Mitchum. But you’ll be wrong.

Men’s Pole Vault
The field is short—just five athletes—and only one has cleared 5.60 so far this year. What you really want to avoid is the dreaded no-height. Based on that, I’m going to guess Jeremy Scott is the least likely to bomb out.

Women’s 60 meters
This was awfully close last week. On a hunch, I’m going with Muna Lee.

Women’s 200 meters
Shalonda Solomon has been pretty consistent at the indoor long-sprint game over the last few years.

Women’s 400 meters
The two reasonable choices are Monica Hargrove and DeeDee Trotter. Trotter has run faster than Hargrove this year, and coming off a few poor seasons I think she’s got more to prove—which, at times, is the difference between running indoor merely as a set-up to outdoor and racing it at the best you’ve got. So I’m taking Trotter.

Women’s 1000 meters
This is a decent field. Erin Donohue and Kenia Sinclair are very good runners. Neither is on the same level as Anna (Willard) Pierce, who is one of the best in the world at the middle distances. This is a no-brainer.

Women’s 3000 meters
This is a tough call. Hannah England and Sara Hall battled to the finish last week in New York. Shannon Rowbury and Christin Wurth-Thomas are both seriously good milers who have proven their 3k ability in the past. Genzebe Dibaba and Kalkidan Gezahegne are Ethiopian, and my Ethiopian rule is that they always show up ready to race well. The former, Tiru’s little sister, won an international cross-country race late last year. I think it’s going to come down to whether one of the two Ethiopians can shake all the American milers before the bell lap. I like Rowbury in this race, but I’m not confident.

Women’s 5000 meters
This is a Tiru Dibaba record attempt. The others are there to lend an appearance of competition, but we all know who will win.

Women’s 60m Hurdles
Damu Cherry quietly ran 7.47 for the 55 hurdles last week, which is as good a performance as anyone else in the race has put up yet. I think it will come down to her and Tiffany Ofili, but Cherry is a far more experienced athlete and that’s what tips the scales for me.

Women’s Pole Vault
Chelsea Johnson won in New York last week with a good 4.51 performance. But did you know that Lacy Janson is the world leader with 4.65, and has another 4.50 as well? Those are the two to pick from. I’m taking Janson.

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