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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sunday Evening Decathlete

What did we learn this week?

Ashton Eaton is still the junior player. After his heptathlon world record at the NCAA Indoor Championships easily bested the simultaneous gold & silver performances of Olympic champ Bryan Clay and World champ Trey Hardee at the World Indoor Championships, you might have thought the Oregon senior was the new king of the multi-events. You would have been wrong. He's very good, but his weak point is the throws, of which there is only one indoors. His 8310 total at the Texas Relays was well behind Hardee's meet record of four years ago. On the other hand, that meet record is also the collegiate record, and Eaton is now #3 all-time. The other guy ahead of him is 2003 World champ Tom Pappas. Eaton will be a world-beater, but he is not yet there.

World Cross Country is a tough race. Yeah, you knew that. But this really shows how tough it is. Today Lineth Chepkerui won the Crescent City Classic in 30:43, which puts her #6 on the all-time 10k road list. She was only fifth at last week's World XC race.

The 400 is the race to watch in the SEC. At this weekend's Florida Relays, the home Gators ran 3:00.31. That's really fast--faster than the UK's silver-medal-winning team at last year's Worlds. Yesterday Alabama's freshman Kirani James ran for Grenada at the CARIFTA Games (a regional junior-division competition) and won the 400 in 45.02. The SEC championships will be on a brand-new surface at Tennessee's Tom Black Track. The stadium record is 44.43, and it's possible that could be beaten.

Blessing Okagbare may be the new Carl Lewis. Who? She's a UTEP senior from Nigeria who won an NCAA indoor double in the 60 and long jump. Over the weekend at the Texas Relays she won the long jump and the 100 meters, both impressively. She's no world-beater yet, but it's been a very long time since anyone has been so competitive in both a jump and a sprint. I have no idea if she'll keep it up after her college days are over, but I'd love to see it.

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