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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Superfan Daily: USATF Picks

You will be able to see the USATF Championships in their entirety, as the portions not on ESPN will be webcast live at

Last year I did well in the outdoor edition of the USATF Pick N Win Game, finishing third overall.  In 2011, though, I'm back to a more middling level of prognostication.  Here's what I have for this weekend's USATF Championships -- feel free to ridicule my choices in the comments section.

Men’s 60 meters
Mike Rodgers is the world leader and is undefeated against Americans. Trell Kimmons is probably the best bet for your backup pick.

Men’s 400 meters
Tavaris Tate, the Mississippi State star, is entered here instead of the SEC because the Bulldogs don’t officially compete indoors. Calvin Smith is probably you best bet for backup pick.

Men’s 800 meters
Most of America’s top middle-distance talent is not entered, making this a wide-open race. Duane Solomon, winner of the Boston 600 meters, is probably the favorite. I have to give a shout out to competitor Jimmy O’Brien, whose hometown is just down the road from where I sit right now.

Men’s 1500 meters
Russell Brown, the big new name of the indoor season, has scratched. That leaves this as a battle between Garrett Heath, Roby Myers and Jeff See. Take Heath for the win and Myers as your backup.

Men’s 3000 meters
Bernard Lagat is entered. He’s about the safest pick in the whole meet. If circumnavigating the globe hasn’t taken too much out of Galen Rupp, he’ll be second.

Men’s 60 Hurdles
David Oliver is entered and gunning for the $25,000 VISA Championship Series winner’s check. He’s an overwhelming favorite, but your backup pick is important here because Oliver recently had a slight leg strain. Second will likely be a battle between Jarret Eaton and Kevin Craddock.

Men’s 3k Walk
Obscure events like this one are where you can really make some hay in the Pick N Win game. In the absence of wunderkind Trevor Barron, Patrick Stroupe is the man to pick.

Men’s High Jump
Jesse Williams is the class of the field. After that it thins out pretty fast.

Men’s Pole Vault
The USA is going through a down patch in this event, with our best stars getting up in years and their replacements still in college. Mark Hollis is probably the man to pick, but this event is ripe for something unexpected to happen.

Men’s Long Jump
The USA has good long jumpers, but all of them are either in college or skipping the indoor season. This is a very hard event to predict, but I’m going to say it will be Jeremy Hicks over JaRod Tobler.

Men’s Triple Jump
Brandon Roulhac, the indoor and outdoor national champ in 2009, is the man to beat in this event.

Men’s Shot Put
In the absence of Christian Cantwell (recovering from shoulder surgery) and Reese Hoffa (in Australia), Ryan Whiting is an overwhelming favorite. Adam Nelson is still capable of winning, but his flashes of brilliance are getting fewer and further between these days.

Men’s Weight Throw
Garland Porter has made a big step up this year, and he’s probably the favorite. If he’s going to be beaten, Thomas Freeman might be the man to do it.

Women’s 60 meters
Carmelita Jeter is entered, having run just one low-key meet this year. It would be foolish to pick anyone else. Gloria Asumnu has been running the best of all the others.

Women’s 400 meters
Natasha Hastings has been running head and shoulders above the rest of the Americans this year. Dee Dee Trotter appears to have mastered her injury problems of the last few years and is the best choice for a backup pick.

Women’s 800 meters
Having seen how well Morgan Uceny was running in Europe, I was going to have a hard time picking between her and Pheobe Wright in this race. However, Uceny is not entered in the meet, making Wright all but a lock to win.

Women’s Mile and 3000 meters
These are tough ones to pick, because Jen (Barringer) Simpson has declared for both the mile and 3000 meters. A double is possible, but she might pick just one. The 3k is on Saturday and the mile on Sunday, making a flameout in the mile a possibility (if not terribly likely). Complicating matters even more is that the clear second-best American entered in the distance races, Sara Hall, has also declared for both. For both of these races I advise picking Simpson for the win and Hall as your backup, and then keeping your ear to the ground until the picks deadline at 6:30 PM Saturday.

Women’s 60 Hurdles
With Lolo Jones out for the rest of the indoor season, picking Kellie Wells for the win is a no-brainer.

Women’s 3k Walk
With only three athletes entered, it’s hard to go too wrong. I’m going to guess Maria Michta to win—and “guess” is the operative word.

Women’s High Jump
This one is likely to be a battle between two first-year pros, Eppley Bullock and Megan Seidl. I’m going to go with Bullock, but I’m not terribly confident about this one.

Women’s Pole Vault
Save the dreaded no-height, Jen Suhr is a lock. After that it could get interesting; Chelsea Johnson is making her season’s debut.

Women’s Long Jump
Current World Champion Brittney Reese is entered. Got that? World Champion. Current. Don’t overthink this one.

Women’s Triple Jump
As the two-time defending indoor champion, Shakeema Welsch appears to be a strong favorite here. Her 2011 season backs it up, too.

Women’s Shot Put
Jillian Camarena-Williams will not be beaten.

Women’s Weight Throw
Amber Campbell not only won this event at last year’s USATF Championships, she won the overall title and the $30,000 that goes with it. She is quite capable of doing it again.

Track on TV
Endurance, 9:15 AM tomorrow on Showtime Family Zone

News Links
Runner's World's Racing News has all the headlines.

Ken Goe's daily Oregon track rundown includes news on the former Oregon Project, later Oregon Track Club subdivision, and now again Oregon Project.

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