Friday, July 1, 2011

US Nationals (the competitors)

When non-tracksters ask me what 'Nationals' are, I just tell them that it's the Olympic Trials without the Olympics.

Tyson withdrew, bad hip. Sigh. Better now than in London, I suppose. Justin Gatlin forgets to lean and is 2nd by a hair; he's happy just to be back.

Ashton Eaton in a romp. He's gotten better in the throws, and his running/jumping is superlative as always. Dangerous man for the next two Olympiads.

Watching Elijah Greer warm up the day before the 800 prelims, I'm reminded of a sports car. Very fast yet smooth, he runs the turns as if on ice skates. That's two UO sophmores in three years running low 1:45's; the other guy's name is Wheaties or something.

David Oliver, massive high hurdler, is practicing over three barriers. Vin Lananna, UO Head Coach,  stands in an adjacent lane. DO flies by at high speed, creating a suction that nearly flattens the coach. Vin laughs and says, "David, if you hit me, I'm finished."

Galen Rupp starts the 10k wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask for allergies. Halfway through the race, he tears it off and pitches it. An ovation from the crowd.

With 2 laps to go, Galen floors it. 1:52 for the final 800, and he looks like a jet fighter on full afterburner going down the backstretch. Nice job, Alberto (Salazar, his coach): you found the lad some late wheels.

Men's 1500: Lil' Centro follows in Dad's footsteps, and I missed the whole darned thing! Lagat takes the lead after the Bowerman curve, and I immediately start looking for Wheating's kick. Not there, not there, still not there, and now AW is 4th at the line. Then I see Centro dancing around. Can't be; no one walks down Lagat in the last 100. Wow. And Centro never broke form, while Bernard began to struggle.

Too bad for Andrew; then we learn that Bernard will only run the 5000 at Worlds, leaving his 1500m slot to the 4th place finisher. Andy should send him a nice fruit basket.

Women's 1500: God bless Cristin Wurth-Thomas. No kick, so she goes for it in a way Pre would have loved, building a 30 yard lead, then getting outleaned for 3rd place. Gut-wrenching, all right, but it wouldn't have been as close WITHOUT guts. That's one tough runner. Morgan Uceny stayed in form and unloaded at the right time with her silky-smooth stride.

Another college kid wins a US pro title, this time it was Wazoo's Jeshua Anderson in the 400 hurdles. A photo finish with Batman and 2-time gold medalist Angelo Taylor, and it's the rookie by a nostril. Nice celebration. Kellie Wells had a  similar dance after the 100HH. The other great hurdler/dancer, Lolo J, got stuck in the blocks and didn't qualify. Still another year, LJ.

Adam Nelson is still around? I thought he retired, got his MBA, and moved to Wall Street. Great that he's still throwing so far, and who doesn't love his psych-up routine? Monster shot put competitions on both sides.

Great meet. I think the team will do well in Korea.

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