Will Lagat seal the Wanamaker Mile deal?
The wait is finally over. Traditionally the Millrose Games is the indoor season opener, marking the official start of the pro season and the end of the slow run of events in professional track and field. And that alone is a reason to celebrate.
Every race on the 2009 Indoor Visa Championship Series is unique, but there are more nuances to consider at the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s a 160-yard banked track for starters. And it’s New York City, don’t underestimate the effect the Big Apple plays in running this event; to win this event is bragging rights.
And then there’s the travel element - most pros will be competing for the first time this indoor season, while most will enter the meet more rested.
History in the making: Bernard Lagat is shooting for a record seven straight victories. If he wins the Wanamaker Mile at the 102nd Millrose Games at Madison Garden on Friday night, Lagat will tie Irishman Eamonn Coghlan. Last year, Nick Willis of New Zealand ran third in the foot race and again this year Willis poses a challenge to Lagat.
First timer: Travis Padgett formerly of Clemson University jumps into the 60 meters, competing in his rookie season on the professional track and field circuit. Not the biggest guy at 5 foot 8 inch, but with a personal best of 9.89 seconds in the 100 meters, Padgett is seeking to make a splash on the professional level this season.
Time for Michael Rodgers to break through?
Little known going into last season, Rodgers made a name for himself in winning the 60-meters U.S. indoor national title last year. Rodgers will contend with veterans Terrence Trammell and Shawn Crawford, but look for Rodgers to come blasting out the blocks.
A loaded field is scheduled for the women’s 60 meters. Second year pro Bianca Knight takes the track along side Carmelita Jeter, Muna Lee Lisa Barber, and Sheri-Ann Brooks of Jamaica. Muna Lee is coming off a break through season after winning her first national title in impressive style at the winning the women’s 100m in a personal best 10.85. She then came back to finish runner-up in the women’s 200m in a windy 21.99.
A veteran group including Terrence Trammell, Antwon Hicks, and Aries Merritt round out the 60-meter hurdles. Rob Bramlett a former two-time NCAA champion is back on the scene after retiring.
Well, Amy Acuff is nearly 34, and all of a sudden is making concessions to father time. Really. Amy Acuff is performing in her last Millrose Games with plans possibly to retire at seasons end. Acuff takes on fellow 2008 U.S. Olympians Chaunte Howard, Amy Acuff and Sharon Day.
Acuff said. “I’ve learned over the years how to take care of my body better and better. Chinese medicine helps preserve me, and being smarter about how I train. But this will probably be the last year. I’d like to have a family. It’s going to at least take a year since you can’t be jumping with a baby. So, I think this is going to be it for me.”
Kara Goucher has a history of running well in New York City. The defending champion at this weeks event, Goucher is making a run in the women’s mile run.
Notes on field events:
The shot put is loaded with big names that always catch your eye. Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell, and Adam will put a show that you can’t miss. Last year, Nelson brought down the roof 2008 with his 22.07m/72-5 throw. This year Cantwell comes in riding the hot hand. On Saturday in Nordhausen, Germany, Cantwell fired off a throw of 21.47m/70-5 1/4 on his final attempt.
Also in field event match ups, 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials pole vault champion Derek Miles, who was fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games, has been added to a field that includes gold medalist Steven Hooker of Australia.
Jenn Stuczynski and Stacey Dragila: These two have been inextricably tied in history, so why buck the trend in 2009? Dragila, 34, returned last season to the sport after two years plauqed with injuries. Here’s a question to mull. With an Olympic gold, nine national outdoor titles, two Olympic teams, and two world titles is Dragila a future first time hall of fame pick? What about Stuczynski, with a Olympic silver, U.S outdoor record, and a half dozen national titles. In a relatively short period of time, Stuczynski has become the second best vaulter in history.
The Millrose Games in New York is the first event of USA Track & Field’s 2009 Indoor Visa Championship Series. The event will be televised live on ESPN2 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on Jan. 31 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on NBC (all times Eastern).
July 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Jon Drummond summed things up best, “It should have been called the ‘fall trials’.” In reference to the athletes who hit the track in their quest to make the Olympic Team.
On Monday night, Christian Smith dove across the finish line in the 800-meters to take third place, and it started a domino effect.
Marshevet Hooker survived bumps, scrapes and a fall to claw her way on the Olympic team in the 200. “All I remember is pushing my chest forward, because I knew it was going to get me in the race,” said Hooker. “They are battle wounds that I’m proud of having,” she said after finishing third in the 200-meters.
“I told her that the 200 is the race you run when you don’t make the 100-meters. Marshevet didn’t want to be breakfast. You know that commercial airing right now about the Olympic Trials. She said that fourth place was toast…I don’t want to be toast,” said Hooker’s coach, Jon Drummond.
Allyson Felix played it cool while pulling out a major win on the last day and the last chance to qualify for Beijing. No worries, no pressures because she knew she could win all along. The field was not up to her world leading time of 21.82.
Unfortunately, Anwar Moore will have to wait another four years to realize his dreams. Moore was in third place with about 12 meters left, but stumbled over the final hurdle in the 110-meter race and found himself spilled all over the track.
Overcome by emotions afterwards Moore said, “Ahhh…this is a major disappointment. I guess that God has something else in store for me.
Terrence Tremmell was confident coming into the meet that he would make his third Olympic Team. He finished second in the 110 hurdles but ran with financial pressure of sorts riding on him. With a big smile on his face, Trammell said, “I was thinking about the airplane tickets I had bought for my family members to Beijing while I was getting in the blocks.”
It was more than good news that he accomplished his goal and added his name to the Team USA roster heading to Beijing.
David Oliver was arguably one of the most focused athletes at the competition. Arriving at the games a few days before the 110 hurdles competition started, he did not watch any of the Olympic Trials on television prior to arriving. Oliver finished with his domination of the hurdles, winning four races with the fastest time each round in his first U.S. Outdoor Championship. “I came here to finish top three, and I did that this weekend,” said Oliver.
The comeback story of the meet is that of Shawn Crawford. He struck 200-meter gold at the 2004 Olympic Games and since has gone through peaks and valleys fighting injuries during the last four years . His story is that of perseverance and redemption.
She did it. Lolo Jones (shown above) won the 100 hurdles final. The race was considered wind-aided (+3.8), if it hadn’t been, she would have broken Gail Devers’ American record of 12.33 that was set in 2000. The trials and tribulations of Lolo Jones after the 2004 Olympic Trials were behind her, or so she thought until suffered a hurdlers worst nightmare by falling in practice.
“It was nerve racking, because I hit a hurdle and crashed badly, but I didn’t have time to figure out why that happened because I was leaving for the trials the next day,” said Jones. She fought past the physical and mental hurdles on Sunday and ran into the record books.
The only athlete to win two events was Bernard Lagat. The Kenyan born and naturalized U.S. citizen is the U.S. Olympic Trials champion at 1,500 and 5,000.
Alan Webb finished fifth in a competitive 1,500-meters.
Another record fell Sunday. This time Jennifer Stucynski jumped 16 feet, 1.75 inches to better her own American record that she set back in May. She was relieved after clearing the opening height. “I think I was more happy to make the opening height. I made progressions in between the jumps — I just went with i,” said Stucynski.
By Jay Hicks.
February 1, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Track fans have plenty to be excited about this week, and that goes double for distance fans. Bernard Lagat and Craig Mottram face one another in the meet’s legendary Wanamaker Mile, New York City is always a welcome stop on the schedule, and we get a sneak peak at match ups that have implications for this summer.
Clear your schedule for Friday night or Saturday afternoon, you’re going to need a couple hours of viewing time.
Lots of big names show up in the meet’s legendary Wanamaker Mile . If you’re betting against Bernard Lagat, at least do it in a meet he doesn’t care about. The indoor track at Millrose Games is one of the most Lagat-friendly you’ll find, tight curves that favor his shorter body frame. Bernard’s resume on this track is unreal: five wins in a row.
Mottram would be the clear favorite in a Lagat-less field—just last week he shredded the competition at Reebok Boston Indoor meet running a stunning 7:34.50 in 3,000 meters. That was fast enough to be the make and break for the USA-all comer record that Haile Gebrselassie held. Mottram will be ready to run the curves on Friday.
Another hot match up: Jenn vs. Stacey in the women’s pole vault. Jenn Stuczynski doesn’t have much of a history here, but her jump to break the American record last summer was impressive. Stacy Dragila, considered by many the pioneer of women’s pole vault, returns in a highly anticipated clash with the new kid on the block.
Bershawn Jackson is another runner who looks to run well at this meet, however he will have his hands full with U.S. double lap champ Khadevis Robinson in the 600. Robinson is a bomber down the home stretch and will probably try to avenge the slow time run from last week’s victory in Boston.
Other athletes towing the line are Joanna Haynes, Kara Goucher, Carmelita Jeter, Miki Barber, Reese Hoffa, Leroy Dix, Amy Acuff and Dwight Philips.
Don’t miss the action. The third event of USA Track & Field’s 2008 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the Millrose Games will be televised live Friday night from 7-8 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2 and Saturday on NBC from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET.
It will also be Webcast by Sportnet next week, available via link from www.usatf.org.