Track is my field: Mark Cullen's international track and field website featuring storytelling, commentary, and predictions and event analyses for the Olympics and World Championships. I'll be writing from the 2018 European Championships in Berlin in August. I'm active on Facebook and Twitter: @trackerati.

Friday, June 26, 2015

US Men's Hammer Throw

Updated 6/26, 7:26am

Kibwe Johnson urged his second round hammer throw to "Come on!" and "GO!"

It did as commanded at the USATF Outdoor National Championships in Eugene on Thursday when it exceeded the World Championships qualifying standard of 76.00 meters by 22 centimeters.

He later surpassed that with his farthest throw of 76.95m (252' 5"); each was good enough to win.

Conor McCullough (76.09m/249' 7") and A.G. Kruger (76.01m/249'4") will join Johnson at Worlds in Beijing, as each exceeded the championships standard as well.

The depth of Thursday's results was remarkable, with the top 8 recording bests of 71.16m (233' 5") or better.

Even 4th place joined the fray, as James Lambert responded to early adversity by throwing 3 personal bests to rewrite his own record, now at 72.49m (237' 10").

"I'm finally healthy," Lambert said. "I had a little bit of a knee problem at the end of indoors which kind of hindered me at the (indoor) championship where I lost by two inches."

Consistency in training has been key to his ability to peak so well this season. In addition, he is adjusting quickly to any mistakes.

Lambert said that after his first throw "got way away from me, I moved over so I can stay in front of it, and that really helped a lot."

McCullough said,  "I'm excited that all three of us made the team. It's my first senior team and I'm elated." In Beijing, "I'd like to improve and leave it all out there."

It's the first time since 2009 that the US will be sending all three.

Kruger likes the look of the event's future in the US.

"In most years 76m is going to (win) it," he said, "but it was a great competition. It was a great look as to what the men's hammer throw is going to come to in years to come."

Johnson echoed Kruger's view. "Everyone was awesome! I can't remember a time when everyone was in it, at least since I've been around. The country in general is coming up. We have a lot of good young talent."

Johnson would like to throw 78 metres or more in Beijing, make the finals, "and see if I can get on the podium. Outside of Pawel Fajdek (POL), who is leading he world by three meters, it's pretty wide open."

Johnson sees his throwing career winding down, but he'd like to stay involved in the sport.

"I'm going to phase my way out and start coaching these young kids. It's something I'd like to do - to give back. I've learned so much from so many people on my journey to where I am now."

In US track and field, the men's hammer throw is a resurgent event.

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