Monday, June 25, 2018

Des Moines Day 4 - Apres Sandi, Le Deluge

2018 US National T+F Championships
Sunday, June 24

A deluge it was as events of the final day of the US Outdoor National Track and Field Championships were postponed by almost three hours Sunday afternoon and evening. The meet was suspended at 4:06 pm and competition resumed at 7:00pm CT.

Delayed events included the men's steeplechase, M200, W200, M5000, M110 high hurdles, and the men's long jump was halted after three rounds. 

A couple of oddities came out of this delay. First, Jeff Henderson passed on his last three long jumps because he was on his was to catch a plane. He won anyway as his first round jump of 8.10/26-7 stood up for the win. 

The only pole vaulter affected by the storm was Sandi Morris. After she won she set the bar at 4.94/16 2 ½ and missed on her first attempt at the outdoor world leading mark. However, officials then closed the pit and a disappointed Morris settled for the win at 4.80/15-9.

Jerone Robinson’s 2nd attempt clearance at 2.31/7-7 gave him the national championship over favored Erik Kynard in the men’s high jump. In the shot put, NCAA champion Maggie Ewen completed the double by coming from behind on her 5th throw to narrowly defeat Jessica Ramsey, 19.29/63-3 ½  to 19.23/63-1 ¼.

In a highly competitive discus, Reggie Jagers turned back 2017 World bronze medalist Mason Finley as each recorded his longest throw in the 5th round. Jagers soared to 5th place on the 2018 world list with his 68.61/225-1, a mark that would have won him bronze at the 2017 World Championships.

Jeff Henderson, Zack Bazile, and Marquis Dendy were separated by 6cm in the men’s long jump when the rains came. With Henderson on an airplane and conditions unfavorable after the delay, the top three positions did not change, and the last three rounds took only 20 minutes. In fact, only Michael Hartfield in 6th had a daily best after the postponement. The competition was exceptionally close, with the top 7 separated by 8 ¼ inches.

Speaking of close finishes, how close can a finish be? Devon Allen nipped Grant Holloway at the  of the 110m hurdles by .002. That’s right, 2-thousandths of a second, 13.452 to 13.454. At the other end of the scale, Erica Bougard dominated the heptathlon competition and won by 344 points.

Devon Allen
2018 USATF National Champion
110m High Hurdles

The women’s 800m was expected to be a match race between Reavyn Rogers and Ajee Wilson, but Rogers did not take second until an impressive late-race surge. It was fast from the start with splits of 58.84/1:29.1, and a winning time for Wilson of 1:58.18. Ce’Aira Brown, Charlene Lipsey, and Kaela Edwards all deserve credit for pushing the pace; the top 5 broke 2:00.00.

While the men’s 800m results look quite predictable, it was notable that Clayton Murphy went out faster than usual at the start to claim the lead position. Masterfully, he then slowed the race and led at 400m in 54.53. Then he ran the last lap in 51.97. Boom! ‘Nuff said. Murphy looked particularly sharp in the last 100m and is clearly on the way to returning to his 2016 Olympic bronze medal form. Usual suspects Isaiah Harris and Chris Sowinski finished 2nd and 3rd.

Shelby Houlihan used a devastating kick to surge away from Rachel Schneider and Karissa Schweitzer in the last 100m. Houlihan’s 5,000m finish looked much like that of her 1500m win on Saturday. Her last lap here was 62.85; her final lap in the 1500m the day before (let me say that again: the day before) was 57.67.

2015 US 400m hurdles champion Shamier Little took this race out fast from the start and won in a quick 53.61, a new stadium record. Georganne Moline was second in 54.12.

Paul Chelimo left no doubt that the 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2017 Worlds bronze medalist is top dog in the United States. Ryan Hill made a gallant effort to dethrone Chelimo and even had a faster split on the second-to-last lap. But an upset was not to be as Chelimo was in control down the homestretch and won by .20 in 13:29.47.

While it’s often Evan Jager against the clock in the 3000m steeplechase in US competition, today Jager ran a controlled race in which he kept his competition close and his kick closer. He polished off all contenders with a final lap 59.68. Hillary Bor (formerly of Iowa State) and Andy Bayer joined Jager in breaking away from the field. Bayer landed awkwardly on the second to last hurdle and briefly lost momentum. Bor kept in contact with Jager until the last 80m when Jager pulled away to his 7th consecutive national championship.

Ameer Webb powered off the corner with the lead in the men’s 200m and was never challenged as he won in 20.47 into a -1.9mph headwind. 400m world champion Phyllis Francis finished 2nd behind fellow Duck Jenna Prandini in the women’s 200m, 22.62 to 22.83, with Kyra Jefferson 3rd in 22.89.

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