Reese leaps into top 10, Huddle keeps cool, Conley's shoe, Berian's splits
Kevin Sully | On 02, Jul 2016
It was a mostly chalky Day Two of the Olympic Trials. Three of the favorites in the women’s 10,000m sucked all the drama out of the race with five laps remaining. The men’s 800m saw all the big names advance, and there were no major surprises in the women’s 800m. A few of the highlights from Eugene…
We learned Saturday that 11:00 a.m. 10Ks aren’t that bad an option when the other alternative is something even later. The women’s 10,000m this morning wasn’t quite as hot as last night’s men’s 10,000m, but it was warm enough for Emily Infeld to stick ice cubes in her uniform before the start.
The heat didn’t discourage Molly Huddle from taking the pace. As expected, she lorded over the field with 75- and 76-second laps until it was just her, Emily Infeld and Marielle Hall remaining. Huddle’s 68-second final 400m kept her well clear of Infeld who herself was another eight seconds ahead of Hall.
For more on the women’s 10K, check out Brendon Desrochers’ dive into Huddle’s win as the next step in bouncing back from her Beijing disappointment.
Women’s 100m prelim times
Six women ran faster than 11 seconds in the opening heats with varying amounts of wind. Jenna Prandini’s 10.81 was the quickest mark overall. Tori Bowie and English Gardner put up the best legal times, both running 10.90.
For years, watching Reese jump was an exercise in amazed frustration. She’d attack the runway, launch herself impossibly far in the pit only for you to find out a few seconds later that it didn’t count. The official would raise a red flag, the crowd would groan, and you’d never even find out how far she went. Long fouls are still more fun to watch than short legal jumps, but they didn’t do much good for Reese. On Saturday, she uncorked a massive jump in the fourth round. Her mark of 7.31m is a personal best and the longest jump in the world since 2004.
Reese’s last two jumps also looked big, though they were fouls. 7.31 puts her 15cm ahead of the next best jump of 2016. Because of her history of fouling, there is no guarantee Reese will cruise to gold in Rio. There is also a possibility, however, that one of those late-rounds fouls will be legal and she’ll go even farther.
Bromell’s 9.94 in the first round of the 100m was the best time of the day and a signal that his injury troubles might be behind him. Bromell had a limited build-up to the race as he dealt with a strained Achilles tendon.
Running under protest
Gil Roberts in the 400m, Isiah Young in the 100m, both exercised their officially/unofficial ability to race under protest after false starts. Both were reinstated.
If you are going to break a three-year-old person best, the semifinals in the Olympic Trials is a good place to do it. McQuay ran 44.24 from lane eight to win his heat. Is he fast enough to give Merritt some competition tomorrow? That didn’t seem possible before this weekend, but I’m sure Merritt will welcome the idea of having someone in his general proximity in the last 100 meters.
Dee Dee Trotter waved to the crowd after failing to qualify for the women’s 400m final. Jeremy Wariner came to a stop with 100 meters remaining in his semifinal of the 400. Trey Hardee jogged in the final straightaway of the decathlon 400m, after dealing with a left hamstring injury that he suffered ten days ago while pole vaulting. Hardee still plans to complete the final day of decathlon competition tomorrow.
Boris Berian’s splits
I think he has some margin for error in the men’s 800m, but splits like 49.72/56.00 sure are making his races more dramatic than they need to be. Berian’s first 200m in the semifinals was 24.44. The rest of the field wasn’t in a hurry to dig their own grave, so Erik Sowinski and Cas Loxsom stayed off the pace.
Berian hung on and won the heat, but it got close in the last 100 meters. Maybe he is following the script that took him to gold at the World Indoor Championships, or perhaps it was a semi and he actually had another gear he chose not to use. He still enters the final Monday night as the favorite — only a strategic screw-up keeps him off the team. This is where it makes sense to, say, run conservative, third is as good as first, etc. But does that option seem more likely than Berian going away from his preferred method of racing in the most important 800m of his life? I think we see the same pattern on Monday, with the caveat that the 49.7 first last lap might be toned down to 50.2.
In other 800m news, Clayton Murphy’s kick is Symmonds-esque. Brandon Johnson is running like he did in 2013, and there will be nine men in the final after Craig Engels was advanced after falling in the final 100m during the second semi.
Ryan Bailey/Jeneba Tarmoh
Bailey finished last in his heat of the 100m, running 10.36. Last year wasn’t Bailey’s best, but he still put up 9.93 in 2015. Like Bailey, Tarmoh finished way down in the 100m heats. She still has the 200m on her schedule for this meet, but 11.28 isn’t promising.
Kim Conley’s shoe
Conley was in everyone’s top five in the women’s 10,000 and was running with the lead pack early in the race. With just more than 16 laps remaining, she moved to the outer lanes, sat on the track and adjusted her shoe. By the time she was back and running, Conley was around 50 meters and seven seconds behind the leaders and all by her lonesome. She chipped away at the lead and eventually caught some stragglers off the main pack. But by then, the top three was out of reach and Conley dropped from the race after 8,000 meters.
Saturday was the second day in a row a discus skipped across the long jump runway and onto the track. Thankfully, there were no runners near by, but on boths occasions there have been jumpers close by.