U.S. Track & Field Championships

For an off year in track when there is no World Championships or Olympics, there is still plenty of top notch competition at the national championships this year. In the men's 10,000 meter Thursday night, Chris Derrick asserted himself with confidence, while Galen Rupp showed his dominance by pulling away convincingly in the beginning of the last lap, and coasted in for his sixth consecutive title. Derrick is doing well, but has a ways to go to develop a kick in order to be competitive internationally. He's still a young 23, with plenty of time to develop. 22 year-old Jordan Hasay certainly improved her last lap, taking the lead with 200 to go, but ultimately being outkicked by the more experienced Olympian Kim Conley.

The most interesting story in the Prelims was the women's 800, where defending champion Alysia Montaño surprised everyone by showing up. It was assumed she would not race because she is nearly 8 months pregnant. She of course didn't go all-out, coming in last in 2:32. For her that's a brisk but easy jog. Her midwife and doctor recommended she stay close to her normal routine, as exercise is beneficial for the baby when done properly.

Even without Montaño in the finals, the 800 will have the deepest women's field seen in a long time. The field includes World Championships bronze medalist Brenda Martinez, World Indoor champ Chanelle Price, World Junior champion Ajee Wilson and NCAA champion Laura Roesler. Additionally, Maggie Vessey has the fastest PR in the field with 1:57.84. I'll pick Martinez, though it should be close between her and Wilson. Roesler has has a long collegiate season, but certainly has potential to be come a U.S. star and knock a couple seconds from her PR. The final is on Sunday, 1:30 PM PST.

The women's 1500 meter should also be interesting. While Jennifer Simpson should have a lock on it with her recent 3:58.28 PR, nothing is guaranteed. Mary Cain has had a slow start to the season due to focusing on finishing up high school. Last year, however, she made the finals with a 4:04.62 at the World Championships, and should be even stronger this year. Another high school phenomenon has made great progress this year, junior Alexa Efraimson, who ran a 4:07.02 this season for #2 on the all-time list just behind Cain. Morgan Uceny has had a rough couple years, but is rounding back into form and should be ready. Gabriele Gruneweld is the U.S. indoor 3K champ with a 4:01.48 PR. It should be an exciting race. The final is on Sunday at 2:39 PM PST.

The men's 1500 final on Saturday, 2:14 PM will feature Leonal Manzano, Lopez Lomong and Will Leer. Unfortunately Matt Centrowitz is not competing in preparation foor a Diamond League race. For him to miss a U.S. championship, he must be looking to do something big against the world's best.

See other event results and start lists here.

Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.

Tags: This Week in Runners, Y, YMCA, Running, Track, USATF Championships

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