America best sprinters and long distance runners will compete this weekend in the US Track & Field Championships at legendary Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. Many of the largest stories revolve around the redemption of America’s sprinters and emergence of the distance runners, as every athlete will undoubtedly be motivated to have a better showing this August in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
After a relative dominance in sprints for two decades, the US sprint team has played second fiddle to the Jamaican National Team led by world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, Olympic 100 meter gold-medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and future hall-of-famer and five-time Olympic gold-medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown. Not to leave out the dominance of 2008 Olympic and 2009 World Champion gold medalist 400-meter hurdles sprinter Melaine Walker, the Jamaican team is stacked in the “glamour” races on the track.
But we won’t sell the Americans short, as 100 meter sprinters Tyson Gay and Carmelita Jeter, three-time World Champion and 200 meter specialist Allyson Felix, and 400 meter Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner. Even though she is reigning 400 meter World Champion, Sanya Richards-Ross will be looking to change the perceptions of many who think she is not a big race runner, as she failed to place in the 2007 Worlds and came in third in 08’ Olympics. She was the favorite in both races.
The hurdles will feature world leading 110 hurdle adonis David Oliver. Oliver had an impressive 2010 with 11 consecutive victories. He will attempt to put together a great 2011–which means he’ll dethrone the dominant world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba and 2009 World Champion Ryan Brathwaite. The tightest race will be on the women’s side at 100 meter hurdles. The favorite should be LoLo Jones and Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper, but the emergence of relative newcomers Kellie Wells, Danielle Carruthers, Nia Ali, and Ginnie Crawford-Powell will make the hurdles the most unpredictable of all the races in Eugene.
Eugene is famous for it’s long and middle distance runners, and this year America will try to challenge the world with it’s crop of champions this year at the Worlds. Middle distance newcomer Phoebe Wright will surely try to keep pace with embattled 2008 Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya from South Africa. On the men’s side, according to Bleacher Report,
Nick Symmonds and Khadevis Robinson headline a pack of nine U.S. runners who have already cracked the World Championships “A” Standard this season (1:45.40). Oregon alum Galen Rupp returns home to defend his 10,000-meter U.S. championship and compete for a 5,000-meter title. Andrew Wheating, another Oregon product, is one of the favorites in the 1,500 along with breakout star Russell Brown, defending U.S. champ Lopez Lomong and ageless wonder Bernard Lagat, who reportedly beat Pheidippides in a half-marathon back in high school. Lagat will also be defending his 5,000-meter U.S. crown in Eugene.
The decathlon will be one of the great competition to follow as defending World Champion and American Trey Hardee sit out and let 2008 Olympic gold medalist Byran Clay, youngster and Duke Blue Devil Curtis Beach battle for a spot on the national team.
Check out the Track & Field National Championships on ESPN, NBC and it’s affiliate Universal Sports, June 24-26
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ESPN2 11:00 pm-1:00 am ET
ESPN2 1:00-3:00 pm ET (Re-Air)
Universal 3:00-4:30 pm ET
NBC 5:00-6:00 pm ET
Universal 3:00-4:00 pm ET
NBC 5:00-6:00 pm ET