This is flat-out the best week in US track. There is wall-to-wall action of all kinds, and I’ll do my best to keep you updated with what is happening and what happened.
Today the Drake Relays decathlon and heptathlon get started at 1:00 PM Eastern / noon local. The decathlon is the big deal, as Bryan Clay and Jake Arnold are competing. You can read the Drake Relays press release.
Clay is the defending Olympic champion, but has had some injury issues in the last few years and does not yet have an Olympic qualifying mark (the ‘A’ standard is 8200). The presence of Trey Hardee and Ashton Eaton means that Clay is probably going to be third at the Trials, and that’s only if he regains some of his champion form. Arnold, who sports a PR of 8253 from two years ago, is also looking for that Olympic ‘A’ standard–and could be Clay’s main competition for that third spot at the Olympic Trials.
Later tonight, at 7:00 PM Eastern / 6:00 PM local, is one of the great new traditions in field events, the annual pole vault at the Jordan Creek Town Center shopping mall in West Des Moines. The atmospehere is electric, as the vaulters run through a tunnel of people and vault up next to the second-floor level, and the competition is deep and tough.
All of the top five US women are entered–Jen Suhr, Kylie Hutson, Lacy Janson, Becky Holliday and Mary Saxer–plus Israeli Jillian Schwartz, who is in the world’s top ten. The men’s competition features six of the USA’s top eight: Jeremy Scott, Derek Miles, Mark Hollis, Brad Walker, Scott Roth and Jordan Scott.