TrackTown NYC Preview: Robby Andrews Aims For 1500m Standard Again
Who: Robby Andrews, Cristian Soratos, Kyle Merber, Ben Blankenship, Craig Engels, Colby Alexander, Johnny Gregorek, Pat Casey
Why: For the second time this week, Robby Andrews will be chasing that IAAF 1500m standard of 3:36.00. At the USATF Outdoor Championships, Andrews ran away with a national title over Olympic gold medalist Matt Centrowitz. He won the championship, but in order to compete at the IAAF World Championships for the United States, he must hit the standard before the July 21 deadline. The first attempt since USAs took place at the TrackTown Portland meeting on Sunday where Andrews stepped off the track with 350m to go, knowing that the pace wasn't on track for a sub-3:36 performance that day.
After lagging too far behind pacer Lopez Lomong, the pack hit the 1100m mark in 2:42.31, meaning Andrews would have to split 53.17 or faster on the last 400m in order to run the standard. Knowing that wasn't a possibility, Andrews chose to save his energy for a second attempt, which will take place four days later. He will face several of the same faces in New York, notably Cristian Soratos and Craig Engels who are also looking to notch the standard. Both could take his place in London if Andrews fails to run the mark before the deadline. With several men including the U.S. champ gunning for the standard, the pressure of hitting the time will make for another exciting showdown in the final TrackTown event of the summer.
Who: Emma Coburn, Megan Moye, Tori Tsolis, Hannah Fields, Alexa Efraimson, Amanda Eccleston, Emily Lipari, Lauren Johnson, Katrina Coogan
Why: Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn will be racing her first 1500m of the year after focusing on her primary event, the steeplechase in the early portion of the season. Coburn has already come within a second of breaking her own American record in the steeplechase. She ran 9:07.96 at the Prefontaine Classic in May and was four seconds shy of the mark at last weekend's Paris Diamond League meeting. Coburn has a 1500m personal best of 4:05 and appears to be in shape to run under that mark, especially with the help of a strong group assembled for Thursday's meet. At the TrackTown San Francisco meeting last week, Hannah Fields beat 2016 Olympic Trials finalist Amanda Eccleston with a 4:05 winning time, which was a six-second improvement on her personal best. Alexa Efraimson should also add for some stiff competition after running a season's best of 4:06 at TrackTown SF, and Emily Lipari has been looking strong with a recent personal best of 4:07. A fierce competitor, Lauren Johnson nearly made the world championship team at the USATF Outdoor Championships, but fell to fourth behind Sara Vaughn who earned the third and final spot in the 1500m.
Women's Road 5K
Who: Kim Conley, Lauren Paquette, Alia Gray, Kellyn Taylor, Kaitlin Goodman, Liz Costello, Ashley Higginson
Why: Kim Conley will be competing in her first race since the USATF Outdoor Championships after missing out on the opportunity to make the IAAF World Championship team. In Sacramento, Conley dropped out of the 10K after falling off the leaders' brisk pace and returned one day later where she finished 13th in the 5K. The disappointment was tough for Conley who made her first international team for the 2012 Olympic Games. She competed at the 2013 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games. Several of the same competitors who raced either the 5K or 10K at the USATF Outdoor Championships will also toe the line in New York, including Lauren Paquette, Alia Gray, Kaitlin Goodman, and Liz Costello.
Who: Drew Windle, Edward Kemboi, Cas Loxsom, Andres Arroyo, Erik Sowinski, Shaquille Walker, Jesse Garn, Curtis Beach, Harun Abda
Why: After making his first world championship team at the USATF Outdoor Championships, Drew Windle returned to compete at the TrackTown Portland meet where he once again employed that impressive kick. Erik Sowinski led the field after the pacer stepped off at 400m, but Windle surged past him with 200 meters remaining. Windle won the race in 1:46.21 and was followed by Andres Arroyo, and Sowkinski. At USAs, Windle came from behind to finish third and claim the final spot headed to London. It was truly a breakthrough performance for the Brooks Beast who graduated from Ashland with a personal best of 1:46 two years ago.
Women's Shot Put
Who: Michelle Carter, Brittany Smith, Danielle Bunch, Felisha Johnson
Why: After winning the TrackTown Portland meeting on Sunday, Olympic champion Michelle Carter will return to compete against the same familiar faces. Carter threw 18.97m to win the women's competition over Felisha Johnson, Danielle Bunch, and Brittany Smith. Johnson came the closest to Carter with a heave of 18.30m. A unique aspect of the TrackTown events is the fact that the meet organizers encourage the fans to move around the track to watch the field events before the majority of the track events begin, which allows fans to follow along with the exciting action they might miss otherwise. With a combined men's and women's shot put competition, fans will get to experience both genders competing for their respective teams at the same time.