2013 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships – A Fan’s Guide

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Who Wins The Men’s 800 – Andrews, Mulder, Sowinski, Wieczorek or possibly Centro? Mary Cain Tries To Win USA Sr. TItle #1  – Will She Face Fellow Teen Phenom Ajee Wilson?

by LetsRun.com
March 1, 2013

Below we preview the men’s and women’s mid-d and distance events for you at the 2013 USA Indoor Track and Field championships which take place Saturday and Sunday in Albuquerque, NM. We preview the events for you in the order that you occur so that you can print it out and use it as a program as you watch it live in person or on tv.

The meet’s tv schedule is as follows:

March 2, LIVE 6-8 p.m. on Universal Sports (also streamed online if you get Universal Sports, Dish Network & DirecTV)
March 3, LIVE 4-6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network
Broadcast times as well as times below are in Eastern Time.

Note: The start lists aren’t up yet so we previewed everything based on the meet entries only and two of the bigger names in the meet – Mary Cain and Matt Centrowitz – are double entered.  For more info, see the meet’s website.

Saturday 6:04 PM ET, Sunday 5:04 PM ET
Women’s 800: Mary Cain, Mary Cain, Mary Cain – Wait don’t forget fellow teen phenom Ajee Wilson

Mary Cain competing at last year's US Olympic Trials.

Mary Cain competing at last year’s US Olympic Trials.

One of the biggest if not the biggest story lines of the 2013 USA Indor championships is – can 16 year old Mary Cain win her first US senior title? The crazy thing is she’s got the fastest seed time of anyone in the field.

We don’t know where the top US women so far in 2013 are. Three US pros have run in the 2:03s this  year  – Geena Gall (2:03.33), Phoebe Wright (2:03.96) and defending champ Erica Moore (2:03.98) – and none are entered. Moore ran away with last year’s title in a dominant 2:01:08 in a race where Wright was almost two full seconds back at 2:03.07.

At some level, it’s hard to annoint Cain as the favorite as she hasn’t run an 800 all year. But she has run the mile and 3k/2mile and she’s PRd at both of those events convincingly so it’s hard to believe she’s not in even better shape than when she ran 2:03.34 last year. If she’s not the favorite, then two other former HS phenoms are.

Also in the field is former HS phenom Chanelle Price (2:01.61 in HS) who finally broke her high school PR last year during her final year of college (2:00.15 last year in the summer). However, Price only ran 2:04.12 in Boston.

LetsRun.com’s (LRC’s) Final Take: The favorite in our minds is 2012 world junior champ Ajee Wilson (2:00.91 last year) who instead of running collegiately this year went pro and runs for adidas. The 18-year old won the only 800 she’s run all year and ran a world junior record of 1:26.45 for 600 at Millrose which equates to about 2:01.9.

The US high school indoor record as well as US junior record is 2:01.8 which Mary Decker set in 1974. Can Cain or Wilson crack that?

NameAffiliationMarkStatusDeclaration
Chanelle Price2:04.12qualifieddeclared
Bethany Praska2:04.79qualifieddeclared
Lea WallaceNike2:04.94qualifieddeclared
Katherine MackeyBrooks2:05.01qualifieddeclared
Ajee Wilsonadidas2:05.54qualifieddeclared
Dominique JacksonSRA Elite2:06.00qualifieddeclared
Lyndsay HarperBrooks / Bay Area Track Club (BATC)2:08.18qualifieddeclared
Mary Cain2:03.34accepteddeclared

Saturday 6:35, Sunday 4:25 ET
Men’s 800: A Loaded Field With Lots of Story Lines – Sowinski, Andrews, Mulder, Wieczorek and Centro

Picture of Eric Sowinski

Erik Sowinski set the American record in the 600m.*More 2013 Millrose Photos

The men’s 800 certainly has a lot going for it.

The field features two 2012 Olympic Trials finalists in Tyler Mulder (5th 1:45.02) and Mark Wieczorek (7th 1:45.62) plus former NCAA 800 champ Robby Andrews, who likely would have been in the final had he run the 800 instead of placing 5th in the 1500. Then there are two other ‘names’ – 2011 world 1,500 bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz as well as newly minted Amercan 600 meter record holder Erik Sowinski.

On paper, Mulder is the guy to beat. He’s got the co-best PR of anyone in the field (1:44.75 – the same as Robby Andrews) and has run the fastest on the year at 1:46.80 – his only 800 of the season. In that race, he beat Wieczorek head to head as well. It’s hard to discount Wieczorek or Andrews. Andrews has been hit or miss this year. He’s been awful in the mile so far (twice over 4:00 including a 4:11) but was very good in his one 1,000 of the year – as he just missed the AR of 2:17.86 when he ran 2:17.90. The 800 is more in his natural comfort zone so it will be interesting to see how he looks here.

How can you not like Sowinski? He ran 1:15.61 to get the American 600m record at Millrose as a last-minute entry and he’s race sharp as he’s raced in Germany, Austria, Moscow and Iowa in addition to New York this year. A US title here would really help raise the profile of the 2012 NCAA runner-up.

Centrowitz is definitely over matched at 800 with his 1:47.72 pb. In the past, we’d ask why is he even running this event? However, his coach Alberto Salazar has shown he likes his guys to race often and to work on their speed. It worked for Galen Rupp so we aren’t questioning it here. Plus, it’s great for LRC, we need the stars to actually race so you’ll talk about them.

LRC’s Final Take: This event is certainly worth the price of admission. So many things to consider. The feel-good story would be a Sowinski victory. This weekend might end up being very big for Robby Andrews – an Andrews victory could really help him confidence wise heading into outdoors. A sub-par performance and he might start questioning if something is wrong.

NameAffiliationMarkStatusDeclaration
Tyler MulderNike / Oregon TC Elite1:46.80qualifieddeclared
Mark WieczorekBrooks1:47.09qualifieddeclared
Erik Sowinski1:47.21qualifieddeclared
Joe Abbott1:47.24qualifieddeclared
Dey Dey1:49.43qualifieddeclared
Drake SterlingIndiana Invaders1:49.54qualifieddeclared
Boris Berian1:49.68qualifieddeclared
Christopher BilbrewAdidas Team Green Running1:49.69qualifieddeclared
Douglas KelleyAdidas Team Green Running1:49.79qualifieddeclared
James Gilreath1:50.06qualifieddeclared
Lucas ManringKansas City Smoke1:50.12qualifieddeclared
Thomas Scott1:50.19qualifieddeclared
Mark Husted1:50.20qualifieddeclared
Robby Andrewsadidas2:17.90qualifieddeclared
Matthew CentrowitzNike2:19.56qualifieddeclared
Nicholas GuarinoSyracuse Chargers Track Club, Inc.2:20.32qualifieddeclared
Joseph GioielliCentral Connecticut State University2:23.39qualifieddeclared

Saturday 7:30 pm ET
Women’s 3000: Emily Infeld Versus Lisa Uhl and Chelsea Reilly

Former Cal runner Chelsea Reilly, who has dropped her PR from 9:00 to 8:53 this year, has the #1 seed time,  but she wasn’t able to score at NCAAs last year (16th in indoor 3k, 9th in outdoor 5k). Thus it’s hard to pick her as the favorite when you have 4-time NCAA champ and 2012 US Olympian Lisa Uhl in the field. But 3000 is a short distance for Uhl and Uhl’s pr is 8:52.95 so a Reilly victory thus isn’t impossible.

LRC’s Final Take: Our favorite is a women with no seed time. Former Georgetown runner Emily Infeld has good credentials (8th Olympic Trials 5k), good recent results (4th USA xc meet) and more speed than Reilly or Uhl (Infeld ran run 4:31 for the mile this year at Millrose). Infeld FTW.

NameAffiliationMarkStatusDeclaration
Chelsea Reilly8:53.89qualifieddeclared
Lindsey Anderson9:09.04qualifieddeclared
Joanna MurphyNew Balance Boston9:18.57qualifieddeclared
Clerc SimpsonBrooks9:21.27qualifieddeclared
Rachel Patterson9:21.90qualifieddeclared
Elizabeth Graney9:24.88qualifieddeclared
Catherine BeckCentral Park Track Club (CPTC) New Balance9:26.54qualifieddeclared
Emily InfeldNike / Oregon TC EliteNMaccepteddeclared
Lisa UhlNike8:52.95accepteddeclared
Kristen RohdeBowerman Athletic Club9:27.01accepteddeclared

Saturday 7:47 pm ET
Men’s 3000: Only 4 Entrants?

Good thing this race is on Universal Sports on Saturday and not the much more widely watched NBC on Sunday as this race isn’t going to look too hot on tv as we think there will be a maximum of 4 entrants. (You think some guys might just enter for the tv exposure).

Of those four, 27-year old Will Leer seems to be the prohibitive favorite. He split 7:50.23 in the midst of his 8:21 2 mile at Millrose. He also has a 3:56 mile to his name this season so he’s got the best endurance and speed of everyone in the field.

Ben Bruce, who has an 8:19 steeple pb, is the only other guy under 8:00 on the year. However, his speed isn’t all that great and is probably his limiting factor at the steeple (3:45 1,500 pb) as the steeple is a pretty short event in the grand scheme of things.

Cole Atkins is a guy that has agonizing PRs of 8:00.60 for 3000 and 14:00.20 for 5000. Tommy Schmitz is a guy who has good speed (1:49/3:39) so he’s got a chance. If a puncher has a chance in boxing, then a man with speed has a chance in track and field. The fact the race is at altitude makes it even more of a crapshoot.

LRC’s Final Take: It’s a bit of a bummer this is such a small and watered down field but that’s what happens in a year when there are no World Indoors to qualify for, the race is run at altitude, and there is limited prize money. We guess limited TV exposure and a chance to be national champion aren’t what they once were.

NameAffiliationMarkStatusDeclaration
William LeerNike7:50.23qualifieddeclared
Benjamin Bruceadidas7:58.97qualifieddeclared
Cole AtkinsZAP Fitness Reebok8:00.60qualifieddeclared
Tommy Schmitz8:01.28qualifieddeclared

Sunday 4:44 pm ET
Women’s Mile: Mary Cain is the favorite!!

Brie Felnagle at the 2012 Pre Classic *More 2012 Pre Classic Photos

Brie Felnagle at the 2012 Pre Classic
*More 2012 Pre Classic Photos

As is the case in the 800, Mary Cain has the fastest qualifying mark. She’s more likely to win the mile than the 800 as the mile is a better event for someone who has run 9:38 for 2 miles.

Who could beat Cain? We don’t think it will be multi-time US champ Treniere Moser. Moser hasn’t raced Cain so far thisbut her seasonal best is just 4:12 and it’s clear to us Cain is in sub 4:10 shape. Thus if Cain is beaten the victor might be Sarah Brown née Bowman or Brie Felnagle. Brown beat Cain at the Armory in January (4:31.61 to Cain’s 4:32.78) but Cain turned the tables on her at Millrose. Cain also importantly now has more experience and confidence racing the pros. Felnagle, the 2007 NCAA 1,500 champ, hasn’t run a 1,500/mile all year but she was 12th at USA xc and ran 8:54 for 3000 in Washington. Last spring, before running 8:51 at Pre, Felnagle ran 4:08 for 1,500 so it’s possible she’s in sub-4:10 shape. But that’s easier said than done – particularly for someone who likely isn’t track or mile sharp.

LRC’s Final Take: Many of you may not believe it but the high schooler Mary Cain is the favorite here. The question is whether she attempts the 800m-mile double and how much an 800m on Saturday will affect her. The mile is a straight final on Sunday. The 800m has a round 1 on Saturday. On Sunday the mile final is at 2:44 (4:44pm eastern), 20 minutes before the 800m final. Pulling off the double would be nearly impossible. However, running one 800 on Saturday before the mile final on Saturday we don’t think will affect Cain too much.  Alberto could easily have her run the 800m on Saturday just for some speed work and then just run the mile final, and skip the 800m final. Kind of like Galen Rupp running round 1 of the 5000m at the 2008 Olympic Trials and skipping the final.

800 or no 800, Cain Wins It!

(earlier we referred to the 800-1500 double, it is the 800-mile double)

NameAffiliationMarkStatusDeclaration
Treniere MoserNike4:12.09qualifieddeclared
Mary Cain4:28.25qualifieddeclared
Sarah BrownNew Balance4:31.26qualifieddeclared
Dana Mecke4:39.53qualifieddeclared
Catherine BeckCentral Park Track Club (CPTC) New Balance4:40.12qualifieddeclared
Brie FelnagleadidasNMaccepteddeclared
Sara VaughnNike / Bowerman Athletic Club4:23.41accepteddeclared
Erin Koch4:23.66accepteddeclared

Sunday 5:13 pm
Men’s Mile: The 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix Round II

The men’s mile likely will be a re-match of the 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix men’s mile where the top 4 seeds at the 2013 US meet all raced and all finished pretty close to each other. If you don’t have time to read our recap of that race, then just take a look at the results.

Finals                                                                          
  1 Matthew Centrowitz           USA                    3:56.26  3:41.55 (1500m)
  2 Will Leer                    USA                    3:56.35                 
  3 Craig Miller                 USA                    3:56.85                 
  4 Jeff See                     USA                    3:57.43

Since that race on February 2nd, Centro has run 3:51 in the mile at Millrose before struggling in a 1k in Europe (2:19.56), Leer ran a 8:21 2-mile at Millrose and we don’t see any results for Miller or See since then.

Centro with a World Championship bronze and an Olympic 4th place finish has to be considered the favorite. If the others are going to beat them, we suggest they don’t do what they did in Boston – let him control the race from the front.

As for Centro running the 800 and the mile, it’s unlikely he’ll run both finals on Sunday as the mile is 48 minutes after the 800 final.

LRC’s Take: Given Centro’s 2:19 in Europe and the fact this race is at altitude, we aren’t 100% convinced this is an auto victory for Centrowitz.

And anyone remember last year’s race where Galen Rupp battled with Centrowitz AND Leo Manzano right to the line? That might be the race where Rupp showed he has really good mile speed.

NameAffiliationMarkStatusDeclaration
Matthew CentrowitzNike3:51.34qualifieddeclared
William LeerNike3:56.35qualifieddeclared
Craig MillerNew Balance3:56.85qualifieddeclared
Jeff SeeSaucony3:57.43qualifieddeclared
Cory Leslie3:57.81qualifieddeclared
Ryan McNiffAdidas Team Green Running3:59.11qualifieddeclared
Matthew ElliottBrooks3:59.96qualifieddeclared
Macklin Chaffee4:00.90qualifieddeclared
Mack McLainBoulder Running Company/adidas4:03.57accepteddeclared
Tommy Schmitz4:03.83accepteddeclared

Check back all weekend for coverage from LRC from New Mexico.

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