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Preview of Men's Events at 2008 USATF Indoor Nationals
by: LetsRun.com
February 23, 2008

*Start lists
  Men's 800: KD v Symmonds

This is a hard race to handicap as the professional men haven't run fast at all at 800 this year. College kids have five of the 10 fastest marks of 2008 in the US and none of them are entered to our knowledge. Of all the guys that are entered and have raced the 800 this year, James Hatch is the fastest of the bunch. He won the Tyson Invite in 1:47.92 last week which isn't too shabby. He's race-ready as he's run three 800s this winter, won them all and run under 1:50 every time.

However, the favorite has to be Khadevis Robinson. KD is the reigning US outdoor champ. He won the Reebok meet in Boston on the same track earlier in the year in 1:50.92 to best Nick Symmonds (1:51.16).  KD has run two 600s since then and will be tough to beat. Defending champion Symmonds hasn't raced since finishing 2nd to Robinson in Boston last month. It's harder to come from behind indoors and win than it is outdoors. Plus it's hard to do well in the 800 if you haven't raced very much.  Thus we're going with the following:

Predictoins: 1) KD 2) Hatch 3) Symmonds

Men's 1500: Myers Will Win
No offense to the guys racing the 1,500 at USAs this year, but looking at the field causes us to think, "Well I guess someone has to win it." It's certainly a very weak field as none of the top contenders for the Olympic 1,500 spots are entered. No Webb, no Lagat, no Manzano, no Lomong and hell Lukezic isn't even entered.

Well, we take back what we just wrote, as Rob Myers is a very quality 1,500/miler type who is often overshadowed by the bigger names in US circles (hell, he was almost overlooked by us). 3rd at USA outdoors in 2004 (didn't have Olympic qualifying standard) and 2005, Myers is a two-time US indoor runner-up and one time indoor champion so he clearly runs well inside. His 1,500 PR is 3:34 and his mile pr is 3:53. Clearly the class of the field in terms of recent pedigree.

Myers has been doing a lot of strength work early in 2008 but he's getting faster every week and looks to be rounding into top form at perfectly the right time. In the New Balance mile at the Armory on January 19th he ran 4:01.15. A week later at Reebok, he had the lead but lost by .01 when he ran 4:00.35. Last week in Arkansas, he was 4th in 3:57.82. He only lost to one American and yet again he lost by .01. But he was coming on late as he put himself in bad position early on.

In Arkansas, Myers was beaten by one American - Steve Sherer. Sherer burst onto the scene earlier this year with his 3:56.00 clocking at the University of Washington. Given that Sherer's training isn't geared towards strength, we're giving the edge to Myers as he barely beat him last week. Myers is a proven rounds runner whereas Sherer has bombed at USA outdoors each of the last two years. Editor's Note: So we just realized it's a straight final. Sherer's got a better chance.

There are a slew of other guys that could make things interesting. Former Stanford Cardinal Russell Brown has been running well in 2008. Plus he's from New England and likely to have family and friends in the crowd. He ran 3:58.68 on an oversized track in Washington earlier this year. In that same race, 2000 US Olympic Trials champion Gabe Jennings ran 3:58.83. He's clearly got the pedigree of a champion and could make some noise.

Although Jennings in many ways is the perfect example of how overlooked Rob Myers is. Do you realize Myers actually has the better 1,500 pr than Jennings? Jennings ruled 1,500 running in the US when it wasn't nearly as good as it is now.


Predictions: 1) Myers 2) Brown 3) Jennings. Note: If we had a pick of the week, Myers to win here would be it on the men's side. Now that we realize there are no trials, we're going with: 1) Myers 2) Brown 3) Sherer

*An Interview With America's Unknown 3:56.00 Miler - Steve Sherer
*A Brief Chat With Rob Myers

Men's 3000m: We're not allowed to go against Tegenkamp but it likely gonna be a hell of a race
This race has us excited to watch it. But handicapping it is quite difficult as it's loaded with good guys who are in their primes.

It's hard to handicap a race when the favorite hasn't raced. But given the year he had in 2007, Matt Tegenkamp has to be picked as the man to beat. Teg ran prs in the 1,500, mile and 2-mile last year (interestingly enough not at the 3k and 5k) before making the most of slow-paced 5k final and coming within .03 of being the first American-born male to medal in the 5k at the world championships. People can say K. Bekele wasn't in the race but let's be honest - 4th in the world is 4th in the world.

Given the fact that Tegenkamp was the winner last year, given the fact that he has an outdoor 3k pr of 7:34, and given the fact he was 4th in the world last year at 5k, he has to be considered the favorite. That doesn't necessarily mean he will win. He just means he's the favorite.

If Teg is beaten, it very well may be by one of his training partners - Jonathon Riley or Chris Solinsky. Riley is from Massachusetts, he loves running in Boston, he's a 3-time USA 3k indoor champ (2003-2005) and he seems to be in good form. He won the Ryan Shay 3k at Notre Dame in 7:51 in his only race this year. When he ran 7:51, he defeated Solinsky, who ran 7:53.

That doesn't mean Solinsky won't beat Riley. Riley is clearly the sharpest coming into the race of the three based on races, but then again, he needs to be if he's going to win. Look at their 3k prs - Tegenkamp 7:34, Solinsky 7:36, Riley 7:47. If you were picking a high school race, one would hesitate a great deal to pick a 9:00 guy to beat two 8:50 guys.

Solinsky enters 2008 after a great first summer as a pro in 2008. After winning the 5k at NCAAs, he went on to run 7:36 for 3k in Europe as well as 13:12 for 5k. But Solinsky is much younger than both Riley and Teg - thus we're not sure if psychologically he'll be able to overcome the "can I really slay my older teammates?" syndrome that is common in running.

This is a going to be a great race. Many are predicting a Jerry Schumacher sweep. "In what order?" is the question. Who could break them up? The best bet is steepler Steve Slattery who won a 7:52 race in Washington this year.

Predictions: 1) Tegenkamp 2) Riley 3) Solinsky 4) Slattery

*Start lists
(Tickets still available in Boston. TV 5-7pm Eastern ESPN2)

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