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LetsRun.com's 2009 USATF Coverage:  A Preview of Men's & Women's Jumps
by LetsRun.com

June 24, 2009 - At LRC, we are primarily a distance based site but that doesn't mean we don't love the jumps. We don't cover them because we know very little about them. But thankfully, we found someone who does and this accomplished collegiate class jumper wrote a preview of the meet for us. We're not sure if he wants us to use his name so for now it will go without attribution.

Men’s LJ
Despite not making the missing Beijing last year by 1 cm and being plagued by injuries, 2003 and 2005 World and 2004 Olympic Long Jump champion Dwight Phillips is better than ever. After a year hiatus and thoughts of retirement, Phillips starts his year of with a world leading mark of 8.51 (27’11”), only 9 cm off a personal best. He continued to jump well in Hengelo with a jump 8.54 (28’), although losing to Panama’s Irving Saladino.

Not to be outdone, in their next meeting at the Prefontaine Classic, Phillips soared to an amazing 8.74 jump (28’8” -1.2 wind!!) setting a new personal best. This mark was 9th all-time and the furthest since Mike Powell’s World Record of 8.95 (29’4.5”). This year, Phillips has consistently jumped over 28 feet and has reportedly had multiple fouls in the 29 foot range. Considering his new found confidence, it would take a major blunder for Phillips not to win USAs and it looks as if he is the early favorite to win the World Championships in Berlin later this year, though Saladino will be some stiff competition.

Another top competitor will be 2008 Olympian Brian Johnson who has jumped 8.28 (27 1.75) this year. 2008 Olympian as well as Osaka qualifier Trevell Quinley has posted some solid marks this season and with his experience can be expected to do well.

America has a wealth of 26 foot jumpers including Miguel Pate, Bashir Ramzy, Matt Turner, Christian Taylor, Jeremy Hicks and JaRod Tobler. Also, Reindell Cole had a slightly windy 26’11” jump recently at the NCAA Championships making him a main contender for Berlin, despite fouling out in the finals.

Women’s LJ
It looks like the top four this year will be a repeat of the 2008 Olympic Trials. Brittney Reese has done a great job this year setting a new PR and world’s season best of 7.06 (23’1.75”). This is the farthest jump of an American since Marion Jones in 1998. After placing fourth at the Olympic Games, she looks to be a main contender at the World Championships. Following close behind her with the second best jump in the world is Funmi Jimoh with a jump of 6.96 (22’10). Additionally, Grace Upshaw and Hylias Fountain have jumped 6.80 (22’3.5”) and 6.79 (22’3.23”), respectively.

2005 World Champion Tianna Madison has not jumped particularly well this year (6.48 21’3”). But her 100m is significantly faster (0.36 seconds) than when she jumped 6.89 (22’7.25). She may end up surprising some people. Other 22 foot jumpers that maybe able to punch their tickets to Berlin include Akiba McKinney, Brianna Glenn and Jeomi Maduka.

Women’s TJ
Unfortunately, this year, as with most years in the US, the women’s TJ jump is looking very weak. For years, arguably even always, women’s TJ in America has paled in comparison to the world scene considering the American record is over 3 feet less than the world record and only two American women have a mark in the top 1000 marks all-time.

No one this season has even hit the A standard at 14.20 (46’7”) this season. The only competitor to have surpassed this mark with a legal wind is Olympian and last years winner Shani Marks. Erica Mclain has had a couple windy marks over the standard. Last year she looked like a possible savior of women’s TJ but has failed to take it to the next level. Other notable jumpers over 45 feet include Shakeema Welsch, Yvette Lewis and Crystal Manning.

Men’s TJ
The men’s TJ isn’t looking too good this year. Only national indoor champion Brandon Roulhac (there were only 6 competitors) and 18 year old sensation Will Claye have hit the A standard, 17.10 (56’1.25”). Will Claye’s performance this year has been impressive to say the least. The first semester freshman (he graduated HS early in December to compete for Oklahoma) came into the college scene with a mark of 15.97 (52’4.75”). He placed second in the NCAA Indoor Championship with a mark of 16.80 (55’1.25) and just recently won the Outdoor Championship with his best wind legal mark as 17.19 (56’4.75”) which is also leads the US (what a nice Birthday gift for Claye!). But…It appears that he is only entered in the junior competition.

Our top triple jumpers have disappeared from the scene this year. Last years winner, Aarik Wilson, hasn’t been jumping at all this season due to possible injury. Third place finisher, Rafeeq Curry is totally MIA with no explanation and former World Champion and Olympian Walter Davis is entered but has only posted a mark of 16.24 (53’3.25”).

Don’t fret though. We still have 2-time Olympian Kenta Bell. He came out the woodwork a few weeks ago and jumped over 55 feet. He has jumped nearly 58 feet and has a wealth of experience. Expect that he posts a good mark. On paper, the only other guy that looks like he can hit the standard for Berlin is Florida’s Christian Taylor. He had a shaky outdoor season after winning the NCAA Indoor Championship. But at NCAAs Outdoors he showed he still had multiple jumps over 55 feet. However, he might decide to compete in the junior competition only like Claye.

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