19-Year Old Ajee Wilson Takes Third Place And Makes Her First Senior US Team
June 23, 2013
Des Moines, IA – It was a repeat of the last four years in the women’s 800 at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium as Alysia Montano used her patented go out hard from the gun and hold-on strategy to win her fifth straight US title. Brenda Martinez was a close second, closing hard on Montano, but running out of track, while world Junior Champion Ajee Wilson took the third spot for the Moscow World Championships in her first year out of high school. Oiselle and NJ-NJ Track Club runner Kate Grace was fourth.
While the final outcome was a big question mark coming into this race, the way the race would be run was very much expected. As she nearly always does, Montano took it out hard and had the lead in the first 100m and hit 200 meters in 26.5 according to the stadium announcer. At the bell (56.80), she had a 2.73 second lead on Heather Kampf who led the chase pack in second. Kampf was followed closely by the rest of the pack with Martinez and Grace in third and fourth. Wilson was in last at the bell in 60.10.
Halfway up the backstretch Martinez made her move and took off in hot pursuit of Montano. Going into the last 100 Montano’s lead was shrinking, but Martinez had waited too long and Montano was able to hold on to the win in 1:58.67 to Martinez’s 1:58.78. Behind the expected top-2, Wilson was clearly the best of the rest as she closed extremely well moving from last to third and broke the 2:00 barrier for the first time in her life, running 1:59.55. Grace was a well beaten fourth in a personal best of 2:00.10.
Quick Takes And Interviews:
QT#1: Five straight for Montano. That makes her the unofficial Nick Symmonds of the women’s 800 as Symmonds was going for and missed number six on the same day. She is the anti-Symmonds when it comes to racing style as she’s out front from the gun while Symmonds usually comes from behind.
Talking about Martinez and the rest of the field closing hard behind her Alysia said, “I can’t see what’s happening behind me, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, but I knew it was going to be a race and I was excited for it.”
QT#2: Another Negative Splits Sub 2 for Martinez That’s the second sub-2 for Martinez this weekend and second sub-2 she ran with negative splits as her first lap was 59.63 and her second 59.16. The 1:58.78 here isn’t far off her world #2 1:58.18 PR from Prefontaine a couple of weeks ago. She left it too late today if she wanted to catch Montano, but running 1:58 with negative splits implies she’s got a little more left in the tank.
Martinez didn’t seem to regret her tactics. “I just had to gauge how Alysia was going to get out, so I think I gauged it pretty well, I’m happy with second place. Trying to gauge, I didn’t want to get out too hard, wanted to get out comfortable. … I think I could’ve kicked a little bit earlier but she might have still kicked. Never doubt anyone, they might still have something at the end. She’s tough.”
QT#3: A Us Medal in Moscow? Martinez is currently ranked second in the World and Montano third. Behind Burundi’s 20-year old World leader Francine Niyonsaba (1:56.72 at Pre), no one has gone under 1:58 this year. An American women’s 800 medal at Worlds definitely seems like a possibility in 2013.
QT#4: Ajee Wilson goes sub-2 for the first time at 1:59.55. Wilson only missed Mary Cain‘s American junior record (set two weeks ago at the Pre Classic) by .04 seconds. Wilson was just a couple weeks late, as she beat Kim Gallagher‘s previous record of 2:00.07 by a good margin. Wilson joined Martinez as the only other person in the field to run a negative split as she came back in 59.45 after a 60.10 first lap. Negative splitting a PR implies there is more in the tank of Wilson, just as with Martinez. Will Wilson get Cain’s AJR by the end of the season? Wilson said, “This is early in the season for me. Any time I’ve run this fast, it’s been in July or later. So to be at 1:59 already, I’m excited to see where I’ll go.”
QT#5: Mary Cain, who on Saturday made the US team in the 1500 by getting second to Treniere Moser, could have conceivably made the team in the 800 had she chosen it instead.
Cain’s PR is .04 faster than Wilson ran here, she has the strength to get through rounds and she almost ran down Alysia Montano at the Pre Classic.
QT#6: Laura Roesler and Kate Grace PR Again
Laura Roesler is on a nice string of PRs. She went sub 2:01 for the first time with a 2:00.98 to get second at NCAAs, then PRd with 2:00.53 in the semis on Friday and now has PRd once again in this final with 2:00.23. Kate Grace also had two PRs this weekend as her best best coming into this meet was 2:01.63. She ran 2:00.96 in the semis and then 2:00.10 today. In her post-race interview Grace said she definitely feels her future is at 1500m, but that she ran the 800 at US Champs because she feels she lacks the tactical experience for the 1500 right now as she ran the 800 in college at Yale.
Oiselle / NJNYTC
Asics / Team USA Minnesota
USATF Sunday: (2013 USATF Photo Gallery)
Mens 800: Duane Solomon Goes Wire-To-Wire To Run World-Leading 1:43.27 To Stop Nick Symmonds’ Streak Of US Titles At Five
Women’s 800: Alysia Montano Wins Her 5th Straight National Title, Holding Off A Fast-Closing Brenda Martinez
Men’s 5,000: Bernard Lagat Outkicks Galen Rupp To Win The Men’s 1,500m 5,000m
Women’s 5,000: Jenny Simpson Gets The Win In Her First 5k In Two Years Over American Record Holder Molly Huddle, As Rowbury Guts It Out for 3rd
Steeple Evan Jager And Dan Huling Go 1-2 In Steeple For Team Schumacher
Men: Tyson Gay’s World-Leading 19.74 Caps Final Day As Aries Merritt Makes Hurdles Team
Women: Kimberly Duncan Upsets Allyson Felix In 200m At USAs