Thursday, June 30, 2011


The 2011 USATF National Outdoor Championships were held in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field this past weekend (June 23-26).  All of Chula Vista Elite competed, as this USAs served as our qualifying meet for the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea from August 27-September 4. Here are some highlights of the weekend!

Hyleas Fountain, 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the heptathlon who is based mainly in Ohio but has trained with us in Chula Vista quite a bit this year, finished sixth in her competition over Saturday and Sunday, but will compete in Daegu.  Hyleas suffered a neck injury in the high jump on Saturday, hampering her results.  She is the only heptathlete to have achieved the event's A standard of 6150 points, as she scored 6735 at the 2010 USA Championships.  See her interview here.

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Alice Schmidt won her first-round heat on Thursday (interview), moved through semi-finals on Saturday, and placed third in the final of the women's 800m on Sunday to secure a spot on her third outdoor World team!  Alice ran a World A Standard 1:59.21 in placing third on Sunday, although she had already achieved that standard at this year's Oxy Invite.  Watch her interview after making the team here!

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Crystal Manning finished in second place in the women's triple jump on Friday with a best distance of 13.94m.  She must achieve either an A (14.30m) or B (14.10m) standard to be eligible for team selection, and was very close to the B standard with her result this weekend!  Watch video of her best jump here, and see her get her silver medal here.

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 Jarred Rome, Russ Winger and Ian Waltz placed first, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the men's discus on Thursday, in a competition where a mere two meters separated the winner (63.99m) and seventh place (61.99m)!  Jarred is guaranteed a spot on the Daegu team as the winner, even though he has not reached (but has come very close to) this year's A standard.  Watch Jarred receive his first USA Championships gold medal since the 2004 Olympic Trials here!

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Jessica Cosby threw 71.33m in the women's hammer on Saturday to finish in first place!  She earned a spot on her third World Championships team with that performance and an A standard (over 72.00m) earlier this season, and will look to improve upon her seventh-place finish at 2009's Worlds in Berlin.  Watch her get her fourth gold medal at a U.S. Championship here.

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Kara Patterson won her fourth consecutive national title in the women's javelin on Saturday with a first-round throw of 59.34m.  The victory coupled with her A standard performance of 62.76m in Rome earlier this season puts her on her second World Championship team.  Watch her post-competition interview here and the medal ceremony here.

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Mike Hazle came away from Friday's men's javelin competition with his first national title!  He threw 78.22m to win after four straight years of second-place finishes to four different competitors.  Mike's season-best distance of 81.09m is just short of an A standard (82.00m), but he is guaranteed a spot on the Daegu team with his victory.  See his interview here.

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A group of distance runners from the Mammoth Track Club trains fairly regularly here in Chula Vista, and many of their number had fantastic weekends!  Morgan Uceny (pictured above) won her first national championship in the women's 1500.  Amy Hastings, Angela Bizzarri, and Jenn Rhines placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in the women's 5000m on Friday.  Jenn was also third in the women's 10K on Thursday!  Scott Bauhs earned third place in the men's 10K, also on Thursday night.  Good job, Mammoth!

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Should only one of the top three men in the discus throw the A standard (65.00m) before August 8th, Russ gets a spot on the World Championship team, as he is one of only two men to have reached that mark this season.  If two of the top three guys throw it, however, the two that throw the A and the one that has the B and made top three at USAs gets to travel to South Korea.  If none of the top 3 guys from USAs throws the A standard before August 8th, as we understand it, Jarred, Russ and Ian are the men's discus U.S. contingent going to World Championships!  Ian has the other A standard currently in the U.S., putting him on the team if no one achieve it in the chase period.
Russ competed in the shotput this weekend as well.  The competition on Sunday was only the sixth time in history that the top 4 finishers all threw over 70 feet!  Russ had his best showing at any USATF Outdoor National Championship as far as distance is concerned, ending the day in 7th with a farthest put of 20.52m.  
He is one of very few athletes who is able to put up a competitive showing in both the discus and shotput at the elite level.
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Sean Furey (on the left) placed second with a toss of 77.99m in the men's javelin behind fellow Chula Vista Elite member Mike on Friday.  Sean won the 2010 competition and Mike got silver, making this year the second that these guys have taken top two at USAs.  Sean must throw the A standard of 82.00m in order to make the World Championship team, and should be confident in his ability to do so after setting a personal record of 81.62m at this April's Mt. SAC Relays.

The track and field athletes of the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center will be all around the world for the next few months, competing in various levels of international competition.  We'll do our best to keep updates coming!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's that time of year again...

Our national championship meet starts in 9 days and the atmosphere here at the Training Center is changing.  There has been a lot more energy around the track and in the weight room as the athletes enter crunch time.  For most of us, our national championship meet (USAs) will be the most important competition of the season.  Our performance(s) will decide if we get to represent the United States at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea this August and/or the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico this October.  To be eligible to make a USA team, an athlete must finish in the top 4 and have achieved at least a B standard in that event.  (For more information on selection procedures, click here and for more information on the IAAF standards, click here).  This year, USAs will be held in Eugene, Oregon starting on June 23rd and running through June 26th (TV coverage).
My training has been going very well over the past few months and I feel good about how I've been preparing for USAs.  I missed about 4 months of training this past fall and winter due to a few surgeries but have managed to bounce back fairly quickly.  The training room staff here at the Center has been awesome with planning and instrumenting my rehab programs.  My strength numbers came back relatively quickly but my throwing technique took a little longer.  About two months ago, things started to click in the discus but it wasn't until 2 weeks ago that I felt the same thing with the shot.  Since then, I've been watching a lot of video and focusing on technique and timing.  It's been paying off huge so far and I've thrown the discus over 3 meters farther this season than ever before and I'm very close to PRing in the shot as well.  I've never made a national team but I'm going into USAs this year with good pre-season marks (A standards in both the shot and the disc), confidence, and high hopes.  Thanks to everyone who has helped me to get to this point!  

- Russ Winger - shot put, discus