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Decathletes Clay & Eaton ignite USA Championships

6/22/2011
 
EUGENE - With the U.S. boasting the most talented multi-event athletes in the world, Bryan Clay and Ashton Eaton are sure to put on a show at the opening day of the 2011 USA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. June 23-26.

The USA Championships serve as the selection event for the coveted spots to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships August 27- September 4 in Daegu, South Korea. The USA Championships are also the final stop of the 2011 Outdoor Visa Championship Series. Each male and female athlete who finishes the series at the top of the point standings will be awarded $25,000.

The event will be featured on three networks, in six broadcasts spread over three days of competition. Broadcasts will air on ESPN2, Universal and NBC. View the full TV schedule here. In addition, a free webcast will be provided in partnership with RunnerSpace.com. The webcast will run throughout the duration of the event, with commentators including: Larry Rawson, Jenny Adams, Dan O’Brien, Joanna Hayes and John Godina. During the event, the webcast can be viewed online here.

Men’s Decathlon
Ashton Eaton
 

It will be a battle between a seasoned veteran and a relative newcomer to the professional track and field world in the men’s multi-event. 2008 Olympic gold medalist Clay owns the second best mark in U.S. history with his score of 8,832, but Eaton, who improved his own heptathlon world record this indoor season, is projected to score a personal best and challenge for the win. 2009 World Champion Trey Hardee has a bye to Daegu, which gives 2010 US champion Jake Arnold or one of many talented collegiate decathletes an opportunity to grab a spot on Team USA.

Nike Men’s 100m
American 100m record holder Tyson Gay will be the man to watch as he looks to win his first national title since the 2008 Olympic Trials. The two-time world champion opened his season with a world-leading 9.79 less than month ago. 2009 U.S. Outdoor champion Mike Rodgers will be Gay’s biggest challenger after his personal best performance of 9.85 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic. Close behind Rodgers is Walter Dix, the defending champion in the event and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Nike Men’s 200m
Gay and Dix will meet again in the men’s 200m with identical seed times of 19.72. In 2007, Gay owned the World and U.S. titles in the event, but Dix, the 2008 U.S. champ, hasn’t lost yet this year and ranks fourth in the World. American indoor 200m record holder Wallace Spearmon Jr. will look to take home a third U.S. title in his specialty event. Also entered in the event is Kerron Clement who has a bye to Daegu in the 400m hurdles as the reigning world champion.

Men’s 400m
2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner enters as the favorite in the 400m. His best time for this year (44.88) ranks second in the US and seventh in the world. Wariner will face off with Greg Nixon who ran a personal best to win the 2010 U.S. Outdoor champ, and Jamaal Torrence who took home bronze at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. Mississippi State’s Tavaris Tate, who won gold with Nixon and Torrence on the 2010 World Indoor 4x400 team, is another contender.

Men’s 800m
Nick Symmonds will attempt to capture his fourth consecutive title in the 800m, but will have to fend off a talented bunch of collegians. Cory Primm, a recent UCLA graduate, topped the US leaderboard in late May with a personal record time of 1:44.71. Rising University of Virginia junior Robby Andrews matched Primm’s time to win a close batlte with UC-Irvine’s Charles Jock at the NCAA Outdoor 800m championship.

Nike Men’s 1,500m
In his first post-collegiate season, three-time NCAA champ Andrew Wheating will try to earn his first U.S. title. His personal best time of 3:30.90 at the last year’s Monaco Diamond League was the best among Americans for 2010. Also looking for his first U.S. Outdoor Championship is three-time outdoor runner-up Leo Manzano. Bernard Lagat, who holds the American record in the 1,500m both indoors and outdoors, is the veteran of the field with three world championships under his belt.

Gatorade Men’s 5,000m
American long distance record-holders Chris Solinsky and Lagat will battle for supremacy in what has traditionally been Lagat’s event. Lagat owns the American outdoor record as well as four of the last five U.S. titles, but Solinsky improved his 5,000m personal best by almost 17 seconds at the last year’s Stockholm Diamond League. Two-time U.S. 10,000m champ Galen Rupp and 2009 U.S. 5,000m winner Matt Tegenkamp should also be serious contenders.

Men’s 10,000m
Last year at the Stanford Cardinal Invitational, Solinsky shocked track and field fans when he set a new American record in his first ever 10,000m. His time of 26:59.60 leads the rest of the competitors by more than 10 seconds. Rupp, who is seeking his third consecutive US 10,000m title, is Solinsky’s closest competitor, while 2011 U.S. leader Bobby Curtis will chase his first national title.

Nike Men’s 110m Hurdles
David Oliver
 
2011 World and U.S. leader David Oliver is the favorite in the short hurdles. Oliver is coming off a successful 2010 campaign that was highlighted by a new American record and the top five times in the world. Trailing Oliver in the U.S. standings is Aries Merritt, who is gunning for a second world championship appearance.

Visa Men’s 400m Hurdles
Since Kerron Clement has a bye to Daegu following his victory at the 2009 World Championships, Team USA has three additional open spots in the 400m hurdles. Four-time U.S. champ Bershawn Jackson had the world leading time last year and won both the 2010 IAAF Diamond League and Visa Championship Series. Johnny Dutch, who gave up his last season at South Carolina to turn professional, will look to avenge his losses to Jackson at the last two U.S. Championships. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor should challenge for the win as well.

Gatorade 3,000m Steeplechase
Last season was the most successful to date for Daniel Huling, who won the 2010 U.S. championship and ranked first among American steeplechasers for the year. He’ll face current U.S. leader Billy Nelson who missed his personal best by one second at the Stanford Cardinal Invitational.

Men’s 20 km Race Walk
2010 U.S. champ and 2004 Olympian John Nunn will look to defend his 20 km race walk title from junior standout Trevor Barron, who won the 2010 USATF youth athlete of the year honors.

St. Vincent Sport Performance Men’s High Jump
Jesse Williams seems to be hitting his stride with wins at the last two U.S. indoor championships and the 2010 outdoor championships. He matched his outdoor personal record of 2.34m/7-8 at the Mt. Sac Relays to top the U.S. rankings and earn a third place spot in the world rankings for 2011. Contending with Williams for the title is Kansas State rising senior Erik Kynard, the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Champion, who jumped a personal best of 2.33m/7-7.75 at the Tyson Invitational.

Gill Men’s Pole Vault
American record holder Brad Walker will compete for the seventh U.S. vault title of his career and his first since a pelvis injury in 2009 kept him from competing in the World Championships. Walker’s competition will be tight with two-time Olympian Derek Miles, 2011 NCAA indoor and outdoor champion Scott Roth and 2009 U.S. indoor champion Jeremy Scott all tied atop the U.S. rankings at 5.72m/18-9.25.

Men’s Long Jump
Despite having a bye to Daegu, Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion Dwight Phillips will vie for the his sixth U.S. outdoor title. Florida Gator Will Claye, whose best jump at the SEC Championships ranks fourth in the world this season, will have his work cut out for him if he wants to take home his first U.S. title.

Men’s Triple Jump
Two teammates will duke it out for U.S. triple jump supremacy. Florida’s Christian Taylor is a three-time NCAA champion and has the best jump among Americans for the 2011 outdoor season. Claye, who finished second to Taylor at NCAA Outdoors, bested Taylor at NCAA Indoors and ranks second in the U.S.

Men’s Shot Put
Christian Cantwell is another 2009 World champion who will compete for a U.S. title despite his bye into the World Championships. The 2007 World champion and two-time U.S. champ Reese Hoffa leads the world this year with his throw of 21.87m/71-9, and Adam Nelson, the 2005 World Champion, is less than half a meter behind Hoffa this season. Ryan Whiting, who dominated the NCAA during his time at Arizona State University, will look to win his first U.S. title.

Men’s Discus
Russ Winger surged to the top of the U.S. discus charts when he improved his personal best by almost four meters this season. Winger and Jason Young, whose personal best throw of 69.90m/229-4 was second in the world for 2010, are looking for their first U.S. disc title, while Casey Malone will try for his third consecutive championship.

Men’s Hammer Throw
This year’s men’s hammer throw will be a battle of strength between veterans Kibwe Johnson and A.G. Kruger. Johnson is having a banner year in 2011; he recently set a PR of nearly two meters with his mark of 80.09m/262-9 which makes him the third individual on the all-time U.S. list. Kruger is coming off a very successful indoor season where he placed 2nd at the USA Indoor Championships with a throw of 23.73m/77-10.25.

Men’s Javelin
2009 NCAA Champion Corey White owns the top U.S. mark of the year with his throw of 81.70m/268-0, but defending U.S. champ Sean Furey’s best toss this year is only three inches behind White’s. Mike Hazle finished second to White in Tuscon by only two feet, and is hungry for a U.S. title after finishing second for the past four years.

For more information on the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships, including broadcast schedules and updated entries, visit the event page or www.VisaChampionshipSeries.com




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