The Latest From The U.S. Indoor Season

An indoor update from the New York Track Writers’ luncheon.

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK – INDOOR TRACK NEWS

By David Monti

c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK (18-Jan) — Today’s New York Track Writers’ luncheon at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory in Upper Manhattan revealed more news about the ongoing USA indoor season.  These were the highlights:

AFTER MILLROSE, SHOULDER SURGERY FOR CANTWELL:

The reigning world champion at the shot put, Christian Cantwell, will only compete in one indoor meeting this winter, the Millrose Games here on Jan. 28, before taking a break to get surgery on his right shoulder for a torn labrum. “I had a little bit of a shoulder problem, so this will be a short indoor season,” Cantwell told reporters via a Skype video chat. The burly 300 pounder, who showed reporters his white Georgia bulldog Armstrong as he spoke from his Columbia, Mo., home, said he would only have to spend two weeks in a sling after the surgery. “I’m not too worried about it,” he said.  Cantwell, 31, who was the #1-ranked shot putter in the world last year by Track & Field News, said he’s throwing well despite the injury, and that it is important to show support for the Millrose Games which did not always host a shot put. “It’s not something you can take for granted,” Cantwell intoned. “I’m looking forward to doing well.” Cantwell, who threw a world-leading 22.41m last year, will be competing in a four-round competition at Millrose against Adam Nelson (22.51m PB), Reese Hoffa (22.43), and Ryan Whiting (21.97).

MURER TO LEAD POLE VAULT AT MILLROSE:

The reigning world indoor champion and South American record holder in the pole vault, Fabiana Murer of Brazil, will be the star vaulter at the 104th Millrose Games, USA Track & Field announced today. Murer, 29, who has a personal best of 4.85m (4.82 indoors), will be making her Millrose Games debut and her photo will grace the cover of the meet program. Her top challenger will be American record holder Jenn Suhr of Rochester, N.Y., the 2008 Olympic silver medallist who has jumped higher than Murer both indoors (4.83m) and out (4.92). “That should be a great match-up,” said Jill Geer, USATF chief public affairs officer. Meet organizers said that there would be no men’s pole vault at Millrose this year.

INVITATIONAL 400-METER RACES SET FOR NEW BALANCE GAMES:

The invited sections of the 400 meters at next Saturday’s New Balance Games at the Armory have been settled, according to 1996 Olympic 400-meter hurdles gold medallist, Derrick Adkins, who recruited the fields. “It gets better and better every year,” Adkins said of the event. The women’s section looks particularly good, led by 2008 Olympic 4 x 400-meter relay gold medallist Natasha Hastings. The 24 year-old Hastings won the event last year in 52.68 and was enthusiastic about coming back to the Armory. “She wanted to talk to the kids,” Adkins explained. “She wanted to give autographs. I’m very proud of her for wanting to come back to the Armory and give back.” Hastings, who has an outdoor personal best of 49.84 seconds, will face five other women: Mary Wineberg (52.23i PB), Fawn Dorr (52.51), Brandi Cross (51.63), Melocia Clarke of Jamaica (52.32), and Tamika Kinchen (2:03.25 800m). The men’s 400 will feature Michael Courtney (45.92 PB), Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad & Tobago (46.33), Troy Faulkner (46.65), Anthony Campbell of Jamaica (46.76), Joe Greene (46.49), and Manteo Mitchell (46.00).

BADDELEY, WEBB OUT OF INVITATIONAL MILE AT NEW BALANCE GAMES:

Andy Baddeley and Alan Webb will not compete in the New Balance Games invitational mile as anticipated, according to Ian Brooks who recruited the field. “Andy Baddeley has a sore hamstring, so he won’t be here,” said Brooks, who also serves as the Armory’s floor announcer.  Brooks also said that Alan Webb had wanted to compete, but will instead delay the opening of his indoor season to Feb. 5, at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston where he will run the mile. The race has no clear favorite, Brooks said. The leading contenders are Britain’s Ricky Stevenson (3:56.31i PB), Mark Draper (3:56.80i), and Lee Emanuel (3:57.62i); Canada’s Taylor Milne (3:56.54) and Kyle Boorsma (3:59.67); and the United States’ Rob Myers (3:53.78), Garrett Heath (3:57.34i), Darren Brown (3:58.35), and Craig Miller (3:59.09i).  The event record is 3:54.98 set by Irishman Mark Carroll in 2000.

MAGEEAN HAS TURNED PRO:

Last year’s IAAF World Junior Championships silver medallist at 1500m, 18 year-old Ciara Mageean of Ireland, has signed a professional contract, spurning scholarship offers from American universities. Mageean, who has already surpassed Sonia O’Sullivan’s Irish junior record holder for 800m and 1500m, has landed a sponsorship contract from New Balance which the BBC called “a six-figure deal.” Mageean, who lives in the island village of Portaferry in County Down, has set Irish numior records of 2:03.07 for 800-meters and 4:09.51 for 1500-meters. She was the fifth-fastest junior in the world last year at 1500m (and the fastest non-African), and she was the only non-African to win a medal from 1500m to 10,000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships last summer in Moncton, Canada. “It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Mageean told the BBC in a recent interview. “It will probably be pretty life-changing.”  Mageean will compete in the invitational mile at the New Balance Games next Saturday.

FRANCIS TO RUN WITH THE PROS:

Benjamin Cardozo High School’s Claudia Francis, twice the USA high school 800-meter champion, will run with the pros at Saturday’s New Balance Games at the Armory. The six-foot tall 17 year-old from Queens, who left her high school team in 2009 over a dispute about overtraining with her coach Gail Emmanuel, returned to the Judges after competing in last summer’s Youth Olympics in Singapore where she placed 12th in the 1000m, a distance she does not favor. “I had to run my first 1000 outdoors,” Francis told reporters, apparently referring to the USA trials race which she won in Arlington, Tex., last April. “I never ran 1000 outdoors so I was a little freaked out about it.” At next Saturday’s race at the Armory, Francis, who has an 800-meter personal best 2:05.47 (2:08.06 indoors), will be racing against national stars like Maggie Vessey and Phoebe Wright who have both broken two minutes. She hopes to gain valuable experience from the race. “They run a little different,” she said of top elites, looking a little embarrassed. “A little smarter.”

UNDER ARMOR DONATES $7500 for FDNY-NYPD RELAY:

Under Armor, a maker of technical sports clothing, will donate $5,000 to the winning team’s designated charitable foundation after the Fire Department – Police Department four-lap relay at the Millrose Games on Jan. 28. The losing team’s foundation will receive $2,500. The winning team of the unusual 582-meter relay will be dubbed NYC’s Fastest, organizers said.

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