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America’s Top Track Talents Head to Des Moines for the National Championships

June 19, 2013 at 5:45pm EST | by NYRR staff

This week, America’s fastest runners, strongest throwers, and most gravity-defying jumpers will head to Des Moines, IA, where Drake Stadium hosts the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The event kicks off today (June 19) with a schedule of junior contests, and the main events will begin tomorrow. Come Sunday afternoon, when the final race—the men’s 110-meter hurdles—will be run, we’ll know which male and female athletes will represent the United States in August at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

As the Bleacher Report points out, the U.S. track team had a merry old time in England last summer, hauling in 29 medals at the 2012 London Olympics and giving the sport a major boost in popularity here. Accordingly, fans are buzzing about the Des Moines competition, which brings together famed Olympians and promising newcomers alike. The top three finishers in each event will head to Moscow, so there’s a lot riding on this week’s races. (In events in which an American is the defending World Champion, that athlete is automatically qualified and will be joined by three others.)

Perhaps the most talked-about athlete traveling to Iowa this week is Tyson Gay. The 30-year-old sprinter will line up in the 100 and 200 meters,  and now that he’s feeling healthy again after battles with hip, groin, and hamstring injuries, he’s hoping for strong showings in both events—which would likely qualify him for the 4x100-meter relay as well.

"Last year is pretty much out of my system," Gay recently told Sports Illustrated, referring to a disappointing London outing in which he only nabbed one medal, a silver in the relay. "I'm a lot healthier now. Everything is a lot better this year mentally and physically." He’ll be up against 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, who edged him for the 100-meter bronze medal in London.

Another runner to watch is Mary Cain, a 17-year-old phenom from Bronxville, NY, who will test her mettle in the 1500-meter run. Cain is the 16th-fastest woman in the world at the distance in the world this year (4:04.62), and while she’s spent the year obliterating high school records, she’s been racing adult competitors and consistently placing well—including winning the National Indoor Championship at one mile. The talented youngster has a legitimate, if slim, chance to make the national team in one of the United States’ strongest events; she’ll face defending World Champion Jenny Simpson and two-time Olympic finalist Shannon Rowbury, among others.

Click here for the full USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships schedule.

NYRR congratulates all the local athletes who’ll be competing in the meet:

Gwen Berry - Hammer Throw
Amanda Bingson - Hammer Throw
Brittany Borman - Javelin Throw
Liam Boylan-Pett - 1500m
Melissa Caddle - 400m
Mary Cain - 800m, 1500m, 5000m
Jesse Carlin - 800m
Julie Culley - 5000m
Delilah DiCrescenzo - 5000m
Reginald Dixon - 100m
Connie Florie - 3000m, 5000m
Anna Flynn - 3000m, 5000m
Lauren Forgues - 20,000m Race Walk
Craig Forys - 3000m Steeplechase
Priscilla Frederick - High Jump
Jake Freeman - Hammer Throw
Brian Gagnon - 800m
Kate Grace - 800m, 1500m
Reese Hoffa - Shot Put
Kibwe Johnson - Hammer Throw
Craig Kinsley - Javelin Throw
Emily Lipari - 1500m
Jeneva McCall - Shot Put, Hammer Throw
Miranda Melville - 20,000m Race Walk
Jamie Nieto - High Jump
Jeff Porter - 110m Hurdles
Michael Rutt - 800m, 1500m
Mary Saxer - Pole Vault
Tim Seaman - 20,000m Race Walk
Nicole Shappert - 1500m
Amanda Smock - Triple Jump
Rene Tomlin - 1500m
Mary Wineberg - 400m

Categories: Pro Athletes