Sunday, 17 September 2017 12:33

Neptune High honors Olympian Ajee’ Wilson

The plaque, now installed at the Neptune High School track and field facility, reads “Neptune Township High School, Proud Home of Olympian Ajee’ Wilson.”

It formalizes what local track and field enthusiasts have known for years, that this six-time USA national champion, a 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic 800-meter semifinalist, and a bronze medalist at August’s World Championships in London, now the holder of the women’s American outdoor records at both 800 and 600 meters, is the pride and joy of her hometown.

Commemorating all this was a gala parade featuring the Neptune High School Marching Band on Sept. 9, followed by ceremonies at the Neptune track and running events involving students from Neptune, Asbury Park, Long Branch and Holmdel.

As Neptune Schools Superintendent Tami Crader put it, Olympian Wilson’s “continual deference to family and community, her dedication to being the best she can be, and her demonstration of the results of hard work, not only make us proud but grateful.”

Temple University graduate Wilson, now 23, wasn’t at her best when she bowed out of the Rio Olympic Games in the semifinals of the 800 – but came right back to have her greatest season yet in 2017.

Training in Philadelphia with Coach Derek Thompson, often with best friend and rival Charlene Lipsey, Adidas Co. representative Wilson put it all together in a brilliant post-Olympic year campaign.

After winning the USA Indoor National 800 in Albuquerque (2:00.87), she added the USA Outdoor 800 crown in Sacramento (1:57.72), which set the stage for a brilliant series of races in Europe.

First came her 1:55.61 American record 800 run in Monaco, followed by her 1:56.65 third place in the World Championships in London (back only of the controversy-mired Caster Semenya of South Africa and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi), then a 1:57.78 win in Zagreb, Croatia, followed by a 1:22.39 American-record 600-meter performance in Berlin (again back of Semenya, but this time ahead of Niyonsaba.) The 1:22.39 was the second fastest 600 in world track history.


Amid all this, she was named a USA Track and Field “athlete of the week” by the national governing body of the sport, and further honors are sure to come as the sport’s leaders and pundits determine ranking lists and other top recognition.

And, as her family and loyal fans and friends have known all along, Wilson’s best is surely just ahead.

There are no major World championship meets listed on the 2018 outdoor season schedule – a once-in-four-years situation.

Kristin Andrews victory is Fifth Avenue Mile feature

Manalapan’s Kristin Andrews ran off with the women’s NYRR Road Mile event in a personal-best 4:42.4 to feature a strong showing by Shore AC runners in the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile last Sunday.

“This was my best race since college,” said St. Joseph’s University alumna Andrews. “This means so much to me.”

Big brother Robby Andrews, the USA national outdoor 1500-meter champion and also a Rio 2016 Olympic semifinalist, clocked a 3:54.2 placing 12th in the talent-packed men’s Elite Pro race won by New Zealander Nick Willis in 3:51.3, a race that saw 19 runners break four minutes.

In the George Sheehan Memorial Mile for senior runners – named for the late, great “Running Doc” and former Asbury Park Press columnist – Brooklynite Noel Haynes (5:37) outdueled Shore AC’s Harry Nolan (second in 5:51) in the 70-up bracket, with SAC’s Marc Bloom fourth (6:16.)

Former Spring Lake Five champion Justin Scheid (4:27) was fastest of the Shore AC delegation, with Michael Mooney third in 60-up (5:24), followed by teammates Kevin Dollard (5:29), Ronville Gravesande (5:31), Chip Nolan (5:43), Spider Rossiter (6:02) and Susan Stirrat (7:31.)

Quickest of Jersey Shore Running Club racers on Fifth Avenue were Kevin McCormack (5:52), Luis Fernandez (6:10), Michael Reilli (6:48) and Laura Dolan (6:57.)

Quilty, LaBurt pace Pier Village 5K

Brian Quilty (15:24), Justin Scheid (15:35) and Kyle Clonan (16:45) were the 1-2-3 men and Suzanne LaBurt (19:24), Beth Marzigliano (19:57) and Dawn Wilcox (20:30) the 1-2-3 women in the Pier Village 5K in Long Branch.

The Labor Day special concluded the JSRC Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix and final points standings for the four-race series showed Scheid, Quilty and Andrew Dombrowiecki the top men, and Marzigliano, Christine Hill and Rachel Lehnert the leading ladies.

National 40K Racewalk moves

After 54 years as a New Jersey-based event, the last 15 at Ocean Township’s Joe Palaia Park, the USATF National 40K Racewalk Championship moved to Owego, New York, Sept. 10.

Maine’s Matthew Forgues (3:24:27) led the way with Shore AC’s A.J. Gruttadauro (3:33:55), Dave Talcott (3:51:57) and Jonathan Matthews (4:08:56) placing 2-3-4 to take the National team title.

Upcoming events on busy calendar

Major races coming soon: Sept. 17, Jersey Shore Medical Center, 5K, Neptune, and 9/11 Heroes 5K, Wall; Sept. 23, Keyport Fest 5K; Oct. 1, Little Silver 5K; Oct. 7, Beach to Bay 5K, Brick, and Rook 5K, Long Branch; Oct. 8, Jersey Shore Half Marathon, Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook, and Long Beach Island 18-Mile Commemorative Run, Brant Beach; Oct. 15, Seaside Half Marathon, Seaside Heights, and Oct. 22, Deal Trick or Trot 5K.

Off and running each Sunday morning (9 a.m. start) is the Shore AC Youth Cross Country Series at Holmdel Park. The six-week Shore AC Cross Country League Series, for runners of all ages, kicks off at 9 a.m. Sept. 30 at Thompson Park, Middletown, with entry off Longbridge Road.

The Shore AC/CBA Field Event Series lists 1 p.m. Sunday sessions on Sept. 24 and Oct. 29 at Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft. Events for all ages will be the shot put, discus and high jump, with the possibility of other events. Entries for all these events are open to athletes of all ages and ability levels.

Russia Doping Tension Marks IOC Meetings

The raw feelings created by the Russian doping scandal spilled onto the floor and into the hallways of the International Olympic Committee meetings Friday, with less than five months until the South Korea Winter Games and still no decisions made about the fate of the country's athletes.

IOC members received updates on two investigations that will eventually determine Russia's status: firstly, on whether there was a state-sponsored doping program in the country; secondly, on the individual cases of athletes who were implicated in the scandal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

The leaders of both investigations, which are using information from an earlier inquiry by Richard McLaren, urged patience and insisted they are working as fast as they can.

Still, a handful of IOC members made clear they're worried about the timing.

"A lot of progress has been made, but we're not there yet," said Camiel Eurlings, an IOC member from the Netherlands.

"I understand it takes a lot of time, but we cannot have this discussion just before the Pyeongchang Games. It must be clear months before."

In another report, IOC member Craig Reedie, who heads the World Anti-Doping Agency, said progress was being made toward reinstating Russia's suspended agency.

Russian IOC member Alexander Zhukov was encouraged. He reiterated what he told The Associated Press this week - he expects Russia to field a team in Pyeongchang.

Asked if a state-sponsored doping program existed in Russia, his answer was, simply: "No."

Russia's unwillingness to acknowledge this problem seems certain to stall the nation's re-entry into the sports world on many fronts - notably its anti-doping agency, track team, and Paralympic team.

IOC President Thomas Bach called it "only a small part" of the equation.

"It can be symbolic," he said.

"But an admission alone cannot help you forget what's happened in the past."

Urged by Bach, the IOC refused to ban the entire Russian team from the Rio Summer Games and instead sent the individual cases to the international sports federations. They only had a matter of days to determine the status of hundreds of athletes. More than 280 Russians participated, and given evidence of the state-sponsored, systemic doping program in the country, there were howls of protest across the globe.

Not wanting to see a repeat, a group of 17 anti-doping leaders released a statement Thursday calling for a complete ban of the Russian Olympic Committee from Pyeongchang.

That irritated some IOC members, especially Reedie, who took time in his presentation to assail the leaders.

"The comments made ... omit entirely all the work that's been done to develop proper anti-doping systems in Russia," Reedie said.

"It looks backward instead of looking forward. I want to make it quite clear that most of what they say in their press release is not policy, and is not helpful."

The McLaren Report said the doping scheme involved 1,000 athletes covering 30 sports, both winter and summer.

How I really feel about my summer season

With a heck of a season now behind her, Andrea Seccafien tells us how she feels about it all

My summer racing season officially ended with a win at the Canadian 5K Road Championships and I’m already a few days deep into a full rest period. Downtime, as it’s called by elites, is a great time to reflect on the season, relish in accomplishments and identify areas for improvement.

My season has left me simply satisfied. I ran a personal best in my main event, I made the IAAF World Championships team and then I went on to defend my 5,000m track and 5K road national titles. This year was a great continuation from last year, my breakthrough year, both in performance as well as experience. Overall, I’m proud of the things I was able to accomplish this year, but I aspire to run faster times and place higher at major championships in the future.

What I value most in this sport is consistency. I admire athletes like Melissa Bishop and Mo Ahmed who year after year represent Canada and run world class times. This is something I strike for myself as an athlete. In pursuit of  this same consistency, I’m glad to add this year’s victories on top of last year’s. I’m most proud of proving to myself and others that last year was not a fluke. My Olympic year was not a once off. By running another nine seconds faster over 5,000m and competing at Worlds, I showed the type of consistency that I value most.

There’s no denying that World’s was a bit of a let down for me, but I’m gaining a greater understanding of what it takes to compete at the world class level. A large part of this is racing experience.

Last year, I was a complete rookie at the world class level. And it showed. This year, I was lucky enough to race in my first Diamond League in Rome and the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium which is consistently as competitive as a World Challenge. These two races gave me more experience racing at a world class level and gave me more practice at racing in unfamiliar situations. With that, I was able to go into these high-level events with confidence and calm.

But not making the final is the one standout thing that highlights where my gaps were this year. I look forward to working to correct those for Worlds in 2019.

Regardless of the races, much of this season was simply a lot of fun. I got to escape the harsh Toronto winter with a training camp in San Diego. Shortly after, I trained at altitude in Flagstaff for a month. I got to race in my “home” country of Italy at my first Diamond League. After making worlds, I trained in one of the most beautiful places in the world in St. Moritz.

In all of these experiences, I got to train and travel with other Canadian athletes, including fellow Olympian and World Championships qualifier, Jessica O’Connell. All of these things are “extras” in the sport, but have really made me appreciate how many opportunities to see the world that it can open up.

As with anything, there were highs and lows this season, but ultimately this year was a step forward in my development to becoming the truly world class 5,000m runner that I believe I can become.

Aleasha feels well prepared to keep pushing for an Olympic spot

ALEASHA Kiddle believes she is in the best shape possible to push forward her claims for a place in Great Britain's Olympic bobsleigh team at a crucial selection event this week.

The Braintree star has had a superb summer of honing herself on the athletics track and feels she is in a great position to press for a spot in Great Britain's team for early season action in the IBSF World Cup.

A testing event is due to be held in Bath on Monday where coaches will select the World Cup squad and Kiddle knows getting in that could be vital if she is to realise her dreams of being a part of Britain's team that will head to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

Kiddle said: "The World Cup season starts at the end of October and the next big one for me is GB team testing on Monday when they will pick the team for next season.

"I want to make sure I'm in it because even though it won't definitely mean you won't go to the Olympics, it would be very difficult to then get selected for the Games if you weren't involved with racing.

"The Olympic squad will be picked in January, but you want to be in there and proving yourself on the ice.

"I now want to keep progressing as I have been and showing that it's not just physical progression, but that I have the experience of racing at a high level of competition and I can keep raising my game."

Having spent last season training to be a bobsleigh driver, the 25-year-old from Braintree has put that dream on hold for now and will be looking to head to the Olympics as a brakewoman in the two-person bobsleigh.

It is a role that requires the power of a top sprint runner and Kiddle is pleased that she has been able to step up her physical conditioning on the athletics track this summer when some intense training work has paid off with personal best times and a debut international call-up for England.

Kiddle set a 100 metre personal best of 11.81 seconds in coming fifth at the England Senior Championships in July and she then helped the England team to 4x100m relay silver medals at an international meet in Manchester last month.

"It has been going well" added Kiddle.

"We had our first selection testing and it went well - I'd say the best that I have done and I feel in good shape for the winter.

"I'm really happy and the summer that I've had has given me a lot more confidence.

"I feel I've really made good physical progression this summer.

"I didn't expect it to go as well as it did as I've never competed internationally like that in sprinting and to keep getting personal bests in the 100 metres was great.

"All the training I have done has paid off and I've felt it has gone better and better.

"I think the (bobsleigh) coaches can see that and the athletics has had a direct benefit on my bobsleigh training."

Ato Boldon Backs Jareem Richards's Pro Decision

Former world champion Ato Boldon is in full support of Jereem Richards’ decision to turn professional after he signed a deal with global sports wear giants Adidas. The sprinter will also give up his final year of eligibility as an athlete at the University of Alabama, USA.

Boldon, the 1995 World Championship 100m bronze medallist told Guardian Media Sports that Richards would have had to decide whether to go back to school and ‘deal with being broke like most collegiate athletes’ or to capitalise on the notoriety earned in a breakthrough year in his athletics career where he won bronze in the men’s 200 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in London and gold in T&T’s run in the men’s 4x400 metres relay event.

Richards, who is in the final semester before he is expected to graduate with a degree in Human Environmental Sciences, will decline eligibility to compete for Alabama, also called the Crimson Tide, for one more year.

While the details of the contract remain undisclosed, Boldon speculated that it would be at least three years, guaranteeing the athlete income for that period and explained why he calls the move brilliant.

“This is called betting on yourself. Jereem has bet on himself and said I know what I am capable of doing in the next ten years and this is the time to make the decision, because next year there is no World Championships and no Olympics. It’s really a case of striking while the iron is hot because if Jereem does not have the type of season like he did this year, his value would drop and there would be no contract on offer.”

Boldon also praised Richards’ choice of endorsement having himself been contracted to Adidas for most of his professional career.

“I was very happy to see that he signed with Adidas because I know the people that run that organisation and I know that they genuinely care about not just Jereem the athlete but Jereem the person. I know that they will take care of him. I have very high hopes for Jereem’s future and I think he is the next big T&T star sprinter quite frankly,” said Boldon.

Meanwhile, Richards who has since returned to school in Alabama last month, spoke of having to re-adjust following the World Championships. He said: “I had to let the hype go away because I am still a student and I still have to do my work to make sure I graduate. I was congratulated by some of the students and my teachers, even though track and field isn’t a dominant sport here, a lot of people still recognise that something big was done by a student of the university.”

Jamaica Gets Its 2nd High School Synthetic Track

IT is now official.

Kingston College's athletes can now use their new 350-metre, six-lane synthetic track, following its official opening ceremony yesterday at the Melbourne Park campus of the school on Elletson Road. The new facility will be known as the Byron Bachelor Athletics Complex.

KC now joins Calabar High as the only two high schools with a synthetic track. Calabar's track was opened in January 2016 at Red Hills Road.

Yesterday's function was well attended and guests included several outstanding past students, along with members of the Government, former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Central Kingston Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites.

Kingston College Principal Dave Myrie heaped praise on the main people who made the track a reality.

"This new track would not have been a reality without the Rujohn Foundation, led by the Bachelors, who covered the majority of the US$550,000 cost for the entire laying of the track. Old boy Audley Hewitt from the Miami chapter also played a pivotal role, along with Jamaica National and the Sports Development Foundation," he said.

"This is not only for the development of track and field at Kingston College, but also for the wholesome development of our students," added Myrie, who boasted about the recent outstanding results in CXC and CAPE produced by the KC track and field athletes.


Byron Bachelor, general manager of Rujohn, was very pleased to have played an important role in the construction of the new track.

"This was a vision of my family, wife Ingrid and daughter Christine as they wanted to see my name written on the walls of Kingston College and this was an ideal project. KC has produced a plethora of athletes over the years, and with this new track, it will even be better and I am very confident that with a proper running surface, KC will rule the roost once again in track and field," said Bachelor, who represented KC at the annual Boys' Championships.

Ali McNab, who represented the minister of sport; Thwaites; and Simpson Miller all echoed the same sentiments, stating that this new track will play a major role in KC dominating the sport once again.

Hewitt, who gave the vote of thanks, had high praise for all those who contributed and called for contributions to continue as it will be very expensive to maintain the track. He also encouraged the students to take care of it.

The Reverend Dr Robert Thompson blessed the track and the complex and also cut the ribbon for the opening, while chairman of the school board, Michael Vaccianna, handed off a torch to members of the athletics team, who then did a relay lap around the track to signify the use of the new complex.

Mitchell-Blake Reflects On Winning World Champs 4x1

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake has revealed how Great Britain overcame Usain Bolt to clinch 4x100m relay gold at the World Athletics Championship.

Mitchell-Blake ran the anchor leg on an historic occasion at the London Stadium last month as Great Britain won their first sprinting men's gold since the 2004 Olympics.

The night also marked the final race in the career of Jamaican sprinting legend Bolt, who pulled up on the home straight injured as Mitchell-Blake lead Britain to glory.

And, speaking on Soccer AM, the 23-year-old looked back at how he and his team-mates - Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili and Danny Talbot - wrote their names in the history books.

Hannah Taunton runs alongside Mo Farah at Great North Run

TAUNTON Athletics Club and Running Forever member Hannah Taunton joined the elite to compete in Sunday’s Great North Run in Newcastle.

Having qualified as an elite participant with 36-minute runs at the Stoke Stampede and Easter Bunny 10k this year, Taunton was out on the half marathon course with Mo Farah and Mary Keitany, the respective winners of the elite men’s and elite women’s races.

Taunton, 26, was passed by Olympic hero Farah at the 10-mile mark, but she came home as 28th lady with a time of 1 hour 32 minutes.

As well as appearing live on BBC One – and being profiled as part of the broadcaster’s event coverage – she had the opportunity to meet both Farah and Keitany as the elite runners shared their post-race meal.

Despite the nerves of running in the world’s biggest half marathon, Taunton was helped by the well-wishes she received from Taunton AC, Running Forever and her friends at Longrun Meadow Parkrun.

Having had a couple of days to reflect on the race, she said: “I had an amazing time at the Great North Run.

“The day before the race I had a photo taken and was interviewed about why I was doing the race, and this appeared on TV during the race and also on the highlights programme.

“I was very excited beforehand but it was nerve-wracking at the start, surrounded by some of the best runners in the world.

“The course was tough and I felt so nervous at the start that I set off too fast.

“The cameras at the start and the motorbike ahead of us was not something I am used to.

“The crowds along the way were fantastic, as were the many bands who were playing.”

Her brush with stardom came 10 miles in, as Farah overtook her.

She said: “The strangest thing was when I heard a helicopter overhead and then a motorbike drawing alongside me, when Mo Farah overtook me at around 10-and-a-half miles.

“People were cheering for me and for Mo at the same time, which was amazing.

“I just refocused then and got on with running my own race.

“I finished about seven minutes behind Mo, with a time of 1:32:50, which was not a personal best, but I was thrilled to take part in my first race as an elite woman.”

Not that the excitement of the day ended there, as she stayed in the company of the other top runners at the event.

“After the race I was privileged to have lunch with the other elite runners, including Mo and Mary, in the elite runners’ tent,” Taunton said.

“Then we all watched each other on the recording of the race – the beginning of elite women’s race, the elite men, the masses, and then Mo and Mary finishing – on a TV screen.

“I saw myself finishing the race on screen, just behind [BBC presenter] Gabby Logan.”

Taunton, who has a speaking disorder and learning difficulty, added: “I have had many struggles in my life but running has helped me achieve more than I ever thought possible.

“I hope my story will help others.

“It was a truly memorable experience, I have learned so much from it, and I hope to put these lessons into practice in the future.

“Thanks to my coaches and my friends who have sent me the most amazing messages of support, before and after the race – I can’t tell you how much it means to me.”

She won’t be resting up though, as she is taking part in the Taunton 10k next weekend (September 24), and she’s also set to take part in the Wellington Monument and Stoke Stampede races in December, both of which saw her come in as first lady last year.

Looking further ahead, she hopes to take part in a London Marathon in a few years’ time, but she will stick to shorter distances for now, as she looks to continue the progress that saw her shine last weekend.

Robert Weir Hired As Assistant Coach At Weber State

The Weber State track and field program has announced the hiring of three-time Olympian Robert Weir as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.

Weir, who captained Great Britain during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will coach the Wildcat throwers.

"I am excited to come to Weber State and continue to build on the success they have had," Weir said. "Weber State is offering a vision and a level of support that is very appealing. The coaching staff of Paul Pilkington and Corbin Talley show a level of commitment that is very important to me. After seeing the facilities and meeting the people there, it is apparent they are committed to having a very successful program and I'm happy to be a part of that vision."

Weir comes to Weber State from Clemson University, where he spent the last four seasons as the Tigers' throws coach. Prior to Clemson, Weir spent one season as an associate head coach and throws coach at Hawai'i.

Weir also served as the head men's coach and throws coach at Stanford for five years from 2004-2008, and he spent 15 years total working with the Cardinal in multiple capacities.

"We are really excited to have Robert join our coaching staff at Weber State," said WSU women's track and field and cross-country head coach Paul Pilkington. "We are extremely fortunate to get a world-class athlete and a coach with his experience and background to join us. We know he will be a great addition to our program."

One of his top coaching achievements was mentoring Dartmouth graduate Adam Nelson, who relocated to the Bay area to train with Weir while he was an assistant at Stanford. Nelson won the USA Championship and an Olympic silver medal in the shot put in 2000 under Weir's instruction.

As an athlete, Weir was a member of the Great Britain Olympic Team in 1984, 1996 and 2000, and he competed in the Commonwealth Games, winning the goal medal in the hammer throw in 1982 and the discus throw in 1998.

Weir was a three-time NCAA Champion and a 10-time NCAA Track and Field All-American for Southern Methodist University.

A native of Birmingham, England, Weir earned his undergraduate degree from SMU in 1985.

IAAF Helping Caribbeans Recover From Irma

Representatives from the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have met to discuss ways in which they can help countries recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma.

CANOC member Keith Joseph and IAAF President Sebastian Coe held discussions here during the International Olympic Committeee Session with Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) President Neven Ilic regarding providing those who have been hit by the deadly storm with synthetic athletics tracks.

The official from St Vincent and the Grenadines has been asked to investigate the status of countries such as Anguilla and Turks and Caicos Islands and submit a report and recommendations to those involved, including the IAAF and PASO.

It could lead to funding being provided to help countries which do not have synthetic athletics tracks in the Caribbean region, the worst affected by the storm.

Barbados, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda and the US Virgin Islands are among places most strongly affected by Irma.

More than 80 people are thought to have been killed as a result of the hurricane, which has recently hit Florida in the United States.

Earlier this week the International Olympic Committee announced they had set up an emergency fund of at least $1 million (£760,000/€840,000) to help those affected.

This could be increased depending on the severity of the situation in the region.

In a statement, CANOC said PASO "stood willing to make additional contributions based on need".

CANOC have already paid tribute to Dag Samuels, a British Virgin Islands athletics coach who died in the disaster.

CANOC President Brian Lewis issued a rallying call to those affected earlier this week.

From Ito To Kiryu: The Allure Of The Japanese Sub-10

What does it take for running to make the news these days?

Perhaps a high school team having a better top-seven 5K average than the then-NCAA championship-winning team? Or a man running 11 marathons in a year, four of which being 2:10:00 or faster? Or maybe 103 people running under 50 minutes in a single 10-mile race?

Alas, these tremendous accomplishments have become all but commonplace in the distance-running mecca of Japan. So it may come as a surprise that one of the nation's largest news stories ever comes from something that has already been done 358 times to date by U.S. athletes in college and the pro ranks alike since the 1960s -- a sub-10-second 100m:

Ever since his 10.19-second World Youth Best clocking at the ripe age of 16 just five years ago, Yoshihide Kiryu had been in the outskirts of the national spotlight to carry the sprints program of a nation that, up until this week, had yet to see a single athlete surpass the 10-second barrier in the 100m. But the performance was far from an inevitability.

The talk of a Japanese sub-10 was revived in 2013 when, at a meet in late April, Kiryu posted an incredible Japanese junior record of 10.01 in Hiroshima -- a mark that would have decimated his own World Youth Best had he been born just 17 days later (his December birthday robbed him of a year of extra attempts at the mark due to IAAF rules). In 2015, Kiryu came back to run a wind-aided (+3.3) 9.87 at the Texas Relays in March -- some say it was his best performance to date, worth a sub-10 in perfect conditions. But in the four years since then, despite posting some solid marks, the fact remained that Kiryu had not legally bested that fateful 10.01.

Thanks to Japanese sprint pioneer Koji Ito, the national 100m record had stood at 10.00 for nearly 20 years. It was beginning to seem like a curse at this point -- a cruel joke that even the 1998 Bangkok Asia Championship meet timers were in on, as Ito appeared to finally hit his 9.99 there only to have it adjusted to 10.00, his lifetime best, in the official results:

Would Ito's 10.00 stand forever, frozen in time and symbolic of a nation that had yet to join the ranks of the 27 other countries with sub-10 national marks? In Fukui last Saturday, Yoshihide Kiryu made the comeback of a century for Japan with his win at the National University Championships. The win was thrilling enough, but amidst flashbacks from 1998, the roaring Japanese crowd knew not to be fooled by the 9.99 unofficial mark that showed up on the finish clock. Would this mark again be adjusted to yet another near miss?

So at 2:32 in the below video, when the time was rounded down to 9.98, the crowd went wild a final time knowing the curse had been broken:

The clocking, however unspectacular it may seem from a U.S. perspective, took the nation by storm among sprint and distance fans alike, to the point where even Yuki Kawauchi -- the Japanese marathon star I hinted at above who ran 11 marathons in 2013 against all mainsteam advice -- did a celebratory 100m time trial to compare himself to Kiryu on Tuesday.

"I did two time trials. I even wore spikes. I ran them for real and only did 13.9. To be honest, it was pretty shocking," Kawauchi exclaimed. Though arguably impressive for a marathoner with no sprint trianing, his best on that day was a full four seconds behind Kiryu's mark.

Despite his newfound fame on the national scene, Kiryu will have a long way to go to prove himself on the international stage. But in a post-Bolt world where a 9.92 might just be enough to win a global 100m title, at still just 21 years old Kiryu will be hoping to bring some hardware back for Japan in the years to come. That will begin at the shorter 60m indoor distance in 2018, where Kiryu stands a great chance of improving upon his 2016 Indoor Worlds showing and making it into the final in Birmingham.

Desirèe Henry seeks knee pain solution

The world and Olympic relay medallist could undergo surgery this winter in an attempt to solve knee problems

For Desirèe Henry, her recent victory at the Great North CityGames was even more special as it came at the end of what has proven to be a challenging season for the sprinter.

The 22-year-old formed part of GB’s world silver medal-winning 4x100m team at the IAAF World Championships in London, where she also reached the semi-finals of the 100m, and her 11.09 from April has remained the UK lead during the summer. But Henry has been managing knee pain throughout and is now considering her options in order to get the problem sorted long-term.

“This year was extremely hard in terms of managing my pain,” explains the Rana Reider-coached athlete.

“I think in a few weeks I’ll have to talk to my coach and the head of British Athletics and surgery may be one of the options, because this year has been extremely hard.

“I have two cysts behind my knees, they are small little nodules,” she adds. “They hurt every time I straighten or push off and that is pretty much crucial in the first 10 to 15 metres of a sprint! You may have noticed this year I haven’t been able to get out as hard.

“Given that it was the World Championships this year, I didn’t want to miss it but I didn’t want to be selfish – I knew it was an injury that I could push through if I needed to and I was able to do that. We got a silver medal so I know I didn’t compromise the team at that point. So now it’s about focusing on myself and getting myself fit and strong and healthy for years to come.”

Speaking after her 100m win on the Gateshead Quayside, where she clocked 11.61 (-1.4), Henry added: “For me to come here today and have some fun, it’s just what I needed going into what could be a big surgery.”

NCAA XC Women’s Preview (Individuals)

Given the dicey nature of cross country prognostication before most of the serious contenders have even raced, it would be silly not to go with a proven winner as our favorite. That's precisely what Karissa Schweizer is, after winning what some people call an NCAA triple crown (XC, Indoors & Outdoors) and then finishing 4th—just 3 seconds away—from a World Championships berth.

The impressive quality of the likely field will guarantee that if Schweizer manages to pull off the repeat, it won't come easy. She will have to get past a host of NCAA titlists in various disciplines, some who boast blistering kicks (Dani Jones comes to mind) and others who are strong and unafraid of leading, such as Anna Rohrer and Allie Ostrander.

The list of names not mentioned in the top 15 features a number of runners with better resumes than many past winners of the coveted title. Stanford brings us the best examples, with a phalanx of national class talent, any one (or more) capable of breaking into the top 10.

So consider this early tabulation a rough sketch of a road map—certainly not a GPS guide to the direction the season will take. (A team preview will follow soon)

1. Karissa Schweizer (Missouri): Defending champion is a senior now. She shocked many with her winning kick last fall but Indoor & Outdoor NCAA titles in the 5000 confirmed her penchant for winning.

2. Allie Ostrander (Boise State): The NCAA steeple champ in 9:41.31 also managed 4th in the 5000 (15:46.18) on the same day. She was sidelined by injury last year, but with a solid summer of training should be ready to challenge for the front.

3. Anna Rohrer (Notre Dame): Third last year after leading for much of the final kilometer, the junior has had a year to plan for a different outcome in Louisville. Produced a 31:58.99 on the track early last spring, but only managed 16th in the NCAA 10K.

4. Dani Jones (Colorado): Only 22nd last year, Jones caught fire indoors, using a stinging kick to win the 3000 and anchor the victorious DMR. Now a junior, she improved her 1500 best to 4:08.42 following a 4th-place 1500 at the NCAAs.

5. Charlotte Taylor (San Francisco): NCAA 10,000 champ in 32:38.57 finished 10th last year. May start season late, as she was still competing in August in the World Champs 10,000.

6. Katie Rainsberger (Oregon): 4th last year as a frosh. Had a solid track season, finishing 3rd at NCAA Indoors in the 3000 and 4th in the Outdoor 1500.

7. Sharon Lokedi (Kansas): The junior from Kenya placed 5th last year. In the spring she took 3rd in the NCAA 10,000 in a PR 32:46.10.

8. Brenna Peloquin (Boise): Junior redshirted last season in outdoor track after placing 6th in Terre Haute. All indications are she's ready to race this fall.

9. Elinor Purrier (New Hampshire): Last year's 7th-placer is now a senior. After mile (4:29.44i) and steeple (9:43.65) PR's on the track, she managed 4th in the NCAA steeple.

10. Alice Wright (New Mexico): Senior should be a factor, with plenty of NCAA experience, finishing 20th-5th-19th over the last three years. On the track she was runner-up in the NCAA 10,000 and ran a PR of 32:29.28 at Stanford.

11. Alyssa Snyder (Utah State): The 4th placer in the outdoor 10K, newly transferred from Montana State, might be ready to make an impact in cross country. She won the Sagebrush Invitational.

12. Tessa Barrett (PennSt): Redshirt junior ran 15:28.99 last winter. The past Foot Locker champ will want to make up for her DNF last year.

13. Nikki Hiltz (Arkansas): The Oregon transfer just missed winning the NCAA 1500 with her runner-up finish by 0.02. She later placed 6th at USATF in a PR 4:20.28. Can she convert that speed to the 6K?

14. Amy-Eloise Neale (Washington): With fresh track PR's of 4:11.00 and 15:39.30, last year's 8th-placer is starting the season strong.

15. Courtney Smith (Stanford): Because of injury, the transfer senior (from Harvard) hasn't raced since last year's 35th at nationals. Has a 10K PR of 32:08.32, so if healthy, could be very dangerous.

Others to watch: Isobel Batt-Doyle (Wa), Peyton Bilo (Cal Poly), Alli Cash (Or), Elise Cranny (Stan), Avery Evenson (Mi), Vanessa Fraser (Stan), Brianna Ilarda (Prov), Weini Kelati (NM), Rachel Koon (NCSt), Nevada Mareno (Stan), Jordann McDermitt (EnMi), Fiona O'Keeffe (Stan), Judy Pendergast (Or), Jamie Phelan (Mi), Katherine Receveur (In), Gina Sereno (Mi), Taylor Werner (Ar).

TCU Releases Indoor & Outdoor Schedules

Track and field head coach Darryl Anderson announced the teams’ 2017-2018 schedules. The Horned Frogs will travel to meets hosted by the Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 schools and will compete against programs from all Power Five Conferences.

“We were looking at the level of competition,” Anderson said. “We want to see every Power Five Conference before the postseason and run against the best of the best.”

The men’s team will be returning most of last season’s athletes, and the women’s team will be featuring several newcomers.

“Our men’s team is almost 99% intact from last year with some additions,” Anderson said. “On the women’s team, we’ve got some younger girls coming with some good credentials, and we want to get them started immediately.”

TCU will open the indoor season Dec. 9 at the Texas A&M Invitational, where they will return four weeks later to run again. TCU will also compete in Texas Tech’s new facility and return to New Mexico, where they appeared last year.

Indoor postseason begins in Iowa, Feb. 23 at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships. Two weeks later, March 9-10 qualifying Frogs will travel to College Station for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship where they will conclude the indoor season.

Following the conclusion of the indoor season, March 16-17 the Horned Frogs will host the TCU Invitational to kick off their outdoor season. Throughout the outdoor season, TCU will travel to several Power Five schools to compete at meets such as the Texas Relays, Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic, Florida’s Tom Jones Memorial and the Arkansas Invitational.

To kick off the outdoor postseason, TCU will compete at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Waco, TX May 11-13. Two weeks later, the Horned Frogs will travel to Sacramento, California, for the NCAA Outdoor Regionals May 24-26. To conclude the season, qualifying individuals will travel to Eugene, Oregon, to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships June 6-9. TCU sent four individual athletes and three relays to the national championships last season.

The Best Non-Qualifying Marks Ever

Best Men’s Non-Qualifying Marks

100 10.00 Peimeng Zhang (China) WC 13
    Femi Ogunode (Qatar) WC 15
  9.94w Charles Silmon (US) USATF 15
200 20.13 Justin Gatlin (US) OG 16
400 44.51 Jerome Davis (US) WC 99
800 1:44.70 Adam Kszczot (Poland) OG 16
1500 3:34.84 Abdelkader Chékhémani (France) OG 96
St 8:17.75 Luís Miguel Martín (Spain) WC 99
5000 13:22.87 Mohammed Mourhit (Belgium) WC 05
10000 28:12.79 Steve Binns (Great Britain) WC 83
110H 13.28 Balázs Baji (Hungary) Paris 17
400H 48.23 Omar Cisneros (Cuba) OG 12
4x1 38.26 Germany OG 16
4x4 2:59.95 Botswana WC 15













Field Events
HJ 2.29 | 7-6 JaCorian Duffield (US) WC 15
    Majed El Dein Ghazal (Syria) WC 15
    Andrii Protsenko (Ukraine) WC 15
    Fernando Ferreira (Brazil) WC 17
    Protsenko WC 17
    Ricky Robertson (US) WC 17
    Talles Frederico Silva (Brazil) WC 17
    Ginmarco Tamberi (Italy) WC 17
PV 5.65 | 18-6½ 4 athletes WC 93
    Rens Blom (Holland) OG 00
    Stepan Janácek (Czech Republic) OG 00
    Romain Mesnil (France) OG 04
    Matti Mononen (Finland) OG 04
    Spas Bukhalov (Bulgaria) WC 07
    Feiliang Liu (China) WC 07
    8 athletes WC 15
LJ 8.05 | 26-5 Petar Dachev (Bulgaria) OG 04
TJ 17.09 | 56-1 Alexis Copello (Cuba) OG 08
SP 20.54 | 67-4¾ Jakub Szyszkowski (Poland) WC 17
DT 63.48 | 208-3 Apostolos Parellis (Cyprus) OG 12
HT 76.66 | 251-6 David Chaussinand (France) WC 01
JT 82.12 | 269-5 Nick Nieland (Great Britain) OG 00