Sunday, 02 July 2017 18:15

Today's TrackTown meet at MHCC is everything the sport should be

The weather in the Portland metropolitan area should be glorious when the TrackTown Summer Series meet begins today at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.

The first elite event of the meet is the shot at 1:15 p.m. Here is the competition schedule.

This is everything U.S. track should be and too often is not: a tight, focused competition schedule of about two hours and some good head-to-head matchups, particularly in the men's 1,500 meters.

Two of the top three finishers in this year's USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships 1,500, Robby Andrews and Johnny Gregorek are in the race. So are Olympian Ben Blankenship and Craig Engels, fourth in the USATF Championships.

Engels, incidentally, wrapped up a collegiate career at Ole Miss in June and signed with the Portland-based Nike Oregon Project.

Andrews needs to run at least 3:36.00 to obtain his World Outdoor Championships qualifying time, so the race is set up to be fast. Ex-Oregon runner Colby Alexander is in this thing too. He won last year's TrackTown Summer Series meet in 3:34.88.

Oh, boy.

The TrackTown Summer Series is a creation of TrackTown USA and TrackTown/USATF president Vin Lananna, and designed to give U.S. pros a domestic alternative to Europe.

"I admittedly do not travel very well, even within the United States," Andrews said. "So, being able to be out in Portland for the last five days or so instead of having to fly nine or 10 hours over to Europe to get a race there, to have everything set up and perfectly in place thanks to TrackTown, I'm very, very happy about it."

The series is more geared to athletes not quite at the Diamond League level, and that means most U.S. pros.

But there will be some top-level pros today in Gresham, such as Olympic shot champ Michelle Carter and ex-Oregon sprinter Phyllis Francis, who won gold in Rio as part of the Team USA women's 4x400.

And, of course, there is that field in the men's 1,500.

This is the second of three TrackTown meets. The series concludes on Thursday in New York.

DyeStat's Doug Binder looks at Andrews' prospects in today's 1,500, and breaks down other events in the TrackTown meet.

OK, more links:

READ: Bolt totally envisages Wayde's world

READ: Thompson wins, advantage Kendricks in pole vault

READ: Track & field rules changes include school issued uniforms

READ: McLeod beaten on night of upsets in Paris

READ: Mike Mason, Shawn Barber try to regain form at Diamond League Paris

READ: Confident McLeod, Thompson Ready For Paris Tests

READ: For track and field champions, the search for Olympic gold starts at SoCal's Mt. SAC

READ: Who is the world’s most marketable Olympian?

READ: Why did USATF make the Olympic Trials announcement Wednesday?

READ: Dina Asher-Smith says her London dream remains alive despite sixth place finish

READ: Andrew Pozzi sets new personal best to claim second place in 110m hurdles

READ: Disappointing Ohuruogu fails to make world championships

READ: Meeting Paris men/women results

READ: British Athletics Team Trials: Steve Cram picks his six events to watch

READ: Renaud Lavillenie among athletes looking to perform in Paris

READ: Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake aims to help fans forget British trial no-shows

READ: Performance director says Scottish athletics hitting new heights

READ: Gothenburg bid boss not surprised by FBI interest in Eugene 2021

READ: Another gold for SA juniors

READ: Lots of work ahead of London double - Wayde

READ: Bruintjies, Alkana gear up for Diamond League

READ: Wayde van Niekerk will be the greatest athlete South Africa's ever produced

READ: Team Kenya for the Worlds unveiled

READ: Van Niekerk sets new world record for little-run 300m