Monday, February 2, 2015

Camel City Elite Indoor Meet @ JDL Fast Track

January 31st's Camel City Elites 800m, 3000m, and mile event was preceded by the Hilton Innvitational (not a misspelling!  Inn -- get it?), featuring competitors from colleges.  I got to JDL Fast Track, Indoor Track, in Winston-Salem NC during the women's 60m hurdles.  Since I'd left home a few hours earlier without coffee, that was where I headed.  Panerea had setup on the wall behind the hurdle start area.  I have to say, that while waiting on line, I had quite a view of the athletes in their track outfits: some quite brief and others more modest.  At the gun, they all shot out of the blocks handling the hurdles with no difficulty.  Unless someone was way out front, from the rear view it was hard to tell who had the edge.

snack break between events!

I found a seat in the stands about 3/4 of the way down the track near the last hurdle, in the second lowest row.  It was tough to see the actual start at the other end, especially of competitors in lanes 6-8.  However, when the third heat of the men's 60m hurdles took off, I stood, and it was clear almost from the start, who was in the lead.  Tall fellow in orange singlet, who by the time he reached the last hurdle, was clearly ahead.  And how he was ahead!  Aleec Harris crossed the line full out in a time of 7.55. Even unsophisticated I could tell this was phenomenal. Turns out that his time was the second best world time in 2015. 

In a subsequent heat, former Olympian David Oliver hurdled in a time of 7.60, making that the third fastest world time for 2015.  In the 60m finals neither man beat his own earlier time (hard to do after such all out earlier effort!)  The order of finish in the 60m Hurdles Final was Harris (7.58), Jason Richardson (7.62), and Oliver (7.69) 

I was sitting among some women Furman athletes. Some had already competed and one was waiting for the 4x400 relay. These ladies broke out their psych textbooks (yes!  even in such an atmosphere they could tune out) highlighting passages relating to older brains (hello!) Yea -- student-athletes!

In the women's 60m Hurdles Final, Sharika Nelvis set a facility record with her time of 7.95.  Christina Manning was 2nd (8:16 in my notes) with Hayley Warren (Toronto) third in 8:18.

The women's 60m was a very tight race.  LaKaya Brookins was being overtaken by Raven Covington, but gave her last, crossing the Finish first in 7.47, but pulling her hamstring, or quad, in the effort.  She was assisted off track.   

In the men's Camel City Elite 3000m event, the gun went off, the 16 or so competitors took off, but just at the first curve on the 200m track, some got tangled up and one went down.  Bang! Bang! Bang!  The runners were called back.  Wow, does that take some wind out of the sails.  One has to get resettled mentally.  Almost all were college athletes, except for about three, including Raleigh's Sandy Roberts.  The race seemed to break into three separate packs after a couple of laps (15 total, I think).  Thomas Curtin pulled ahead of everyone when there were about two laps left and he came in first in 7:56.10.  The next fellow came in at 8:00.66.

The men's Camel City Elite Mile race was loaded with hot shots.  Olympian Leo Manzano (silver 2012 Olympics), Will Leer, Matthew Elliott and college athletes. There were 11 runners plus the rabbit. The mile is an eight lap ordeal.  Manzano was near mid-pack at the start and kept that position during the beginning laps.  With about two laps to go, Cory Leslie took the lead. With one lap to go, I watched Will Leer on the back stretch put his move on.  Manzano was two back.  Down the final 100m or so, Leer closed and he almost got to Leslie but ran out of track.  Cory Leslie of Furman Elite came in at 3:56.99 with Leer following in 3:57.54.  Elliott Matthew and Leo Manzano were almost tied as 3rd and 4th in times, respectively,  of 3:57.76 and 3:57.79.  Leslie's time is the 3rd best world time for 2015.

The women's Camel City Elite Mile was not as dramatic at the end.  It was Shannon Rowbury from the start.  She finished in a great 4:22.66, followed by Morgan Uceny, 4:30.99, and Heather Kampf 4:31.24.  Rowbury's time put her as #1 in the world for 2015!

I stayed and watched some of the women's 4x400m relay races, of which there were many, and some of the ladies were wicked fast!  But I had to leave after the first three sets.

This is the second year I have watched the Innvitational and Camel City Elite races.  Fun!

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