Carmelita Jeter en route to 60m victory at Millrose (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

In Boston, hot Shot Put battle as Jeter looks to continue rise - US indoor champs preview

Boston, USACarmelita Jeter will come full circle when she competes in the women’s 60m in the AT&T USA Track & Field Indoor Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center on Saturday and Sunday (23-24 Feb.)

The championships serve as the selection meet for the 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia, 7-9 March.

Jeter, 28, emerged on the global scene after placing a surprising second in the 2007 USATF Indoor meet.

Outdoors, Jeter, who wasn’t ranked among the top 50 in the 100m in the US in 2006,   won the bronze medal in the 100m in the Osaka World Championships. Jeter culminated her campaign with a 100m victory at the IAAF World Athletics Final.

Jeter has continued that momentum to an undefeated indoor season with sprint wins in the 55m in the Run for the Dream (21 Jan.) and in the 60m at the Millrose Games (1 Feb.) and the Tyson Invitational (15 Feb.).

Another win in the USATF Indoor meet will land Jeter a spot on the US team for the IAAF World Championships in Valencia, Spain on 7-9 March.

“I felt like I got thrown in with the wolves last year but I came in strong and held it through outdoors,” Jeter said. “This year, I am more confident in myself and when I line up on the starting line.’’

Jeter will joined in Boston this weekend by reigning World Indoor champions Leonard Scott (60m), Brad Walker (Pole Vault) and Reese Hoffa (Shot Put) as well as World yearly Shot Put leader Adam Nelson, who produced the longest throw in the world since 1989 at the Tyson Invitational.

Learning experience for Jeter in Osaka

After missing a gold medal in the 100m in Osaka by 0.01, Jeter has had a reversal of fortune in the 2008 indoor campaign with her three wins all coming by a hundredth of a second after a sluggish start.

The start is a phase that Jeter hopes to improve on in Boston. Jeter has been focusing for the outdoor season and did not begin block work until two weeks ago.

Her coach Larry Wade of Double Pillar Athletics did not want to have Jeter compete indoors this season and allowed her only to run on the condition that her training will be focused on the outdoor campaign.

“I have been running tired and exhausted but I need to have something to look forward to,” Jeter said. “I need a break and something to keep me motivated besides the (US Olympic Trials.”

That shouldn’t be a problem this weekend with a start list that includes US leader Angela Williams; Mikele Barber, a member of the US gold medal 4 x 100m relay in Osaka, 2005 US Indoor champion Angela Daigle-Bowen, Muna Lee and Jessica Young.

Williams, who won an unprecedented four NCAA 100m titles at USC from 1998-2002, has the top two times by an American at 7.13 and 7.15 this season. Young clocked 7.19 for the No.3 time at the Tyson Invitational.

Scott continues comeback in men’s 60m

In the men’s 60m, Leonard Scott is trying to return to the form that saw him win the 2006 World Indoor title after having arthroscopic surgery on both knees in September to remove loose cartilage.

Scott, winner of the Millrose Games, will be challenged by US leader Michael Rodgers (6.57), DaBryan Blanton and Monzavous Edwards.

The men’s 400m will feature 2007 US indoor champion Greg Nixon, 2005 World 400m Hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson and Derrick Brew.

One of the most intriguing entrants is 31-year-old Tyree Washington, the 2003 World Indoor champion, who did not compete last year after announcing his retirement in 2006.

Marry Wineberg, the US leader and 2007 outdoor champion, leads the women’s 400m entrants. The field also includes 2005 World 400m Hurdles silver medalist Lashinda Demus, who took the 2007 season off after giving birth to twin sons last June; and Moushaumi Robinson.

Nelson looking for more in Shot Put

The Shot Put might be the most competitive event with Nelson, Hoffa and 2004 World Indoor champion Christian Cantwell, who rank first, second and third on the 2008 World list.

Nelson is coming off a monstrous throw of 22.40m at the Tyson Invitational that moved him to No. 3 on the all-time indoor list with the longest throw since 1989. Two weeks earlier at the Millrose Games, the 2005 World Outdoor champion threw a then indoor personal best 22.07m.

In the women’s Shot Put, Jillian Camerena is the three-time defending champion but will be challenged by Elizabeth Wanless, the US leader at 18.45m.

In the 35-pound Weight Throws, A.G. Kruger is seeking his fourth title in a row and fifth in six years. The women’s competition will feature defending champion Amber Campbell who ended the three-year reign of Erin Gilreath in 2007.

Johnson begins chase for fourth World indoor title, as Jones seeks first major international accolade

Allen Johnson, who will turn 37 on 1 March, has prospered in his first indoor campaign since 2005, with the four-time World 110m Hurdles champion – and three-time World indoor champion - posting wins in the Run for the Dream and Tyson Invitationals. He has a season’s best of 7.54.

Antwon Hicks is the US leader with a 7.53.  David Oliver advanced to the semifinals of the 2007 World Outdoor Championships and Joel Brown is the 2005 USATF Indoor champion.

In the women’s 60m Hurdles, Lolo Jones moved into No. 2 on the all-time US performer list after clocking 7.77 at the BW Bank Meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany on 10 Feb. to finish second to Sweden's Susanna Kallur who won with a pending World Record 7.68.

Jones, who has produced four of the top US times this season, will be challenged by 2006 World Indoor Championships finalist Damu Cherry and Candice Davis, the 2007 NCAA Outdoor runner-up.

Walker, Stuczynski key figures in the Pole Vault

Walker, the reigning indoor and outdoor World champion, will face a field that includes 2004 Olympic champion Tim Mack and silver medallist Toby Stevenson, 2008 Pole Vault Summer winner Derek Miles and 2008 Millrose Games champion Tommy Skipper.

In the women’s Pole Vault, Jenn Stuczynski, the only American women to clear 16 feet (4.88m), suffered a loss to Jillian Schwartz at Millrose and won on misses over Schwartz and Lacy Janson in the Tyson Invitational.

The men’s High Jump includes US leader and 2005 and 2006 NCAA champion Jesse Williams, and 2004 Olympic Trials champion Jamie Nieto. In the women’s High Jump, Amy Acuff will be after her fourth national indoor title.

Middle and long distances

In the 1,500m, Steve Sherer has been among the biggest surprises of the season after running 3:56.00 in the mile on an oversized track at the University of Washington (2 Feb) and following with a 3:57.81 effort at the Tyson Invitational where he finished third.

Sherer will face a field that includes Rob Myers, Russell Brown and 2000 Olympian Gabe Jennings.

Christin Wurth-Thomas, the US leader in the women’s mile and 3,000m, is scheduled to attempt a 1500m/3000m double. Wurth-Thomas is coming of a US-leading 4:27.18 in the mile for a Tyson Center record at the Tyson Invitational.

Wurth-Thomas, could be challenged in the 1500m by Sara Hall, who finished second at the Millrose Games. Also in the 1500m field is Jen Toomey, the 2004 and 2005 indoor champion.    

In the men’s 3000m, Matt Tegenkamp is the defending champion and US Outdoor record-holder in the two miles.

The women’s 800m will feature Nicole Cook, who ran a US-leading 2:03.11 at the Tyson Invitational, Nicole Teter, Sasha Spencer and Tiffany McWilliams. Nick Symmonds is the defending champion in the men’s 800m.

Horizontal jumps

Trevell Quinley won the 2007 title in the Long Jump after defeating 2005 and 2006 champion Brian Johnson. Also scheduled to compete is 2005 World Decathlon champion Bryan Clay, who is also entered in the 60m and 60m Hurdles.

Aarik Wilson is the defending champion in the Triple Jump and Kenta Bell is the US leader at 16.89m.

The women’s Long Jump features 2005 World Outdoor champion Tianna Madison and Lela Nelson. In the Triple Jump, defending champion Shana Marks is seeking her third title in four years.

Kirby Lee for the IAAF