USA Indoor Championships Preview

2004 USA Indoor Championships preview

BOSTON – Experienced veterans and exciting young athletes are set to compete at the 2004 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. The final stop on USA Track & Field’s 2004 Indoor Golden Spike Tour, the USA Indoor Championships will be the selection process for the 2004 IAAF Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 5-7 in Budapest, Hungary. The top two finishers at each event in Boston will be selected for Team USA at World Indoors.

Olympic gold medalist and indoor world record holder Maurice Greene will compete for the first time in 2004, in the Verizon men’s 60 meters, while three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton is scheduled to return to the Indoor Championships for the first time since 1999, in the Nike women’s 1,500 meters. Among her competitors will be Jen Toomey of Salem, Mass., who last weekend broke the American record in the 1,000 meters and will run both the 1,500 and the Sunny D Intense Sport 800 meters at the USA Indoor Championships.

Two-time world indoor 60m champion and two-time Olympic 100m gold medalist Gail Devers is entered in both the 60m sprint and the 60m hurdles, where she is the defending world indoor champion. Her counterpart on the men’s side, Allen Johnson, will defend his U.S. indoor title as he goes for his second consecutive world title in the GM men’s 60m hurdles.

Olympic gold medalist Stacy Dragila is after her 8th career national indoor title in the Visa women’s pole vault; current world leader Christian Cantwell and Olympic silver medalist Adam Nelson go head-to-head in the Visa men’s shot put; reigning world champion Dwight Phillips and 2004 world-leader Savante Stringfellow compete in the BENGAY men’s long jump; and a loaded field including past indoor champions Jeff Hartwig, Derek Miles and Tim Mack is in the men’s pole vault.

The USA Indoor Championships also will feature a group of promising teen-agers. Allyson Felix, the 18-year-old American junior record holder at 200 meters, is entered in the Verizon women’s 60 meters. 2003 Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year Jason Richardson of Cedar Hill (Texas) High School and triple 2003 Pan Am Junior gold medalist Kenneth Ferguson – both hurdlers outdoors – contest the men’s 400 meters. Another triple gold-medal winner from the 2003 Pan Am Juniors, Shalonda Solomon of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly HS, is qualified in the women’s 200 meters, while prep phenom Natasha Hastings of A. Philip Randolph High School in Manhattan, the national high school record holder for 500 meters, is entered in the 400 meters.

Below are event previews. For updated status of entries and declaration information, as well as ticket information, visit the USA Indoor Championships link at

2004 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships EVENT PREVIEWS

Entries and Top 2004 performances as of February 23, 2004; Fields subject to change

Women’s 60 meters
Prelims Thursday 2:55 p.m.; Saturday 3:24 p.m.; Final Saturday 5:45 p.m.
World record: 6.92, Irina Privalova (RUS), 1993, 1995
American record: 6.95, Gail Devers, 1993; Marion Jones, 1998
Meet record: 6.99, Gail Devers, 1993
THE SCOOP: Expect a close race as several top athletes vie for the U.S. crown. Gail Devers, the American record holder and two-time World Indoor champion in this event, is entered in the 60m sprint as well as the hurdles. She owns the fastest time in the U.S. this year with her time of 7.10 at the Tyson Foods Invitational, so she is the woman to beat if she chooses to run the sprint. Torri Edwards is the reigning World Indoor bronze medalist and also is a favorite. Chryste Gaines is a two-time defending U.S. champion, while Angela Daigle is #5 on the U.S. list this year. Also keep an eye on 1999 World Outdoor 200m gold medalist Inger Miller and 18-year-old Allyson Felix, a 200-meter specialist who has been working on her start indoors by running the 60 meters.

Verizon Men’s 60 meters
Prelims Friday 3:20 p.m., Saturday 3:39 p.m.; Final Saturday 5:53 p.m.
World record: 6.39, Maurice Greene (USA), 1998, 2001
American record: 6.39, Maurice Greene, 1998, 2001
Meet record: 6.39, Maurice Greene, 2001
THE SCOOP: A wide-open field promises some exciting competition. Olympic 100m gold medalist and world indoor record holder Maurice Greene is entered and will be the marquee name in the field. 2001 World University Games gold medalist Marcus Brunson has two of the top 3 times by an American this year, but look out for Tim Harden, the 2001 World Indoor gold medalist. Other top contenders include 2001 World Indoor 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford, 2000 Olympic Trials 200m champion John Capel, and 2001 U.S. indoor 200m champ Coby Miller.

Women’s 60m hurdles
Prelims Friday 2:05 p.m., Saturday 2:53 p.m.; Final Saturday 5:20 p.m.
World record: 7.69, Lyudmila Narozhilenko (URS), 1990
American record: 7.74, Gail Devers, 2003
Meet record: 7.74, Gail Devers, 2003
THE SCOOP: One of the most potent fields of the meet takes to the track. Three-time world outdoor champion Gail Devers is again in top form, coming off an American record of 7.74 at the 2003 USA Indoor Championships and the 2003 World Indoor title. Her time of 7.76 seconds at the 2004 Verizon Millrose Games shows she is again in record form, but a win won’t be easy. Don’t count out four-time U.S. indoor champion Melissa Morrison, 2001 World Indoor and Outdoor gold medalist Anjanette Kirkland, or 2003 World Outdoor 6th-place finisher Jenny Adams.

GM Men’s 60m hurdles
Prelims Friday 3:20 p.m., 3:09 p.m.; Final Saturday 5:27 p.m.
World record: 7.30, Colin Jackson (GBR), 1994
American record: 7.36, Greg Foster, 1987
Meet record: 7.38, Reggie Torian, 1999
THE SCOOP: The United States has the best men’s hurdlers in the world, and they are here in Boston. Four-time World Outdoor champion Allen Johnson is the top hurdler in the world and tops the field here. He won the U.S. and world indoor titles in 2003 and is again the world’s best in 2004, with a world-leading time at the Verizon Millrose Games (7.43). Duane Ross (7.56) and Dawane Wallace (7.59) are the #2 and 3 Americans so far this year. Former NCAA champions Ron Bramlett and Larry Wade are contenders as well.

Women’s 200 meters
Prelims Sunday 2:54 p.m.; Final Sunday 5:44 p.m.
World record: 21.87, Merlene Ottey (JAM), 1993
American record: 22.18, Michelle Collins, 2003
Meet record: 22.33, Gwen Torrence, 1996
THE SCOOP: Young sprinters will take a crack at winning their first U.S. titles. Among the entrants is Crystal Cox, who was third in this event at the 2002 USA Indoors. Shalonda Solomon, a high school senior at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, was the Verizon Athlete of the Meet at the 2003 USA Outdoor Junior Championships, where she won the 100 and 200 meters. Solomon also won three gold medals at the 2003 Pan Am Juniors, in the 100, 200 (23.21 meet record), and 4x100m relay.

GM Men’s 200 meters
Prelims Sunday 3:19 p.m.; Final Sunday 5:52 p.m.
World record: 19.92, Frank Fredericks (NAM), 1996
American record: 20.26 Shawn Crawford and John Capel, 2000
Meet record: 20.31, Coby Miller, 2001
THE SCOOP: Past champions don their spikes as Shawn Crawford and Coby Miller go head-to-head. In addition to winning the 2001 World Indoor Championships gold, Crawford was the 2002 U.S. Indoor champion and is a two-time national champion outdoors. Miller won the U.S. Indoor title in 2001, but broke his leg just after crossing the finish line when he and Crawford got tangled up. He’s come back strong since returning to track in 2002, and is especially dangerous indoors.

Women’s 400 meters
Prelims Saturday 3:54 p.m.; Final Sunday 5:03 p.m.
World record: 49.59, Jarmila Kratochvilova (TCH), 1982
American record: 50.64, Diane Dixon, 1991
Meet record: 50.99, Jearl Miles, 1995
THE SCOOP: The women’s 400 is wide open and up for grabs, with Crystal Cox leading the declared entries. Cox has clocked 53.12 in '04. Heptathletes Ellannee Richardson and Gigi Miller might provide the biggest challenge for Cox as she goes for the 200/400 double.

Verizon Men’s 400 meters
Prelims Saturday 4:19 p.m.; Final Sunday 5:11 p.m.
World record: 44.63, Michael Johnson (USA), 1995
American record: 44.63, Michael Johnson, 1995
Meet record: 44.63, Michael Johnson, 1995
THE SCOOP: A fascinating array of talent is entered in the men’s 400 meters. An exceptional indoor runner, Milton Campbell is the 1999 and 2001 World Indoor silver medalist at this distance. He’s got the fastest time in 2004 of current entrants and is followed closely by 2003 World Indoors team member Corey Nelson. James Carter was fourth in the 400m hurdles at the 2004 Olympic Games, adding intrigue. And two young 400m hurdle specialist try to make their mark. Currently a senior at Cedar Hill (Texas) High School, Jason Richardson was USATF’s 2003 Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year and in 2003 became the only person in history to win both the 110m and 400m hurdles at the World Youth Championships. 19-year-old Kenneth Ferguson was Verizon Athlete of the Meet at the 2003 USA Junior Championships, winning both hurdle races, and was the Pan Am Junior gold medalist.

Sunny D Intense Sport Women’s 800 meters
Prelims Friday 1:15 p.m.; Final Saturday 5:04 p.m.
World record: 1:55.82, Jolanda Ceplak (SLO), 2002
American record: 1:58.71, Nicole Teter, 2002
Meet record: 1:58.41, Maria Mutola (MOZ), 1995
THE SCOOP: Salem’s own Jen Toomey has been one of the biggest stories indoors in 2004, emerging as the top U.S. 800-meter runner. She is fresh off of breaking the American record in the 1,000 meters February 20 in Birmingham, England, where she ran 2:34.19 to break a record formerly held by Regina Jacobs. Toomey, who does her indoor training at the Reggie Lewis Center and won the 800 at the 2004 adidas Boston Indoor Games, will face indoor American 800m record holder Nicole Teter, as well as 2000 Olympic Trials champion Hazel Clark. Both women are seasoned competitors and are threats to win, but Toomey must be considered the favorite after handily defeating both women at the 2004 adidas Boston Indoor Games.

Xerox Men’s 800 meters
Prelims Friday 1:40 p.m.; Final Saturday 5:12 p.m.
World record: 1:42.67, Wilson Kipketer (DEN), 1997
American record: 1:45.00, Johnny Gray, 1992
Meet record: 1:46.60, Derrick Peterson, 2002
THE SCOOP: Derrick Peterson is the 2002 U.S. champion and meet record holder, and is a co-favorite to win again in 2003. He’s got the fastest time in 2004 among entrants, followed by Michael Stember, the 2000 Olympian and 2003 Pan Am Games silver medalist at 1,500 meters. Stember won the 800 at the adidas Boston Indoor Games and joins Peterson as a likely winner. Sam Burley was the 2003 NCAA champion for Penn and competed for Team USA at the 2003 USA Outdoor Championships. Former Auburn hurdler Fred Sharpe lurks in the wings with an indoor PR of 1:48.09 this year.

Nike Women’s 1,500 meters
Final Sunday, 5:34 p.m.
World record: 3:59.98, Regina Jacobs (USA), 2003
American record: 3:59.98, Regina Jacobs, 2003
Meet record: 4:03.08, Mary Slaney, 1997
THE SCOOP: The “X Factor” in this race is Suzy Favor Hamilton, a three-time USA Indoor champion who hasn’t competed indoors since her last title in 1999. The three-time Olympian and second-fastest American in history is a heavy favorite to win if she competes. Jen Toomey is entered in both the 1,500 and 800 meters, and will be a favorite in the 1,500 as well. Two-time Olympian Amy Rudolph is always a threat, while other contenders include Mary Jayne Harrelson and former NCAA 3,000m champion Carrie Tollefson.

Nike Men’s 1,500 meters
Final Saturday 5:35 p.m.
World record: 3:31.18, Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) 1997
American record: 3:38.12, Jeff Atkinson, 1989
Meet record: 3:42.23, Jason Lunn, 2003
THE SCOOP: 2004 marks the second time the men’s 1,500m is being contested at the USA Indoor Championships since 1939, and Jason Lunn looks to win his third straight national indoor title after winning the mile in 2002 with a time of 3:57.45 and setting a meet record in the 1,500m in 2003. Indoor racing is as much about strategy as speed, making this race an interesting one. Stanford grad Grant Robison was third at the 2003 USA outdoor championships in a race that Lunn also won.

Women’s 3,000 meters
Final Saturday 4:45 p.m.
World record: 8:29.15, Berhane Adere (ETH), 2002
American record: 8:39.14, Regina Jacobs, 1999
Meet record: 8:40.45, Lynn Jennings, 1990
THE SCOOP: Carrie Tollefson, Shayne Culpepper and Sarah Schwald are seeded in a virtual dead heat, as all three ran 8:55 and change at the Tyson Foods Invitational. It could come down to a kick – and then it’s still anyone’s guess. Tollefson has run 4:12 for the 1,500m indoors this year and is tops among Americans this season, while Culpepper was a 2000 Olympian at 1,500m, and Schwald has the best 1,500m PR among the three (4:04.33).

Men’s 3,000 meters
Final Sunday 5:19 p.m.
World record: 7:24.90, Daniel Komen (KEN), 1998
American record: 7:39.23, Tim Broe, 2002
Meet record:7:42.81, Moses Kiptanui (KEN), 1994
THE SCOOP: Daniel Lincoln, a steeplechaser outdoors, nearly broke the American record in the indoor 3,000m at the Tyson Foods invitational with his time of 7:40.17. He is the favorite in Boston, where former NCAA 5,000m champion Matt Lane (7:45.72 at adidas Boston Invitational) and Bolota Asmeron (7:49.36 at Tyson Foods Invitational) are the next two seeds. High school mile record holder Alan Webb is the wild card in this field and has the speed to pull off an upset. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in the 12 km race at the USA cross country championships, so he’s got the endurance as well.

Women’s 3,000m race walk
Final Sunday 4:37 p.m.
World record: 11:40.33, Claudio Iovan (ROM), 1999
American record: 12:20.79, Debbi Lawrence, 1993
Meet record: 12:28.32, Michelle Rohl, 2001
THE SCOOP: Joanne Dow is the two-time defending champion, with a third title in 1999 as well. It’s a mix of veterans and relative newcomers in the field. Michelle Rohl has been the top U.S. walker outdoors for years, along with Dow, and is a five-time indoor champion who holds the meet record. Rohl is coming off an American record at 20 km outdoors so should be fit. Amber Antonia is an up-and-comer who placed second in 2002 and was fourth at the 2003 USA Outdoor Championships.

Men’s 5,000m race walk
Final Saturday 2:02 p.m.
World record: 18:07.08, Mikhail Shchennikov (URS), 1995
American record: 19:18.40, Tim Lewis, 1987
Meet record: 18:53.25, Guillaume LeBlanc (CAN), 1988
THE SCOOP: Simply put, Tim Seaman has owned this event, winning the last six indoor titles. A seventh crown could be his for the taking, but 50 km Olympic Trials champion Curt Clausen, top-ranked 20 km walker Kevin Eastler, and Verizon Millrose Games champion John Nunn all are contenders.

Women’s high jump
Final Sunday 3:45 p.m.
World record: 2.07m/6-9.5, Heike Henkel (GER), 1992
American record: 2.01m/6-7; Tisha Waller, 1998
Meet record: 2.01m/6-7, Tisha Waller, 1998
THE SCOOP: It should be a two-woman competition between Tisha Waller and Amy Acuff, but Ifoma Jones could play the role of spoiler. Waller is the American record holder and is a six-time U.S. indoor champion, including the last two years. She will face her top U.S. rival in Acuff, who won the 2001 U.S. indoor title and like Waller is a four-time outdoor winner. Both women cleared 1.92m/6-3.5 inches at the Verizon Millrose Games, but they are very closely followed by Jones, a 2000 Houston grad who in 2004 has cleared 1.91m/6-3.25.

Men’s high jump
Final Sunday 1 p.m.
World record: 2.43m/7-11.25, Javier Sotomayor (CUB), 1989
American record: 2.40m/7-10.5, Hollis Conway, 1991
Meet record: 2.38m/7-9.75, Matt Hemingway, 2000
THE SCOOP: 2003 USA Outdoor champion Jamie Nieto has continued his string of hot jumping indoors in 2004, clearing a personal best 2.32m/7-7.25 inches. Terrance Woods has gone 2.26m/7-5, and former NCAA champion Tora Harris is at 2.25m/7-4.75 this season, so the competition could be close. Matt Hemingway holds the meet record, and standing 6-7 is always a threat to go high.

Visa women’s pole vault
Final Sunday 2:30 p.m.
World record: 4.85m/15-11, Svetlana Feofanova (RUS), 2004 (pending)
American record: 4.78m/15-8.25, Stacy Dragila, 2003
Meet record: 4.78m/15-8.25, Stacy Dragila, 2003
THE SCOOP: Dragila has dominated this event in the U.S., winning every U.S. indoor title since the women’s vault was contested in 1996 except one: in 2002, Dragila did not compete at the USA championships. Mary Sauer claimed the title in her absence and will take on Dragila, as will 2000 Olympian and 2001 World Indoor silver medalist Kellie Suttle. With a clearance of 4.58m/15-0.25, Suttle is the only American woman other than Dragila (4.71/15-5.5) to clear 15 feet indoors this year.

Men’s pole vault
Final Saturday 2:45 p.m.
World record: 6.15m/20-2, Sergey Bubka (UKR), 1993
American record: 6.02/19-9, Jeff Hartwig, 2002
Meet record: 5.96m/19-6.5, Lawrence Johnson, 2001
THE SCOOP: The United States typically places two athletes in the top three on the world and Olympic stages, so you’ll be watching the world’s best in this event. Jeff Hartwig was the world’s #1 ranked vaulter in 2002 and broke the American indoor record three times that year. He currently has the best jump in the world in 2004, with a clearance of 5.88m/19-3.5. The field is packed, however, with 2003 USA Indoor champion Derek Miles, 2001 World Indoor silver medalist Tye Harvey, and 2002 USA Indoor champion Tim Mack among the athletes looking for gold.

Women’s long jump
Final Sunday 3:55 p.m.
World record: 7.37m/34-2.25, Heike Drechlser (GDR), 1988
American record:7.13m/23-4.75, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 1994
Meet record: 7.32m/24-0.25, Heike Drechsler (GDR), 1987
THE SCOOP: The women’s long jump is another relatively wide-open event. Grace Upshaw won the 2002 title and was the top U.S. jumper outdoors in 2003, placing eighth at the World Outdoor Championships. Jenny Adams was the 2001 U.S. champion outdoors and NCAA indoors. It should be a two-woman duel.

BENGAY Men’s long jump
Final Sunday 1:20 p.m.
World record: 8.79m/28-10.25, Carl Lewis (USA), 1984
American record: 8.79m/28-10.25, Carl Lewis, 1984
Meet record: 8.59m/28-2.25, Miguel Pate, 2002
THE SCOOP: For the first time since the heyday of Carl Lewis, the United States again rules the long jumping world. Dwight Phillips, Savante Stringfellow and Walter Davis are among the top jumpers in the world, and the U.S. was ranked 1-2-3 in the world in 2002. Phillips is the 2003 World Indoor and Outdoor gold medalist, while Stringfellow was #1 world ranked in 2002 and has the top jump in the world this year with 8.41m/27-7.25. Walter Davis was a finalist at the 2003 World Outdoor Championships and the World Indoor triple jump silver medalist. The LSU grad qualified for the 2000 Olympic Team in both jumps.

Women’s triple jump
Final Saturday 12:50 p.m.
World record: 15.16m/49-9, Ashia Hanson (GBR), 1998
American record: 14.23m/46-8.25, Sheila Hudson, 1995
Meet record:14.23m/46-8.25, Sheila Hudson, 1995
THE SCOOP: Vanitta Kinard is the two-time returning champion and must be considered a favorite. Tiombe Hurd, the 2001 World Indoor bronze medalist, is back in top form and has the top mark by an American this year with 13.95m/45-9.25. Yuliana Perez has been the top U.S. jumper outdoors, winning the 2002 and 2003 U.S. titles.

Men’s triple jump
Final Saturday 3:40 p.m.
World record: 17.76m/58-3.25, Michael Conley (USA), 1987
American record: 17.76m/58-3.25, Michael Conley, 1987
Meet record: 17.76m/58-3.25, Michael Conley, 1987
THE SCOOP: World, American and meet record holder Michael Conley, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, is now USATF’s Executive Director of Elite Athlete Programs, but several young jumpers are lining up to fill his shoes. Tim Rusan is the two-time defending champion, and popped off a monster jump of 57-3 to win the 2003 title. LaMark Carter has the top American mark in 2004 (16.99/55-9). 2003 World Championships bronze medalist Walter Davis also is entered and is the most internationally experienced of all entrants.

Women’s shot put
Final Sunday 1:40 p.m.
World record: 22.50m/73-10, Helena Fibingerova (TCH), 1977
American record: 19.83m/65-0.75, Ramona Pagel, 1987
Meet record: 20.23m/66-4.5, Ilona Breisenick (GDR), 1987
THE SCOOP: Kristin Heaston is the returning champion and also won the U.S. outdoor title in 2003. Her best mark indoors this year is 18.04m/59-2.25, while the University of North Carolina’s Laura Gerraughty, a New Hampshire native, leads the U.S. list with 18.71m/61-4.5. Also entered is 2001 U.S. outdoor champion Seilala Sua, who finished second to Heaston at USA Outdoors.

Visa Men’s shot put
Final Sunday 4:05 p.m.
World record: 22.66m/74-4.25, Randy Barnes, 1989
American record: 22.66m/74-4.25, Randy Barnes, 1989
Meet record: 21.63m/70-11.75, Ulf Timmerman (GDR), 1987
THE SCOOP: The big men put on a big show for track fans as the world’s top throwers compete for just two spots on the U.S. team for World Indoors. Christian Cantwell, a 2003 graduate of the University of Missouri, has been the world’s dominant thrower this indoor season. His mark of 21.95m/72-0.25 was his third world-leader of the indoor season and the best by an American indoors since 1989. Adam Nelson likely will provide Cantwell with his biggest challenge. The Olympic and World Championships silver medalist has two U.S. indoor titles to his resume and is among the world’s fiercest competitors.

Women’s weight throw
Final Friday 11:10 a.m.
World record: 23.95/78-7, Erin Gilreath (USA), 2004 (pending)
American record: 23.95/78-7, Erin Gilreath, 2004 (pending)
Meet record: 23.60m/77-5.25, Dawn Ellerbe, 2000
THE SCOOP: A very powerful field is on tap for the women’s weight throw. Erin Gilreath, the 2003 NCAA indoor champion while at Florida, broke Dawn Ellerbe’s world record earlier this season with her throw of 23.95m/78-7. Anna Mahon has been the top U.S. hammer thrower outdoors for two years and owns the American record outdoors, while Ellerbe still reigns as the meet record holder.

Men’s weight throw
Final Friday 9 a.m.
World record: 25.86m/84-10.25, Lance Deal (USA), 1995
American record: 25.86m/84-10.25, Lance Deal, 1995
Meet record: 25.86m/84-10.25, Lance Deal, 1995
THE SCOOP: A.G. Kruger is the returning U.S. indoor champion, James Parker was a many-time NCAA All-American in the hammer throw outdoors and could contend, and Mike Mai of the U.S. Army also has a top throw in 2004.