Christian Cantwell added another twist into the ongoing saga between American shot putters Reese Hoffa and Adam Nelson in the AT&T USA Track & Field Indoor Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center on Sunday (24).
Cantwell won with 21.51m and Hoffa was second after heaving 21.40m in a competition where world season leader Adam Nelson placed third with 21.25m and so failed to qualify for the U.S. team for the 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships, Valencia, Spain, 7 – 9 March 2008.
The Shot Put was among several intriguing events on an afternoon that featured the comeback of 2001 and 2003 World Indoor 60m silver medalist Angela Williams to win the women’s 60m in a U.S. season leading 7.11 and defending World 60m champion Leonard Scott pulling up with injury in a 60m heat.
US yearly indoor bests
American yearly leading efforts were also turned in by Michael Rodgers in the 60m, Khadevis Robinson in the 800m, David Oliver in the 60m Hurdles, Shareese Woods in the women’s 400m and Nicole Teter in the women’s 800m.
Rodgers won the 60m in the absence of Scott with a 6.54 to 6.56 decision over Leroy Dixon. Oliver won the 60m Hurdles in 7.47 with Allen Johnson edging Joel Brown for second, 7.53 to 7.54.
In the 800m, Robinson held off a late charge by Nick Symmonds to win by a hundredeth in 1:46.95.
Woods won the women’s 400m in 52.03 for her first national title. In the women’s 800m, Teter outdueled Nicole Cook in the women’s 800m to win 2:02.65 to 2:02.86. Alisa Harvey, 42, lowered her American masters' record for the second time in two days, placing sixth in 2:05.75.
High level Shot as always
It shows the present high class level of the Shot Put in the USA that a competition which produced five puts over 21 metres didn’t quite fulfill the expectations in an event where Nelson had thrown 22.40m to move into No. 3 on the all-time World Indoor performer list in the Tyson Invitational (15 Feb) and had predicted an even longer effort in the USATF Indoor Championships.
Cantwell, the 2004 World Indoor Champion, thought that he could have challenged the World Indoor record on Sunday if had the proper implement. On Friday Cantwell had thrown 22.18m with a 128mm steel ball in a low key-competition in Warrensburg, Mo. in which he threw a personal-best 22.18m and had all six throws over 70 feet. Officials, however, would not allow Cantwell to throw with the steel implement in Sunday’s competition.
Cantwell as it was sealed the competition with his opener of 21.51m, while second place Hoffa had his best of 21.40m in the third round. Nelson who fell short of the twoqualification spots for Valencia landed his best in the second round (21.25m), and followed with 21.20m and 21.05m in the third and fourth for overall the more consistent series.
$25,000 USD consolation prize for Nelson
If there was any consolation for Nelson, it came in the form of $25,000 USD for his 22.40m effort in Fayetteville as the top performance on the USATF Visa Championship Indoor series. Lolo Jones was female recipient after running 7.88 to win the women’s 60m Hurdles by 0.02 by Candice Davis.
Nelson called the setback a “blessing” to allow him to prepare for the U.S. Olympic Trials rather than lose another two weeks of training in preparation for Valencia.
“I felt really good but wasn’t able to get my timing,” Nelson said. “And when it’s not lined up, it doesn’t work. It‘s a disappointment anytime that you under perform when you get to my level but it would be a lot more disappointing if this were the Olympic Trials.”
Long journey to Boston for Cantwell
Cantwell almost never made it to Boston because of inclement weather. Ultimately, it turned out to be a 20-hour journey from his Columbia, Mo. residence. Cantwell finally arrived via train to Boston from Philadelphia at 2 a.m. on Sunday.
“I usually stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning and get up at 7 anyways so I don’t think it made much of a difference,” Cantwell said.
New beginning for Williams in the women’s 60m
Williams’ win in the women’s 60m in 7.11 secs lowered her previous U.S- season leading mark by two hundredths and was the latest accolade for the U.S. high school national record-holder in the girls’ 100 meters and winner of an unprecedented four NCAA titles in a row at USC from 1998-2002.
Sunday’s win, though, also ended a long series of setbacks for Williams. She dominated from the start with Alexis Joyce edging 2007 Osaka women’s 100m bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter for second by three thousandths, 7.203 to 7.206. Miki Barber was fourth in 7.22.
“I am just blessed to be healthy. I am enjoying what I am doing. I am having fun. I am not worrying about the contracts, the money and the (celebrity),” Williams said. “I just want to go back to when I was younger and I just ran because this is what I love to do. I have totally different frame of mind.”
The post-collegiate years have hardly been gratifying for Williams, the recipient of the 2002 Honda-Broderick Cup as the top female college athlete. She competed with stress fractures in both shins during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, including as a member of the U.S. 4 x 100-meter relay in the Athens Olympics. Last summer, Williams was returning to form before her season was cut short by a torn hamstring.
“I ran off pool and bike workouts in ’03 and ‘04,” Williams said. “I made the Olympic team with broken shins, that’s what kept me going. You rarely have to find some positive in the negativity. Otherwise you will not make it in this sport.”
The biggest change in Williams’ outlook has been returning to train with her father Johnny Williams in 2006. Her father coached Angela through age-group track and high school and inspired her to continue to run.
“I mentally needed to get back to where I was,” Williams said. “I had no confidence. I just lost my vibe. It was fun again. I was like a kid again. I felt free and at peace with a lot off my shoulders.’’
Jenn Stuczynski won the women’s Pole Vault at 4.70m and Shakeema Welsch bounded 13.94m in the women’s Triple Jump. Rob Myers was victorious in the 1500m in 3:40.89.
Teresa Vaill won her seventh career indoor title in the women's 3000m Race Walk in 13:08.40. Vaill, whose first win coming in the event in 1984, had not won since 1991 before Sunday’s triumph.
Kirby Lee for the IAAF
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