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Sunday’s final edition of the American Track League indoor series at the Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas produced no world-leading marks, but a high school best in the men’s 200 m and a reminder not to forget about superstar Allyson Felix.
The nine-time Olympic medal winner was a beneficiary of the delay of the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 and showed her rising form with an impressive win in the 200 m. She took an early lead in the one-lap race, but was pressed on the final turn by world-class hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico, then ran away to win by 22.59-22.91.
That’s a lifetime best for Felix in the indoor 200; she hadn’t run the distance since 2003 (23.14), but more importantly moved her to no. 4 on the 2021 world list at a time of the year when she’s rarely in competition.
Shot put superstar Ryan Crouser was thinking about another world indoor record – as at the first American Track League meet – but contracted food poisoning on Friday. He somehow made it to Fayetteville – “not exactly feeling great,” he said – and won his third American Track League meet at 21.93 m (71-11 1/2). That’s pretty ordinary for him, but still further than everyone else except he and reigning World Champion Joe Kovacs (USA) have thrown this year. American Payton Otterdahl was second at 21.40 m (70-4 1/2).
Former Central Arkansas sprinter Zachary Jewell produced two lifetime bests in the men’s 60 m and won in 6.58 before tripping and limping off the track. He held off Jackson Webb (6.59) and comebacking Jarrion Lawson, the 2016 NCAA outdoor champion in the 100-200-long jump, third in 6.62. Former Baylor star Wil London took over the men’s 400 m at the bell and won decisively in 46.36.
Kenyan Michael Saruni opened his 2021 season with a bold move at the bell in the men’s 800 m, winning easily in 1:45.34, no. 7 on the seasonal list. It’s his fourth-fastest race ever indoors. Trinidad’s Asa Guevara won the 300 m – his first race of 2021 – in 33.11, running, as he said afterwards, to “shake off the dust.” American Michael Dickson won the 60 m hurdles in 7.53, moving him to equal-4th on the 2021 world list.
American Andrew Irwin won the men’s vault as the only one who cleared 5.70 m (18-8 1/4). Marquis Dendy, the 2016 World Indoor Champion, won the long jump for the second time in this series, reaching 8.19 m (26-10 1/2) on his final effort.
The men’s high school 200 m race produced the fastest time in prep history, with Jaylen Slade (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida) storming to a 20.62 win, 0.01 better than Noah Lyles’s mark of 20.62 from 2016. Wow! Also worth noting: the 20.84 runner-up mark for Gavin Schurr of Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado.
Britain’s Daryll Neita won the women’s 60 m in 7.24, just ahead of a charging 7.28 from Felix in second. Felix got a terrible start, but came on strongly after 20 m to move to second in what she called “a workout” afterwards.
American 400 m hurdle star Shamier Little continued working on her speed, winning the women’s 400 m in an indoor lifetime best of 50.57, running away from the field and moving to third on the 2021 world list, and no. 7 all-time U.S. Heather MacLean of the U.S. won the women’s 800 m in an indoor lifetime best of 2:00.54, now sixth on the 2021 world list and best in the U.S.
Jamaican star Danielle Williams came from behind to edge American Tonea Marshall, 7.86-7.89. That’s a seasonal best for Williams and equal-third on the world list.
Former two-time NCAA champion Olivia Gruver won the women’s vault at 4.70 m (15-5). The women’s shot was a close competition between Americans Raven Saunders (19.57 m/64-2 1/2), Maggie Ewen (19.54 m/64-1 1/4 ~ no. 5 all-time U.S.) and Jessica Ramsey (19.50 m/63-11 3/4 ~ no. 6 all-time U.S.), now standing 2-3-4 on the 2021 world indoor list.
Many of the athletes thanked meet promoter (and long-time agent) Paul Doyle for putting the series together and he deserves much credit for creating these opportunities in a safe and sane environment, when no one else did.
For our 649-event International Sports Calendar for 2021 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!