This week saw Altis athletes compete at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, the UCSD Triton Invite, and the Mesa T-Bird Invitational.
With some cold, rainy, and windy conditions in the mix this weekend – athletes took the opportunity to build on resilience in competition, and came away with some strong performances in the light of conditions – including a relay World Record, and multiple season’s bests.
First up to face the blustery conditions in Des Moines was Brad Walker, who jumped in the Drake Relays Street Vault. The American Record Holder finished with a highly creditable 5.70m, coming away with a season’s best.
Brad then returned on Saturday to contest the Drake Relays Beijing Preview – a competition which had to be moved indoors due to the inclement weather. “Brad battled some very difficult conditions on Wednesday to achieve a season’s best mark” explained Coach Pfaff. “There were lots of positives there and a few more from the Saturday indoor meeting where he jumped 5.50m. His performances bode well for next month’s competition schedule.”
Aries Merritt raced on Friday, placing 4th in the open 110m hurdles into a headwind, finishing with a time of 13.37s. On Saturday he ran the 3rd leg of the winning and Wold Record setting Shuttle Hurdle Relay – as part of a quartet consisting of Jason Richardson, Aleec Harris, Aries and David Oliver. Their winning time was 52.94s.
Looking back on the weekend, Coach Andreas Behm was reflective: “Aries by his own admission had a rather sluggish open race, but then redeemed himself the next day with a fine 3rd leg on the shuttle hurdle relay. It was fun to have him be able to race with such decorated teammates.”
Further afield, Akeem Haynes anchored Canada’s 4x100m relay at the Penn Relays. The quartet, consisting of Gavin Smellie, Aaron Brown, Dontae Richards-Kwok, and Haynes finished in a time of 39.70s.
“After a highly successful indoor season for Akeem, we have been very conservative with our opening of the outdoor season – so this was Akeem’s first race of the season” said Coach Stuart McMillan. “After running a solid anchor leg for Team Canada, he now joins his International teammates in Orlando for a few days before heading over to the Bahamas for the World Relays. We are excited to watch this great competition, and for Akeem’s 100m season opener in Colorado on May 8th.”
Olympic Training Center – San Diego
Fabrice Lapierre finished 2nd in the Men’s Long Jump, marking an outdoor SB performance with a leap of 7.76m.
“Fabrice competed in his first meet back after getting a little dinged up earlier in the season. His result was very promising, and we feel we are right on track with progress” Coach Hierholzer explained. “This is a solid testament to the Performance Therapy Model we have in place here at Altis, and we look forward to seeing changes over the next month.”
Altis throwers were also out in force at the OTC on Thursday night – laying down some strong performances. Highlights came from Vikas Gowda with 65.25m in the Discus – a mark set to move him up to 5th on the current IAAF season’s rankings, and Rashad Williams – who finished with a mark of 17.66m in the Shot.
Mike Thalken – 17.23m
Rashad Williams – 17.66m
Gareth Winter – 16.66m
Vikas Gowda – 65.25m
Anna Jelmini – 55.49m
Yanbo Yang – 58.68m
Austin Gamble – 56.16m
Laura Bobek – 53.89m
UCSD Triton Invite
Just two days later, Altis throwers once again performed in style showing some promising consistency of effort. Notably, Vikas Gowda further improved on his recent season’s best of 65.25m, adding another 50cm to the mix – with a mark of 65.75m.
Mike Thalken – 16.49
Rashad Williams – 17.27m
Gareth Winter – 16.61
Vikas Gowda – 65.75
Anna Jelmini – 56.40
Yanbo Yang – 58.64
Austin Gamble – 56.39
Kirsty Law – 51.53
Laura Bobek – 52.81
Dan Greaves – 59.44
In the women’s Long Jump Malaina Payton finished in 1st place with a season’s best mark of 6.34m.
“Malaina recorded a season’s best in the long jump, and showed improvement in our approach development model, as she only recorded 1 foul jump in the competition” said Coach Hierholzer. “This also looks positive for Malaina, and we feel she is not far away from lining things up and hitting a big jump.”
Thunderbird Invitational – Mesa Community College
Shante Little won the 400m Hurdles in a time of 57.73s – a time marking the second fastest in her career. “Shante was the only competitor in the field, requiring a high degree of focus” explained Coach Imdieke – “however, she really concentrated during her race and executed several of the key components that we have been working on in practice – finishing with what was a really impressive performance given the challenge of running on her own.”