Future stars emerge every winter during the indoor season. Some continue to blossom during outdoors and some run out of steam. What will this year's class do? We'll likely find out at some early season meets like Raleigh Relays
, Stanford Invitational
and Mt. Sac Relays
The ultimate goal for these athletes will be a strong performance at USATF Outdoors
June 20-23 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA, with hopes of qualifying for the IAAF World Championships
August 10-18 in Moscow.
Who attain the World Championship A-Standards
and who will emerge and don the Team USA kit come August?
1. Mary Cain
High School Junior
Previous achievements: 6th at 2013 World Junior Champs 1500 in American High School Oudoor Record of 4:11.01
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor Mile Champ (5:05.68 - 58.61 final 400). American High School Indoor Two Mile Record at Boston Grand Prix (9:38.68). American High School Indoor Mile Record at Millrose Games (4:28.25).
Thoughts: What more needs to be said? Best season ever for a female high school runner. We'll see if she can keep progressing outdoors, get the A-Standard of 4:05.50, and compete with the likes of Morgan Uceny, Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury.
2. Ajee Wilson @AjeeW
Previous achievements: 2012 World Junior 800 Champ (2:00.91)
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor 800 Champ (2:02.64). World Junior 600 Record (1:26.45).
Thoughts: Wilson passed on Florida State after setting the 600 World Junior Record (for the first time. She should compete for a spot on the Moscow World Championship team this summer, but will need to run the A-Standard of 2:00.00 to be considered.
3. Abbey D'Agostino
Previous achievements: 2012 NCAA Outdoor 5000 Champ. 5th at 2012 Olympic Trials 5000 (15:19.98).
Notable 2013 achievements: NCAA Indoor Champ at 3000 (9.01.08) and 5000 (15:28.11).
Thoughts: D'Agostino is the most accomplished of the bunch here, with a National Championship already under her wing. But the way she dominated indoors shows her development. She'll look to defend her outdoor 5000 title and compete for a spot on the World team this summer, as the 15:18.00 A-Standard is just off her outdoor personal best.
4. Chelsea Reilly @CheReillyRuns
Agent: Flynn Sports Management
Previous achievements: 2012 USATF 10k Road Champ (32:41)
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor 3000 Champ (9:23.12) over Lisa Uhl and Emily Infeld. 8:53.89 for 3000 at British Athletics Grand Prix
Thoughts: Reilly ran a few excellent races this winter and capped it off with her first national championship on the track. She should compete for a spot on the 10,000 team for Moscow, but will need to run 31:45.00 likely at Stanford to be in contention.
5. Kate Grace @fastk8
Previous achievements: 2:01.63 Personal Best in 800. 4:10.57 Personal Best in 1500.
Notable 2013 achievements: 3rd at Millrose Games (4:28.79). 8:55.06 for 3000 at UW Invitational
Thoughts: Grace is quickly progressing. I'm not sure what her best distance will be, but she should have a breakout outdoor season, even if qualifying for Worlds may be a more distant goal.
1. Erik Sowinski @eSowinski
Sponsor: Running Wild
Previous achievements: 2nd at 2012 NCAA Outdoor in PR of 1:45.60 (to Charles Jock). 3rd at 2013 NCAA Indoor 800. Semi-finalist at 2012 Olympic Trials.
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor 800 Champ (1:47.09) over Robby Andrews, Tyler Mulder and Matt Centrowitz. 600 American Record (1:15.61) at Millrose Games over Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds.
Thoughts: 2013 has been a true breakout year for Sowinski and he'll hope to carry that momentum outdoors. The A-Standard for the 800 is 1:45.30, just off his personal best. He'll likely need a second faster than that to make Team USA.
2. Will Leer @william_leer
Previous achievements: 4th at 2008 Olympic Trials 1500. 3:36.33 Personal Best in 1500.
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor Champ at Mile (3:58.79) and 3000 (8:07.84).
Thoughts: Leer has always been a racer, yet he has never hit a World A-Standard. He'll need to run 3:35.00 early to be ready to fight for a spot on the always tough 1500 team. If he can get that out of the way, I like his chances at the USATF Outdoor Final.
3. Ryan Hill @ryanhillncstate
School: NC State
Previous achievements: 5th at 2012 Olympic Trials 5000 (13:27.49)
Notable 2013 achievements: NCAA Indoor Runner-up at Mile (3:55.25). 6th at Millrose Games (3:54.89).
Thoughts: Hill has shown some serious speed this winter. He'll need to run the A-Standard of 13:15.00 to be in contention for a spot on the Worlds team, but has improved steadily every year and has phenomenal closing speed. He'll look to battle Kennedy Kithuka and Lawi Lalang over 5000 for an NCAA Championship this outdoor season as well.
4. Eli Greer
Previous achievements: 1:45.06 Personal Best in 800. 2012 Olympic Trials 800 Finalist.
Notable 2013 achievements: NCAA Indoor Champ at 800 (1:47.13).
Thoughts: Greer continues to get better and will compete for a spot on Team USA. He'd love to win an NCAA Outdoor title in the proceess.
5. Cas Loxsom @cassylox
School: Penn State
Previous achievements: 1:45.28 Personal Best in 800
Notable 2013 achievements: Fastest American time ever at 600 (1:15.42 - Oversized Track). NCAA Indoor Runner-up at 800.
Thoughts: The knock on Loxsom has always been his inability to make and run well in championship finals. He looks to have overcome that dig this winter with his runner-up finish at NCAA's. He'll look to build on that this spring as he has the best "true speed" out of any of the top American 800 guys right now (save maybe Solomon and Jock).
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