The first edition of the Diamond League has wrapped up and it’s time to acknowledge some of the best American female performers. Remember that we place emphasis on athletes who show consistency over the course of the season rather than busting out one remarkable time.
Felix may have put up the most remarkable season of any runner in the Diamond League season. She was nearly undefeated all summer (one loss over 200m to Veronica Campbell-Brown in New York) and won the DL titles in both the 200m and 400m. Felix did not break 22 seconds in the 200m or 50 seconds in the 400m, but was the best racer on the circuit, doing just enough to vanquish her competition. The USC grad also won her first national title in the 100m earlier this summer in Des Moines.
The 24-year-old Purdue alum had the biggest breakout season of any American athlete in 2010. Patterson shattered the American javelin record, throwing 66.67 meters in Des Moines. She was also consistent on the Diamond League slate, winning at Pre, placing second in Gateshead, Monaco, and London, and coming in second in the final DL standings. American women have traditionally struggled in the throwing events, but Patterson and rival Rachel Yurkovich give the U.S. hope given their recent success on the international stage.
After a bronze medal at the indoor World Champs, Howard-Lowe made a huge breakthrough in the early summer. She set a three centimeter personal best in Cottbus and rebroke the American record at USA’s with a mark of 2.05 meters. The one missing accomplishment for Lowe in 2010 is beating Blanka Vlasic in a Diamond League meet. As she continues to improve, perhaps Vlasic’s dominance in the event will be challenged.
Few expected Huddle to have a season as impressive as she’s had. The Notre Dame grad planned to run some domestic road races instead of heading to Europe after the national championships, but eventually decided to choose the ladder and is glad she did so. She ended up breaking 15 minutes three times in the 5000m, including the 14:44.76 that broke Shalane Flanagan’s national record. Her third place finish at the Continental Cup showed that she can contend with some of the best even in a tactical championship race.
It’s a big story whenever an American wins a major middle-distance or distance race in Europe, and this summer Johnson won two 800s, in Gateshead and Monaco. After PR’s of 1:57.34 and 52.09 seconds in the open 400m, it appeared that Johnson would have a shot at the Diamond League title, but struggled in the second half of the European season. The former NCAA champ from Cal has finally returned to her 2007 form and looks to be a medal contender in 2011 and 2012.
Carmelita Jeter: won Diamond League in 100m; seasonal best of 10.82 sec; many of top 100m didn’t show (Campbell-Brown, Fraser’s drug suspension), times didn’t reach those of 2009
Morgan Uceny: breakthrough season for mid-d Mammoth Track Club athlete; PR’s of 1:58.67 and 4:02.40