Apr 27, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Alysia Montano runs the anchor leg on the USA Red womens 4 x 800m team that set an American record of 8:04.31 in the 119th Penn Relays at Franklin Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Des Moines 2013 Power Rankings #2: Mid-season Checkpoint

Apr 28, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Runners race over the water jump in the womens steeplechase in the 2013 Payton Jordan Invitational at Cobb Track (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

The early season west coast swing has concluded, and a few trends have come out of it. Athletes who were really on fire last year are generally starting 2013 slowly, and rightfully so. The physical and emotional tolls of the Olympic year are no joke. We’re also seeing a new generation emerge that will dominate their events in this next Olympic cycle. See: Brenda Martinez, Abbey D’Agostino and Ben True. These athletes will replace a group of veterans who are declining from their peaks in front of our eyes.

In the next few weeks, athletes will compete in what I consider the second stanza of pre-U.S. championship meets, including the inaugural Re:Run San Diego and Occidental High Performance meet, before the final trimester of competitions at the two American Diamond League meets in New York and Eugene.

Here we go with the rankings:

Men’s 800 meters

1. Nick Symmonds
2. Duane Solomon
3. Erik Sowinski
4. Charles Jock
5. Khadevis Robinson
Darkhorse: Leoman Momoh
Others: Ryan Martin, Tyler Mulder, Elijah Greer, Cas Loxsom, Mark Wieczorek, Mike Rutt
Notes: Sowinski has proven himself by nearly beating Solomon at Mt. SAC; Re:Run San Diego this weekend will feature five of the top 10 ranked men in the U.S. last year; Momoh ran 1:46 out of nowhere indoors but has somehow only run 1:54 so far outdoors; Loxsom killed it with two 1:46 splits at the Penn Relays, leading Penn State to two wheels last weekend.

Women’s 800 meters

1. Alysia Montano
2. Geena Gall
3. Alice Schmidt
4. Ajee Wilson
5. Phoebe Wright
Darkhorse: Laura Roesler
Others: Molly Beckwith, Erica Moore, Charlene Lipsey, Lea Wallace, Kate Grace
Notes: Montano is clearly fit after a 1:58.6 split on the 4×800 American record at Penn; Roesler raced impressively in her Mt. SAC win, but the long NCAA season may catch up to her by late June; Gall leads a strong field that includes wunderkind Mary Cain at Re:Run San Diego this Sunday; we’re hearing Maggie Vessey is injured.

Men’s 1500 meters

1. Matt Centrowitz
2. Andrew Wheating
3. Robby Andrews
4. Leo Manzano
5. Will Leer
Darkhorse: Garrett Heath
Others: Dave Torrence, Andy Bayer, Ryan Hill
Notes: Wheating had a strong 1200 leg for the U.S. at the Penn Relays in his typical sit-and-kick fashion; Andrews finally broke four minutes with a 3:57 mile at Penn but was beat by guys like Mike Rutt and Tyler Mulder; Manzano has looked lackluster with a poor finish at Carlsbad and 4:00 mile at the Kansas Relays; Heath and Leer both had very strong 5k’s in recent weeks (13:20 and 13:21, respectively), but can they translate the success to 1500 meters?

Women’s 1500 meters

1. Jenny Simpson
2. Brenda Martinez
3. Shannon Rowbury
4. Gabe Anderson
5. Treniere Moser
Darkhorse: Kate Grace
Others: Morgan Uceny, Anna Pierce, Katie Mackey, Sarah Brown, Mary Cain
Notes: Simpson and Martinez both laid down the law in recent weeks, first with Martinez solo’ing a 4:04 ‘A’ standard at Mt. SAC, then with Simpson braving strong winds at Drake to run 4:03; Moser (4:06 at Payton Jordan, her fastest time since 2007) and Grace (Des Moines road mile champ, 4:08 PR at Drake) have also run well recently; Uceny has really struggled early on this season (2:05 800, 4:17 1500), have to wonder if the ghosts of the last two championships are affecting her.

Men’s 3000 meter steeplechase

1. Evan Jager
2. Donn Cabral
3. Dan Huling
4. Kyle Alcorn
5. Billy Nelson
Darkhorse: DeSean Turner
Others: Brian Olinger, David Adams, Cory Leslie, Donnie Cowart
Notes: Jager was narrowly outdueled by Ben True in the Payton Jordan 5k, but it was Huling who arguably ran a more impressive 13:18 PR; Turner dipped under the 8:30 barrier for the first time and is now less than four seconds off the ‘A’ standard.

Women’s 3000 meter steeplechase

1. Emma Coburn
2. Bridget Franek
3. Shalaya Kipp
4. Jamie Cheever
5. Ashley Higginson
Darkhorse: Alexi Pappas
Other: Stephanie Garcia, Sara Hall, Rachel Sorna, Amber Henry
Notes: Coburn ran an impressive wire-to-wire 9:28, just five seconds off her personal best from the Olympics, at Payton Jordan just two days after a 4:10 1500 at Drake; Cheever was the big surprise of the meet, dropping her PR from 9:51 to 9:29 while nearly running down Coburn.

Men’s 5000 meters

1. Bernard Lagat
2. Galen Rupp
3. Lopez Lomong
4. Ben True
5. Chris Derrick
Darkhorse: Eric Jenkins
Others: Andrew Bumbalough, Chris Solinsky
Notes: Even with his recent success, including a 15:14 win at Payton Jordan, it’s hard to see True cracking the top three against stalwarts Lagat, Rupp and Lomong; Jenkins has gone from a nobody at the beginning of indoors to the tenth-fastest collegiate of all-time for 5k, just over a tenth of a second behind Cam Levins; is Solinsky back? The former American record holder ran a conservative 13:23 at Stanford but it hoping for bigger and better things at Oxy. More importantly he has his confidence back and certainly don’t be afraid of mixing it up with the big dogs come USA’s.

Women’s 5000 meters

1. Abbey D’Agostino
2. Kim Conley
3. Alisha Williams
4. Chelsea Reilly
5. Julia Lucas
Darkhorse: Katie Mackey
Others: Molly Huddle, Julie Culley, Emily Infeld
Notes: This is one of the events that we’re seeing the new generation taking over; the old guard of Huddle, Culley and Hastings not only don’t have the ‘A’ standard but frankly have looked poor thus far in 2013; Mackey closed very well at Stanford. Though the 1500 remains her focus this year, she certainly has potential for the 5000 in years to come.

Men’s 10,000 meters

1. Galen Rupp
2. Ben True
3. Chris Derrick
4. Dathan Ritzenhein
5. Matt Tegenkamp
Darkhorse: Sean Quigley
Others: Aaron Braun, Ryan Vail, Bobby Curtis, Luke Puskedra
Notes: Another event in which the new guard (True, Derrick) might be taking over from the old guard (Ritzenhein, Tegenkamp); we should have a better indication of where Ritz is after he races the Oregon Twilight 3k on Friday evening; one of the more overlooked performances of the weekend was Quigley’s 27:50, remember when a time like that used to mean something?

Women’s 10,000 meters

1. Shalane Flanagan
2. Kara Goucher
3. Lisa Uhl
4. Amy Hastings
5. Neely Spence
Darkhorse: Jordan Hasay
Others: Alisha Williams, Tara Erdmann
Notes: It’s hard to know how Flanagan and Goucher will come off the physical and emotional toll of Boston, but with all other top contenders running poorly, they get the nod for the top two spots; Spence has the ‘A’ standard on the basis of a top 15 finish at the World Cross Country Championships.

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