Jenny Simpson (Boulder, Colo.) has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after winning the women’s 1500m at the Monaco Herculis Diamond League meet on July 19.
Simpson pushed the pace from the start to win the 1500m race in a season’s best time of 4:00.48. She ran her final 400 meters in 59.28 seconds. Simpson now sits fifth on the current world list.
“It’s always a good feeling to win no matter what the venue,” Simpson said. “Monaco is a special stage though. Having a strong finish against some of the toughest 1500m competition in the world gives me loads of confidence.”
Simpson led as the bell sounded for the final lap, but Kenya’s 1500m national champion Hellen Obiri took the lead from Simpson on the back stretch. But Simpson unleashed a furious kick to regain the lead and achieve her first Diamond League win of the season.
While Simpson finished first, her U.S. contemporaries also fared well. Brenda Martinez, Shannon Rowbury, and Gabrielle Anderson took four of the top five spots. The four Americans all ran under 4:01.50.
“The strength and depth the U.S. middle distance women showed in Monaco was impressive,” Simpson said. “This is the most competitive time for the 1500m I can ever remember. I feel honored to be a part of it.”
The reigning world champion sets her sights on defending her crown in Moscow in just over two weeks.
“This is exactly the momentum I wanted going into World Championships,” Simpson said. “Moscow will require so much focus to get through the preliminary rounds in order for me to even have a shot at defending my title, but I’m excited for the challenge.”
Now in its 12th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2013 Winners: January 9, Bobby Mack; January 16, Mary Cain; January 22, Ajeé Wilson; January 30, Duane Solomon; February 6, Chris Derrick; February 13, Jeremy Taiwo; February 20, Alysia Montaño; February 27, Galen Rupp; March 6, Jenn Suhr; March 13, Tia Brooks; March 20, Bridget Franek; March 27, Ben True; April 3, Darvis “Doc” Patton; April 10, Octavious Freeman; April 24, Erik Kynard; May 1, Queen Harrison; May 8, Tyson Gay; May 15, Jon Olsen; May 22, Mary Cain; May 29, Michael Tinsley; June 5, Mary Cain; June 12, Brianna Rollins; June 26, Brianna Rollins; July 3, Thomas Burns; July 10, Ryan Whiting; July 17, William Bell. Sr.; July 24, Jenny Simpson
Week in Review
From USATF Statistician Glen McMicken
MOSCOW TEAM UPDATE
The last week of the World Championships qualifying window for Team USA saw a mixture of makes and misses. Lance Brooks, last year’s Olympic Trials champion, stretched it out until the very last day to get a B standard in the discus, throwing 64.02m/210-0 at Claremont, Calif. He will be the lone U.S. man in the event in Moscow.
Matthew Elliott, fourth at Des Moines in the 1500m, got the B standard with a personal record of 3:36.88 at Bottrop, Germany, on the 19th to seal his position as an alternate. Another alternate spot was nabbed by hammer thrower Jake Freeman, who had a 76.20m/250-0 at Lakewood, N.J., on the 17th.
Nationals third-placer Ron Taylor set a personal best in the long jump at Chula Vista, Calif., on the 19th, but his 8.19m/26-10.5 leap wasn’t quite enough to get him to Moscow as he needed the A standard of 8.25m/27-0.75.
Triple jumper Toni Smith also matched her lifetime best with a 13.99m/45-10.75 at Chula Vista on the 18th, falling short of the 14.20m/46-7.25 B standard in an event with no Team USA qualifiers.
American record holder Kara Patterson, third at Des Moines and needing the A standard of 62.00m/203-5, won the women’s javelin at the Chicagoland Throwers Series in Lisle, Ill., on the 20th with a season-best 57.12m/187-5. Sean Furey had a 78.88m/258-9 effort to win the men’s competition.
ROLLINS KEEPS UNBEATEN STRING ALIVE
American record holder Brianna Rollins still hasn’t lost a 100m hurdles race this season, and she added to her win streak with a windy 12.47 at Lapinlahti, Finland, on July 21. Rollins had a wind-legal 12.65 in the prelims.
Marvin Bracy grabbed another win in the 100m with a personal record of 10.09, while Jeff Portertopped the 110m hurdles field with his 13.52. Tori Bowie led a 1-2 finish by Americans in the women’s 100m with an 11.32 ahead of Cleo VanBuren’s 11.35.
MILING GUYS LOVE IRELAND
A 1-2 finish in the mile by Cory Leslie and Duncan Phillips in Dublin, Ire., on July 17 also produced a pair of personal records, with Leslie slicing his lifetime best to 3:55.85 and Phillips at 3:56.27. That race also saw Liam Boylan-Pett get a personal record with his 3:57.75 in sixth.
Casimir Loxsom and Hassan Mead showed they haven’t lost anything after a long collegiate season, as Loxsom clocked 1:45.75 in the 800 and Mead rolled to a personal record of 7:46.18 in the 3,000m.Katie Mackey dropped her personal record to 2:02.21 in the women’s 800m, and Brie Felnagle won the mile in 4:30.44.
LEWIS GETS 100H PR AT LAHTI
Yvette Lewis won the 100m hurdles with a lifetime-best 12.67 at Lahti, Finland, on July 17; fellow American Loreal Smith was second at 12.85.