After last night's 3k races that managed to exceed expectations despite considerable excitement, it is understandable to feel a bit of a hangover entering the second day of the US Championships. While that's a reasonable feeling to hold, we should battle against that. The second day should still be fun, particularly in the following three races.
Coverage is, once again, available on USATF.TV until 8pm and then will switch over to NBCSN for the final two hours of action.
Women's 800m Final (8:24 pm EST)
We know who the team is going to be going into next weekend's World Championships in Portland with Ajee Wilson and Lauren Roesler the only two qualifiers to advance to the final. But the title of U.S. Champion is murkier than it was 24 hours ago. After a strong second-place showing in the preliminary round, Phoebe Wright has put herself very much in contention for the win tonight. Wilson and Roesler are still the favorites based on their seasons and overall bodies of work, but Wright is well positioned to surprise here.
With Wilson and Roesler guaranteed to compete next weekend, one has to wonder how focused they are on tonight's event. They're professional athletes and, by virtue of that, extremely competitive human beings, but they've already achieved the primary goal of this weekend. Phoebe Wright is only racing for tonight. That possible gap in motivation could set up a fun battle in the final.
Men's 1500m (9:11 pm EST)
Any result that doesn't feature Matt Centrowitz as the U.S. Champion can only be considered a complete surprise. Behind him, three runners are competing for that second spot at next weekend's World Championships. Robby Andrews, Ben Blankenship, and Cory Leslie all have reached the qualifying standard and will be, likely, fighting for that second spot behind Centro. Predicting Robby Andrews' performance can feel like a fools' errand at times, but he's coming off a 3:53 at Millrose and has always been a bit of an indoor specialist. It's hard too pick against him since neither Blankenship nor Leslie provides a particularly inspiring alternative. Among non-qualifiers, look for Cristian Soratos to potentially finish in the top three after a strong finish in the Wanamaker mile.
Women's 1500m (8:42 pm EST)
This will be a competitive field with 10 runners potentially racing for a spot on next week's roster. After her win in last night's 3k, Shannon Rowbury will not be competing tonight, leaving a void at the top. This only serves to increase the excitement of the race itself. Brenda Martinez should fill that void easily and is the prohibitive favorite not only to make the team but to be crowned US Champion. Without Rowbury, though, the second spot on the team has become wide open. Treniere Moser will be focused on the event after not competing in the 800m last night, where, to be quite honest, her odds of making a team were better. After Martinez it's a toss up between Moser, Alexa Efraimson, Katie Mackey, Amanda Eccleston, Morgan Uceny, and Heather Kampf. My pick here is Eccleston, who has run 4:26 in the mile twice already this indoor season. Races for second aren't glamorous, but at these stakes, they can be quite exciting in their own right.
What will you be watching tonight? Who do you have winning these races?