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With a little more than a day until the shot put action kicks off, I finally was able to put the finishing touches of my men’s throws guide for the 2014 USATF Championships. The women’s guide I posted last week was fairly easy to prepare as is a clear favorites in all four throwing events. Not a single men’s throwing event, on the other hand, has a clear frontrunner. Even making a short list of who could possibly win is impossible in each event. But I’ve tried to narrow it down for you all. The only thing guaranteed is that there will be a surprise this week and it will be entertaining even if the throwing events are being relegated to outside the stadium.
USATF will be streaming the meet online for free. You can watch it live online here.
Men’s Shot Put
Favorites: Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa, Joe Kovacs
Defending Champion: Ryan Whiting
Other Contenders: Kurt Roberts, Jordan Clarke
Schedule: Qualifying at 11:30am on Wednesday, June 25th; finals at 6:15pm on Wednesday, June 25th
America is normally a powerhouse in the men’s shot put, but this year it is even more so than normal. Seven of the top eight throwers in the world this season are American and six have thrown more than seventy feet (21.34 meters). The only one of the bunch that has not broken the barrier is world indoor champion and defending national champion Ryan Whiting, who has withdrawn due to a recently removed abscess. But even in his absence the field is strong and packed together.
Christian Cantwell has had the top season so far. After being out with injury most of last season, the 33 year old started this year with four solid wins. He also has the world leading mark. However a disappointing result in the last Diamond League shows that how open the competition will be. Cantwell placed just seventh and the win went to Joe Kovacs. Reese Hoffa also won the Prefontaine Classic and Kurt Roberts just threw a personal best a week ago and made his first national team indoors. Young Jordan Clarke is also in form, while NCAA champion Ryan Crouser has also scratched likely due to a foot injury he suffered on his last throw two weeks ago.
To summarize, anyone could win. But if you look at throwers who have taken home wins already this year, it will a battle between veterans Cantwell and Hoffa, and the next generation in Kovacs and Roberts. And the best part of it all is that the event will be showcased in front of a excited crowd on the steps of the state capitol.
Men’s Hammer Throw
Favorites: Chris Cralle, A.G. Kruger, Kibwe Johnson
Defending Champion: A.G. Kruger
Other Contenders: Andy Fryman
Schedule: 3:00pm on Thursday, June 26th
The hammer throw and other throwing events will also be held outside the side, but simply on an back field rather than as a showcase. It is a shame since the action will exciting. The last two years Chris Cralle has been the surprise runner-up at the national championships. But after a few years in the shadow this might be his year. He lodged his first win against A.G. Kruger this year with a personal best of 75.26 meters at the Tucson Classic. And he returned a few days later to do it again. Kruger, on the other hand, is still the American leader of 76.25 meters from March. However he has not been as solid in May and June. Olympic Trials champion Kibwe Johnson is also hoping to redeem his fifth place finish from a year ago. After a slow start to the season he is perhaps the hottest this month after having just beaten Cralle at the inaugural Ben Plunknett Invitational. Andy Fryman is also close to joining the big three with a personal best of 73.90 from last month.
Favorites: Jason Young, Hayden Reed, Jared Schuurmans
Defending Champion: Lance Brooks
Other Contenders: Andrew Evans, Tavis Bailey, Lance Brooks, and many others
Schedule: 3:15pm on Friday, June 27th
Favorites: Tim Glover, Sam Humphreys
Defending Champion: Riley Dolezal
Other Contenders: Cyrus Hostetler, Sean Furey, Riley Dolezal
Schedule: 12:00pm on Sunday, June 29th
I am not a javelin expert and these guys are making it hard on me this year. The best preview of the national championship took place at the Tucson Elite meet last month where all of the top throwers showed up to fight for the sole spot at the Prefontaine Classic allocated to an American. The results were strong and deep, with Sam Humphreys taking the win with a season’s best of 81.51 meters. Humphreys, who placed second at nationals last year, there is one of the favorites. But just one spot behind him in Tucson was US leader Tim Glover who launched a throw of 84.01 meters earlier this year. Cyrus Hostetler and Sean Furey are also both over 80 meters this year. Hostetler has thrown further, but Furey has been quite consistent despite placing only seventh in Tucson. Defending champion Riley Dolezal literally came out of nowhere last year with a nine meter personal best to win. This year he has proven it was no fluke with a win at Mt. SAC, third place finish in Tucson and every meet over 78 meters.