INDIANAPOLIS – The world-class abilities of shot putter Adam Nelson, pole vaulter Brad Walker and high jumper Jesse Williams will be the featured attractions in men’s field event competition at the 2011 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships presented by BMW, February 26-27 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
The third and final event of the USA Track & Field 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the USA Indoor Championships will be televised live on Sunday, February 27, from 4:30 - 6 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.
The meet will also be webcast at www.usatf.org in partnership with RunnerSpace.com. The free webcast will run from 6 – 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday and from 11:30 – 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The Visit Albuquerque, along with the New Mexico Sports Authority, the University of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque and USATF New Mexico, are the official hosts for the championships, which were held in Albuquerque in 2010 and will return in 2012.
Nelson in search of U.S. Indoor title in Visa Men’s Shot Put
Two-time Olympic Games silver medalist and 2005 World Outdoor champion Adam Nelson will look to win his third-career U.S. Indoor title, and first since 2002 Sunday in Albuquerque.
Nelson, who ended the 2010 season ranked #7 in the world by Track & Field News, will face stiff competition from 2009 and 2010 NCAA Outdoor champion Ryan Whiting, who was a surprise winner earlier this year in New York at the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden with his clutch toss of 21.31m/69-11 on his fourth and final attempt, which gave him the victory. He’ll enter the competition in Albuquerque ranked as the #8 shot putter in the world by T&FN.
2009 USA Indoor champion and 2008 Olympic Trials fourth-place finisher Dan Taylor, will also be a factor in this competition, along with Cory Martin, who posted a monster personal best last year of 22.10m/72-6.25, which was the fifth-best mark in the world that season. Martin began the 2011 campaign ranked #9 in the world by T&FN.
Walker, Scott & Hollis to tangle in men’s pole vault
2006 World Indoor champion and 2007 World Outdoor champ Brad Walker will enter the men’s pole vault competition as the favorite, although he’ll face a strong challenge from Mark Hollis and Jeremy Scott.
Walker, who first won this event in 2005, also was victorious in 2006 and 2008. The 2008 World Indoor Championships silver medalist, Walker is also the USA Outdoor record holder (6.04m/19-9.75).
Two-time NAIA champion Mark Hollis leapt onto the national stage last summer with his win at the USA Outdoor Championships with a best clearance of 5.60m/18-4.50. Hollis will look to improve upon his seventh-place finish at last year’s USA Indoor Championships.
2009 USA Indoor champion Jeremy Scott will attempt to win his second USA Indoor title after placing fourth at both the USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2010. Former Rice University standout and 2009 NCAA Outdoor champion Jason Colwick will also be in the mix along University of Kansas star and 2010 NCAA Outdoor champion Jordan Scott.
Williams looks to soar above the rest in high jump
Reigning USA Indoor and Outdoor champion Jesse Williams will attempt to win his second-career USA Indoor title in Albuquerque. Williams was unquestionably America’s finest high jumper last season, with his best performance coming at the USA Indoor Championships when he cleared 2.34 meters/7 feet 8 inches, which was his career best, and the second-highest clearance in the world last year.
Williams will be challenged by 2008 Olympian Dusty Jonas, who finished second at last year’s USA Indoor Championships before winning the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Doha. Jonas finished the 2010 campaign ranked #9 in the world and #2 in the U.S. by T&FN. His top performance last year was when he soared over the bar set at 2.33m/7-7.75 in Lincoln, Neb., which was the third-best clearance globally in 2010.
Also look for 2004 Olympic Games fourth-place finisher Jamie Nieto, who finished fourth at this event last year, and 2009 USA World Outdoor Championships team member Keith Moffatt, who finished sixth last year in Albuquerque.
Hicks hoping to retain long jump crown
Former LSU standout Jeremy Hicks is hopeful of hanging on to his USA Indoor Championships long jump title after winning it last year with a best leap of 7.94m/26-0.75. Hicks, who finished fifth at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships, ended the season ranked #5 in the U.S. by T&FN.
Hicks will be challenged by 2010 USA Indoor Champs fourth-place finisher Randall Flimmons, who competed at last year’s World Indoor Championships, and 2008 Olympic Trials sixth-place finisher JaRod Tobler, who has the best qualifying mark in the field of 7.88m/25-10.25.
Rouhlac & Willis to battle it out in triple jump
The winners of the last two USA Indoor men’s triple jump titles will square off for this year’s crown in Albuquerque when Brandon Roulhac and Lawrence Willis square off at the Convention Center.
A former standout at Louisiana Lafayette University, Willis enters as the defending champion following a strong 2010 campaign where he finished third at the USA Outdoor Championships and ended the season ranked #2 in the U.S. by T&FN.
Roulhac will attempt to wrest the title back from Willis that he won in 2009 with a best hop, skip and jump of 16.94m/55-7. A five-time collegiate All-American from Albany State, Roulhac won the USA Indoor and Outdoor triple jump titles in 2009. He began the 2011 campaign ranked #4 in the U.S. by T&FN.
Others to watch for include 2008 Olympian Rafeeq Curry and former Georgia Tech standout Alphonso Jordan, who finished sixth at last year’s USA Outdoor Championships.
Lucky 7 for Kruger?
Two-time Olympian and three-time World Outdoor Championships competitor A.G. Kruger will attempt to win his seventh-career USA Indoor men’s weight throw title in Albuquerque. Kruger, who has won the last two USA Indoor titles, also owns four consecutive USA Outdoor hammer throw crowns (2006-2009).
Look for Kruger’s biggest challenge to come from Jake Freeman, who won his first USA Outdoor hammer title last year in his 12th try. A 2009 World Outdoor Championships competitor representing Team USA, Freeman has been ranked in the top five in the U.S. the last six consecutive years.
Additional challengers for the title include former University of Tennessee standout Garland Porter, who finished fifth at last year’s USA Outdoor Champs and is ranked #5 in the U.S. by T&FN, and 2009 World Outdoor Championships team member and 2008 Olympic Trials fifth-place finisher Michael Mai.
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the World's #1 Track & Field Team, the most-watched events at the Olympics, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport, and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States: www.usatf.org.