ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Kellie Wells and Jennifer Barringer Simpson, who own world-leading marks in their respective events, along with Carmelita Jeter, the world’s #1 ranked 100m sprinter, headline the women’s running events at the third and final event of USA Track & Field’s 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the 2011 USA Indoor Championships presented by BMW. The event 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.
Wells is the woman to beat in the BMW 60m Hurdles
Kellie Wells has started 2011 in a blaze, running the seven fastest times in the world so far this year for the 60m hurdles. She also holds the top spot on this year’s U.S. lists for both the 55m and 60m hurdles. Her time of 7.82 for the 60m hurdles earlier this month in Karlsruhe, Germany makes her the only woman in the meet to have run under eight seconds this year. Wells will be challenged by Tki James who holds the #2 spot on the current U.S. list for the 55m hurdles.
Jeter looks to extend 2010 success in the Visa Women’s 60m
Carmelita Jeter enters the championships as the defending indoor champion and with a #1 world ranking in the 100m according to Track & Field News. Jeter knows success on the Albuquerque track, as she set her indoor personal record of 7.02 at last year’s championships. During her 2010 campaign, she won bronze at the World Indoor Championships and posted the fastest women's 100m time in 12 years with her victory at the IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki, Greece. For 2011, Jeter has only the tenth fastest time on the U.S. list from a 7.23 performance earlier this month in Albuquerque.
Jeter will be challenged by Gloria Asumnu who earlier this year ran the #1 time on the U.S. list of 7.14 in Dusseldorf. Asumnu finished third in the championships in 2010. Others to watch include #8 on the world list Sholonda Solomon, two-time indoor national titlist, Me’Lisa Barber and 2006 runner-up for 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, Tiana Madison.
Barringer dominant in Nike Women’s Mile
Jennifer Simpson looks to add a U.S. Indoor title to her pair of outdoor crowns in the steeplechase. Simpson has bounced back from a 2010 season of injuries in outstanding form. Simpson holds the current world leader in the mile of 4:28.60, and recorded a personal best in the indoor 1,500m with her 1,500m split in the same race of 4:11.0.
Others to watch include Sara Hall, who ran to a 1,500m win at the 104th Millrose Games in a time of 4:15.35, and Frances Koons, who sits in the #2 spot on the current U.S. list for the mile with her personal best effort of 4:31.53.
Barringer looks for double in Women’s 3,000m
Saturday’s 3,000m race looks to be a preview of the Mile, with the top two entrants in the mile also entered in the 3,000m. Just as she is the top seed in the Mile, Simpson’s qualifying mark is more than 17 seconds faster than her nearest competitor. In the 2010 edition of this event, Sara Hall was narrowly edged out at the line as she took the runner-up spot en route to qualifying for the World Indoor Championships.
An up-and-coming distance runner to watch is Allison Kieffer, who recently returned from the NACAC Cross Country Championships with an individual fourth place finish and senior women’s team gold. Kieffer also represented Team USA this year at the Five Nation’s Match, where she earned bronze in the 3,000m and ran to a time of 9:08.21, which gives her the second fastest seed time of the meet.
Trotter looks for a third U.S. Indoor title in Visa Women’s 60m
Two-time indoor champion, DeeDee Trotter looks to continue her success from the last stop of the Visa Championship Series, where she set a meet record of 51.88 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Trotter will face stiff competition from Olympic and world championships gold medalist, Natasha Hastings, who holds the current U.S. leader with a time of 51.44, and ended the 2010 season in the third-place spot on the U.S. rankings according to Track & Field News. Also in the field is 2008 Olympian, Mary Wineberg.
Wright looks strong in the 800m
Coming off of an early-season personal best of 2:00.39, Phoebe Wright, the former standout at the University of Tennessee, looks to improve her mark and bring home her first USA title during her first full year as a professional athlete.
Veteran Angee Henry, a two-time NCAA champion in the long jump, continues to improve her efforts as a middle-distance runner with personal records in both the 400m and 800m in 2011.
Michta and Vail square off in the women’s 3,000m Race Walk
Defending champion Maria Michta will face still competition from Teresa Vaill, the 2008 indoor champion. Vaill comes to Albuquerque with a qualifying mark nearly 10 seconds faster than her nearest competitor of 13:26.20.Note: 2008 Olympic Games 110m hurdles bronze medalist David Oliver has scratched from the Nike Men’s 60m hurdles field.
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.