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  • #16
    Re: The amazing Anna Willard

    Originally posted by Half Miler

    When was the last time any athlete (male or female) made a switch down in distance with such success? I'm not talking about dominant distance runners (see Aouita, Geb) who find they can still smoke some speedsters at shorter distances. .
    Cliff West was a 1968 Golden West champion in the mile as a prep, and a solid college miler who was a 1972 USOT finalist at 1500. He eventually switched to the 200, and in 1977 ran 20.53.

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    • #17
      Which is pretty much a one-off mark that I've always had a bit of trouble with, by the way.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Dutra
        The premise that Anna Willard moved down in her event specialty is incorrect.
        Indeed, after perusing Tilastopaja a bit, I see your point. Through 2006, she ran all 3 events (8, 15, St) and was fairly mediocre in all of them. Her breakthrough came in 07 with her NCAA Steeple win and 9:34 PR, and since her other two events saw less improvement one could be led to believe the steeple was her "specialty". In truth, she was still finding her event. I think because she was under the radar (in my world) until her steeple breakthrough, I never thought of her as an 8-15 athlete.

        I think this premise is debatable, which is what threads are for.

        In any event, I'll stick to my original point: Willard was a major surprise this year.

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        • #19
          Responding somewhat to the "meteoric improvement" comments of US middle distance runners without posting the quotes since the post is so stinking long.

          I think one of the factors in this improvement is that you have a group of athletes that are simply starting to believe they have a chance now internationally. Rowbury runs fairly well last year and perhaps a few of her competitors said to themselves, well, if she can do it, maybe I can too, and it snowballs from there. Now we have a much larger group that now know they can be competitive. They also have learned what it took to get to that level and that knowledge is going to help others do the same. We are seeing a resurgence that I think will continue for some time and hopefully, this will get some athletes from other countries to believe they can compete with the Kenyans and Ethiopians as well.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Half Miler
            Willard wins the WAF.

            The rankings will be interesting.
            You beat me to it. Depending on Janeth Jepkosgei's record this year, I see a slight possibility that Anna could rank #1 in the 800. #2, at worst, is almost certainly guaranteed. Depending on the gender inquiry, I don't think Semenya can rank higher than #3, or #4, with the World Championships being Semenya's only race outside of S. Africa (unless I missed one).

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            • #21
              I don't see them ranking Semenya at all. I don't know how close their voting/publication date is to the council meeting in November, but even if they rule that she can keep her medal and the money, I think we all know that she'll be ruled ineligiblw for further competition until she undergoes some sort f treatment.

              That said, you can make a case for the number one ranking to go to Anna. Janeth's only win over 800m was at the Kenyan Trials and possibly Worlds depending on how the ruling goes. She has run about eight-tenths faster than Anna this season, and while they don't have any head-to-heads, Anna has beaten almost everyone else who is a candidate for a ranking and there's something to be said for four wins in four races, especially with two of them in the Golden League, and a third at the WAF. Even though Vessey won Rome and Monaco and ran 1:57, the number of losses and head-to-head losses must take her down a few notches.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Half Miler
                Originally posted by Dutra
                The premise that Anna Willard moved down in her event specialty is incorrect.
                Indeed, after perusing Tilastopaja a bit, I see your point. Through 2006, she ran all 3 events (8, 15, St) and was fairly mediocre in all of them. Her breakthrough came in 07 with her NCAA Steeple win and 9:34 PR, and since her other two events saw less improvement one could be led to believe the steeple was her "specialty". In truth, she was still finding her event. I think because she was under the radar (in my world) until her steeple breakthrough, I never thought of her as an 8-15 athlete.

                I think this premise is debatable, which is what threads are for.

                In any event, I'll stick to my original point: Willard was a major surprise this year.
                She was at Brown through college and was a good college runner but carrying far too much weight (in an earlier thread someone posted a picture from Penn where she was running a relay leg for Brown). She went to Michigan as a grad student with one season of eligibility and actually worked hard at track and was the star of Michigan's four relay wins at Penn and had a great year.

                She has been getting steadily better each year. The difference this year is that she stepped down in distance as her primary event(s). She was the AR in the Steeple and is not (yet) had AR in the 1500 or 800.

                I think that she has Jenny to thank for the gentle shove down in distance.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Half Miler
                  Originally posted by Dutra
                  The premise that Anna Willard moved down in her event specialty is incorrect.
                  Indeed, after perusing Tilastopaja a bit, I see your point. Through 2006, she ran all 3 events (8, 15, St) and was fairly mediocre in all of them. Her breakthrough came in 07 with her NCAA Steeple win and 9:34 PR, and since her other two events saw less improvement one could be led to believe the steeple was her "specialty". In truth, she was still finding her event. I think because she was under the radar (in my world) until her steeple breakthrough, I never thought of her as an 8-15 athlete.

                  I think this premise is debatable, which is what threads are for.

                  In any event, I'll stick to my original point: Willard was a major surprise this year.
                  Willard ran some very good 4 x 800m legs at Michigan and has stated in the past that she thought she could run 1:58 in the 800m.

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                  • #24
                    Since they started the GP Final/WAF in '85, Willard is the first American woman ever to win the 800.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by CookyMonzta
                      Originally posted by Half Miler
                      Willard wins the WAF.

                      The rankings will be interesting.
                      You beat me to it. Depending on Janeth Jepkosgei's record this year, I see a slight possibility that Anna could rank #1 in the 800. #2, at worst, is almost certainly guaranteed. Depending on the gender inquiry, I don't think Semenya can rank higher than #3, or #4, with the World Championships being Semenya's only race outside of S. Africa (unless I missed one).
                      Jepkosgei won one of her five races this year -

                      2:03.63 5)Lausanne GP 7/7
                      2:01.39 6)Roma GL 7/10
                      1:59.31A 1)Kenyan WC Trials 7/25
                      1:57.90 2)WC 8/19
                      1:59.94 2)Zagreb GP 8/31

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                      • #26
                        Willard's record is almost certainly too thin to be a No. 1 in a WC year. Maybe even too thin for a No. 2.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by gh
                          Willard's record is almost certainly too thin to be a No. 1 in a WC year. Maybe even too thin for a No. 2.
                          But Semenya's is thinner and Jepkosgei's is no thicker, and yet includes a few weak performances . . .

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by DecFan
                            Originally posted by gh
                            Willard's record is almost certainly too thin to be a No. 1 in a WC year. Maybe even too thin for a No. 2.
                            But Semenya's is thinner and Jepkosgei's is no thicker, and yet includes a few weak performances . . .
                            Clearly, the leader in wins is Vessey, although she has a up/down record that would be more of a black mark for a veteran than for a neophyte that made several tactical errors that cost her.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by 26mi235
                              Originally posted by DecFan
                              Originally posted by gh
                              Willard's record is almost certainly too thin to be a No. 1 in a WC year. Maybe even too thin for a No. 2.
                              But Semenya's is thinner and Jepkosgei's is no thicker, and yet includes a few weak performances . . .
                              Clearly, the leader in wins is Vessey, although she has a up/down record that would be more of a black mark for a veteran than for a neophyte that made several tactical errors that cost her.
                              Vessey is 0-3 against Willard this year. I would be shocked if Vessey were ranked higher than Willard given that record and the value head-to-head results are given.

                              Against Willard this, the top 25 fastest women this year are:

                              Vessey is 0-3
                              Savinova is 0-2
                              Meadows is 0-1
                              Krevsun is 0-1
                              Cusma is 0-3
                              Martínez is 0-2
                              Simpson is 0-2
                              Zbrozhek is 0-3
                              Sinclair is 0-1
                              Okoro is 0-2
                              Guégan is 0-1

                              I don't think Semenya will be ranked, and Willard obviously never raced any of the others. I could see Jepkosgei getting ahead of her as she'll likely be World Champion and that's the big one, but she didn't win any other international races the rest of the year.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by gh
                                Which is pretty much a one-off mark that I've always had a bit of trouble with, by the way.
                                What "trouble" do you have?

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