The TrackTown Summer Series is almost here and we’re certainly excited for a team competition throughout the coming months.
If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s a U.S.-based track and field circuit that is centered on four teams – New York. Portland, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The team are evenly split between men and women. For a long time, the top U.S. elite runners have traveled to Europe in hopes of chasing fast times and additional income at races. In addition to trying to grow the sports’ presence on U.S. soil, this also presents an alternative for elites to stay closer to home, earn and save money.
The summer series kicks off on June 29 at Stanford University for the San Francisco leg of the series. Portland will host on July 2 at Mount Hood Community College before it all culminates at the TrackTown Summer Series Championship in New York on July 6 at Icahn Stadium. The series will be televised on ESPN.
Each of the four teams will be drafted under the direction of their respective general managers: Bernard Lagat (Portland), Sanya Richards-Ross (Philadelphia), Nick Symmonds (San Francisco), Allyson Felix (New York). For our intents and purposes, we will be doing a mock draft just like they do for major sports like the NBA or NFL. Track is a sport so let’s treat it like a major one!
So how does the draft operate? Well the athletes have registered online and declared for the draft. The deadline to apply is June 15 and athletes will be told if they’re in on June 17 but with about a month to go, we already have a deep pool. The draft is Snake style for eight rounds.
- Each team will select one male and one female. The team with the last pick gets to make the first choice of the second round.
- At the end of the draft, each team will have 16 athletes on its roster, eight men and eight women. The remaining 20 athletes for each team will be selected via free agency.
MOCK DRAFT BEGINS
First round, First Pick – Philadelphia (Paul Snyder)
Jeff Demps; Sheila Reid
I picked Jeff because he used to play football which is actually a team sport so he’s used to that sort of situation. And I picked Sheila because she’s very good and I was surprised she was an option, given that she’s Canadian. (Plus she has Philly ties via ‘Nova.)
First round, Second Pick – Portland (Ryan Sterner)
Boris Berian; Aisha Praught
I like Berian because he used to work at McDonald’s. I like Praught because she’s ran fast this season already, and unless I’m mistaken, the name of the game is having fast people? I’m still not positive what I’m doing here.
First round, Third Pick – New York (Chris Chavez)
Paul Chelimo; Shelby Houlihan
I can not believe that an Olympic silver medalist fell to the third overall pick in the draft but here I am picking Paul Chelimo. We’ve had some great content on the site this week about Shelby Houlihan and so because she seems to be a cool person and a double-U.S. indoor champion, I’ll take her with my first pick.
First round, Fourth Pick – San Francisco
Kibwe Johnson; Murielle Ahoure
Both can beat LeVar Ball one-on-one — all that matters. Seriously though, Kibwe is consistently among America’s top hammer timers, and Ahoure has broken 11 seconds in the 100 meters in each of the last five seasons.
Second round, First Pick – San Francisco
Ben True; Amber Campbell
In between my picks, Chavez commented, “Liao showing his cards here.” Yes, I like to be prepared — if by prepared you mean doing 20 minutes of research on Track & Field News form charts before this.
Second round, Second Pick – New York
Charlie Grice; Leah O’Connor
Grice clocked that 3:52.64 in the “slow” section of the mile at last summer’s Prefontaine Classic and put on the boaties for a 3:33.60 in Monaco. Watch him this year. O’Connor appears to have made a full recovery from a pretty unfortunate end to her Olympic team hopes at the Trials last summer. A healthy Leah O’Connor contends for U.S. team spots and points at the Summer Series.
Second Round, Third Pick – Portland
Chrishuna Williams; Ronnie Baker
Like any good sports fan, I’m obsessed with round numbers. Chrishuna broke 2 minutes in the 800m last year and became an Olympian. Ronnie Baker has already broken 10 seconds for the 100m. These are things that I found on Google, and both of them pleased me greatly.
Second Round, Fourth Pick – Philadelphia
Woody Kincaid; Emily Lipari
Woody is a nice boy; I bowled with him once. I hear he’s hurt but still trust him with my second round male pick. Emily–like Sheila–ran at Villanova so she’s a good local runner who knows how to kick.
If only Paul, listened to the latest episode of The Price of a Mile….
Third Round, First Pick – Philadelphia
Jarrin Solomon; Stephanie Schappert
I’ve never met a Jarrin I didn’t like, and I don’t see any reason to not pick Villanova milers on the women’s side. Gotta give those with ties to Philly a chance to put on for their city.
Third Round, Second Pick – Portland
Cristian Soratos; Sara Sutherland
Cristian Soratos is a name I recognize, especially after he put together a strong indoor season. Sara Sutherland is a person I know. These are good enough reasons as any.
Third Round, Third Pick – New York
Tom Walsh; Kaylin Whitney
Back when the site first launched, I mentioned how the shot put is going to be a must-watch event for the Americans like Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs but Tom Walsh is going to be right there giving them a run at Diamond League meets and probably at Worlds. I’m going to draft Kaylin Whitney here with sights set on one of the bright sprints stars in the youth movement.
Third round, Fourth Pick – San Francisco
Jason Richardson; Phylicia George
Double dipping on hurdlers here. Betting on J-Rich having some gas in the tank after a very competitive USA’s (it’s also the 10th anniversary of the “We Believe” Warriors team). Betting no one says “bye Phylicia” and the Canadian can lock down some wins in this series.
Fourth round, First Pick – San Francisco
David Verburg; Jeneva Stevens
Verburg races with a single arm-warmer on his right arm — so that’s cool. He’s also an Olympian — that’s even cooler. Stevens just missed the Olympic team in the shot put last year and will be hungry for a big 2017. Also, here’s some strategy: no one had picked a women’s shot putter yet.
Fourth Round, Second Pick – New York
Pedro Pichardo; Eleanor Fulton
PP is a pretty risky pick because his off-season consisted of DEFECTING from Cuba, settling in Germany and getting a Portugese job. This will make for an interesting trip to the U.S. Fulton has quietly started rubbing shoulders and mixing it up with the top U.S. middle distance stars and our own Scott Olberding has great things to say about her.
Fourth Round, Third Pick – Portland
Bradley Adkins; Janay Soukup
The high jump is one of my favorite events and Bradley Adkins is darn good at it. Janay Soukup may be a bit older in Athlete Years, but she finished just shy of a medal in the long jump at the 2016 World Indoor Championships, which were held in Portland, which is the city I’m reppin’ for this draft.
Fourth Round, Fourth Pick – Philadelphia
Craig Lutz; Ce’Aira Brown
You better believe the City of Brotherly Love drafts with almost exclusively nepotism in mind. Craig is a good friend of mine, and he’s fit and a competitor; I like his odds in a 5K road race. Also Ce’Aira is from Philadelphia, so obviously I’m gonna pick the 800m specialist.
Fifth Round, First Pick – Philadelphia
Tommy Awad; Chanelle Price
Tommy is a natural choice. I like him. He ran collegiately in Philly. And he’s a hungry, 3:37 kid who wants to pop off a big one. Price is from Pennsylvania and is super talented. Given the chance to represent her home state I’m sure she’ll run fast.
Fifth Round, Second Pick – Portland
Nick Symmonds; Alexa Efraimson
Let’s hope that Nick Symmonds still has some stuff left in the tank–or at least can pop enough run gum before a race to crack off a good one. Alexa Efraimson seems to be a nice, fast young lady, and we wish her all the best.
Fifth Round, Third Pick – New York
Tripp Hurt; Flings Owosu-Agyapong
This round was all about drafting the names that I think the fans would love. Now if only track had jerseys for fans…
Fifth round, Fourth Pick – San Francisco
Hassan Mead; Rachel Schneider
Mead was in the green room this entire time just waiting for his name to be called — shades of Aaron Rodgers at the 2005 NFL Draft. I read Jeanne Mack’s feature on Schneider on some website called Kitty-Us Mag and she seems really cool.
Sixth round, First Pick – San Francisco
Darrell Hill; Felisha Johnson
Hill surprised many by finishing third at the Olympic Trials last year to make the Rio shot put team. According to Wikipedia, Hill’s father made it to Rio to watch his son compete “after a crowdfunding campaign was started by a passenger whom he met while driving for Uber.” I’ve now drafted a Phylicia and a Felisha. Bye.
Sixth round, Second Pick – New York
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi; Abbey D’Agostino
I actually went to high school in New York City at the same time that Enekwechi was in high school so me and my buddies would crowd around the thrower’s cage at the Armory to watch “Chuk.” He was a beast and still is. With the D’Agostino pick, I believe in comebacks after injuries. This will be something like Joel Embiid. Baby steps during the comeback.
Sixth Round, Third Pick – Portland
Will Leer; Cory McGee
I picked Will Leer because I also picked his wife, and also because he’s a Minnesota boy who will occasionally run a nice, fast mile. In general, I like how fast Cory McGee has been running the last year. A nice late round pick up while the rest of my competition sleeps behind the wheel.
Sixth Round, Fourth Pick – Philadelphia
Sergei Marghiev; Taylor Ellis-Watson
Sergei is a Moldovian stud of a hammer thrower. I think he’s the only hammer boy to be picked so far! And Taylor Ellis-Watson is from Philly, and was also selected for the women’s 4×400 meter relay team at Rio.
Seventh Round, First Pick – Philadelphia
Noah Droddy; Cecilia Barowski
I’m continuing a rich history of people underestimating Noah by taking him in the seventh round of the draft. Cecilia’s been running great, and went to Princeton, which–while in New Jersey–isn’t terribly far from–you guessed it–Philly, baby!
Seventh Round, Second Pick – Portland
Garrett Heath; Janice Jackson
If I picked Will Leer because he’s a Minnesota boy who has a tendency to run a fast mile every now and again, it would be a crime if I also didn’t pick Garrett Heath. Janice Jackson is a nice sounding name, and I don’t have nearly enough female sprinters on my squad.
Seventh Round, Third Pick – New York
Sam Penzenstader; Jade Barber
I split a lot of my time in college in Milwaukee, while attending Marquette and Penzenstadler is a Wisconsin star. The other chunk of my time in college was spent at Notre Dame and so I’ll pick Jade Barber, who is the faster of the two sisters available in the draft. I miss college sometimes.
Seventh Round, Fourth Pick – San Francisco
Bryshon Nellum; Ivet Lalova
People forget Nellum was the Closing Ceremonies flag bearer at the London Olympics? He’s been pretty quiet since then, but ran well at Penn Relays this spring. Lalova is a stalwart of the global sprint scene, including finishing eighth in the 200 meters last summer in Rio.
Eighth Round, First Pick – San Francisco
Richard Jones; Kaitlin Gregg Goodman
I just looked at all of Paul’s Philly-native picks and realized I should pick some Bay Area peeps. Jones ran at Benicia High before going on to be an All-American 800 meter runner at LSU. Gregg Goodman is from Davis (I know, technically not the Bay Area), stayed in her hometown for college at UC Davis, and recently set a 10k PR of 31:55.46 at Payton Jordan.
Eighth Round, Second Pick – New York
Spencer Adams; Amanda Bingson
Adams has been a fixture in the U.S. hurdling circuit for at least the last five years and so he brings a solid veteran presence to my team. Can’t go wrong with Bingson, who starred in some Budweiser commercials last year.
Eighth Round, Third Pick – Portland
Aric Van Halen; Tori Bliss
The reason I chose Janice Jackson is because her name sounds like a rock star’s name. Now, he’s no Ted Nugent, but Aric Van Halen will have to do. Doing a quick skim of my roster, I couldn’t find a female field event athlete, so I found one who had a very pleasant sounding name, and a decent record for throwing heavy stuff. Win/win.
Eighth Round, Fourth Pick – Philadelphia
Andrew Butchart; Liz Costello
Andrew is a 13:0X Scotsman. Nice. And Liz is really good at finishing at the front of races from 5K up–plus she ran at nearby Princeton, and is FROM OUTSIDE PHILADELPHIA.
San Francisco: Kibwe Johnson, Murielle Ahoure, Ben True, Amber Campbell, Jason Richardson, Phylicia George, David Verburg, Jeneva Stevens, Hassan Mead, Rachel Schneider, Darrell Hill, Felisha Johnson, Bryshon Nellum, Ivet Lalova, Richard Jones, Kaitlin Gregg Goodman
New York: Paul Chelimo, Shelby Houlihan, Charlie Grice, Leah O’Conner, Tom Walsh, Kaylin Whitney, Pedro Pichardo, Eleanor Fulton, Tripp Hurt, Flings Owosu-Agyapong, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Abbey D’Agostino, Sam Penzenstader, Jade Barber, Spencer Adams, Amanda Bingson
Portland: Boris Berian, Aisha Praught, Chrishuna Williams, Ronnie Baker, Cristian Soratos, Sara Sutherland, Bradley Adkins, Janay Soukup, Nick Symmonds, Alexa Efraimson, Will Leer, Cory McGee, Garrett Heath, Janice Jackson, Aric Van Halen, Tori Bliss.
Philadelphia: Jeff Demps, Sheila Reid, Woody Kincaid, Emily Lipari, Jarrin Solomon, Stephanie Schappert, Craig Lutz, Ce’Aira Brown, Tommy Awad, Chanelle Price, Sergei Marghiev, Taylor Ellis-Watson, Noah Droddy, Cecilia Barowski, Andrew Butchart, Liz Costello