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May 18, 2017

2017 TrackTown Summer Series: Unofficial Mock Draft

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.

Here is the list of all the eligible athletes, as of earlier this week.

  • 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.

aisha praught doha

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.

craig lutz training

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.


DRAFT SUMMARY

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

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