Introducing the Citius Mag Weekend Power Rankings. We previously did a full weekend round-up of things but we like to keep things short, sweet and easy for y’all to digest with your morning coffee. Every Monday, we’ll be putting together a round-up of the weekend winners and those who need improvement. It’s a simple five up and five down style. Without further ado, let’s get to the weekend warriors from May 13 and May 14.
5. Sergey Shubenkov
Now being on this end of the list sin’t the worst thing. We’re just noting that Shubenkov has a little rust to get rid of. He missed all of last year’s international competition due to the nationwide Russian doping ban. Olympic champion Omar McLeod blew away the field with his 13.09 win. Shubenkov was fifth in 13.35. Not the best performance but it did match his season opener from 2015, when he went on to win the world championship title. Dethroning McLeod appears to be tough right now for anyone but it’ll be interesting to see how Shubenkov tries to close the gap in his return.
4. Nick Willis
4:11.6 for 10th at the Medtronic TC 1 Mile, which was won by Ben Blankenship in 4:01.0. Another rust buster and let’s remember Willis did not run indoors to spend more time with his family so this was his first finish since Rio.
3. Crocs kid (Benjamin Pachev)
We were riding the high of his 71-minute half marathon while wearing Crocs. Then…he big timed us at the last-chance meet at BYU.
2. Kenyan Fake News
The Daily Nation from Kenya has some interesting stories on occasion with insight into Kenyan stars and their training. Now, when we saw a report that Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany were among the runners competing at this summer’s world championships marathon….c’mon. They’re probably entered in a pool to be considered for the team but there’s no way they pass up lucrative appearance money for a fall marathon, especially Kipchoge after clocking 2:00:25. We’ll wait for the official team announcement from the IAAF.
1. David Rudisha
All eyes were on the Olympic champion and world record holder ahead of the meet and he had some big words about opening his next four-year cycle in Shanghai, but he fell well short. It’s not uncommon for Rudisha to lose, but it’s certainly odd. He couldn’t hold his lead in the final 200 meters and faded to fourth in 1:45.36 – his slowest season opener in 10 years. Somewhere out there Clayton Murphy and Donovan Brazier smiled a little. Then again…
At the same time, keep your eyes on the kid who beat Rudisha. Kipyegon Bett, who has a personal best of 1:43.76 from September 2016 and also captured the World Youth title last summer.
5. Dathan Ritzenhein
He’s healthy! Dathan Ritzenhein won his first U.S. national title since 2008 with a 1:14:27 for 25K, which is not far off Christo Landry’s 1:14:18 American record. It appears that Ritzenhein is no longer sponsored by Nike as he sported a local running team kit and the Vaporfly 4% shoes. Someone could probably sign Ritzenhein to a short deal since he’s 34 and could have another solid marathon in him. Heck, his Olympic teammate Abdi Abdirahman has resurrected his career, so I wouldn’t put it past Ritzenhein. 2016 was a year to forget with his DNF at the Trials and at the New York City Marathon.
4. Helen Obiri
14:22.47 to blow away the 5,000m field in China could just be the start for Obiri. She’s going to be a handful in London and right now there’s going to be a ton of fanfare for Dibaba as she takes on the world record at Pre. Almaz Ayana has been quiet as well.
3. Fred Kerley
Back when I was a sprinter, I got yelled at a lot for letting up before the finish line. That’s probably because the race had already been decided ahead of me and I knew I was coming in last or close to it. Fred Kerley cruised to the easiest 44.09 at the SEC Championships. Let’s keep an eye on that NCAA record of 44.00 by USC’s Quincy Watts. It’ll be a fast one with Nathon Allen pushing him and then we have the possibility of Emmanuel Korir also hopping in there. The Kenyan out of UTEP apparently clocked a 44.53 that his coach called “easy and smooth.”
— Costas Goulas (@lsabre) May 13, 2017
2. Elaine Thompson
On this season of Survivor, Sandra Diaz-Twine (a two-time winner of the show) kept repeating the phrase “The Queen, Stay Queen” which is a riff off the “King Stay King” phrase but regardless, it’s the first thing I think about when I see a results sheet for a women’s 100 meter race and Elaine Thompson’s name is on top. Thompson’s slowest 100 final in her last six races is the 10.78 that she ran to win in China. She’s gonna compete at the Jamaica Invitational but then a heavyweight bout at 200 meters follows at the Prefontaine Classic. The field includes Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller. Sandra was eventually voted off before making the jury in this season of Survivor. Maybe Thompson has a hiccup and loses one of these races but I ultimately think the Queen Stays, the Queen.
(Kudos here also to Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya on her world-best of 3:59.22 for the 1,500m.)
1. Noah Lyles
The 19-year-old sprinter clocked a 19.90 to win the 200 meters at the Shanghai Diamond League and became just the fourth runner to break 20 seconds for the race before turning 20. He’ll turn 20 on July 18 but this is one heck of a start to his rookie campaign as a professional. He demolished a field that included LaShawn Merritt (2nd in 20.27), Adam Gemili (3rd in 20.35) and Ameer Webb (20.39). Shortly after crossing the finish line, he just pointed toward the clock. A reminder, Usain Bolt first broke 20 seconds as a 17 year old so let’s not get carried away with dubbing him the next big thing but he surely has sent an early statement that he’s ready to compete with the pros in 2017. We got the hint when he ran 20.09 at the trials last summer.
Any other performances that you think we should have highlighted? Send us your thoughts. Email me at [email protected].