Strong second half: Americans improve to .317 in Daegu vs. Eugene!

LOS ANGELES, Sep. 4, 2011 – After a very modest first four days of the World Track & Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, the United States team caught fire in the final four days of competition, collecting 15 medals and executing a series of performances that exceeded those needed to make the American team in June:

• The American men, in a simple comparison of marks made in the finals of the Nationals in Eugene, had only two performances in the finals in Daegu (or their last round of preliminary competition if they did not advance) through the first four days in 28 opportunities, just an .071 “batting average.” After adjusting the sprint results for wind and altitude, give credit to Walter Dix (100 m) and Jason Richardson (110 mH) for performances which are statistically better, so the first-half men’s total was 4-28 or .143.

In the final four days, however, the U.S. men recorded 7 1/2 performances in 26 tries that were better in Daegu than in Eugene for an much-better .289 average, with Bernard Lagat’s mark in the 5,000 m and Will Claye’s in the long jump almost the same.

• The American women “batted” 6-26 in the first four days (.230) and after adjusting the sprints for wind and altitude, Carmelita Jeter’s 100 meters was statistically better in Daegu, so the first-half total improves to 7-26 or .269.

In the second half, the U.S. women were en fuego at 9-26, meaning better than a third of the team performed better in their final round in Daegu than in the finals in Eugene, a very fine .346 average. Not to mention that Jeter’s 200 m final mark, adjusted for the wind, was this close to her Eugene time.

Add them together and the second-half team total is 16 1/2-for-52, an impressive .317 average. The event-by-event details of the second half, with all Daegu placings indicated:

Men:

200 meters: 1-for-3
(finals wind readings: +2.4 in Eugene vs. +0.8 in Daegu)
YES: Walter Dix: 19.95w in Eugene vs. 19.70 in Daegu (silver medalist)
NO: Darvis Patton: 19.98w vs. 20.72 (12th in semifinals; wind: -1.0)
NO: Jeremy Dodson: 20.07w vs. 20.92 (30th in heats; wind: -0.8)

1,500 meters: 3-for-3
YES: Matthew Centrowitz: 3:47.63 vs. 3:36.08 (bronze medalist)
YES: Leonel Mazano: 3:48.16 vs. 3:47.98 (21st in semifinals)
YES: Andrew Wheating: 3:48.19 vs. 3:42.68 (29th in heats)

5,000 meters: 0-for-3
NO: Bernard Lagat: 13:23.06 vs. 13:23.64 (silver medalist)
NO: Galen Rupp: 13:25.52 vs. 13:28.64 (9th)
NO: Andrew Bumbalough: 13:39.94 vs. 13:44.38 (17th in qualifying)

400 meter Hurdles: 0-for-3
NO: Jeshua Anderson: 47.93 vs. 49.33 (12th in semifinals)
NO: Bershawn Jackson: 47.93 vs. 49.24 (6th)
NO: Angelo Taylor: 47.94 vs. 49.31 (7th)

High Jump: 0.5-for-3
NO: Jesse Williams: 7-9 1/4 (2.37 m) vs. 7-8 1/2 (2.35 m) (gold medalist)
TIE: Erik Kynard: 7-5 3/4 (2.28 m) vs. 7-5 3/4 (2.28 m) (14th in qualifying)
NO: Dusty Jonas: 7-7 (2.31 m) vs. 7-1 (2.16 m) (30th in qualifying)

Long Jump: 1-for-3
YES: Dwight Phillips: 25-10 3/4w (7.89 mw) vs. 27-8 3/4 (8.45 m) (gold medalist)
NO: Will Claye: 26-10 1/2w (8.19 mw: +3.2) vs. 26-7 (8.10 m: +0.1) (9th)
NO: Marquise Goodwin: 27-4w (8.33 mw) vs. 26-3 3/4 (8.02 m) (13th in qualifying)

Claye’s marks were pretty close, almost the same after taking the wind into account; he had quite a meet, making both finals and winning a bronze medal in the triple jump.

Triple Jump: 2-for-3
YES: Christian Taylor: 57-4 3/4 w (17.49 mw) vs. 58-11 1/4 (17.96 m) (gold medalist)
YES: Will Claye: 56-1w (17.09 mw) vs. 57-5 (17.50 m) (bronze medalist)
NO: Walter Davis: 55-10 1/4 (17.02 m) vs. 52-10 3/4 (16.12 m) (23rd in qualifying)

Shot Put: 0-for-4
NO: Christian Cantwell: 71-9 (22.87 m) vs. 70-1 (21.36 m) (4th)
NO: Reese Hoffa: 71-8 3/4 (21.86 m) vs. 68-10 1/2 (20.99 m) (5th)
NO: Adam Nelson: 72-5 3/4 (22.09 m) vs. 66-7 (20.29 m) (8th)
NO: Ryan Whiting: 70-0 1/4 (21.34 m) vs. 68-1 (20.75 m) (7th)

Javelin: 0-for-1
NO: Mike Hazle: 256-7 (78.22 m) vs. no mark in qualifying

Women:

200 meters: 0-for-3
(finals wind readings: +1.0 in Eugene vs. -1.0 in Daegu)
NO: Carmelita Jeter: 22.23 in Eugene vs. 22.37 in Daegu (silver medalist)
NO: Shalonda Solomon: 22.15 vs. 22.61 (4th)
NO: Jeneba Tarmoh: 22.28 vs. 23.60 (27th in heats)

Allyson Felix ran the 400 in Eugene, but competed as defending champion in Daegu and won the bronze medal in 22.42. Even with the difference in wind, Jeter’s mark in Eugene is still slightly better than her 22.37 in Daegu, but the two are awfully close.

800 meters: 2-for-3
YES: Maggie Vessey: 1:58.86 vs. 1:58.50 (6th)
NO: Alice Schmidt: 1:59.21 vs. 2:01.16 (16th in semifinals)
YES: Alysia Montano: 1:58.33 vs. 1:57.48 (4th)

1,500 meters: 1-for-3
YES: Jennifer Simpson: 4:05.66 vs. 4:05.40 (gold medalist)
NO: Morgan Uceny: 4:03.91 vs. 4:19.71 (10th; fell)
NO: Shannon Rowbury: 4:06.20 vs. 4:11.49 (21st in semifinals)

5,000 meters: 1-for-3
NO: Amy Hastings: 15:14.31 vs. 15:56.06 (15th)
YES: Lauren Fleshman: 15:31.26 vs. 15:09.25 (7th)
NO: Molly Huddle: 15:10.01 vs. 15:42.00 (19th in heats)

100-meter Hurdles: 2-for-3
(finals wind readings: +1.8 in Eugene vs. +1.1 in Daegu)
NO: Kellie Wells: 12.50 vs. did not finish (in final)
YES: Danielle Caruthers: 12.59 vs. 12.47 (silver medalist)
YES: Dawn Harper: 12.65 vs. 12.47 (bronze medalist)

400-meter Hurdles: 1-for-3
YES: Lashinda Demus: 54.21 vs. 52.47 (gold medalist)
NO: Queen Harrison: 54.78 vs. 55.44 (12th in semifinals)
NO: Jasmine Chaney: 55.22 vs. 55.97 (16th in semifinals)

High Jump: 0-for-2
NO: Brigetta Barrett: 6-4 3/4 (1.95 m) vs. 6-4 (1.93 m) (10th)
NO: Inika McPherson: 6-1 1/4 (1.86 m) vs. 5-10 3/4 (1.80 m) (27th in qualifying)

Barrett equaled her lifetime best in the qualifying, but was slightly below it in the final. In this compilation, the emphasis is on performances when the medals are on the line; Barrett certainly showed that she can be a contender for a medal in London.

Triple Jump: 0-for-1
NO: Amanda Smock: 46-2 (14.07 m) vs. 44-2 3/4 (13.48 m) (31st in qualifying)

Hammer: 1-for-3
NO: Jessica Cosby: 234-0 (71.33 m) vs. 226-1 (68.91 m) (11th)
NO: Amber Campbell: 229-10 (70.07 m) vs. 225-11 (68.87 m) (14th in qualifying)
YES: Jeneva McCall: 221-5 (67.48 m) vs. 223-11 (68.26 m) (15th in qualifying)

Javelin: 1-for-2
NO: Kara Patterson: 194-8 (59.34 m) vs. 187-5 (57.14 m) (21st in qualifying)
YES: Rachel Yurkovich: 180-2 (54.91 m) vs. 193-0 (58.84 m) (15th in qualifying)

With the second-half totals added in, the American team’s overall Eugene-vs.-Daegu performance comparison shows:

• Men: 11 1/2 out of 54 (.213);
• Women: 16 out of 52 (.308).

Adding them together and the team-wide average is 27 1/2 out of 106 (.259); good, not great, but a welcome improvement over the opening days of the meet.

With 25 medals in all, the U.S. topped the medal count, won a quarter of the events held, collected 46 top-eight placings in 47 events and topped the placing table by 50 points. There’s no doubt that the U.S. is the world’s best track & field nation.

But what do the Daegu results say about the performance of the American team in an even tougher competition, against its demonstrated ability from the U.S. selection meet? More on what we learned from Daegu – and Eugene – on Tuesday.

(You can stay current with Rich’s technology, sports and Olympic commentaries by following him at www.twitter.com/RichPerelman.)

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