Spring has sprung meaning the gun has sounded for outdoor track and field. I've written in the past about Estero's distance ace Erick Montoya. He went to Tallahassee this weekend and ran a terrific 3200/1600 double. Erick, now a senior headed to Florida next fall, ran a terrific PR for the 3200 Friday night of 9:08.81 good enough for sixth place. The high school scene for Florida distance running is on fire. Montoya came back on Saturday and clocked a 4:17 1600 to finish second, the time was just off his PR.
The other high school hot shot I plan on keeping my eye on will be Lawrence High's Roy Wedge. The senior distance ace has been almost unbeatable in cross country. His track credentials pale in comparison to his accomplishments on the turf. Wedge has the ability to crack 4:20 in the 1600 and 9:25 in the 3200. An academic superstar, Roy Wedge should be a force on the track in Kansas this year.
On the college scene I will watch the progression of Oregon freshman Jordan Hassay. She ran a fast 1500 in 4:14 in her outdoor opener Friday night at Stanford. I am also hoping that Oklahoma State sophomore German Fernandez can finally get healthy and pull off some fast times later in the spring. The biggest question is just how big a score indoor heptathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton will put up this spring in the decathlon.
Among the pros I'm looking forward to seeing what Galen Rupp can do now that he's free of his college responsibilities. Also a big race in the offing later this spring for marathon star Ryan Hall at Boston. And then there's the boatload of talented middle distance runners on the female side. Anna Pierce, Jenny Barringer, Maggie Vesey and Shannon Rowbury could produce plenty of fireworks.
And finally here's hoping to good health to distance star Lauren Fleshman. Lauren appeared to be a shoe in for the 2008 Olympic team at 5000 meters and then the injury bug hit. Lauren's reportedly has moved to Albuquerque and is back in training. She's truly one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. Here's to good health and a return to competitive racing.