Little Girl, Old Man Drop Bombs in Des Moines

USA throwers must have chartered the Enola Gay to get to the 2013 USA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa this past weekend as bombs from young, old and athletes in their prime set records and won championships. From Michelle Carter taking a new national record in the shot put with a 20,24 (66'  4.8'')to Amanda Bingson bringing home her first USA title with a National Record and third best throw in the world for 2013 with her 75.73 (248' 5.4'') bomb.

34 year old AG Kruger took home his 5th (12 counting the indoor weight throw) USA title with a 75.52 (247' 9'') toss, of his 2013 performance Jud Logan, long time mentor of AG had this to say:

"AG had good prep this year. His focus all year was to throw 75+ meters in first 3 throws. What's needed to make finals in Major Championships. He did this in 90% of his meets, including USA's. hopefully this will allow him to be better prepared for Q. Always nice to bring titles back to Ashland

AG's toss out measured young and up and coming Chris Cralle (74.55, 244' 6.5''), who has exploded onto the throwing scene since 2012 and finished as runner up this past season, Cralle said:

 "The only things I would like to say is that I am very grateful to be able to throw a new personal best at the US Championships. I currently coach the throws at Sam Houston State University and receive technical instruction from Shaun McGinley. I train myself and focus on using heavy hammers and light weightlifting. My horrific technique in no way represents the great technical advice given to me by others. My goals are to continue training and see how much more distance is at the end of the tape before this ride is over."

Coming in 3rd was Andrew Loftin (73.63, 241' 7.5'')  followed by veterans Jake Freeman (71.68. 235' 2'') and Kibwe Johnson (71.17. 233' 2'') in 4th and 5th place, respectively.

Of his performance Kibwe Johnson spoke:

"I want to apologize to my fans and also to fans of hammer. I absolutely expected to throw well in Des Moines. We simply missed my peak. Something like this has never happened in a championship. So we will learn from it, and move on.

Also, waiting to hear back about the results of my hand X-ray. However, I do not think this contributed. But maybe 9 weeks of minimal effort throwing could not be overcome for competition throw timing. I can only speculate.

My training has been going reasonably well despite my hand, I look forward to finishing the season on a high note.

Thanks everyone for your love and support!"

While the U.S. men's hammer throw is fluxing between young and veteran athletes the women have taken the season to establish themselves as one of the deepest event groups in the world claiming 5 of the top 20 spots in the world this year. Amanda Bingson (75.73, 248' 5.4''PR), Jeneva McCall(74, 242' 9''PR), Jessica Cosby Toruga (74.19, 243' 4.8''PR), Amber Campbell (72.59, 238' 2''PR) and Gwen Berry (73.81, 242' 1.5''PR) are pushing the ball far this year and Saturday was no exception as the young fireball Amanda Bingson set a new American Record on the way to her first USA title with a 75.73 toss in her custom made leopard print hammer glove. Of her performance Amanda stated:

"Thank you to everyone who has supported me. NYAC and Nike of course. My coach and I knew that I had a big throw in me and I couldn't be happier that I did it at this meet. I will be back to practice Monday morning, we never stop grinding!!! But more importantly I'm sharing this win and Record with everyone who has supported me along this journey, and all the fans who were watching. Thank you for all the coverage and giving the throws a voice."

Her coach, Greg Watson would go on to say, " I would just like to say that I am very proud of Amanda and am a very happy coach. What happened yesterday is a scenario that we have been talking about and dreaming about for a few years now. Based off training we had an idea that it could be done. But the mark put it over the top. She is still so young I think there is much more there in the future. Dare I say.....80?". Indeed the future is bright for the young ball of energy Bingson.

Amber Campbell, who finished third with a PR of 73.03 (239' 7'') made her 4th world championship team and said: "I always want to thank God and my parents Mike and Evette Campbell. Also to send a special shout out to my coach David Vandergriff who couldn't make it.  Hard work, focus, and dedication truly do pay off! 

The fruits were not as sweet to Gwen Berry of this day, however, as she threw 8m under her PR that was set the previous weekend in Naperville, Illinois. However, she did express pride in being a part of the greatest women's hammer throw competition in American History. The previous weekend in Napeville Berry had moved herself within arms reach of then National Record held by Cosby. Gwen Berry is an athlete to watch grow and develop over the next several years as she prepares for her Olympic run to Rio.

Berry’s former room and teammate Jeneva McCall had perhaps the most underrated and underestimated performance of the weekend competing in both the shot put and the hammer. Following her performance in the shot earlier McCall stated that she had no other choice, she had to do it (her performance in the hammer), “I didn’t grow up in a soft family”. Immobilized by a triple wrap on her sides and a groin injury Jeneva asked her former roommate to help tighten the braces and hand her the hammer that she couldn’t bend down to reach.

Bobbing with the orbit of the ball to relieve the stress on her knees Jeneva wasn’t able to finish her first attempt, and she didn’t know what kind of throw it was “I was just hoping the sectors went out far enough when it dropped” but when the laser fed back to the measuring system it read 74 meters Jeneva was ecstatic and felt as though she had proved a number of her naysayers wrong.

Jeneva (Despite claiming an NCAA title in the event) gave up the discus this past season because of the strain to her groin, however, she hopes for the injury to take care of itself as she trains to become the only woman to be a global power in the shot put, discus and hammer throw. Boasting a 60M hammer throw turning counter clockwise and 74 meters turning clock would sound like an overwhelming power to some, it is the immeasurable traits that are propelling this young thrower into her life:

“Use your common sense, (track) is helping me learn how to navigate life…it’s all falling back on what my parents taught me. Read the signs and know what you are doing, using the knowledge and tools that are given to you, stay focused, this is your life, be able to lose and let go and be willing to make the right choices. This is my right of passage”

 *All quotes are from interviews that were conducted by Sean Denard