Six Missourians set for 2012 USA Track and Field Indoor Championships

Six Missourians will compete this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the USA Track and Field Indoor National Championships with spots on Team USA for the World Indoor Championships up for grabs. 

Christian Cantwell will look for another US shot put title on Sunday with hopes of another World Indoor title in two weeks. Three first year post-collegians will take their shots at medals and making Team USA. NCAA Division I All-Americans: Gwen Berry-Weight Throw, Vera Neuenswander-pole vault, will look to make an impact on the national scene and gain some attention from sponsors. NCAA Division II National Champion Ramon Sparks will try to join former Raytown South High School teammate Maurice Mitchell in making a recent World Championship team. Mitchell ran a leg on the US 4×100 relay squad in the preliminaries at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships. 
Shannon Leinert will look to make her second US World Team. The former Missouri State Champ and High School All-American at Eureka High School, who had a successful collegiate career at Florida and Missouri, made the World Junior Championships team in 2005 or so in the 800 meters. She’s in graduate school at Mizzou and being coached by Ben Rosario from Big River Running Company.

The sixth qualifier is Jenny Simpson. We can claim as a Missourian since she married Jason Simpson, the former standout at Liberty High School who run at Truman State. As a graduate student at The University of Colorado, Simpson met Jenny Barringer and they married in 2010. Jenny Simpson surprised many in September by capturing the World Championships 1500 title last September.

The top two finishers meeting the qualifying standards will make the US Team for the World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey in two weeks. Four or more athletes will make the Team for the 4×400 relay pool.

Missouri entries:
Name                           Event               Affiliation       High School                College
Christian Cantwell      Shot Put          Nike                Eldon                          University of Missouri
Ramon Sparks             Triple Jump     unattached      Raytown South           Abilene Christian University
Shannon Leinert          800                  Big River Running Company       Eureka       Florida/Missouri
Jennifer Simpson         1500/3000       New Balance       Florida HS Colorado Married to Jason Simpson
Vera Neuenswander   Pole Vault       unattached      Jefferson City                    Indiana
Gwen Berry                Weight Throw NYAC                        McCluer              Southern Illinois Carbondale
While six will compete, two other Missourians who captured USA crowns at last year’s meet in the altitude of Albuquerque will not be competing. Mike Rodgers, the 2011 60 meter champion, was not accepted into this 60 meters this year and I assume he is still fighting the positive banned drug test which occurred last July while at a Team USA training camp in Italy to prepare for the World Championships. Rodgers has said the positive result came from a banned stimulant he consumed in an energy drink. The positive test forced Rodgers to witihdraw from the US team for the World Championships, which enabled fellow Missourian Maurice Mitchell to make the team and run a leg on the 4×100 team in the preliminaries.
Patrick Stroupe captured his first US title last February in winning the 3,000 meter race walk, but is not entered in this year’s event. On January 22, Stroupe placed 4th at the US 50k race walk Nationals/Olympic Trials. He finished 4:19.43. Stroupe was just more than two minutes behind third place, but neither 3rd or 4th place met the Olympic Standard. Stroupe will have the chance to make the London Olympic team this summer at the Track and Field Olympic Trials in the 20k race walk championship. In 2008, Stroupe placed third at the 20k race walk at the Olympic Trials but wasn’t able to meet the Olympic standard and missed the Beijing Olympic team.

Other noteables:

Mark Wiezorek will run the 800, he ran collegiatley at Mid-American Nazarene just across the border in Kansas
Chaunte Lowe will compete in the high jump and long jump. Lowe is coached by former University of Missouri High Jump star Nate Page.
Delayed TV broadcast: ESPN, February 26, 7:30-9:30 PM ET

2012 USA Track and Field Indoor Championships Schedule with Missouri Entries
2012 U.S. Indoor Championships – Day #1 – Saturday, February 25th
25-Feb  Sat.             4:00 p.m.            M            triple jump            Final                  Ramon Sparks
                                4:30 p.m.             W            60mH                    1st round
                                4:40 p.m.             M            35# wt. throw         final
                                4:50 p.m.             M            60mH                    1st round
                                5:10 p.m.             W            60m                       1st round
                                5:15 p.m.             W           pole vault              Final                Vera Neuenswander          
                                5:30 p.m.             M            60m                       1st round
                                5:52 p.m               M            3000m RW           final
                                6:15 p.m.             C             Ceremony
                                6:30 p.m.             W           800m                     1st round      Shannon Leinert
                                6:40 p.m.             M            high jump                final
                                6:45 p.m.             W           20# wt. throw        Final      Gwendolyn Berry
                                6:50 p.m.             M            800m                     1st round
                                6:50 p.m.             W            triple jump              final
                                7:10 p.m.             W            400m                     1st round
                                7:30 p.m.             M            400m                     1st round
                                7:50 p.m.             W           3000m                    Final            Jennifer Simpson   
                                8:05 p.m.             M            3000m                    final
                                8:15 p.m.             Session Ends
2012 U.S. Indoor Championships – Day #2 – Sunday, February 26th
26-Feb  Sun.            12:00 n.               W            60mH                    semi finals
                                12:10 p.m.           M            long jump                final
                                12:15 p.m.           M            60mH                    semi finals
                                12:20 p.m.           W            shot put                  final
                                12:30 p.m.           W            60m                       semi finals
                                12:45 p.m.           M            60m                       semi finals
                                1:05 p.m.             W            800m – masters exhibition
                                1:10 p.m.             M            pole vault                final
                                1:15 p.m.             M            800m – masters exhibition
                                1:25 p.m.             W            3000m RW           final
                                1:50 p.m.             C             Ceremony
                                1:45 p.m.             W            high jump              final
                                2:15 p.m.             W            long jump              final
                                2:15 p.m.             M            800m                    final
                                2:20 p.m.             M            shot put              Final   Christian Cantwell    
                                2:25 p.m.             W            400m – race 1       final
                                2:35 p.m.             W            400m – race 2       final
                                2:45 p.m.             M            1500m                  final
                                2:55 p.m.             M            400m – race 1       final
                                3:05 p.m               M            400m – race 2      final
                                3:15 p.m               W           800m                   Final * Shannon Leinert 
                                3:25 p.m.             W           1500m                  Final     Jennifer Simpson     
                                3:37 p.m.             W            60m                       final
                                3:46 p.m.             M            60m                       final
                                3:55 p.m.             M            60mH                    final
                                4:05 p.m.             W            60mH                    final
                                4:07 p.m.             Championship Ends
                                4:10 p.m.             VISA Series Awards

Next week at the University of Indiana, the USA Track and Field Indoor Combined Events Championships will be held. Currently, Colulmbia trainig partner Nick Adcock and Liz Roehrig are entered. Adcock is the former Oak Park High School All-Stater and Mizzou All-American who won last year’s championship. Roehrig is a Wisconsin native who earned All-American honors at the University of Minnesota.—Calendar/2012/USA-Indoor-Combined-Events-Championships.aspx

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