Team USA has some optimism going into the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships, which start a four-day run at the Oregon Convention Center on Thursday night.
We have a great team, veteran shot putter Michelle Carter said Wednesday.
The U.S. team of 58 athletes (30 men, 28 women) has eight who have medaled at a World Indoor, including heptathlete Ashton Eaton from Bend/University of Oregon.
The squad also has 12 with world-leading indoor marks in 2016. That list includes another former Duck, Matthew Centrowitz, who won the 1,500 at last weeks U.S. meet at the OCC and has run the fastest indoor mile in the world this year (3:50.63).
Carter has the worlds top shot put mark for women (63 feet, 11 1/2 inches). And the 30-year-old from San Jose, Calif., doesn't shy away from helping other, younger U.S. athletes learn the big-meet ropes and get better.
Just having that experience, I enjoy passing it down to those coming up beause I want to see Team USA do well, she said.
Mens long jumper Marquis Dendy, 23, also has a world-best 2016 mark (27-7 1/4). He got it on his fifth attempt last week in Portland, and that was a relief, because he was frustrated by his first four attempts, when he failed to take advantage of a fast runway.
My first four jumps were a little bit of a struggle, Dendy said. I was a lot over my check marks, just running really really fast on the runway, and wasnt able to get my foot in the right position. And then I finally got it together.
Dendy said he might be able to go farther this week, in part because competing in the U.S. championships gave him experience with the OCC conditions.
Im really glad I got to test it out in the USA (meet) rather than have that happen at the worlds, he said.
Thursday's happenings include the 6 p.m. opening ceremonies and then competition in just two events the men's and women's pole vault, both scheduled to begin at about 7 p.m.
I defly want to go over distance, just be I havent done a lto of strength work. The intensity this past fall was just a great program.
Lets just go for it and see what we can do.
Come outdoors I;ll go back to the 8
a little frustrated, runway was really fast
My first four jumps were a little bit of a struggle. I was a lot over my check marks, just running really really afast on the runway and wasnt able to get my foot in the right positino, and then I finally got it togehter.
Im really glad I got to test it out in the USA rather than have that happen at the worlds.
A lot of eyes this week will be on up-and-coming distance runner Ryan Hill, who took first in last weeks featured mens 3,000.
Hill said he isnt expecting miracles in the world championships, but hopes to use the same strategy that has brought him success of late and see how far that can take him against stiff competition.
Get to the front, stay in the front and have a good kick at the end, he said of his race plans for the world final. Hopefully Ive been training hard enough to where that will actually work.
Top five is certainly possible, and if I have a really good day, maybe get a medal.