American Distance Running future stars emerge during 2013 Indoor Season

Mary Cain
(photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)

Future stars emerge every winter during the indoor season. Some continue to blossom during outdoors and some run out of steam. What will this year’s class do? We’ll likely find out at some early season meets like Raleigh Relays, Stanford Invitational and Mt. Sac Relays.

The ultimate goal for these athletes will be a strong performance at USATF Outdoors June 20-23 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA, with hopes of qualifying for the IAAF World Championships August 10-18 in Moscow.

Who attain the World Championship A-Standards and who will emerge and don the Team USA kit come August?

1. Mary Cain
High School Junior
Previous achievements: 6th at 2013 World Junior Champs 1500 in American High School Oudoor Record of 4:11.01
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor Mile Champ (5:05.68 – 58.61 final 400). American High School Indoor Two Mile Record at Boston Grand Prix (9:38.68). American High School Indoor Mile Record at Millrose Games (4:28.25).
Thoughts: What more needs to be said? Best season ever for a female high school runner. We’ll see if she can keep progressing outdoors, get the A-Standard of 4:05.50, and compete with the likes of Morgan Uceny, Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury.

2. Ajee Wilson @AjeeW
Sponsor: Adidas
Previous achievements: 2012 World Junior 800 Champ (2:00.91)
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor 800 Champ (2:02.64). World Junior 600 Record (1:26.45).
Thoughts: Wilson passed on Florida State after setting the 600 World Junior Record (for the first time. She should compete for a spot on the Moscow World Championship team this summer, but will need to run the A-Standard of 2:00.00 to be considered.

AbbeyD - American Distance Running future stars emerge during 2013 Indoor Season
Abbey D (photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)

3. Abbey D’Agostino
School: Dartmouth
Previous achievements: 2012 NCAA Outdoor 5000 Champ. 5th at 2012 Olympic Trials 5000 (15:19.98).
Notable 2013 achievements: NCAA Indoor Champ at 3000 (9.01.08) and 5000 (15:28.11).
Thoughts: D’Agostino is the most accomplished of the bunch here, with a National Championship already under her wing. But the way she dominated indoors shows her development. She’ll look to defend her outdoor 5000 title and compete for a spot on the World team this summer, as the 15:18.00 A-Standard is just off her outdoor personal best.

4. Chelsea Reilly @CheReillyRuns
Agent: Flynn Sports Management
Previous achievements: 2012 USATF 10k Road Champ (32:41)
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor 3000 Champ (9:23.12) over Lisa Uhl and Emily Infeld. 8:53.89 for 3000 at British Athletics Grand Prix
Thoughts: Reilly ran a few excellent races this winter and capped it off with her first national championship on the track. She should compete for a spot on the 10,000 team for Moscow, but will need to run 31:45.00 likely at Stanford to be in contention.

5. Kate Grace @fastk8
Sponsor: Oiselle
Previous achievements: 2:01.63 Personal Best in 800. 4:10.57 Personal Best in 1500.
Notable 2013 achievements: 3rd at Millrose Games (4:28.79). 8:55.06 for 3000 at UW Invitational
Thoughts: Grace is quickly progressing. I’m not sure what her best distance will be, but she should have a breakout outdoor season, even if qualifying for Worlds may be a more distant goal.

erik+sowinski - American Distance Running future stars emerge during 2013 Indoor Season
Erik Sowinski (photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)

1. Erik Sowinski @eSowinski
Sponsor: Running Wild
Previous achievements: 2nd at 2012 NCAA Outdoor in PR of 1:45.60 (to Charles Jock). 3rd at 2013 NCAA Indoor 800. Semi-finalist at 2012 Olympic Trials.
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor 800 Champ (1:47.09) over Robby Andrews, Tyler Mulder and Matt Centrowitz. 600 American Record (1:15.61) at Millrose Games over Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds.
Thoughts: 2013 has been a true breakout year for Sowinski and he’ll hope to carry that momentum outdoors. The A-Standard for the 800 is 1:45.30, just off his personal best. He’ll likely need a second faster than that to make Team USA.

2. Will Leer @william_leer
Sponsor: Nike
Previous achievements: 4th at 2008 Olympic Trials 1500. 3:36.33 Personal Best in 1500.
Notable 2013 achievements: USATF Indoor Champ at Mile (3:58.79) and 3000 (8:07.84).
Thoughts: Leer has always been a racer, yet he has never hit a World A-Standard. He’ll need to run 3:35.00 early to be ready to fight for a spot on the always tough 1500 team. If he can get that out of the way, I like his chances at the USATF Outdoor Final.

Will+Leer - American Distance Running future stars emerge during 2013 Indoor Season
Will Leer
(photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)

3. Ryan Hill @ryanhillncstate
School: NC State
Previous achievements: 5th at 2012 Olympic Trials 5000 (13:27.49)
Notable 2013 achievements: NCAA Indoor Runner-up at Mile (3:55.25). 6th at Millrose Games (3:54.89).
Thoughts: Hill has shown some serious speed this winter. He’ll need to run the A-Standard of 13:15.00 to be in contention for a spot on the Worlds team, but has improved steadily every year and has phenomenal closing speed. He’ll look to battle Kennedy Kithuka and Lawi Lalang over 5000 for an NCAA Championship this outdoor season as well.

4. Eli Greer
School: Oregon
Previous achievements: 1:45.06 Personal Best in 800. 2012 Olympic Trials 800 Finalist.
Notable 2013 achievements: NCAA Indoor Champ at 800 (1:47.13).
Thoughts: Greer continues to get better and will compete for a spot on Team USA. He’d love to win an NCAA Outdoor title in the proceess.

5. Cas Loxsom @cassylox
School: Penn State
Previous achievements: 1:45.28 Personal Best in 800
Notable 2013 achievements: Fastest American time ever at 600 (1:15.42 – Oversized Track). NCAA Indoor Runner-up at 800.
Thoughts: The knock on Loxsom has always been his inability to make and run well in championship finals. He looks to have overcome that dig this winter with his runner-up finish at NCAA’s. He’ll look to build on that this spring as he has the best “true speed” out of any of the top American 800 guys right now (save maybe Solomon and Jock).

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.