By Christopher Hunt
photo by Vincent Dusovic
Veronica Campbell-Brown hoped for more. The opportunity was there. Sheri-Ann Brooks pressed her the entire way but Campbell never let her close enough.
Campbell-Brown, the Jamaican Olympic gold medalist, won the womens’ 60 meters at the NYU Fasttrack Invitational in 7.14, the third-fastest time in the world this year and a season-best. Campbell was disappointed afterward. She hoped to faster than 7.1.
“I don’t like the word ‘good,’” she said. “I strive for excellence.”
With the World Indoor Championship three weeks away, Campbell isn’t the only one. World-class athletes have used meets at the New Balance Track and Field Center to sharpen and gain some tune-up races as many gear up for worlds in Doha, Qatar, March 12-14. Before Campbell, Erin Donohue opened her season at the Armory. The New Balance Games saw its best 400 and mile fields ever, led by Natasha Hastings and Great Britain’s Andy Baddeley.
For Campbell, her race Friday was just another tune-up.
“I just needed another race before Worlds,” she said. “I finished the race healthy and that’s the number one thing. I think I would have like to run faster based on how my training has been going.”
The meet was sprinkled with Olympians all getting ready for the world championships. Virgil Hodge of St. Kitts won the 200 in 24.24 and finished third in the 60 in 7.44. Jamaica’s Brooks was second in the 60 in a lifetime best 7.19.
Guyana’s Aliann Pompey set a personal best winning the 400 in 51.83 ahead of Tiandra Ponteen, also of St. Kitts, who finished in 52.45.
“For the way I’ve been running this season, this race was really about running my own race, whatever that means,” said Pompey, a Manhattan College grad. “I didn’t pay attention to what anyone else was doing which is a mistake I’ve made this season, especially at New Balance (she finished second behind Hastings).”
Pompey’s time is the fourth-best in the country this year.
“To PR before Worlds is great,” she said. “Hopefully I can do it again.”
Jamaica’s Edino Steele, racing with Zenith Velocity, won the mens’ 400 in 46.27, which is 12th on the world list.
Stony Brook’s Holly Van Dalen led the local talent, earning the NCAA automatic qualifier while winning the womens’ 5,000 in 15:55.64. It was the first indoor 5,000 of Van Dalen’s career and built a major led after her twin sister, Lucy Van Dalen, who ran unattached, led her through the first 3K. Both
“It’s really exciting,” Van Dalen said. “A time like that, I supposed it comes when it’s ready. You have a goal set and a goal you’ll be excited about. I’m pretty stoked.”
Reach Christopher Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.