February 27, 2014 / 12:06 AM / 5 years ago

Eaton, Whiting and Lagat lead U.S. world champs team

Gold medallist Ashton Eaton of the U.S. celebrates during the award ceremony for the men's decathlon during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow August 11, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

(Reuters) - Title-holders Ashton Eaton, Ryan Whiting and Bernard Lagat headline a powerful U.S. team mixing youth and experience for next month’s world indoor championships in Poland.

Eaton will target his world heptathlon record in the March 7-9 championships at Sopot, while 39-year-old Lagat will bid for his third consecutive and fourth overall 3,000 metres title, USA Track and Field said on Wednesday.

Whiting became the clear-cut shot put favorite when he uncorked a 22.23 metre throw, the longest indoors in six years, to win the American trials last weekend.

World indoor pole vault record holder Jenn Suhr and 2014 world leaders Sharon Day-Monroe (pentathlon), Francena McCorory (women’s 400m), Ajee Wilson (women’s 800m) and Nia Ali (women’s 60m hurdles) will also make the United States the team to beat.

Seventeen-year-old Mary Cain, the U.S. women’s 1,500m champion, is the youngest member.

The Americans, who dominated the last championships in Istanbul in 2012, also should have strong contenders in 3,000m runner Galen Rupp, high jumper Erik Kynard and young sprinter Marvin Bracy.

Cancer survivor Gabriele Grunewald, who was controversially disqualified after winning the women’s 3,000m and then reinstated on Monday, also made the 48-member team.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom

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