Torrential rains greet athletes to the northwest
Eugene, Oregon-Wednesday played into every stereotype of northwest weather. Athletes were met by cold weather in the 50’s and heavy rains during the first day of NCAA competition.
There are three sights that few would have predicted they would ever see at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
That the women’s 800m final would be without BYU’s Lacy Cramer. The 2010 NCAA 800m indoor champion did not make the cut to the finals finishing last in her heat running 2:15:92. And 2009 runner up in the men’s 100 meters, Ahmad Rashad was charged with a false start, failing to make the 100m finals. The USC senior was expected by many to place high and contend to win the race. Lastly, Gabby Mayo injured her quadriceps muscle after the West regional meet and coach Pat Henry made the call to not run the hurdler and relay runner.
Arizona State’s senior Ryan Whiting is cementing a career that will go down as one of the greatest in NCAA history. Winning the NCAA men’s discus title with a 193 feet, 9 inches goes a long way completing that mission.
Going into the competition it would not look to be an easy feat with Kansas freshman sensation Mason Finley throwing so well during the later stages of the season, however Whiting prevailed in the end.
Junior Amber Kaufman of Hawaii managed to win the high jump with a leap of 6-feet-1 ¼ inches. Finishing second was Arizona senior Elizabeth Patterson with a jump of 6-0.
Southern Illinois sophomore Jeneva McCall won the discuss Wednesday with a throw 54.98 meters.
Going the distance…
Lisa Koll won the 10,000 meters by a jaw dropping twenty four seconds in 32 minutes, 49.35 seconds ahead of teammate sophomore Betsy Saina who was second.
It could be as a sign of more things to come.
Tyson Gay ran 19.41 seconds into a slight headwind Sunday on a specially constructed track, shaving 0.09 off the mark Tommie Smith set in May 1966 at San Jose, Calif.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt may be on another level but Tyson Gay is slowly catching up. Earlier this season Gay posted 44.89 seconds recording the first sub-45 second 400 meter race in his career.
Every media outlet on the planet including this one has sung the virtues of Bolt’s rise and dominance. On this blog and on our radio show, I have continually said that counting Gay out is a big mistake. Gay keeps coming back faster and faster after every major show down with Bolt.
“He’s going to be tough to beat,” Gay told reporters. “Honestly, he’s in another class right now but I’m working hard to get there. The challenge is for me to work hard to get to where he is at.”
Bolt may be in another sphere right now but spectators need to pray that Gay continues to drop his times to push Bolt in major races. Gay is a tireless warrior, who knows that catching Bolt will be not small feat.
Don’t think that Bolt is sleeping on Gay. After years of competing against one another, Bolt is well aware of Bolt’s ability and tenacity. And that tenacity could prove to be Gay’s strength.
Today’s race is a sign of the the former 100 and 200 meter world champion can do. Gay will will catch him if he can.
Despite entering the final day of the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in third place, the BYU women were able to dominate on the final day to secure their second consecutive MWC title, and their eighth outdoor title this decade.
The 800m was a strong event for BYU, with six Cougars finishing in the top eight. Sophomore All-American Lacey Cramer successfully defended her title in 2:04.67, narrowly edging teammate Angela Wagner, who finished second in 2:04.94.
Led by Mark Robison, BYU men’s track and field team continued to pile on points on the final day of the MWC Outdoor Track and Field Championships and came away with a dominating victory for their 12th consecutive MWC Outdoor title.
“We really came out today and did what we needed to do,” BYU head coach Craig Poole said. “We had great performances all around, from Mindy (McClurkin) taking both the sprints to our two high jumpers (Ada Robinson and Ashley Dziendziel) finishing one – two. It was just a great day.”
“I am very, very pleased with the results from today,” Robison said. “We still have not lost an MWC outdoor championship, and it feels great. We had some great performances today from a number of people, but also had to deal with more adversity than we did yesterday, but we battled through it and came away with a win.”
BYU women scored 204 points, followed by TCU (121)and Colorado St. (101). The BYU men scored 211 points, head of New Mexico (153) and TCU (149).
-Doha, (May 14, 2010) Lolo Jones won the 100 meter hurdles by holding off a challenge from Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada to win the women’s 100 meter hurdles in 12.63.
She got slowly out of the block and clipped the first two hurdles before running flawless in the middle and final parts of the race.
She is indisputably back, making a mark on the inaugural IAAF Diamond League meet. Beijing proved not be golden for Jones and in 2009 she battled health issues after pulling a hamstring at Drake Relays.
Always her biggest critic.
“I hit two hurdles, so midway through the race I said there is no way I’ll win,” Jones said. “Then I started pulling things together. I was completed shocked I won. That I was able to get back in control, I was really proud of myself.”
She is looking like the sure-footed, burst of speed hurdler that we have come to know. Her mid-race surge in Doha is a flash back to the confidence shown by the LSU alum during the 2008 season.
An even more impressive 100 meter race by Asafa Powell was a highlight in the men’s race in the absence of fellow country man Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter produced a wind-aided 9.75 seconds.
Bershawn Jackson ran down Kerron Clement in the final 20 meters to win the 400 meter hurdles in 48.66.
No matter whether you are moving up an event or trying something new– it is a constant. Growing pains are an unavoidable consquence that goes with the territory.
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Albuquerque, N.M.– It’s probably unrealistic to think that a race held in Albuquerque, New Mexico will have any impact four months from now in a lush and beautiful Des Moines, Iowa. Too many variables, too many unknowns.
You get the feeling tonight a message was sent in Bernard “Kip” Lagat’s uncanny kick to with 150 meters to go in the 3000m, edging out Galen Rupp. No matter how subtle it may be - a U.S. Outdoor Championships message was sent.
In front of a 2,979 sell out crowd, Lagat won in 8:12.60, ahead of Rupp in 8:13.49 at the 2010 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
Lagat and Rupp are the cream on top of the strawberry on the American distance scene. In tonights running, the presence of the younger Galen Rupp was evident, as he stayed with Kip for the majority of the race. But the bigger picture is that Kip performed much better and had a much bigger impact on the race.
On the flip side, it wasn’t too difficult to notice Rupp in just his first full season on the professional circuit has a major upside.
Considering that the two have previously met up this indoor season, the race became a two man run off and this will surely happen again in championship races. This race could have mean a lot. Or nothing. Who really knows at this point?
But we have to know that both athletes are happy with their respective performances.
Whether you consider this a piece of foreshadowing or just a stretch of the imagination, there is no denying that Kip Lagat came to run tonight.
Saucony is beginning to form a nice lineup this year. Saucony has officially announced signing Wallace Spearmon Jr. to a shoe deal through 2012.
With Saucony having one of the top 200 meter runners in the world, look for the Lexington, Massachusetts-based apparel maker to take off. The move signs a increased focus no sprinting, as opposed to traditionally a larger emphasis on middle distance and distance running.
“I’m very excited about competing for the Saucony brand,” said Spearmon, Jr. “What’s really inspiring to me is the brand’s emphasis on performance and innovation, evident in their spikes and their AMP PRO2 training and recovery apparel.”
The Spearmon Jr. signing comes as a surprise but consider that Saucony is building on a rich track and field heritage in signing the U.S. indoor 200m record holder.
It will be interesting to see what spikes and gear Spearmon rocks this summer.
Going into a new year and decade with the advent of 2010, American distance running could sharpen its edges and gain more momentum, as the sport of running increases in popularity nation-wide.
The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon in Houston, TX, provides a microcosm of the running boom in this country. Every year, the field grows by thousands as more people lace up their running shoes and tackle their personal goals for the new year.
Houston will once again host the USA Half Marathon Championships. Last year in 2009, we saw Meb Keflezeghi beat Dathan Ritzenhein on the men’s side in 1:01:25. Magdalena Boulet dominated the women’s field in 1:11:47, but not without newcomer Kelly Jaske nipping at her heels. Jaske, who once before considered herself a “jogger,” ran an outstanding half marathon performance in 1:12:06.
Once again in 2010, Houston will not disappoint in providing an excellent race. This year, Shalane Flanagan, 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist in the 10,000m, will vie for the win in the women’s USA Half Marathon Championships. Houston will be Shalane’s first half marathon.
“Houston’s got good weather, a fast course and a good crowd. I’m really
excited to toe the line in Houston and tackle a whole new event,” said Flanagan.
Magdalena Boulet returns to defend her title in the women’s half marathon. Colleen De Reuck, the 2004 winner and course record holder (1:10:55), will also return to Houston. They will be joined by Serena Burla (Ballwin, Mo.), Heidi Westover (Walpole, N.H.), seeded 4th and 5th respectively.
On the men’s side, Josh Rohatinsky (Portland, Ore.) and Tim Nelson (Portland, Ore.) are now the highest seeded runners in the USA Half Marathon Championships, since James Carney unfortunately dropped out due to injury. Carney won the race in 2008.
In the full marathon, Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopa returns to defend her title. Erkesso won the women’s marathon in 2009, where she ran a course record in 2:24:18. Paige Higgins of McMillan Elite, who ran the half marathon last year in 1:14:24 (13th), is the second highest seeded runner for the women in the full marathon.
Jason Mbote of Kenya, who ran a 2:07:37 personal record at the 2008 Seoul Marathon, will be the highest seeded elite runner in the marathon field. Charles Kibiwott, also from Kenya, will be competing in the full marathon.
Brett Gotcher, who placed third in the USA Half Marathon Championships in 2009 (1:02:09), will debut in his first marathon performance.
“I’m definitely not going to just go out there and run 2:15 or 2:14 or something. I’m definitely going to be aggressive and try to go for it. My whole thing is that I’m hoping on a good day, I can run with the lead pack,” said Gotcher.
Deriba Merga of Ethiopia, who won the event last year and set a new course record in 2:07:52, will not be competing in Houston in 2010. Merga has his sights set on the Boston Marathon this April, where he hopes for a win.
PreRaceJitters.com will be covering the 2010 USA Half Marathon Championships and Chevron Houston Marathon this weekend. Stay tuned for the latest news!
Blog preview written by PreRaceJitters staff writer Cheryl Lowe.
Name the most underrated track athlete? Underrated how you ask. Doesn’t get recognized by his critics? Rarely gets awards? Is beloved by a cult but unknown by the masses?
None fit this better than Kenenisa Bekele. So much so that to prove he also a great runner Bekele challenged Usain Bolt to middle-way distance challenge.
Bekele tops the list because he is underappreciated. Fans have overlooked Bekele for years. He is the currently world record holder at 5000 meters, 10,000 meters and is the reigning two-time Olympic champion.
Watching Bekele at 36 years of age put together ridiculous splits while running 26:46.31 to gold at the World Championships was like listening to Jay Z rhyme over a bone crushing beat. It was a thing of magic and we got the full appreciation of how good Bekele was this past season.
Over his career, the Ethopian hero has dominated the courses with strength and displayed flawless down speed on the track. His trademark kick can cover the final lap in 54 seconds. In 2008, Bekele scored the 5,000 and 10,000 double gold medal feat at the Beijing Games.
With cross country and track under his control, what else is there left for the great Kenenisa Bekele to accomplish?
For the next couple weeks everyone will be talking about who had the biggest season. And for good reason. Usain Bolt had a mind boggling season that shocked even his most ardent critics. Yes, Sanya Richards sealed her legacy in the sport and Kenenisa Bekele added another chapter to an already hall of fame career.
But this debate is officially closed.
This year Usain Bolt’s answered the one of the last questions for the Jamaican superstar. The Jamaican megastar proved that he can win great competition in the 100 meter race and also shattered his own 100 and 200 meter world records. It’s the litmus test of greatness. Carl did it. Michael did it. At the World Champions in August, Bolt bettered a Tyson Gay who said before the meet that he was in the best of his life by a comfortable margin.
That’s what the great ones do.
The other pressing issue is whether Bolt is big enough to save the sport. Sure it’s a lot of pressure for any athlete and especially in track and field. Legend Michael Johnson remarked this summer that he believes the sport is in decline. Rather than another article bemoaning the sport’s ills, we should focus on the man who can do something about changing the tide.
Sure Usain Bolt astonishes every time he gets in the blocks. But can the three-time world record holder put butts in the seats, sell overpriced hot dogs, and give the average sports fan a single reason to care even a morsel about the goings on in elite track and field?
That’s what the great ones do.
Bolt puts on a show and that is good for the sport. He is not afraid to pull up before the finish line or strike a pose after a win. He is quickly becoming a global superstar on the track. The next challenge is to do so off the track.
Considering his track record, you would be a fool to beat against him. Stay tuned and you may want to get your popcorn ready.