Day 2 of the 2009 USA Track and Field Championships was full of surprises.
Can you run 10.78 and lose a race? Muna Lee did, by a fraction of a second. In the 100m finals, Carmelita Jeter beat her by a hair. The clock read 10.78 for both women, but Jeter’s was .001 faster. Lauryn Williams was right behind in 10.96. Jeter was ecstatic to defeat the defending champion and make her first world championship team.
“It’s a new year for me in 2009 and I’m really doing well,” Jeter said.
There was no Tyson Gay in the men’s race, but that did not take much away from the competition. Michael Rogers flew through in 9.91 with Darvis Patton and Manzavous Edwards.
“I came here with a lot of confidence. And when I get to Berlin, I think I can medal. I just have to train hard and stay humble,” Rogers said after his win.
Believe it or not, the most exciting race of the day was a distance race - the men’s 5000m.
“It was a hell of a race,” according to German Fernandez. Fernandez finished 5th and ran a new American Junior record, 13:25.56.
Anthony Famiglietti certainly made the race interesting. He bolted to the lead and did not let go, but Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky were close on his heels with Bolota Asmerom and Evan Jager. With one mile left, Asmerom moved to first and Famiglietti fell to the fifth position.
“Fam is notoriously a front-runner,” Tegenkamp explained, which helped him mentally through the race.
As the pack slipped away from Famiglietti, he made a bold sprint back to the front with 3 laps to go. However, he expelled too much energy with that move, Asmerom reacted in the last 800m, and Solinsky, Tegenkamp, Jager and Fernandez all went with him.
“I lost today, but the fans won,” Famiglietti said with a smile.
At 4800m, Tegenkamp, Solinsky and Jager took over and let the energy of the Oregon crowd carry them through the finish line for a 13:20.57 win for Tegenkamp.
All three men are members of the Oregon Track Club, but according to Tegenkamp, there is no team strategy for a championship race.
Another Oregon Track Club member, Kara Goucher, is one of the most versatile athletes in women’s track and field. This year she will run the world championship marathon, but the 5000m today despite her focus on the marathon.
“This has been the hardest season I’ve ever tried to put together,” Goucher described.
The endurance paid off as she hung on for a blistering final 3 laps with Jen Rhines. Goucher and Rhines cruised with the pack consisting of Erin Donahue, and gradually made their way to the front. Then with 3 laps to go, Rhines pushed to the lead and threw down a 69.4 lap. Goucher went with her as they left the field in the dust. Then Goucher unleashed her kick at the bell to finish in 15:20.94.
There are two more days of competition at the US Track & Field Championships, and more amazing races to come.
The much-anticipated Barringer vs. Willard match is Sunday, but today both women ran conservatively in their preliminary heats.
“Today I was going out and trying to be as easy as possible. I wanted to stay in my rhythm,” Willard said.
Geena Gall makes a smooth transition to the professional level so far, and says she believes she can make the world team. Not only did she run a fast time in her semifinal heat (2:01.99), but she showed that she can remain focused in a tactical race. Phoebe Wright tried to make a move on the home stretch, but Gall was able to hold her off.
Khadevis Robinson is in good form this year as he won the first heat of the 800m semifinals, followed by Ryan Brown and Christian Smith. Tevan Everett led most of the race, but could not stay there for long.
“We had a guy that took it out and made an honest race of it. That’s what we need, that’s what we want,” Robinson said.
Oregon favorite Nick Symmonds won heat 2 with a slightly faster time. Symmonds will duel Robinson on his home turf in the finals on Sunday. It will likely be a close finish between the two, but if the 5000m is any indication, OTC green is a lucky color.
Sporting his University of Oregon singlet for the last time, Galen Rupp gave Duck fans quite a show in the 10,000m. He sat in the front third of the pack for most of the race, but there was no doubt he would eventually deliver his powerful finish for a 27:52.53 win.
“I could not ask for anything more than to close out [my college career] with a win,” Rupp said.
Abdi Abdirahman, the 2008 10k champion, looked strong as he led the first 3000 meters in 8:36.24, followed closely by Meb Keflezighi. Dathan Ritzenhein, James Carney and Rupp stayed comfortably with the pack. At 5000 meters, Ritz made a bold move to the front and Abdi fell back to 7th.
They went through in 14:12.09. Now it was between Ritz, Rupp, Carney and Tim Nelson. With a mile to go, Carney fell off the pack. Ritz and Rupp broke away.
Rupp unleashed his relentless kick at the last 500m. Ritz stayed strong, but did not have the speed left to catch him.
“I could tell in the last laps that I didn’t have that 10k specific training,” Ritzenhein said. “I knew he’d make a move at some point.”
“I have a lot of confidence in my kick,” Rupp said. “I was ready to go. I made sure when I went, I went. There could be no doubt at all.”
The favorite in the women’s 10,000m was 2008 Olympic bronze-medalist Shalane Flanagan. However, Flanagan soon found herself in an unexpected battle with Amy Begley. Begley led at first, and when Flanagan made her move to the front, the two broke away from the pack and took turns with the lead.
“Shalane and I wanted to put on a show, so we traded laps for the first 5K. It really made the race go faster,” Begley said.
Flanagan sat on Begley’s shoulder, but Begley held her off through the bell lap. Flanagan made a final dash to the lead at the last 200 meters, but it was too little, too late as Begley quickly reacted and hammered through the finish line in 31:22.69. Flanagan was right behind in 31:23.43. Begley represented the Oregon Track Club well by running a new Hayward Field record.
There were no other finals on Wednesday, so the athletes in the prelims focused on conserving their energy.
Tyson Gay is back on track. In one of the most exciting performances of the day, he ran 9.75 (wind-aided). However, he said he was unhappy with how he felt after a false start rattled him.
“The false start threw me off. I had too much going through my mind,” Gay said. “I ran a horrible race. It felt like a blow-up.”
After this 1st round race, Gay will not compete in the finals as he is already qualified for the World Track & Field Championships. Gay’s performance did not look bad from a spectator’s perspective, but hopefully this got the kinks out before Berlin.
In the women’s 800m, NCAA champion Geena Gall qualified in her preliminary race, wearing green. Gall, formerly of the University of Michigan, is now a member of the Oregon Track Club. Christian Smith, Khadevis Robinson and Nick Symmonds led the qualifying times in the men’s 800m.
The 1500m prelims had some talented fields. Leo Manzano ran the fastest time of 3:39.91. Alan Webb had a good-looking race and the 7th fastest qualifying time.
Press Release by USA Track & Field.
Adam Montague, men’s javelin winner
It was my first competition since surgery (elbow). I started with 70 meters and it felt good. I didn’t know what to expect. My elbow held up, everything held up and things worked out.
Stephanie Brown Trafton, women’s discus winner
I’m very satisfied with today. Usually my first throw is my best. Today, I had an okay first throw, but the rest got better and better. I wanted to come out and do that.
Michelle Carter, women’s shot put winner
I felt good, the weather is great. I started out kind of slow. My last two throws were pretty good. My last throw was probably the best, but I fouled.
I’ve been training through some of my track meets, and I’m getting to my peak phase. I feel pretty good.
Tasha Danvers, women’s 400m hurdles winner
When you have the Olympic champion in the race, you’re always aware of the potential threat. At the end of the day, I had to stay focused in your lane so that’s what I did.
It was a good performance for me. It’s been a trying year for me already. We know that Melaine (Walker) can run 52 in her sleep.
It’s a fabulous sunny day here in New York with a fabulous crowd.
Bershawn Jackson, men’s 400m hurdles winner
My coach had a strategy and all I did was stick to the game plan. It feels great to come here and be victorious in New York.
I’m upset that I got a bronze medal in Beijing. It’s time to redeem myself and show that I’m the best hurdler in the world.
Lashawn Merritt, men’s 400m winner
The wind really played a part on the backstretch. By the homestretch, I was tired. I wanted to get the win and that’s what I did. I felt good before the race. The wind was really strong in the backstretch.
I feel stronger, training is going well. I plan on going to Berlin and doing something great.
Christin Wurth Thomas, women’s 1,500m winner
I felt good. My workouts are going phenomenal. To come out and lead from the gun is phenomenal.
Today was getting one under my belt, getting the cobwebs out. The goal is to keep improving.
Leo Manzano, Men’s 1500m winner
It was a great race. All the guys ran tough. I’m excited I got this race out of my system. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I wanted to race, run and have fun.
I think I’m in really good shape. My coaches have definitely prepared me well.
Carmelita Jeter, women’s 100m winner
I have a new coach (John Smith). My training is a lot more difficult, my mindset is much better, my technique is better.
With track, you can’t count anyone out, anyone can beat anyone on any day.
Allyson Felix, women’s 400m winner
I’m still in heavy training right now. I’m working to get better each week. I’m more focused on the 200.
Mike Rodgers, men’s 100m winner
It feels good. I have to stay humble and keep working hard. The Trials are in a couple of weeks.
I had a lot to shoot for this year. Last year I raced about 45 races. This year I’ve raced a lot less and gotten stronger.
Carolina Kluft, women’s long jump winner
I didn’t have a good feeling before. I’ve been injured all winter. I kept running down the runway and kept saying, “its okay, its okay.”
I feel good. I will not be in my best shape until the end of July or August.
The long jump is a new challenge. I definitely like it and I’m going to stay with it.
Terrence Trammell, men’s 110m hurdles winner
Today was better. I wanted to make sure I attacked the first part of my race. I should have stayed more aggressive. I feel good how things turned out.
On the last two hurdles I didn’t get my lead leg down like I wanted. It’s still a month until USA Nationals. By then, everything will be okay.
Khadevis Robinson, men’s 800m winner
Usually, I feel really good coming in. I had that extra confidence and get really amped up. Today I didn’t feel so good getting ready to run. I wanted to run a more strategic race.
I have to really focus on the last 50 meters. I thought I had it, I was looking and not focusing
A win is a win and at my age, its time for me to start enjoying all this.
Anna Williard, women’s 800m winner
The plan was to show I had another gear at 700. Even though I was third, with the last 100 I knew I could just kick and win.
Micah Kogo, men’s 5,000m winner
I’m happy this is my fast race. I needed to run under my PB. I was hoping to run under 13 minutes but the wind made it very difficult.
Lauryn Williams, women’s 200m winner
I always do better after a round. I always say I’m good for rounds so having to run the 100 set me up to run a better 200. I think it was a god race.
February 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Join hosts Jay Hicks and John W. Davis on this special edition USA Indoor Track & Field Championships Preview show. Read more
By Stephanie Lowe, PreRaceJitters.com - Fayetteville, Ark - Tyson Invitational - Randal Tyson Track Center.
Rupp vs. Chelanga: Part 2
Oregon’s Galen Rupp and Liberty’s Sam Chelanga raced each other for the first time since the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Rupp won that title, but a collegiate record was up for grabs Friday night in the Tyson Invitational 5000m. Read more