We'll have more later (hey, we've got to enjoy our Friday July 4th a little) but the highlights on Friday were the men's 10k final, where Abdi Abdirahman led nearly wire to wire, and the women's 5k final, where Kara Goucher stormed back the final 200 to get the win. Plus semis of the men's and women's 1,500.
Women's 5,000 Final: Goucher Gets First Big Track Win
On the ladies side, this race was much anticipated
and it certainly lived up to the hype. Coming in, people were expecting
another thrilling dual between Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, with Jen Rhines right
in the mix, and thats' exactly what happened. It made for a thrilling
5K final that had the crowd on its feet in an exciting final three
But the early going saw a number of other runners in contention. After an uneven first three laps, Arianna Lambie took
control of the race at the 1,600 as the split was 4:56.8. Needing to
run the Olympic A of 15:09 (72 and 73 second laps) to make a possible
top three finish also equate to a trip to Beijing, Lambie clicked off a
succession of 72 and 73 second laps, going through 3200 at 9:49.1. By
2K, the race was winnowed down to six contenders: Lambie, Flanagan,
Rhines, Lauren Fleshman, Goucher and Sara Slattery. Of that group, only Lambie and Slattery did not have the Olympic A. A chase pack that included Molly Huddle, Julie Culley and Rebecca Donaghue was 15 seconds down by 3K.
With the pace slowing in the lead pack after 3,200, the
leadership of the race saw a shake-up. At 1,200 to go, Flanagan took to
the lead with Rhines and Goucher in tow. In just a lap they had put 10
seconds on Fleshman, Slattery and Lambie. With 800 to go, Lambie had
faded and Fleshman and Slattery continued to battle for what would
clearly be at best fourth. And without much of a prayer of hitting the
A standard, Fleshman may yet have a chance to go to the Olympics if
either Flanagan or Goucher (already on the team in the 10K) opt out of
the 5K in favor of the longer race as Fleshman does have the A
5k Pack Early
But the crowd was focused on Flanagan, Rhines and
Goucher. At 1,000 to go, Flanagan squeezed the pace down to 66.9, then
65.4 and it seemed as if she and Rhines were about to pull away from
Goucher in the last lap. But Goucher somehow found another gear,
moving past Rhines at 150 to go and into the lead at 100 to go,
exploding to her second national championship at 5K (to go along with
her title back in 2006), running her last lap in an impressive 65
seconds. Rhines managed to get by a suddenly tying-up Flanagan to get
Slattery rallied to pass Fleshman for fourth while Culley moved up into
seventh but couldn't quite catch sixth-placer Lambie from the early
Flanagan was a bit disappointed with her
3rd place finish as it seemed for much of the final 1,200, she was going
to be the eventual winner. "My coach kind of had said with three laps
to go let's just lay it out there. That last 100 I fell apart a little
bit," said Flanagan. "I am a little bummed out. I think my heart is
really in the 5K and I think I let some emotions get to me. I think I
have been really in control emotion-wise this whole time. I think I let
my emotions overtake me a little bit. I really laid my heart out there
on the track tonight. I just didn't have enough in that last 50 to 100
Goucher Pulling Away
Despite the fact that she didn't get the A standard or top 3, Sara
Slattery was very pleased with her fourth place run after a 7th-place
finish in the 10k. "I'm very happy with the way I ran," said Slattery,
who said she kept reminding herself of the disappointment she felt
after the 10k to make sure she ran well tonight. Slattery said she
wasn't concerned about not having the A standard. She felt she was
ready to run the A but wasn't going to press the issue. "I wasn't going
to push the pace tonight," said Slattery. "I was ready to jog if that
was the case."
The hot rumor all week here in Eugene was that Lauren
Fleshman had been hurt and after tonight's race Fleshman admitted the
rumor was true. She hurt her ankle walking and it set her back the last
two weeks. Nonetheless, Fleshman was upbeat after the race. "I really
enjoyed the race. I did the best I could today. I had a good time."
Finals 1 Kara Goucher Nike 15:01.02 2 Jennifer Rhines adidas 15:02.02 3 Shalane Flanagan Nike 15:02.81 4 Sara Slattery adidas 15:18.88 5 Lauren Fleshman Oregon TC Elite 15:23.18 6 Arianna Lambie Nike 15:29.99 7 Julie Culley
New York A C 15:34.43 8 Rebecca Donaghue New Balance Boston 15:35.48 9 Tasmin Fanning Virginia Tech 15:41.05 10 Molly Huddle Saucony 15:42.19 11 Melissa Cook New Balance 15:48.44 12 Maureen McCandless New Balance 15:54.50 13 Angela Bizzarri Illinois 16:03.99
14 Amy Hastings adidas 16:07.03 15 Teresa McWalters Stanford 16:09.44 -- Renee Metivier Baille Nike DNF
Kara Goucher (6:04)
Jen Rhines and Shalane Flanagan (4:04)
Lauren Fleshman Talks About Turning Her Ankle on a Walk
Men's 10K Final: Abdi Goes Nearly Wire to Wire
Your Olympic Team
We're not sure what was more exciting, the race (which was a great one) or the memorable victory lap of Abdi Abdirahmin, who did not break stride after pulling away from Galen Rupp and Jorge Torres in
a thrilling battle. Seemingly sprinting the victory lap (he was
running faster than the lapped runners), he had the crowd on its feet,
getting high fives and then jumping in the steeple pit and flexing for
the cameras before finally jogging home the final 100 meters.
Perhaps it was the drama leading up to the final
battle that had Abdi so fired up. Certainly the crowd was at a fever
pitch, especially with hometown favorite Rupp making a play for the win with
two laps to go.
It was Abdi who dictated the pace from the very
beginning and who put his stamp over the entire race. Wanting to
ensure a fast pace, Abdi took the field out in 4:26.1 and then 8:51.9
at 3,200. Passing 5K at 13:49.53, Abdi led a group of twelve that
included Torres and Rupp immediately behind and then other key players Ed Moran, Josh Rohatinsky, Dathan Ritzenhein and Fasil Bizuneh. Adam Goucher,
the subject of much pre-race discussion, was in 12th and looking
strong. Under cool and relatively calm running conditions, it was a
good set-up to dip under the Olympic A standard of 27:50.00. Running
4:27 to get to mile 4, Abdi, Torres and Rupp had put three seconds on a
five-man chase pack that now included Ritz, Rohatinsky, Moran, James Carney and
a surging Goucher. The final two miles were exciting as Goucher moved
into fifth and then fourth and it seemed as if he and Carney might lead
the chasers up to the top three.
Abdi's Victory Lap
The hopes of the chase pack were just a mirage,
however, as Abdi seemed to playing a game of cat-and-mouse with his
competitors, surging on the backstretch and then backing off. He
clearly had a lot left in the tank but his efforts did not shake either
Torres or Rupp. Rupp moved to the lead, to the approval of the
crowd, with two to go and his 63.3 lap put Torres in trouble and
suddenly off the lead pace. Abdi stayed right with Rupp and then,
approaching the bell lap, he passed Rupp on the inside to reclaim the
lead. And with a 61.1 closer he was not to be denied. Abdi ran the
last mile in 4:19. Dictating the tempo the entire way, he looked
capable of running with almost anyone in the world.
Rupp dug deep but ultimately finished just over a
second back to earn his first Olympic team berth. Torres hung on for
third to earn his first Olympic team spot, just over five seconds ahead
of Moran. Rohatinsky, Carney and Goucher also broke 28:00.
US Olympic marathoner and Eugene resident Dathan Ritzenhein ended up in
8th in 28:05.31. In his post-race interview, Ritezenhein said he thought he
could run 27:40 off of the marathon training he has been going even
though his only taper for this race was not doubling the last 3 days
(Ritezenhein ran 120 miles last week). Since he ended up in 28:05 Ritzenhein said he
was "a little disappointed" in his race but he found the constant
change in pace to be hard to handle as he's been training for the
rhythm of the marathon. "This kind of shows me there is a big
difference between marathon and 10k training."
All in all, Ritz said he's happy with where his training is for
Beijing. At one point he said he was "a little bit ahead" of where he
was for his last two marathons in terms of training but at the same
time he said he wished he "had a few more weeks" before Beijing. He
also added that he thought he went into his last few marathons a bit
overtrained and it's better to go undertrained.
When Ritz was asked what he thought of Rupp's performance, he turned
his attention to Abdirahman. "I was really impressd with Abdi as he
led the whole race." Ritz said Abdi told him before the race he was
going to push the pace from the gun and Ritz said he felt sorry that
Abdi was going to be hung out to dry. He said he told Abdi, "Hey if
I'm with you. I won't make you take the whole thing."
Finals 1 Abdi Abdirahman Nike 27:41.89 2 Galen Rupp unattached 27:43.11 3 Jorge Torres Reebok 27:46.33 4 Edward Moran Nike 27:52.10 5 Josh Rohatinsky Nike 27:54.41 6 James Carney New Balance 27:58.81 7 Adam Goucher
Nike 27:59.31 8 Dathan Ritzenhein Nike 28:05.31 9 Sean Quigley Puma 28:21.96 10 Tim Nelson Nike 28:29.95 11 Edwardo Torres Reebok 28:35.91 12 Josh Simpson New York A C 28:37.16 13 Meb Keflezighi Nike 28:39.02 14 Daniel Browne Nike 28:42.78 15 Fasil Bizuneh New Balance 28:43.11 16 Scott Bauhs Cal. St. , Chico 28:54.32 17 Brett Gotcher McMillan Elite 28:54.89 18 Matthew Downin New Balance 28:55.66 19 Seth Pilkington Weber State 29:10.33 20 Michael Kilburg
Portland 29:26.76 21 John Moore Portland 29:26.79 22 Steve Sundell New York A C 29:35.86 23 Louis Luchini Oregon TC Elite 29:42.78 24 Stephen Haas Team Indiana Elite 29:57.45 25 Seth Summerside adidas 30:52.33
Rupp Talks About How He Finishes 2nd a Lot
Men's 1,500 Semifinals
Webb Leading Semi #1
Alan Webb dictated the pace in the first semifinal, a tough field that also included Bernard Lagat and Rob Myers.
After a quick opening 100 as everyone jockeyed for position, Webb
slowed things down and the field went through in 62.0 and 2:05.1.
Lagat, content yesterday to run in the back, was in the top three
throughout along with Myers, Garrett Heath and Grant Robison.
Things picked up with 600 to go as Webb accelerated, but no one was
dropped. The third 400 was covered in 57.8, and just after 1,200 Myers
burst past Webb and for a moment it appeared that Webb would fade
further into the pack. But Webb pushed hard and was able to respond but
he had to work hard to stay into the top 6.
moved effortlessly to the heat win as the final lap was covered in
54.3. Rob Myers, the only other guy in this heat besides Webb and Lagat
with the Olympic A, ended up second.
David Krummenacker failed to advance as did AJ Acosta (who fell in yesterday's quarterfinals but was advanced to the semis on a protest).
Heat 1 Semi-Finals 1 Bernard Lagat Nike 3:43.83Q 2 Rob Myers Reebok 3:43.98Q 3 William Leer Oregon TC Elite 3:44.19Q 4 Steve Sherer unattached 3:44.20Q 5 Alan Webb Nike
3:44.23Q 6 Andrew McClary Arkansas 3:44.29Q 7 Jeff See Ohio State 3:44.73 8 Andrew Acosta Oregon 3:44.96 9 John Bolas unattached 3:45.27 10 David Krummenacker adidas 3:45.69 11 Garrett Heath Stanford 3:45.99 12 Grant Robison
Playmakers Racing 3:46.08 13 Shane Stroup unattached 3:49.77
Semifinal one had some big names, but the second heat
was arguably even harder. And a continuing subplot in this event
continues to be the inspired running of Gabe Jennings,
who won his heat for the second day in a row, coming on dramatically in
the last lap. After the slow goings in the first heat, the second
semifinal was much more honest as Kyle King brought the field through 400 in 59.9 and 800 in 1:59.4. Lopez Lomong moved to the front around 900 meters and had Said Ahmed, Leo Manzano, Jon Rankin, Stephen Pifer, King, Jennings and Chris Lukezic in
tow. Someone very good was destined not to advance. With a lap to go,
Jennings moved out into lane three and to the roar of the crowd moved
up on Lomong's shoulder with 300 to go. He took the lead with 200 to
go and with Lomong and Manzano looking strong and capable right behind
him, rolled across the finish line in the fastest time of the day.
Pifer ran a good race of 3:41.78 but ended up with the unwanted
designation as the fastest non-advancer of the day. After leading
early, King also faded and did not qualify for Sunday's final.
We caught up with Jon Rankin after the heat. Once again, he was a great
interview but he certainly didn't sound like one of just five guys in
the 1,500 with the A standard. "Honestly, I'm so blessed to be in the
final. Coming into the 1,500 after the 800, I wasn't so sure. This (the
final) is my Olympics," said Rankin. "I don't feel like I'm a
superstar. I feel like everyone. For me to be top 3, I'd be
speechless," added Rankin who admitted he's hoping for an honest pace
in the final.
Heat 2 Semi-Finals 1 Gabriel Jennings Saucony 3:40.07Q 2 Lopez Lomong Nike 3:40.26Q 3 Leonel Manzano Nike 3:40.32Q 4 Christopher Lukezic Reebok 3:40.50Q 5 Jon Rankin Nike
3:40.81Q 6 Said Ahmed Nike 3:41.05Q 7 Stephen Pifer Colorado 3:41.78 8 Andrew Bumbalough Georgetown 3:42.45 9 John Jefferson Oregon TC Elite 3:44.79 10 Matthew DeBole Georgetown 3:45.20 11 Russell Brown Stanford 3:46.89 12
Kyle King ZAP Fitness 3:50.58 13 James Hatch unattached 3:57.25
Looking ahead to the final Coming into the Trials, many thought the 1,500 final would be one of
the most anticipated distance finals. It's certainly looking like it
will live up to the hype as all of the expected big-time players will
be in the final. It's honestly stunning how much the 1,500 Trials went
according to form. All five of the A qualifiers in Webb, Lagat,
Manzano, Rankin and Myers have made the final. Actually, moving down
the entry list, the top 9 entrants based on qualifying time advanced as
did 12 of the top 14. The slowest of the 14 guys in the final is the
resurgent Gabe Jennings, who came in with the 14th best seed time of
Lopez Lomong Says He Will Win the Final
Said Ahmed Reveals a Hamstring Injury
Women's 1,500 Semi-finals
By far the most loaded of the two semifinals, there was certain to be
a big name eliminated here as the brutal (but fair) advancement formula
of top six from each heat would determine who would make the final. Treniere Clement and Amy Mortimer took things out in 68.6. Tiffany McWilliams took control at 500 meters but the pace didn't pick up any as 800 was hit at 2:16.8.
With a lap to go, McWilliams led and she was followed in order by Shannon Rowbury (who sat in second the entire first 1,200 meters), Mortimer, Clement, Sara Hall, Sarah Bowman and Mary Jane Reeves. Rowbury easily moved to the front in the last 250, running her final
300 in a controlled 48.3 to win the eat and easily advance. Mortimer
ran a good race to place second with McWilliams again not demonstrating
an ability to shift gears but still able to finish third and easily
did not look as sharp as yesterday but still managed fifth,
while Hall quietly advanced. Afterwards, it was clear Clement wasn't
happy with her run as she didn't talk to the media as she brushed us
off by saying "Sorry not today." The battle for the final qualifying
spot ended up being a good one as Bowman was dropped at 200 meters but
then fought back hard and caught Reeves right at the tape. Reeves dived
for the line and ended up totally sprawled on the track, 0.18 out of
qualifying, as she finished 7th.
A key non-qualifier was 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson, who
finished ninth after battling back from surgery just to be in the
Trials. We caught up with Carrie Tollefson after she failed to
advance. Fighting back tears, she said she loves being a professional
runner and said that she's looking forward to the future, "This isn't
the end. I'm going to come back healthy."
The crowd got very excited in heat two as two high
schoolers were vying for a chance to compete in Sunday's final and
neither disappointed. Washington-bound Christine Babcock was on the shoulder of first lap leader Erin Donahue as the field went through in 69.1. Not satisfied with that pace, Christin Wurth took the lead at 600 meters and with Donahue, Lindsay Gallo and Morgan Uceny in pursuit, opened up a 10 meter gap on the field.
Hasay Moving into 6th
The chase pack was led by Frances Koons of Villanova (who has made an inspiring comeback this year from cancer) and Emily Anderson of William & Mary (who has had a breakthrough season), Babcock, and the other high schooler in the field, Jordan Hasay.
There was little doubt who the top four would be with 400 to go as
Wurth, Donahue, Gallo and Uceny looked to be on cruise control, hitting
1,200 in 3:23 after laps of 68 and 65 seconds.
the action was heating up in the chase pack. To the roar of the crowd,
Hasay began her move from eighth up towards the top six. Her long
blond hair making her easy to pick out, Hasay had the crowd going
berserk in the final stages of the race as every step forward was met by
a larger ovation. Running in a Team USA uniform, she ended up fifth in
4:14.50, a new national high school record and the fifth best time ever
by a U.S. junior. Jenelle Deatherage came on strong to grab the 6th and final spot as West Viriginia's Keri Bland was
seventh. Koons faded to 8th and Babcock finished up a good pair of
races at her first Olympic Trials with a ninth place 4:20.00. Uceny
joined Lopez Lomong as the only athletes at the meet to qualify for the
finals of both the 1,500 and 800.
the race, we caught up with heat winner Gallo, who made fun of
herself for winning the prelim by stating she knew "it's cheesy to win
a prelim." We asked her if she was worried about not having the A
standard heading into the final. She said she'd never been asked that
question. We couldn't quite tell if she was joking. The fact we can't tell shows you just how fluff of a piece the average reporter is
"If I get top 3 and don't get the A, I'll probably just complain about
the rules and start focusing on 2012," cracked Gallo.
Heat 2 Semi-Finals 1 Lindsey Gallo Reebok 4:12.54Q 2 Christin Wurth Nike 4:12.66Q 3 Erin Donohue Nike 4:13.01Q 4 Morgan Uceny Reebok 4:13.61Q 5 Jordan Hasay unattached
4:14.50Q 6 Jenelle Deatherage Reebok 4:15.64Q 7 Keri Bland West Virginia 4:16.05 8 Frances Koons Villanova 4:17.41 9 Christine Babcock unattached 4:20.00 10 Emily Anderson unattached 4:20.85 11 Katherine Follett Washington 4:22.60 12
Michelle Turner Washington 4:30.59