Day 2 NCAA's, Women's 10,000: Texas A&M's Natosha Rogers Comes Out Of Nowhere To Get The Win
Natosha Rogers Gets The Surprise Win Over Aliphine Tuliamuk in Second and Deborah Maier in Third
By LetsRun.com with Tom Davis in Des Moines
June 7, 2012
The women's 10k concluded the action on the track at Drake Stadium on Thursday night. The top two runners in the NCAA this season were Cal's Deborah Maier and Meaghan Nelson of Iowa State. They were the favorites on paper although in our preview we called Wichita State’s Aliphine Tuliamuk for the “upset” victory. Well, in the end those runners made up three out of the top four finishers, but we’re not sure if anyone would have predicted Texas A&M’s Natosha Rogers to PR by over a minute to get the surprise victory in 32:41.
The race was run under good conditions with little or no wind and temperatures which had cooled down a lot form earlier in the day. Maier was the early leader, getting right to the front and opening in a quick 74.7 seconds. She continued to lead and went through the mile in 5:04 with most of the field strung out behind her, holding on to the aggressive pace.
Shortly after the mile, a pack of 13 runners separated themselves from the rest of the field and Rogers took the lead from Maier. The pacing for the middle laps was fairly sporadic, slowing down at one point to a string of 83 second quarters which allowed some of the field to catch back up. Then around 5k the lead group of 12 made a decisive break.
Rogers and Maier continued to trade the lead back and forth as some runners fell off and with 5 laps to go, the pack was down to 9. At this point Tuliamuk surged to make a move on Rogers and the pace dropped to a 74 second quarter which dropped everyone except for Maier and Nelson (who barely closed the gap to hang on in 4th).
Over the final 1000 meters, Tuliamuk continued to sit on Rogers’ shoulder, pressing from behind. Maeir road the rail on the inside, and Nelson hung onto her. Going into the bell lap Rogers still lead and Meir moved into 2nd to challenge for the lead as Tuliamuk stayed in 3rd and Nelson fell back. However, Rogers wouldn’t let Maeir pass and with 200 to go Maeir started to fade while Rogers absolutely blew them all away, closing her last lap in 68.72. She put almost 4 seconds on Tuliamuk who would finish second in 32:45. Maeir faded very badly over the last 200 and barely beat out a hard closing Nelson as the top two ranked collegiates went 3-4.
Rogers, who was only running her third ever 10k, was happy to be able to help Texas A&M in the team competition, saying, "I really have been wanting to contribute to this team for a long time." She was surprised by her win and even more shocked about the time, not evening knowing she had just hit the Olympic Trials “A” standard. She attributed her finishing strength to the stride and turnover work that she does in training and said of the end of the race, "I felt really comfortable, so I just went with it...I knew I could put a good last mile down."
Quick Thoughts: This was a huge upset as Rogers was barely in the top 50 in the NCAA coming in. This was only her 3rd 10k and she PR'd by over a minute (previous best 33:47). It would be interesting to see what she'd run in a Stanford type race where she could sit in a field instead of leading a lot like she did here.
Q2: A 5:04 1600 is on pace for a 31:40 10k, which would be a big improvement on Maier's 32:12 PR from Payton Jordan. We're not sure what her goal was there, if she just wanted to try and drop the whole field early (or the Olympic "A" is 31:45?), but it was definitely a surprising move. It's actually even more surprising that everyone went with her, including Rogers as that's right on pace for her 5k PR (15:45).
Q3: Rogers is also coming back in the 5k on Saturday, what can she do there? Her 5k PR doesn't put her in the mix, but at this point her PR's need to be thrown out the window.
Q4: Last year was also a surprise winner in Duke's Juliet Bottorff. Bottorff didn't contend today as she's not been fit this season, but she's only a junior and so is Rogers. They will both be back next year. Check this stat out. Last year, Bortorff ran 34:25.86 and won. Today, she ran 33:45.90 and finished 13th.
Q5: Oregon's Allison Woodward was not only the only freshman in the field, but she got 5th! She ran 32:56 which was a 56-second PR that put her 2nd all-time at Oregon. . This kept Texas A&M from gaining too many points on Oregon here. That's the good news. The bad news is bet Oregon head man Vinny Lananna didn't enjoy this one and almost had a coronary. Track and Field News predicted Woodward to get 6th - they didn't have Rogers scoring so this was a huge boost for them in the team battle.
|1||Natosha Rogers||JR||Texas A&M||32:41.63||10|
|2||Aliphine Tuliamuk||JR||Wichita State||32:45.43||8|
|4||Meaghan Nelson||JR||Iowa State||32:47.43||5|
|6||Sarah Waldron||SR||New Mexico||32:58.84||3|
|11||Andie Cozzarelli||JR||North Carolina St.||33:35.25|
|15||Sarah Sumpter||JR||UC Davis||33:49.57|
|18||Rose Tanui||SR||Texas Tech||34:10.89|
|19||Elaina Balouris||SO||William and Mary||34:41.97|
|24||Jessica Rydberg||JR||Notre Dame||36:17.94|
*LRC Rest of Day 2 Recap: 1500m and Men's Steeplechase Prelim Recaps: Kyle Merber Misses Final