NCAA Winners And Losers, The SEC Flexes Its Muscle, Lots Of Fabulous Freshmen, And Mary Cain Isn’t The Only One Struggling

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by LetsRun.com
May 19, 2015

There was a ton of action last week. We broke down a lot of it as it happened at the Hoka One One meet in California and the IAAF DL meet in Doha and IAAF DL meet in Shanghai. You can read our previous analysis at those links but we add much more below.

Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our running fan forum.

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It’s Official – The Average Track And Field Meet Is Nothing But Practice

When people say something along the lines of, “If only track and field was marketed better, it would be so much popular,” we often shake our heads. Yes, the sport could be marketed better but their is an inherent aspect of track and field that make it very hard for your average sports fan to love except for once every four years. What?

As we’ve explained on the message board in the past, one of the inherent things about the sport – that most people don’t really seem to get – is most meets are nothing more than exhibitions/practice.

Exhibition NFL games aren’t real popular. Nor is pre-season track.

Of course, it’s this very fact that makes the Olympics a must-watch event for your casual sports fan. Why? Because every four years, maybe a lifetime of work, comes down to one race.

NFL games that count are popular, as are track meets that count (conference meets, USAs, NCAAs, Worlds/Olympics).

If you disagreed with our assertion that the average meet is nothing but a glorified practice, you can officially be quiet after what happened last week. On Thursday, the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic was being held in Occidental College in California. Halfway through, it started to thunderstorm. What did USATF do? They simply cancelled the meet the rest of the meet.

We couldn’t believe it. Track and field needs to figure our some way to make more meets matter. Major League Baseball doesn’t cancel regularly-scheduled games due to weather, nor does the NFL. If bad weather comes in, the games are simply postponed. Yes, we know many athletes had flights out the next day. That’s fine, they could miss the races if the needed to. The meet organizers should at a minimum given the people an option to race the next day.

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Not Everyone Put Up An Amazing Mark Last Week

Maggie Vessey Over Jenny Simpson At Oxy (click for photo gallery)

Opening day for the IAAF season took place last week in Doha and Shanghai and several pros TOTALLY brought their “A” game. In Shanghai, two men went over 18 meters in the triple jump, Allyson Felix broke 22.00 for the first time since 2012, Justin Gatlin ran faster than he did when he was known to be on drugs, and Jasmin Stowers ran a 12.35 Diamond League record in her Diamond League debut; in Shanghai, a woman not named Dibaba or Defar broke 14:20 for the first time in history.

Of course, everything averages out to be average so not everyone is seeing their 2015 campaigns start well.

In our Oxy recap, we expressed some concern about Mary Cain‘s recent struggles. Fans were less than thrilled when she only ran 4:31 indoors for the mile, splitting 4:11 in the 1500 en route, but now her seasonal best outdoors for 1500 after three races is just 4:15.42 – 10.80 seconds off her 4:04.62 pb. However, Cain isn’t the only one struggling early in 2015. She’s got some good company. The reigning world 1500 champ Abeba Aregawi only ran 4:04.42 in Doha – some 8.88 off of her PB.

Others who aren’t enjoying a strong start to 2015 include:

Yenew Alamirew – The 24-year-old Ethiopian was only 10th in the Doha 3000 in 7:46.23. That subpar performance comes after he was only 9th at the World’s Best 10k in March. Before that, check out how his seasonal bests for 5000 have regressed over the last three years:

2012: 12:48.77
2013: 12:54.95
2014: 13:00.23

That’s what we call negative momentum.

Sofia Assefa – The steeple World and Olympic bronze medalist only ran 9:35.32 in her DL opener in Doha. Yes, it’s only one race but Assefa is normally a model of consistency. The last time she finished lower than 6th in a steeple was way back in August of 2009.

Nick Symmonds – If we told you at the beginning of the year that by the middle of May, Symmonds would have raced twice so far and that he’d have run just 1:49.81 for 7th in the 800 and 3:44.22 for 10th in a 1,500, you likely wouldn’t have believed us. Yes, Symmonds nearly went down at Oxy last week before the real racing began and he’s a known come-from-behind guy, but we didn’t think he looked good prior to the trip.

Of course, it doesn’t often take too long for big-time talents to come back.

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Stowers With a DL Record

Stowers With a DL Record in Her First DL Race (click for Doha Photo gAllery)

No Event Is Less Predictable Year To Year Than The High Hurdles

One of the biggest stories from this weekend’s Diamond League action was the Diamond League-record 12.35 run by 23-year-old Jasmin Stowers in the 100 hurdles in Doha, the fastest time in the world since June 2013. One month ago, that would have been a huge surprise, but after Stowers ran extremely fast at Drake (12.40 on April 25) and Kingston (12.39 on May 9), her blazing time wasn’t that shocking.

What is surprising is Stowers’ rapid rise to world dominance in 2015. Prior to this year, Stowers’ PR was 12.71; she didn’t even win SECs or NCAAs last year as a senior at LSU (losing to two admittedly exceptional hurdlers in Kendra Harrison and Sharika Nelvis). But she won three of her four races indoors this year (including a U.S. title in the 60 hurdles) and is undefeated so far outdoors.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised, though. It seems like every year there is a Stowers-like talent who emerges to dominate the American hurdle scene (which usually means dominating the world as well). Take a look:

2012: Aries Merritt
The more time passes, the more ridiculous this season looks. Before 2012, Merritt’s PR in the 110 hurdles was 13.09 yet that year he surpassed that mark 11 times en route to a World Indoor title, Olympic gold medal and 12.80 world record. In the ensuing two-plus years, Merritt, now 29, has never broken 13.09.

2013: Brianna Rollins
Rollins, then a junior at Clemson, came into the year with a 12.70 100H PR, ran 12.68 on May 10 and then crushed it at NCAAs, breaking the NCAA record twice with a 12.47 in the heats and then a 12.39 in the final. Two weeks later, she got the American record too (12.26) and capped her season with a world title. Last year, she was just 5th at USAs and her best time was 12.53. In two races this year, her best time is 12.75.

2014: Devon Allen
Allen, then a true freshman at Oregon, didn’t qualify for NCAAs in the 60 hurdles indoors but improved by a staggering margin in the outdoor season. He dropped his 110H PR from 13.77 to 13.47 at Pac-12s, shaved another .20 off at the NCAA West prelims and ran the second-best college time ever at NCAAs (13.16). Then, at USAs, the then-19-year-old Allen beat a field that included the past two world champions (David Oliver, Jason Richardson) and the 2013 world silver medalist (Ryan Wilson). Allen hasn’t raced since as he shut down his 2014 season to focus on football and blew out his knee in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day which has prevented him from racing in 2015.

It’s always hard to stay on top of the world in an event but it seems particularly difficult in the hurdles. Will Stowers stay at this level over the next few years or will she regress as others have?

P.S. Stowers isn’t the only American to break through this year in the event. Kentucky’s Kendra Harrison sliced .12 of a second off her PR at SECs last weekend to win in 12.50, the best non-Stowers time in the world this year.

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NCAA Conference Winners And Losers

Last week, the final NCAA conference meets were held and the action was quite good in a lot of places as the five most prominent conferences in track and field – the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, PAC-12 – all held their championships. We provide some analysis of the action below but first wanted to provide you the team results for the Big 5 conferences, partially because it drives us nuts how so many schools barely field track and field teams and we hope we can embarrass the horrible schools from power conferences into putting a tiny bit of more emphasis into track and field.

ACC *Results

 Men

1Florida State136
2Virginia100
3Virginia Tech98
4Clemson89
5North Carolina67
6Duke53
7Syracuse51
8Louisville40
9Notre Dame37
9Pittsburgh37
11Miami36
12North Carolina St.33
13Georgia Tech22
14Wake Forest18
15Boston College0
 Women

Big 10 *Results

Men

1Illinois145
2Nebraska108
3Iowa81
4Ohio State78
5Penn State66
6Minnesota64
7Michigan State55
8Purdue54
8Wisconsin54
10Michigan42
11Rutgers36
12Indiana28
13Maryland6
 Women

1Michigan State128
2Nebraska97
3Minnesota93
4Ohio State87
5Michigan80
6Purdue67.5
7Penn State66
8Iowa52
9Wisconsin46
10Maryland45
11Illinois27.5
12Indiana26
13Rutgers3

Big 12 *Results

 Men

1Texas151
2Texas Tech126.75
3Oklahoma107
4Baylor93
5Kansas85.25
6Oklahoma State69
7TCU67
8Kansas State62
9Iowa State58

Forfeit: West Virginia

 Women

1Texas141.5
2Kansas State129.5
3Texas Tech103
4Kansas101
5Baylor96
6Oklahoma79
7Oklahoma State62
8Iowa State59
9West Virginia32
10TCU15

PAC-12 *Results

 Men

1Oregon152
2USC121
3Washington84.5
4UCLA83
5Arizona State75
6Arizona73.5
7Colorado68
8California66
9Stanford64.5
10Washington St.31.5

Forfeit: Utah,
Oregon State

 Women

1Oregon185
2USC182
3Stanford87
4Arizona State72
5UCLA64
5Washington St.64
7Washington63
8Colorado43
9Arizona36
10Utah14
11Oregon State6
12California3

SEC *Results

 Men

1Florida130.5
2Arkansas95
2Texas A&M95
4LSU92
5Georgia71.5
6Kentucky58
7Mississippi53
8Miss State52
9Alabama47.5
10Auburn40
11South Carolina36
12Tennessee28.5
13Missouri20

Forfeit: Vanderbilt

 Women

1Arkansas127.5
2Texas A&M104
3Kentucky99
4LSU84
5Florida83
6Georgia64
7Alabama55.5
8Miss State51
9Missouri42.66
10Auburn28
11Vanderbilt25.33
12Mississippi21
13South Carolina19
14Tennessee15

Results for the rest of the conferences can be found here.

Winners: Oklahoma State Mid-Distance

Oklahoma State runners runners won three of the four mid-d events (women’s 800, men’s and women’s 1500) at Big 12s and they have a legitimate NCAA title contender in all three events. Chad Noelle won a very tactical 1500 (4:05.93) by almost one second, closing in 53.54 for his last lap, and is the NCAA leader at 3:38.35. 2013 NCAA 1500 champ Natalja Piliusina won the women’s 1500 by over two seconds (4:26.70 to 4:28.98) while Savannah Camacho took a slow women’s 800 in 2:10.18 (NCAA indoor runner-up Kaela Edwards was third). Between Piliusina, Camacho and Edwards, OSU has three of the top 11 on the NCAA list at 800.

Loser: Brandon McBride

Yes, McBride did run 1:45.87 in the heats, the #3 time in the country this year and an IAAF qualifier, but he lost his SEC title to LSU’s Julian Parker, who beat him 1:46.17 to 1:46.43 in the final. From May 2013 to March 2015, McBride didn’t lose a single collegiate 800, but now he’s lost twice, at NCAA indoors and SECs. It’s certainly not the end of the world for McBride, who has said he’s focusing on peaking in August for Worlds this year, but he has yet to display the dominance we’ve come to expect based on his spectacular 2014 season.

Winner: USC’s Female 200 Runners

Here’s LeBron James explaining how many of USC’s 200 runners scored at Pac-12s last weekend. Okay, you might have to stop listening before he says “not seven,” but, still – USC scored seven women in the 200, going 1-2-3-5-6-7-8 for 34 points (Tynia Gaither won the race in 22.97). This actually happened! The lone non-Trojan to score was Oregon’s Jasmine Todd in fourth, and her five points wound up being huge in the team race, which Oregon won by just three points. USC scored more points in the 200 than three schools (Utah, Oregon State and Cal) did in the entire meet — combined.

Winner: NCAA Sprint Fans

The sprint action in the NCAA has been phenomenal this year. An incredible nine men have broken 10.00 in the 100 this year, and even though only one of those times (Clayton Vaughn’s 9.93) is wind-legal, the performances are still very impressive — Clemson’s Tevin Hester was INCREDIBLY close to an NCAA record at ACCs last weekend, running 9.87 with a barely-illegal +2.1 m/s wind. Here are the nine men who have broken 10.00 this year, with their actual and converted performances.

Actual

  1. Andre De Grasse, JR, USC 9.87 (+4.0 m/s wind)
  2. Tevin Hester, JR, Clemson 9.87 (+2.1)
  3. Trayvon Bromell, SO, Baylor 9.90 (+3.3)
  4. Clayton Vaughn, SR, UT-Arlington 9.93 (+1.7)
  5. Beejay Lee, SR, USC 9.96 (+4.0)
  6. Bryce Robinson, JR, Tulsa 9.96 (+3.7; also at altitude)
  7. John Teeters, JR, Oklahoma St. 9.98 (+3.5)
  8. Kendal Williams, FR, Florida St. 9.98 (+2.1)
  9. Ronnie Baker, JR, TCU 9.99 (+3.5)

Converted To 0.0 m/s Wind Using This Calculator

  1. Tevin Hester, JR, Clemson 9.97
  2. Clayton Vaughn, SR, UT-Arlington 10.01
  3. Andre De Grasse, JR, USC 10.04
  4. Trayvon Bromell, SO, Baylor 10.05
  5. Kendal Williams, FR, Florida St. 10.08
  6. Beejay Lee, SR, USC 10.13
  7. John Teeters, JR, Oklahoma St. 10.14
  8. Bryce Robinson, JR, Tulsa 10.14 (conversion also accounts for altitude)
  9. Ronnie Baker, JR, TCU 10.15

With collegians leading the world lists in the men’s 200 (Florida’s Dedric Dukes at 19.99; De Grasse is second at 20.03) and women’s 100 (Oregon’s Jenna Prandini at 10.92), NCAAs is going to be a sprint fan’s delight.

Loser: Niki Franzmair

The Austrian, who ran 1:46.78 last summer, has yet to totally figure it out in his freshman year at Oregon. He flashed his big potential with a 1:46.99 leg on Oregon’s NCAA-winning DMR indoors but he failed to qualify for NCAA indoors individually and his best open 800 is over two seconds off his PR (he ran 1:48.79 indoors). This weekend was a low as he ran 1:51.66 in his prelim (finishing second-to-last), his slowest time in a Duck uniform, to miss the final at PAC-12s.

Winner: Raevyn Rogers

It’s not all bad news for Oregon’s 800 runners. Raevyn Rogers led a 1-2 sweep for the Ducks in the women’s 800 at PAC-12s as the freshman ran a big PR of 2:01.67 (previous PR: 2:03.32). Rogers has been running fast times for a while now – she holds national records for ages 11-12 (2:13.12), 13-14 (2:06.90) and ran 2:03.32 at age 16 in 2013, when she was third at World Youths. Many times an age-group talent stalls as the competition catches up to her and with a 2:05.66 best at Oregon so far, it looked like that might have been the case with Rogers. Her big win at PAC-12s silenced that claim.

MB: Oregon true frosh Raevyn Rogers runs 2:01.62 at Pac 12s!!

Losers: BC Men, Rutgers Women, Maryland Men, Oregon St. Women, Cal Women

What do all these teams have in common? None of them managed to score even seven points at their conference meets this weekend. Someone has to finish last. We understand that. But it’s pathetic in a sport/conference that offers scholarships that your entire team can’t even manage to score the equivalent of a second-place finish in a single individual event. But hey, at least they have teams. Vanderbilt, Utah, and Oregon State are major-conference schools that don’t even have men’s teams.

One last thing. When a team competes but scores zero points, it should be listed last in the standings with zero. The ACC results didn’t list the BC men but we added them in.

Winners: Anthony Rotich And Leah O’Connor

The defending NCAA steeple champions showcased their versatility at their conference meets this weekend as each pulled off the 1,500, 3,000 steeple 5,000 triple. The winning times for Rotich of UTEP were 3:43.72, 8:59.64 and 14:47.03 at the Conference USA meet while Michigan State’s O’Connor ran 4:14.19, 9:51.38 and 16:03.98. Making it even more special, each athlete achieved the feat on their home track.

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The Biggest Winner of All – The SEC / The Diamond League Opener In The USA Took Place Two Weeks Early

If you look at the official Diamond League calendar, it says that now that Doha and Shanghai are over that the next Diamond League meet and the US opener for 2015 is in two weeks when the 2015 Nike Prefontaine Classic takes place in Eugene, Oregon.

We’re not sure why the IAAF thinks the US-opening DL meet is in Eugene in two weeks. It appears to us that the Diamond League opened (unofficially) last week in the United States in Starkville, Mississippi, at the 2015 SEC Championships. Pac-12 fans can talk all the want about how great their conference is but there is no doubt that the SEC is the best conference in the country overall for track and field.

The winning marks in the sprints and field events at the SEC are annually mind-boggling and the 2015 edition didn’t disappoint.

We compared the winning marks at the 2015 SEC Championships with the season-opening marks in Doha and Shanghai and were amazed by how competitive the SEC is. Four SEC winners would have WON the Diamond League opener had they put up the same mark on the DL circuit that they did at SECs and there were 19 top-5 marks.

Check out how the winners of the SEC championships would have fared in Doha/Shanghai and World Relays (for 4 x 100 and 4 x 400) had they put up the same mark.

The 2015 SEC Meet Vs. The Diamond League 
 Men Winner – School – Mark Place
100  Shavez Hart – Texas A&M – 10.12 8th
 200 Dedrick Dukes – Florida – 19.99 1st
 400 Deon Lendore – Texas A&M – 44.411st
 110hOmar McLeod – Arkansas – 13.284th
 400hScottie Hearn – Miss. State – 49.395th
 4×1Texas A&M – 38.745th
 4×4Florida – 3:01.607th
 PV Jake Blankenship – Tenn. – 5.56m4th
 LJMarquis Dendy – Florida – 8.19m5th
 TJMarquis Dendy – Florida – 17.35m3rd
 SPStipe Zunic – Florida – 19.95m7th
 DTRodney Brown – LSU – 63.51m4th
 Women  
 100 Aaliyah Brown – Texas A&M – 11.306th
 200Kyra Jefferson – Florida – 22.393rd
 400 Taylor Ellis-Watson – Ark. – 51.184th
 100h Kendra Harrison – Kentucky – 12.502nd
 400hShamier Little – Texas A&M – 54.68 1st
 4 x 1Texas A&M – 42.613rd
 4 x 4Florida – 3:27.843rd
 HJJeannelle Scheper – S. Car. – 1.96m 1st
 PVSandi Morris – Arkansas – 4.72m2nd
 LJ Quanesha Burka – Alabama – 6.84m 5th
 TJ Keturah Orji – Georgia – 14.13m5th

And it’s not like the SEC is horrible in the middle distances and distances. Mid-d wise, seven men have run under 1:47 for 800 already this year and 11 have broken 3:45.00. At SECs, reigning NCAA champ Brandon McBride of Mississippi State ran 1:45.87 in the prelims of the 800 and the final was won by LSU’s Julian Parker in 1:46.17. The 5k winner, Kemoy Campbell of Arkansas, has run 13:20.69 this year already.

On the women’s side, Arkansas’ Chrishuna Williams has run 2:01.61 this year and she’s not even the SEC champion as Mississippi’s super-frosh Brooke Feldmeier (2:03.86 pb) got the win. In the 1500, Rhianwedd Price has run 4:11.67 this year and she’s not the SEC champion as Arkansas’ Dominique Scott, who has run 15:32 and 32:11 already this year for 5000 and 10,000, got the win.

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Fabulous Freshman

Parsing the NCAA conference results, we were impressed by several big performances by freshmen in the mid-d/distance events. At the ACC meet, Syracuse’s Justyn Knight, a true frosh from Canada, won the 1,500, closing the last lap in 54.85 despite losing his right shoe midway through the race. It was the latest in a string of great races for Knight, who has also run 3:39.66 and 13:34.86 this year – both school records.

We already covered Rogers’ 800 win at PAC-12s but she wasn’t the only freshman to impress out west as Colorado’s redshirt frosh Erin Clark ran 10:02.16 to win the steeple and came back the next day to take second in the 5,000, losing only to Shelby Houlihan. Mark Wetmore has already developed the two greatest steeplers in U.S. history – Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn. Is Clark going to join them as an elite pro? Well Coburn only ran 10:06.21 in the steeple as a freshman so it’s possible. Now that’s not really a fair comparison as Clark is a redshirt, plus Coburn was young for her grade. Clark is 20. When Coburn was 20, she ran 9:37.16 in the steeple so Clark has some catching up to do. It is also worth pointing out that Clark is from Eugene, Oregon but didn’t go to Oregon.

At the Big 10 meet, true freshman Joe Hardy of Wisconsin won a tactical 1500 in 3:57.06 while at SECs, Ole Miss’ Brooke Feldmeier took down the second-fastest woman in the NCAA this year, Arkansas’ Chrishuna Williams, to win the 800 in 2:04.44.

All that freshman success had us wondering about how the top HS recruits of 2014 have fared so far. Here’s an update on what the five fastest boys and girls at 800, the mile and 3200 from the HS class of 2014 are doing right now. Not all of last year’s HS stars are flourishing in college.

Boys’ 800
Name2014 HS timeCollegeComment
Ricky Faure1:48.14WyomingWon Mountain West title in SB of 1:48.79
Ishmael Muhammad1:48.52Villanova3rd in 400 at Big Easts; 800 SB of 1:49.56
Joe White1:48.75GeorgetownWon Big Easts in 400 indoors and 800 outdoors; made NCAAs indoors; 47.07/1:47.57
Derek Holdsworth1:48.97N/ADidn’t enroll in college last fall; still training with HS coach; 1:50.56 sb outdoors
Charles Jones Jr.1:49.54Texas TechDidn’t make final at Big 12s indoors/outdoors; 47.66/1:50.87
Boys’ Mile
Name2014 HS timeCollegeComment
Garrett O’Toole4:01.89Princeton2nd at Indoor Heps in mile. Injured outdoors. 4:06.85 sb.
Blake Haney4:04.08Oregon3:41.27 at Payton Jordan; 4th at Pac-12 1500.
Josh Evans4:04.38Iowa St.Redshirt
Garrett Corcoran4:05.19CalCollege PRs of 3:49/14:32. Didn’t make 1500 final at Pac-12s; 23rd in 5000.
Wesley Pectol4:05.25AuburnCollege PRs of 1:55/3:53. Didn’t run SECs.
Boys’ 3,200
Name2014 HS timeCollegeComment
Blake Haney8:46.80Oregon3:41.27 at Payton Jordan; 4th at Pac-12 1500.
Andrew Rafla8:50.55Boise St.Top American true frosh at NCAA XC (83rd); 14:19 outdoor pb
Cerake Geberkidane8:50.88Oklahoma St.2nd at USA XC jr race; 34th at World XC; redshirt outdoors
Dan Curts8:51.24Iowa St.205th at NCAA XC; redshirt indoors/outdoors
Ian Milder8:51.53NC St.4:10/8:12 indoors; 3:50 outdoors
Girls’ 800
Name2014 HS timeCollegeComment
Mary Cain2:01.67Portland (not running)Turned pro in Nov. ’13; 2:02.75/4:15.42 this year
Raevyn Rogers2:04.40OregonWon 800 at Pac-12s in 2:01.67
Elise Cranny2:04.81Stanford2nd at NCAA indoors in 3k/DMR; 4th at Pac-12 1500
Rose Christen2:05.64Washington2:09.56 sb; 9th at Pac-12s
Corinne Myers2:05.80Northeastern2:11.53 indoors, 2:15.19 outdoors; didn’t make final at CAAs
Girls’ Mile
Name2014 HS timeCollegeComment
Mary Cain4:26.05 (conv. 1500)Portland (not running)Turned pro in Nov. ’13; 2:02.75/4:15.42 this year
Elise Cranny4:31.03Stanford2nd at NCAA indoors in 3k/DMR; 4th at Pac-12 1500
Sarah Feeny4:39.23Utah4:44 indoors/4:18 outdoors; DNF in Pac-12 1500
Anna Maxwell4:42.14 (1600)Washington2:15/4:26 outdoors; didn’t make Pac-12 1500 final, 15th in 5k
Bethan Knights4:42.29 (1600)Cal25th at NCAA XC; 4:19/16:05; 9th in 10k at Pac-12s
Girls’ 3,200
Name2014 HS timeCollegeComment
Bethan Knights9:53.54 (2 mile)Cal25th at NCAA XC; 4:19/16:05; 9th in 10k at Pac-12s
Amelia Paladino10:00.42West Virginia2:13/4:21; 4th in Big 12 1500
Anna Maxwell10:04.81Washington2:15/4:26 outdoors; didn’t make Pac-12 1500 final, 15th in 5k
Sarah Baxter10:07.52Oregon4:29/16:40 while redshirting
Caroline Alcorta10:11.71 (2 mile)UNC4:23/16:13; 6th in 5k at ACCs

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Get Ready For A Potentially-Historic Women’s 5,000 At The Pre Classic

Ayana is now #3 all-time at 5,000

Ayana is now #3 all-time at 5,000.

Last month, we mentioned in our WTW that the 2015 Pre Classic is officially a “must-see” event given it will feature World XC champ Geoffrey Kamworor in the 10,000 and Genzebe Dibaba shooting for a world record in the 5,000. Dibaba’s world record attempt was already going to be fascinating (she ran 14:18.86 in February to break the world record indoors; the outdoor record is 14:11.15 by sister Tirunesh) but now it should be a real race as well after fellow Ethiopian Almaz Ayana ran 14:14.32 in Shanghai on Sunday. This is only the second time in history that two women have broken 14:20 the same year and this will be the first of what should be several showdowns between Dibaba and Ayana, culminating at the World Championships in Beijing in August.

World records are easier to break when you have someone pushing you — ask Hicham El Guerrouj how much Noah Ngeny helped when he set the mile WR in 1999 — and if both Dibaba and Ayana are committed to the time, they’ll have a good shot at breaking it.

That is, if the weather cooperates. We’re still 11 days out from the meet so weather reports aren’t that relevant, but right now the women’s 5,000 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon — the same time the men’s 5,000 was last year when runners complained about the warm, windy conditions. Pre is already holding the men’s 5,000 and 10,000 on Friday evening and if they really want a world record, they should move the women’s 5,000 to Friday evening as well. Yes, that would mean taking it out of the live TV window, but it’s better publicity for the meet to set a WR on Friday not on TV than to have hot conditions for the 5,000 on Saturday (and thus less of a chance of a WR). Maybe everything works out perfectly and it’s a cool, still day on Saturday, but judging by last year, Friday night is a much better time to run a distance race in Eugene than Saturday afternoon.

Of course, while Ayana is currently listed as a runner at Pre, we don’t know 100% that the clash will take place. Ayana was quoted after Shanghai as saying she wants to break the WR at Worlds in Beijing.

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A Former Runner Excels At The Triathlon

Unfortunately, this isn’t a section devoted to telling you how well American mile record holder Alan Webb is doing as a triathlete.

Webb was just 50th at the ITU Triathlon World Cup Chegdu in Abu Dhabi, UAE on May 9. But Webb does have a nice role model to try to emulate as at the same competition, former Georgetown runner Renee Tomlin got the win in the women’s race. Tomlin, who was 4th in the 2011 NCAA 1500 and ran 4:08.09 at Oxy in 2013, followed the win up with a 4th-place showing at the ITU Triathlon World Cup Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan last week.

MB:  Webb 56th in Abu Dhabi- 59 finished

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Results Of Note From Japan

In our Shanghai recap of the men’s 1,500, we noted how Ronald Kwemoi, who ran 3:28 last year as an 18-year-old was a prominent DNS. We now know why he didn’t race in Shanghai. He was busy doubling at the 57th East Japan Corporate T&F Championships in Saitama, Japan. Kwemoi appears to be in great shape as he won the 1,500 and 5,000s by more than 3 seconds:

1,500m
1. Ronald Kwemoi (KEN), 3:38.07
2. David Njuguna (KEN), 3:41.12
3. Yasunari Kusu, 3:46.07.07

5,000m
1. Ronald Kwemoi (KEN), 13:19.33
2. Leonard Barsoton (KEN), 13:22.91
3. Bernard Kimanyi (KEN), 13:29.43

He’s far from the only Kenyan running well in the 1500 in Japan. At the 94th Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships in Yokohama, Japan over the weekend, 22-year-old Kenyan Enoch Omwamba set a new national university record of 3:35.69 in the 1500 in a race where second place was just 3:41.13. Omwamba, who was beaten by Kwemoi in a 1500 by 0.84 at the 63rd Hyogo Relays on April 16, also won the 5k in 13:35.35.

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Galen Rupp fans, we know you must be a bit bummed by the fact you didn’t get to see if Rupp’s over the problems that caused him to prematurely shut down his indoor season as his scheduled outdoor debut at 5,000 was cancelled at the Hoka One One meet. However, we can update you on the progress of one of Rupp’s potential rivals at Worlds. We spotted the man who denied Rupp a medal at Worlds in the 10,000 in 2013, Kenyan Paul Tanui, racing well in Japan. Tanui, who got the bronze at the 2013 Worlds in Moscow and was the runner-up to Rupp last year at the Pre Classic in 26:49, was very impressive last weekend at the 58th Kyushu Jitsugyodan Track & Field Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan. Tanui won the 10,000 in a world leading 27:08.21 in a race where second place was just 28:12.31. To nearly break 27:00 in a race where no one else is under 28:00 is very impressive.

Tanui clearly is in much better shape than he was in at the beginning of March when he finished between Ben True and Donn Cabral at the World’s Best 10k in just 29:22. Since then he’s run 13:19 on April 4 and 13:18 on April 18 (losing both races) and now 27:08.

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Stat Of The Week

0 – number of women that Stanford ran in the women’s 5,000 at the PAC-12 Championships.

The number shocks you at face value (it shocked message board poster “Baby Blue #2” who posted about it and that’s how we saw the stat) but when you look into it, it makes more sense. While the Stanford men only beat one team at PAC-12s, the Stanford women finished a comfortable third with 87 points. There was no way they were getting 2nd (182 points) or 4th (72 points) so Stanford didn’t run anyone in the 5000. That being said, it is surprising to realize that Stanford only has one person on the team ranked in the top 25 in the league in the 5,000. The Cardinal’s Jessica Tonn, who has run 15:18.85 and won the 10,000 at PAC-12s, is far and away the fastest 5,000 woman in the PAC-12 this year.

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In looking for other weird stats, how about this. At the IC4A meet at Princeton, all of the men’s 800 scorers were sophomores. #Random:

2015 IC4a 800 Final
  1   380 Piazza, Drew        SO New Hampshir           1:48.62   10   
  2   194 Bile, Ahmed         SO Georgetown             1:48.92    8   
  3   388 Duffey, Paul        SO Northeastern           1:49.51    6   
  4   252 Sanders, Chris      SO La Salle               1:49.53    5   
  5   111 James, Michael      SO Coppin State           1:51.20    4   
  6    43 Homan, Ethan        SO Boston U.              1:51.86    3  

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Two Europeans Run 1:25 For 600

23-year-old Swiss 800 runner Selina Büchel, who was 4th at World Indoors in 2014 and won the European indoor title this March, ran a quick 600 last week in at the Internationales Läufermeeting (25th) in Pliezhausen, Germany. Büchel ran 1:25.45 to move to #15 all-time at 600m according to www.alltime-athletics.com. 20-year-old German Christina Hering, who ran 2:01.24 last year at age 19, was the runner-up in 1:25.73 (#18 all-time).

You don’t see a lot of 600s run on the pro circuit but the IAAF scoring tables say a 1:25.45 is equivalent to a 1:59.99 800.

The World’s 20 Fastest Women At 600m

1      1:22.63A   Ana Fidelia Quirot                 CUB     23.03.63    1      Guadalajara                   25.07.1997
2      1:22.87    Maria Mutola                       MOZ     27.10.72    1      Naimette-Xhovémont            27.08.2002
3      1:23.35    Pamela Jelimo                      KEN     15.12.89    1      Naimette-Xhovémont            05.07.2012
4      1:23.5A    Doina Melinte                      ROU     27.12.56    1      Poiana Brasov                 27.07.1986
5      1:23.78    Natalya Khrushchelyova             RUS     30.05.73    2      Naimette-Xhovémont            02.09.2003
6      1:24.17    Michelle Ballentine                JAM     31.08.75    1rA    Naimette-Xhovémont            03.08.2004
7      1:24.36    Marilyn Okoro                      GBR     23.09.84    2      Naimette-Xhovémont            05.07.2012
8      1:24.4     Patrizia Spuri                     ITA     18.02.73    1      Rieti                         29.09.1999
9      1:24.56    Martina Steuk                      GDR     11.11.59    1      Erfurt                        01.08.1981
10     1:24.82    Helena Fuchsová                    CZE     03.06.65    1      Gold Coast                    17.09.2000
12     1:25.05    Luciana de Paula Mende             BRA     26.07.71    2rA    Naimette-Xhovémont            03.08.2004
13     1:25.2     Vera Nikolic                       SRB     23.09.48    1      Beograd                       00.06.1967
14     1:25.37    Charmaine Howell                   JAM     13.03.75    1      Sydney                        14.09.2000
15     1:25.41    Kelly Holmes                       GBR     19.04.70    3      Naimette-Xhovémont            02.09.2003
16     1:25.45    Selina Büchel                      SUI     26.07.91    1      Pliezhausen                   17.05.2015
17     1:25.43    Antje Schröder                     GDR     02.09.63    2      Berlin                        31.07.1983
18     1:25.73    Christina Hering                   GER     09.10.94    1      Pliezhausen                   17.05.2015
19     1:25.79    Tamsyn Manou                       AUS     20.07.78    3      Naimette-Xhovémont            05.07.2012
20     1:25.84    Brigitta Langerholc                SLO     23.07.76    1      Ljubljana                     03.06.2007

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Quotes Of The Day (That Weren’t Quote Of The Week)

#1 – Mary Wittenberg Steps Down But The NYRR Vows That The 2015 New York City Marathon Will Continue To Be Great

The marathon is the greatest day of the year in the greatest city in the world. Peter understands that, and he knows how to keep it that way.”

George Hirsch, chairman of the NYRR, talking to the New York Times about the new race director of the NYC Marathon, Peter Ciacca, who took over for Mary Wittenberg last week.

Ciacca, who is an event planner at heart with a marathon PR between 3:15-3:30, isn’t a former elite runner like Wittenberg (whom we loved) so it will be interesting to see if the NYRR still continues its robust support of elite athletes. Let’s hope so. The world has a plenty of fun runs but only a few truly elite professional marathons.

More: LRC Mary Wittenberg Steps Down As New York Road Runners President To Launch Virgin Sport *Discuss Her Departure Here

#2 – Haile Gebrselassie Isn’t Happy That 18-Year-Olds Are Running 2:04 In The Marathon

While the rest of the world marveled, Gebrselassie said it “shocked him a lot” when he heard that Tsegaye Mekonnen won the Dubai Marathon last January in a world junior record of 2:04:32 aged 18.

“It was a big mistake to allow him to run that marathon,” said Haile without any hesitation. And he speaks from experience as well. 

“I ran a marathon when I was 15 [Addis Ababa in 1988] and I almost stopped running after that marathon. I could not walk for a week. But to run a marathon – a boy who is 18 years old, what can you say? Is it for money? I don’t know.

“You can run just run one marathon successfully – two or three maybe – but after that [Dubai] marathon, is he doing well?” Haile asked rhetorically. 

– Excerpt from an article by Stephen Mills on Haile G on Runblogrun.com.

#3 – Meet The Third Longest Triple Jumper In History

“I think I’m a mixture of all three men who jumped 18 metres before me. I have the speed of Edwards on the runway but my technique combines elements of the way both Harrison and Tamgho jump,” said the engaging young Cuban, speaking in Spanish and whose lack of English is perhaps one of the few impediments that could potentially prevent him becoming a global superstar transcending the sport in the way that Usain Bolt, Renaud Lavillenie and Mutaz Essa Barshim have done in recent years.

– Excerpt from an IAAF profile of 21-year-old Cuban triple jump sensation Pedro Pablo Pichardo. The world silver medalist predicted he’d go over 18 meters soon and then did it (18.06) in Doha. Picardo is now predicting a World Record: “I NOW THINK I CAN JUMP BEYOND 18.30M.”

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Tweet Of The week

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Recommended Reads

Last week we profiled how former Wyoming cross-country star Ryan Bolton guided Caroline Rotich to the 2015 Boston Marathon title: LRC Exclusive The Inside Story Of How American Ryan Bolton Helped Caroline Rotich Conquer The 2015 Boston Marathon

Profile On Cuban TJer Pedro Pablo Pichardo, Who Was Also A Boxer In His Younger Years

Amazing: Blind Pole Vaulter Charlotte Brown Gets 3rd Place At Texas High School State Meet With 11-6 “It took me three years to get on the podium, and I finally did it. … If I could send a message to anybody, it’s not about pole vaulting and it’s not about track. It’s about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way.”

MB: Alarm wakes you up at 6:30 AM, the date on the calendar is May 15, 2004. What do you do

More: Articles Tagged As A “Recommended Read” By LRC

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Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our running fan forum.

Editor’s note: This article was up for five minutes stating that Joe Hardy was from Australia and 20. That’s another Joe Hardy who tilastapaja.org incorrectly thinks won Big 10s.


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