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2005 USATF Day 4 Distance Recap: Elizabeth Jackson Books First Steeple Ticket to Helsinki
June 26, 2005

For the first time ever in the history of the event, World Championship spots were on the line at the women's steeplechase final at the US Championships. The event was first introduced to the US champs in 1999, but has gradually increased in competitiveness as 2005 and the events inclusion in the World Championships approached. On Sunday, the US champ was a veteran of the event, Elizabeth Jackson, who won the first US championship in 1999, and also won in 2000 and 2002.

American record holder, Briana Shook, led the field from the gun and opened up a gap on the field. Her opening lap of 73.13 got things rolling and soon although Shook had a lead on the field, 6 women (Shook, Jackson, Lisa Galaviz, Carrie Messner, Ann Gaffigan, and Dawn Cromer) would separate themselves from the field. By 1200m, the 5 girls behind Shook had caught up to her and the race for Helsinki was on. Ann Gaffigan and Dawn Cromer would fall off the lead pack first and make it a four way battle for the 3 worlds spots.

Shook continued to lead until 1200m to go, when Elizabeth Jackson took over the pacing duties. With 2 laps to go, Jackson was still in the lead of pack of 4 and Lisa Galaviz had let a little gap emerge between herself and the crucial 3rd world championship qualifying spot. Over the final lap, it was a 2 woman race for the win as Jackson continued to lead with Messner right with her. Shook and Galaviz were gapped, but were together to battle for third. Jackson would pull ahead going over the final water barrier and cruise home for the win. Lisa Galaviz who had been maybe 20 meters behind the leaders, had a tremendous final 200m as she blew by Shook and would pass Messner on the final stretch and finish less than a second behind Jackson. Messner held on for 3rd, Shook got 4th, Ann Gaffigan barely held on to 5th over a charging Natalie Florence who had led the 2nd pack and would get 6th. Dawn Cromer who had been with the lead pack, would stop and literally have to climb over the final steeple barrier and finish 9th.

Quotes and Results Below:

Liz Jackson, winner in 9:39.78 a pr, also winner in 1999, 2000 and 2002, who had a lot of injuries after 2002.
On her year and injuries in the past: "I wanted to be able to reach my potential, and train hard the whole year and see what I could do. This year I really went for it, and I'm so excited. It's been a hard year, and I've really had to stick with it and give it my all. I've had a lot of help from my family, from a lot of people, I'm so grateful."

On whether she ever thought about quitting while being injured: "I've thought about it. You definitely don't run for the attention, or for financial reasons. Most runners run because they're driven and they're running for themselves. It's a unique sport. It's not like basketball (where all the pros are wealthy) where its an easy life. It's a sacrifice and it takes a lot of hard work combined with a lot of sacrifice in many ways. There are a lot of other things you could be doing with your life. But I love it. I'm so excited to be here today. I'm so excited it went well"

On her thoughts on Briana Shook having the early lead: "I was just going to go out and keep a distance on here, because I usually I have a lot left at the end of my races. I'm more of a kicker than a person who goes out fast at the beginning... I thought if I could stay within distance with her, go with her, and not let her get too big a lead, then the second half of the race which usually is the stronger half of my race, push it and go around here if I could. That was my plan.

Was she surprised to go under 9:40: "Surprised, I'm not sure if that's the right word. I'm excited and really happy. My coach though I could go under 9:40."

Lisa Galaviz, 2nd place, 9:40.58, coached by Louie Quintana for 2 years, works 25 hours a week as a software engineer, 6 second pr:

On her race: "I was like 'I just want to make the World team. I don't care if today's race hurts, I have to run through it'. I've run fast before but usually it's when I feel good, so I needed to run fast when it's important. I'm going to Helsinki."

Briana Shook, American record holder, early race leader, 4th in 9:45.91, who had her ankle taped.
On whether she's injured: "I'm not injured, not a big injury. It kicks in at the wrong time and there's not anything you can do."

Her general thoughts on the race: "I wasn't really in it, so I don't know. I was in it at the beginning, but I just couldn't go. I didn't have the legs today. It just wasn't my day."

On how her training had been going: "My training has been going good. Just not my day I guess. I'm not going to make excuses because they did awesome. So if I make excuses I dog them, and they did good"

Women 3000 Meter Steeplechase Open
       World: W  9:01.59  7/4/2004    Gulnara Samitova, RUS
    American: A  9:29.32  7/31/2004   Briana Shook, Toledo
   World "A":    9:50.00
   World "B":   10:00.00
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Elizabeth Jackson            Nike                   9:39.78
  2 Lisa Galaviz                 Unattached             9:40.58
  3 Carrie Messner               Asics                  9:41.37
  4 Briana Shook                 Nike                   9:45.91
  5 Ann Gaffigan                 New Balance           10:07.39
  6 Natalie Florence             Colorado              10:07.51
  7 Lucinda Hull                 Adidas Ralei          10:16.71
  8 Kara June                    Unattached            10:17.73
  9 Dawn Cromer                  Unattached            10:18.45
 10 Cassie King                  North Carolina        10:21.57
 11 Kelly Siefker                Indiana               10:24.85
 12 Jane Rudkin                  Kansas City Smoke     10:26.91
 -- Rena Chesser                 B Y U                      DNS
 -- Brianna Dahm                 Unattached                 DNS

Women's 800:

Who is the best mid-d women's coach in the land? Is this even a question? No, it has to be JJ Clark for as yet again one of his athletes won the US title. Oh yeah, and in case you forgot, one of his other athletes, Treniere Clement, won the 1500 on Saturday (and had she not run the 1500, she very well may have won the 800 as she was the US leader in the event coming in).

Not only did Hazel Clark (JJ's sister) impressively win the women's 800 in virtually wire to wire fashion, but training partner Kameisha Bennett was second . The only surprise was that Clark's sister-in-law and JJ's wife, Jearl Miles Clark didn't start the race.

Hazel Clark and Bennett got to the front from the get go as they were 1-2 at 200 in 28.1-2. 400 was reached in 57.98. At 400, former UNC runner Alice Shmidt technically had the lead as she was on the outside of Clark. By 500 in, it was clear that the race was a 3-person affair between Clark, Schmidt and Benett. At 600 Clark and Schmidt were still side by side in 1:29.1 with Bennett saving ground (and energy in windy conditions) just behind in 3rd.  Schmidt was dropped just after 200 to go. Bennett came up on Clark with 150 to go, before Clark pulled away in the final 80 meters for a convincing win in a seasonal best 1:59.74. Bennett was second in 2:00.59 with Schmidt 7-8 meters behind her in 2:02.09.   

Quotes and Results Below:

Hazel Clark, winner in 1:59.74

On her race: "I was very excited going into the race. I've been feeling great all year. I knew it was a little windy here but I wanted to go wire to wire. Got out took the lead, took the lead, and just ran smooth and tried to be in control at all times and have a good finish. It went my way. I was really excited."

On the rest of her season: "I'm very excited about going to Worlds. My new training partner is Treniere Clement who won the 1500. We've been pushing stuff to the next level this year. She's really been helping me with my 1500 work and I've been helping her with her 800 work. The combination of us together is going to make us very, very strong and in contention to get medals at worlds."

On leading wire to wire: "At Prefontaine I had a bad fall and hurt my neck. I didn't want to get tangled up. It's hard to run that way (in front). I figured I was strong enough even though I was in the wind to get the win."

  1 Hazel Clark                  Nike                   1:59.74
  2 Kameisha Bennett             Nike                   2:00.59
  3 Alice Schmidt                adidas                 2:02.09
  4 Frances Santin               Santa Monica           2:02.66
  5 Sasha Spencer                Nike                   2:02.69
  6 Mishael Bertrand             Unattached             2:03.87
  7 Maggie Vessey                Unattached             2:06.23
  8 Tanya Osbourne               L S U                  2:07.90
 -- Jearl Clark                  New Balance                DNS
Men's 800m:

The men's 800 was expected to be a battle between 2003 world indoor champ David Krummenacker and 2004 Olympian Khadevis Robinson. Instead it turned into a one-man exhibition as Robinson put on a show.  Robinson came out firing on all cylinders and clearly wanted the win and a statement whereas Krummenacker ran very tentatively and seemed to just want to insure a spot on the World Championship team, which isn't all that unreasonable of a feeling given the fact Krummenacker failed to make the Olympic team last year as a heavy favorite.

Robinson led wire to wire despite fairly windy conditions. He took the first 200 out in 24.8 before hitting 400 in 50.99 with a good stride and a half lead over Kansas State's Christian Smith. At 400, Krummencacker was in last and a good 10 meters behind Robinson. By 600 (1:17 mid roughly), Robinson had gapped the field by 6-7 meters and would proceed to win impressively. Perhaps ESPN2 commentator Larry Rawson put it best when he said Robinson "buried" the field. Indeed.

Krummenacker was still last at 500. After getting out of Derick Petersen's box, Krummenacker would move up hard over the final 300 to finish second and punch his ticket to Helsinki in 1:46.80. At 600 (1:19.4), Krummenacker was in 6th (and a good 2 seconds behind Robison) before moving up to 4th at 700 and 2nd at the finish. Florida A&M sophomore phenom Kevin Hicks (2005 NCAA indoor champ and 2005 NCAA runner-up in 1:44.94) would follow Krummenacker over the final 150 to get the final world championship spot in 1:46.99.  The 4th place finisher also was another late mover in Petersen (1:47.30).

Quotes and Results Below:

Kevin Hicks, 3rd place, 1:46.99: "Everything went according to plan.  There was no game plan"
On what it feels like to make his first world championship team: "It hurt, that's what it felt like"

David Krummenacker, 2nd 1:46.80
On being last at 400: "I thought I was starting out well, but I got out too slow. I knew with 300 to go I'd have to kick it into gear. I was a little worried with 200 to go, but fortunately was able to pass a few guys."

Khadevis Robinson, 1999 US Champ, runner-up the last 3 years, 1st place in 1:45.27

On his wire to wire victory: "It's about taking risks now. I'm getting a little older. I've won every USA meet. I've won Prefontaine twice. I've won here (USATFs) twice, I won indoors. Now its just a fact of being to keep up against the international guys and run faster times.  Last year I was very consistent (with) 1:44s over in Europe and even ran a couple over here in the US. Now I need to get to 1:43.  What that takes is taking the risk of failure. You've got to take the risk of failure. It's hard to do (to take that risk) if things are going well and you're used to winning, so I took that risk. Sometimes you might take that risk and you may not run well. But if you take that risk and come through in 1:15 (at 600), and just for some reason you feel good that day, what are you going to run? You might run fast. If you never go through 1:15-1:16 you'll never know. Now I'm taking that risk of going through at that pace. And you know, if I fail two times out of four, I'll take those two times I succeeded and run a fast time. I know some of the Kenyans do that. We try to sometimes think that the Kenyans are always running fast, but there are a lot of Kenyans. If you look at some of the best they're not always running well.  (Wilfred) Bungei, he ran some races earlier (this year) he was running 1:47 at the back of the pack. You look at him yesterday and he ran 1:44.1 at the Kenyan Championships. Same thing with the Russian, got beat at Prefontaine, he got beat in Europe recently, I guarantee you later on this year he's going to run well.  That's how it is but we never take those risks".

More from Khadevis: "Johnny Gray who ran 1:42.8 (in the US). He gives me the workouts. At this track (in a workout) I came through 49 flat, 1:16.2, 1:30, 1:29-1:30, it was windy. At this track, and I didn't rest for it.  I've got it on tape, I can show it to you, on this track. And Johnny said 'KD' you saw what I ran in New Orleans (when he ran 1:42.80 in 1992), and I went and looked at the film and he came through the 700 faster but the 600 and 4 were about the same, so I've only got to get the last part. He said the only reason I'm not running in faster (over the last part) is because I'm not relaxing, that I've got the strength. Now I've got to get the confidence in myself to do that. Once I get it I'll be good."

On what it takes to get to the top: "Now we got a lot of youngsters who are courageous. Like Alan Webb, he's not afraid to go for it. Tim Broe, wasn't afraid to go for it. You've got to do that. You're gonna fail sometimes, and all the announcers, and all the media, and people are going to talk bad about you, but when you don't fail and you keep going, look what Tim Broe did. That took guts. He's got the (World Championship) standard already. He's doesn't have to go for the standard, but he still did it. That's what it takes. So hopefully I'm going to stay with it and if I do I guarantee in Europe I'm going to be ready for those guys.

  1 Khadevis Robinson            Nike                   1:45.27
  2 David Krummenacker           adidas                 1:46.80
  3 Kevin Hicks                  Florida A&M            1:46.99
  4 Derrick Peterson             adidas                 1:47.30
  5 Jeremy Mims                  Nike                   1:47.43
  6 Jebreh Harris                Reebok                 1:47.44
  7 Zachary Glavash              Illinois               1:49.64
  8 Christian Smith              Kansas St.             1:49.79
  9 Timothy Dunne                New York Ath           1:52.78

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