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Ritzenhein Making 2007 Track Debut in 5k, Robinson, Reed, and Symmonds Squaring off at 800m at Road to Eugene Meet
by Bob Ramsak
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
May 25, 2007

Solid fields have been assembled for this weekend's second running of The Road to Eugene '08, to be held at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

While the main program is scheduled for Sunday, the men's and women's 5000m races, along with the men's 3000m steeplechase, will be held on Saturday evening, immediately following the conclusion of the NCAA West Regional Championships. For distance running fans, the 2007 track debut by Dathan Ritzenhein will be of significant interest. Arriving on the heels of his victory over Craig Mottram in the Healthy Kidney 10-K in New York's Central Park, "Ritz" will lead a 5000m field that includes Mexican rising star Juan Luis Barrios and Adam Goucher.

The women's 800 features the top American professional talent, including Alice Schmidt and Nicole Teter, who's continuing her comeback from injury setbacks. The provisional start list also includes 10-time world indoor and outdoor champion Maria Mutola, who with her 14 consecutive victories at the Prefontaine Invitational, virtually owns the Hayward Field track over the distance.

The men's 800 promises to be extremely competitive, with the season's fastest American Khadevis Robinson facing Canadian record holder Gary Reed in his 2007 debut. Last year Reed joined the sub-1:44 club with his 1:43.93 clocking in Rieti. Nick Symmonds, the US indoor champion, won his first international race at the Osaka Grand Prix earlier this month, but in Eugene will face a more formidable challenge.

Matt Tegenkamp, who made a big breakthrough last year with his 7:34.98 and 13:04.90 performances at 3000 and 5000m, will contest the 1500 in his second outing of the year. Ian Dobson and Gabe Jennings are also in the field. Elsewhere, 2006 U.S. Outdoor runner-up Kara Goucher tops women's 5000m field.

A cooperative effort between the Local Organizing Committee for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, USA Track & Field, and the USATF Athletes Advisory Committee, the meet's second edition includes a prize money pot of more than $150,000, and is a benefit for the Professional Athletics Association (PAA), a newly formed union of professional track and field athletes.

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