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Sunday USATF Webb Wins A Classic in Meet Record Time, Khadevis Robinson Still the King
Alysia Johnson Wins 800, Josh McAdams Wins Shocking Steeple

By: LetsRun.com
June 24, 2007

Tyson Gay ran 19.61 (the 2nd fastest time ever) into the wind to highlight the final day of the 2007 USATF champs. You can read about that here or watch it here.

But for distance fans, Alan Webb stold the show with a super impressive 1500m victory over Berard Lagat. Distance Recaps belows.

Men's 1500: Webb Wins With Furious Final Kick
The question heading into this race was, "Would the good or bad Alan Webb show up?" If the good Webb (who won Drake in 3:51 and Reebok in 3:52 this year) showed, it seemed reasonable to expect to see a  two-way battle between him and Bernard Lagat, one of world's greatest milers.  The "good Allen" definitely showed up and the spectators certainly got more entertainment than they could have anticipated as the event turned into a 4-way battle for the crown.

Webb took the race out in 57.56 before slowing a bit on the 2nd lap as 800 was reached in 1:56.23 (58.67). At this stage, Lagat took over the lead and at the time, we sort of thought "That's weird, why is he taking the lead now." After the race, Webb revealed that his coach and Lagat's coach talked it over before hand and America's two best milers agreed to share the pacing duties (with Webb taking the first 800) to ensure a fast pace that would eliminate half the field from contention and perhaps more importantly greatly reduce the odds of getting tripped or terribly boxed in.

Lagat ratcheted the pace back up as he hit 1200 in 2:53.79 (57.56).

Coming into the bell (2:39.4), five people were clear of the rest of the field. The top 5 was Lagat, Webb, former Arkansas star Said Ahmed, 2005 world championship team member Chris Lukezic, and Texas' Leonel Manzano in that order with Andrew McClary, who goes to Arkansas and will run for the Hogs next year, about 6 or 7 meters behind Manzano in 6th.  7th was way way back (15 meters minimum).

Ahmed would fade over the final 300 but we give him credit for getting up there and trying to make the team instead of running to place 7th like half the field.

With 200 to go, the top 4 of Lagat, Webb, Lukezic and Manzano all were still in it and it was clear the fans were in for a memorable finish. Halfway through the turn, Lukezic moved up on Webb's shoulder as Webb moved up on the outside of Lagat. The one moving up quickest of all though was Texas' Manzano who went way wide out into the outside of lane 2 to try to get around Webb and Lukezic.  As they hit the homestretch, the four were about as tightly bunched as four 1500 guys could be bunched as they were practically four abreast. 

Lukezic was the first one to falter as the other 3 started to pull away. Webb and Lagat literally were side by side coming down the homestretch and stuck in an epic battle, neither one giving an inch. Halfway down the homestretch Lagat had the smallest of leads and just when it looked like it might come down to a battle of wills all the way to the finish, Webb suddenly totally shifted gears and just dropped the hammer on Lagat about 35 to 40 meters from the finish and powered home to a thrilling victory in a meet record time of 3:34.82. The fast finishing Manzano would pass Lagat in the final 15 meters to get second but Lagat would hold onto third and his coveted world championship team spot.

After the race, Webb was obviously thrilled with the win. He said his poor performance at the Prefontaine 2-mile did mess with him mentally. However, he said he had a good workout the Friday after Pre which helped him regain his confidence but admitted he was happy to have a prelim here at USAs to get the Prefontaine race out of his head.  He said today that "100 meters into the race, I could tell I felt good."
*Video of Webb's Race

Men 1500 Meter Run
World: W 3:26.00 7/7/1998 Hicham El Guerrouj, MAR
American: A 3:29.30 8/28/2005 Bernard Lagat, Nike
Meet: M 3:34.92 6/20/1982 Steve Scott, Sub 4 TC
Name Year Team Finals
1 Alan Webb Nike 3:34.82M
2 Leonel Manzano Texas 3:35.29
3 Bernard Lagat Nike 3:35.55
4 Christopher Lukezic Reebok 3:36.95
5 Andrew McClary unattached 3:39.81
6 Said Ahmed Nike 3:40.80
7 Russell Brown Stanford 3:41.80
8 John Jefferson Oregon TC 3:42.46
9 Garrett Heath Stanford 3:42.88
10 William Leer unattached 3:44.20
11 Rob Myers Reebok 3:45.59
12 Gabriel Jennings Saucony 3:47.54
Men's 800: Khadevis Robinson Still the King
If you watched the NBC telecast of the 2007 AT&T US Championships, you heard the name Nick Symmonds over and over. Track fans are always into potential and the newest sensation. Symmonds certainly fit that description as Symmonds burst onto the scene last year at USAs with a surprising 2nd place showing after going undefeated at the Division 3 college level at 800m. In his last race prior to USAs, Symmonds defeated the reigning Olympic champ Yuriy Borzakovskiy at Pre with a meet record 1:44.54.

The problem with track fans always looking for the next great thing is they sometimes forget to appreciate the present. And after today's 800, it's clear Khadevis Robinson is the dominant king of US 800 meter running. Robinson had a masterful year in 2006 as he won US indoor and outdoor titles, ran 1: 43.68 in Italy, and earned a world #7 ranking.  After today, it looks like KD's 2007 season may even top 2006 as he put on a masterful performance.

Two words sum up Robinson's race best today.

Total domination.

KD took it out in a blistering 24.7 and 51.11 before hitting 600 in 1:17.1 with a commanding lead as the rest of the field was a full second behind. He never faltered and powered home to an easy victory in 1: 44.37. Symmonds closed well late to grab second (1:45.17) but never got close to Robinson. USC's Duane Solomon finished 3rd (1:45.69) just edging out Jonathan Johnson and Lopez Lomong who both ran 1:45.79.

Missippi State's Golden Coachman was 7th in 1: 47.18. We're likely to do a story on Coachman later but just wanted to give him some much deserved props for a phenomenal year.  4th at the NCAAs, he also ran 1:46.79 in the prelims here at USAs.

After a year of junior college, Coachmen joined the Army to help his mom out financially.  After enlisting, Coachmen was deployed to Iraq where he served a year. Coachmen is in fact still in the US Army. When he came back from Iraq, he had to lose over 40 pounds to get into top running shape.  Only a 1:53 guy in HS, Coachmen has excelled first for Juco national coach of the year Stan Narewski at Wallace State and now for Steve Dudley and Al Schmidt at Mississippi State.

We asked Coachmen if after Iraq does he even get nervous for races. He said he most definitely does and said he couldn't get to sleep Saturday night here in Indianapolis. "I still get nervous. Track is my sport. It's my livelihood. It's the only thing that was going well for me for a while." For a nice profile on Coachman click here

*Video of Men's 800m at USATFs
Men 800 Meter Run
World: W 1:41.11 8/24/1997 Wilson Kipketer, KEN
American: A 1: 42.60 8/28/1985 Johnny Gray, Santa Monica T
Meet: M 1:42.80 6/24/1992 Johnny Gray, SMTC
Name Year Team Finals
1 Khadevis Robinson Nike 1:44.37
2 Nicholas Symmonds Oregon TC 1:45.17
3 Duane Solomon U S C 1:45.69
4 Jonathan Johnson Reebok 1:45.79
5 Lopez Lomong Northern Arizona 1:45.79
6 Floyd Thompson Santa Monica T C 1:46.11
7 Golden Coachman unattached 1:47.18
8 Trent Riter unattached 1:48.00

Women's 800: Cal's Alysia Johnson Wins Thriller
Pennsylvania High School star Channelle Price may not be nearly as hyped as other high school phenoms of the past, but she certainly is the real deal. Not intimidated by competing against the pros, Price did what she always does - lead early. Her coach thought if she hit 600 in 1:28 that she would still have the lead, but not this year as the race turned into a barn-burner.

The opening splits were 27.5, 57.9 and 12:8.9 but Price was caught about 450 meters into the race. Price stayed up with the leaders until about 600, but with 200 to go, the top 3 runners, 2007 NCAA indoor and outdoor champ Alysia Johnson of Cal, 3 time US champ Hazel Clark and Alice Schmidt separated themselves from the rest of the pack.  All 3 runners would compete well to the finish but the race turned into a fantastic homestretch battle between Johnson and Clark that ended with both runners falling onto the track as they lunged for the tape.  About 50 meters from the finish, Clark came up on Johnson and the two were running side by side. Clark took a slight lead about 35 meters from the finish but Johnson summoned up some energy from deep in the tank and fought back with a counter surge and huge lunge for the tape that gave her a thrilling victory.

Almost lost in the crazy mano-a-mano battle between Clark and Johnson was Alice Schmidt who closed the best of anyone in the last 30 meters and almost stole a victory as she ended up in third just .16 out of the lead.  Cornell's Morgan Uceny ended up 4th in a pr of 2:01.75. Price ended up getting a PR of 2:02.38 for 7th.

*Video of Women's 800

Women 800 Meter Run
World: W 1:53.28 7/26/1983 Jarmila Kratochvilova, CZE
American: A 1:56.40 8/11/1999 Jearl Miles-Clark, Reebok
Meet: M 1:57.04 6/17/1996 Meredith Rainey, Foot Locke
Name Year Team Finals
1 Alysia Johnson California 1: 59.47
2 Hazel Clark Nike 1:59.60
3 Alice Schmidt adidas 1:59.63
4 Morgan Uceny Cornell 2:01.75
5 Lauren Austin unattached 2:02.09
6 Geena Gall Michigan 2:02.31
7 Chanelle Price United Stars 2:02.38
8 Nikeya Green Reebok 2:04.46

Men's Steeplechase - Josh McAdams Wins a Train Wreck
After this race was over, most distance aficionados were left in a state of disbelief wondering if what they had just seen really did happen. Prior to the race, you could have gotten incredible odds if you'd offer to bet someone that neither Dan Lincoln (American record holder and 2004 Olympian), Steve Slattery (2003 US champion), nor Anthony Famiglietti (2002 US Champ, 2004 Olympian) would finish in the top 3. Well that's exactly what happened.

Cornell alum Max King led the first 4 laps (73.81, 72.72, 74.24, 74.28) as the field ran about 8:41 pace. 5:20 into the race Fam took the lead and the pace picked up as the 5th lap was a 72.2. With a lap and a half to go, Dan Lincoln, who had struggled a bit with injuries this spring and hadn't race prior to USAs, threw the hammer down and burst to the lead. By the next to last water jump, his lead was about 10 meters on Fam. Josh McAdams, who came into the meet with the fastest steeple for the year, was the only guy to respond in a major way. At the bell after a 67 second lap, Lincoln had a small 2 meter lead on McAdams as Fam was about 10 meters back in 3rd. McAdams, the 2006 NCAA champ, pulled up alongside Lincoln as the entered the backstretch and soon took a lead which he'd never relinquish as he'd power home the last lap in 64.0 to win convincingly.

Heading into the final turn, Lincoln was still in second a good 10 meters up on Thomas Brooks who was in 3rd, but Lincoln he had nothing left. Coming into the homestretch, Lincoln's lead had evaporated and he looked over his shoulder sensing he didn't have much left to see if his trip to Osaka was safe. It wasn't. As they hit the final hurdles, Lincoln and Brooks were side by side but Fam was making a late rally to try to get third. Fam and Brooks would both pass Lincoln, who never quit, but the one who was closing fastest of all was Aaron Aguayo who was in 5th. After the final hurdle, Aguayo squeezed in between two runners and basically came out  nowhere to grab 2nd with a sensational final 200. Brooks ended up 3rd, Fam 4th and Lincoln 5th.

Fam may still go to worlds as Aguayo and Brooks only have B qualifying times.

Aguayo was thrilled with his 2nd place finish as despite the fact that he was a 4-time Pac 10 steeple champion, he's been unable to get any interest from the shoe companies. Heck, it's worse than that, his coach Louis Quintana told us no agents have even wanted to take him on as a client as they thought there were no sponsor interest for him. Asked what he thought about as he rolled into the last water jump with a lot of momentum, Aguayo was honest. "Dollar signs. I just had visions of money," he said. "I saw money scattered down lane 1." (More on Aguayo here)

Aguayo who is known for being a front-runners stayed back early on purpose today. He figured there were a number of runners with better PRs than him so his game plan was simple. "Let them do the work. If they don't finish strong, I will." He was correct and that's exactly what happened.

Steve Slattery dropped out after going over the second water jump and apparently he twisted his ankle earlier in the morning before the race.

*Video of Men's Steeple

Men 3000 Meter Steeplechase
World: W 7:53.63 9/3/2004 Saif Saaeed Shaheen, QAT
American: A 8:08.82 7/14/2006 Daniel Lincoln, Nike
Meet: M 8:15.02 7/15/2004 Daniel Lincoln, Nike
Name Year Team Finals
1 Joshua McAdams New Balance 8:24.46
2 Aaron Aguayo Arizona State 8:27.01
3 Thomas Brooks Oregon TC 8:27.34
4 Anthony Famiglietti adidas 8:27.64
5 Daniel Lincoln Nike 8:28.32
6 Michael Spence Asics 8:31.65
7 Benjamin Bruce Asics 8:33.12
8 Max King Oregon TC 8:33.63
9 Kevin Davis California 8:35.37
10 Corey Nowitzke Eastern Michigan 8:38.18
11 Tom Chorny unattached 8:43.28
12 Kyle Alcorn unattached 8:48.34
-- Anderson Smith Reebok DNF
-- Steve Slattery Nike DNF
*Full Results
*Post Race Interviews from Flotrack

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