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Matt Taylor's Recap of the 3000m Finals and Drawn Out and Unentertaining Day 1 of the 2008 USATF Nationals
by: Matt Taylor
February 24, 2008

Photos of Day 1 of 2008 USATF Nationals

Matt Taylor, a pioneer in the running online world (founder of Chasing Tradition, Chasing Kimbia, and most recently Runnerville; he now works for Puma and was a college teammate of LetsRun.com's Wejo at Yale), went to the meet on behalf of LetsRun.com. We love what Matt has done for the sport and are consulting with him on a variety of things.

What he reported back is below. It backs our contention that most of the national championships are pretty boring and a lot needs to be done to the schedule to try and entertain the fans. Otherwise even in a running town like Boston, hardly anyone will go to the meet.

Seriously, that was the second worst indoor track meet I've ever been to, last year's meet being the worst. I can't even describe how boring it was. That is, until the 3000ms.

Shannon Rowbury
photo by Victor Sailer
Women's 3000m Recap Recap: Shannon Rowbury Gets the Convincing Win
The women's 3k was a good race. Jen Rhines looked super fit and I thought for sure she was going to take it easily. But Shannon Rowbury had a monster kick from 300m out to win easily. Rhines barely held of Julie Culley (people are wondering who this unsigned athlete is) for 2nd. Erin Donoghue made a hard move with 400m to go, but it wasn't enough to break anyone. She faded to 5th. Katie McGregor ran strong, but never tried to do anything.

On the
boards: Julie Culley Getting Props: *3 Julie Culley unattached 9:00.14
*Boston Globe Recap on Shannon Rowbury's Win

Women 3000 Meter Run
 1 turn stagger; 8 inside, 4 outside
       World: W 8:23.72  2/3/2007    Meseret Defar, ETH
    American: A 8:33.25  1/27/2007   Shalane Flanagan, Nike
        Meet: M 8:40.45  2/23/1990   Lynn Jennings, Nike
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Shannon Rowbury              Nike                   8:55.19
  2 Jennifer Rhines              adidas                 8:59.98
  3 Julie Culley                 unattached             9:00.14
  4 Katie McGregor               Reebok                 9:03.34
  5 Erin Donohue                 Nike                   9:07.88
  6 Amy Hastings                 adidas                 9:16.08
  7 Jessica Minty                New Balance Boston     9:17.48
  8 Erin Dromgoole               New Balance Boston     9:18.71
  9 Carrie Strickland            Bowerman Ath           9:20.37
 10 Kristin Anderson             Nike                   9:25.33
 -- Christin Wurth               Nike                       DNS
 -- Rebecca Walter               unattached                 DNS

Matt Tegenkamp
photo by Victor Sailer

Men's 3000: Madison Wisconsin 1-2-3 as Tegenkamp Goes 1:53 Final 800
On the men's side it was a sweep for Madison, Wisconsin. Jerry Schumacher - is he the best coach in the country right now? Teg, Solinsky, (editor's note: Matt worked for Kimbia athletics who represents Tegenkamp and Solinsky) and Riley go 1-2-3 in the 3k despite Madison having its worst winter in history. Solinsky told me that all of his harder aerobic running has been done on a treadmill. Tegenkamp told me he's only been on a track four times so far.

The race went out at a snails pace - slower than the women's through 400m. All the big players were still in the race with 1K to go when Solinsky made a very strong move. Riley, who was sitting in 3rd, didn't respond right away. Tegenkamp, who started in the back of the pack and moved up to the top 1/3rd just before 1k (the sign of a true veteran), responded, but not all at once (another sign). He used the next lap to slowly close the gap on Solinsky. It wasn't until 300 to go that Tegenkamp went past Solinsky and cruised to his 2nd consecutive indoor 3K title. He closed in 1:53-point. Pretty impressive considering it was his first race of the winter. Solinsky looked strong in 2nd and Riley went unchallenged the last 400 to finish third. Tegenkamp will pass on Worlds, but Jerry Schumacher will send Solinsky and Riley.

Men 3000 Meter Run
 1 turn stagger; 10 inside, 6 outside
       World: W 7:24.90  2/6/1998    Daniel Komen, KEN
    American: A 7:32.43  2/17/2007   Bernard Lagat, Nike
        Meet: M 7:42.81  3/5/1994    Moses Kiptanui, Kenya
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Matt Tegenkamp               Nike                   8:02.52
  2 Chris Solinsky               Nike                   8:03.80
  3 Jonathon Riley               Nike                   8:04.86
  4 Kyle King                    Zap Fitness            8:07.11
  5 Bolota Asmerom               Oregon TC Elite        8:07.16
  6 Steve Slattery               Nike                   8:09.14
  7 Anthony Gallo                Run Flagstaff          8:11.74
  8 Jeffrey Powers               Team Indiana Elite     8:11.78
  9 Kevin Davis                  Transports adi         8:11.81
 10 Blake Boldon                 Saucony                8:11.87
 11 Daniel Kanyaruhuru           Queens Charlotte       8:12.95
 12 Matthew Centrowitz           Oregon                 8:13.19
 13 Daniel Huling                Reebok                 8:15.86
 14 Aucencio Martinez            unattached             8:16.08
 15 John Jefferson               Oregon TC Elite        8:21.55
 16 Christopher Clark            unattached             8:30.00

Comments on the (Lack of Fans) And No Attempt to Entertain Them
I missed the women's mile (where Christi Wurth-Thomas dominated, the Boston Globe has a nice recap here) because I was talking to those guys, but the place had cleared out. During the 3k's it was only half full. At the end of the women's mile - only 1/4 full. This meet - like most - was not designed with the fan in mind. The 5k race walk is an absolute mood-killer. Nothing against race walking nor race walkers, but why is that event in the middle of the meet? It saps all the energy out of the place. The silence was deafening. Not only that - and I'm not joking here - one guy "raced" with a lolipop in his mouth. The most exciting race of the day, sadly, was the HS girls 4x4 where 3 teams battled on the last leg for a close 1-2-3 finish. I shouldn't say "most exciting" - but it was definitely the race that got the crowd the most excited, most vocal.

To think that this is our national championship is sad. I would say of the people in the stands, there couldn't have been more than 50 who were not directly tied to an athlete or working (e.g., family, agents, coaches, media, Reggie Lewis Center staff, etc). It's in Boston and we can't even attract 500 "fans"? It shows where our sport is in terms of fan interest...
Photos of Day 1 of 2008 USATF Nationals
*USATF Recap: Favorites prevail Saturday at AT&T USA Indoor Championships


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