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2008 Millrose Games Recap: Lagat Gets #6, Nelson Entertains, and Goucher Gets It Done
by: LetsRun.com

February 1, 2008
*Recap of 2008 Millrose Games High School Miles
*Photos

The Millrose Games entered its 2nd century on Friday night in New York and although it may not have the luster and fanfare it once had it still is track and field's biggest attraction indoors. The 12,647 fans didn't leave Madison Square Garden disappointed on Friday Night as Kara Goucher won a thrilling women's mile, Adam Nelson entertained the crowd and then threw huge in the shot put, and Bernard Lagat won the marquee event, the Wanamaker Mile, for the 6th time.

Highlights of the meet with the big 3 events (miles and shot put) from Friday first.

Women's Mile: Goucher Gets It Done
The women's mile was the first marquee event on the track and Kara Goucher started her 2008 Olympic campaign just where she ended her 2007 season, on top, as she sneaked past Sara Hall on the final straightaway for a thrilling win.


More Glory for Goucher

Former Villanova star Marina Muncan took the early lead and opened a gap on the field. She reached the quarter in 65.9, a super fast pace for the 11 laps to the mile track. Muncan slowed considerably the 2nd 400 (2:17.4) but the other women didn't respond as they let a gap remain between them and Muncan. However they began to close the gap the 3rd quarter mile, and the racing was on.

Goucher, who had been near the back early, was the first to strike as she blasted to the lead with 2 laps to go (290 m). Miler Sara Hall was in hot pursuit. Would the strength of Goucher be able to hold off the miler Hall?

Hall wasted no time and passed Goucher at the bell. Surely her speed would put away the long distance specialist Goucher. Think again. (Although Hall is seen as a miler and Goucher a longer distance runner, Goucher's 1500m pr is actually over 3 seconds (4:05.14 to 4:08.99) faster than Hall's.) Goucher dug deep on the turn trying to come around for the pass. Then Hall swung wide onto the straight and Goucher had an opening on the inside. She took advantage of it and tried to pass Hall on the inside. They were stride for stride down the stretch but Goucher had just enough to get the win and even put up her hands before the finish, winning only by .08, 4:36.03 to Hall's 4:36.11.

Goucher talked to the press about taking advantage of Hall's tactical mistake (going wide) on the final turn: "Sara swung a little wide coming off the final turn and I was just able to sneak in to get past her...I didn't know I could win here but I thought I could be competitive."

For Goucher it was her first time on a banked track since her days at the University of Colorado in 1999. Goucher before the race (photo, story and video here) said she was returning to the indoor circuit to work on her speed and hopefully her finishing kick for the 10,000m at the Olympics. She got the desired results on Friday. She said, "This race proves that I can kick."

Sara Hall had a marked improvement over her previous 2 results this year where she was 5th at the New Balance Games in the mile and 5th in the Reebok Boston Games (losing to Jen Rhines and Liliya Shobukhova, both who she beat today), but she left Millrose knowing a tactical mistake likely cost her the race. The tight turns and short straightaway make passing on the final turn very difficult at Millrose. She discussed letting Goucher get by on the inside: "I was not sure where she was and I was trying to run her wide." Next up for Hall is the Indoor Nationals where she hopes to qualify for the World Indoor Champs in Valencia, Spain. Hall said of her goals, "I just want to build momentum in an Olympic year and be inspired by Kara."

Goucher will skip US indoors and World indoors but up next is a 3000m in Birmingham, England in 2 weeks.

                            101st Millrose Games                             
                     Madison Square Garden, New York, NY                     
 
Event 20  Women 1 Mile Run NYRR
================================================================             
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals              
================================================================             
Finals                                                                       
  1 Kara Goucher                 USA                    4:36.03              
  2 Sara Hall                    USA                    4:36.11  1500m 4:17.9
  3 Liliya Shobukhova            RUS                    4:37.10              
  4 Jen Rhines                   USA                    4:37.75              
  5 Marina Muncan                SER                    4:41.09              
  6 Miesha Marzell               USA                    4:47.22

Men's Shot Put: Adam Nelson Our Hero
The United States has the best shot putters in the world. The shot putters have excelled at Millrose and have put on a show since being allowed back into the Garden in 2004. (Prior to this the shot was banished to Manhattan College. But the last 3 years the shot has gotten center stage.(For the fan attending Millrose, one of the drawbacks to the meet is the drawn out schedule and the lulls in the action as the track is taken down for the sprints then reassebled for the final events on the oval)). Fortunately, the meet promoters now feature the shot putters in the center of the arena when the track is being reassembled.


By Victah Sailer
Thank You for Entertaining

Not only are the shot putters the world's best but they are excellent entertainers. Adam Nelson put on a show on and off the track on Friday night. Last week, the star shot putters put on a lackluster performance in Boston as Christian Cantwell won with a throw of 68' 9". This time things were different from the get go.The sound system pumped AC DC and Nelson ripped off his shirt before his first throw and would get the crowd involved big time before every throw (we wish more track and field athletes were like him and we see Nike has picked him up as a sponsor again which is smart).

After tossing his shirt aside and getting the crowd to wake up from its slumber, Nelson threw 69' 8" on his first throw to quickly erase memories of last week. Cantwell, on his first throw, just eclipsed Nelson throwing 69' 11 3/4". The battle was on. Nelson threw a bomb on his 2nd throw (well over 70 feet) but fouled. On his third throw Nelson became the first man over 70' throwing 70' 6". But the Dartmouth grad and business school student, saved his best for last. Nelson unleashed a monster on his final throw, 72' 5" (22.07), an indoor pr, and a mark he has only eclipsed in 2 of his storied professional years. The bomb barely stayed in the sector as it went off to the left but it was a legal throw. Reese Hoffa went 69' 3" in the final round, as three throwers beat the winning mark from last week.

For his performance, Nelson was the performer of the meet and received a waterford crystal.

Nelson told USATF afterwards, "I used Reese's shot put. It helped me out a whole lot. Christian had opened with a big throw and I had to respond to that." Since we honestly know nothing about the shot put except that it is entertaining as hell, we have no idea how a different shot put could help you (they're all balls and weight the same right?), but we figure it's worth noting. Nelson was right on the mark when he said, "We have proved time and time again that when we have the crowd behind us that we can put on a real good show."

The only thing missing on Nelson's resume is an Olympic gold (he has 2 Olympic silvers, 2 World silvers, and 1 World gold). He definitely showed he is in the "best shape I have been in at this time of year."

 
                           101st Millrose Games                           
                   Madison Square Garden, New York, NY                    
 
Event 34  Men Shot Put VISA
==========================================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Adam Nelson                  USA                     22.07m   72-05.00
      21.24m  FOUL  21.49m  22.07m                                        
  2 Christian Cantwell           USA                     21.33m   69-11.75
      21.33m  21.08m  FOUL  FOUL                                          
  3 Reese Hoffa                  USA                     21.13m   69-04.00
      19.11m  19.80m  20.58m  21.13m                                      
  4 Dan Taylor                   USA                     20.38m   66-10.50
      19.10m  19.86m  20.38m  19.98m                                      
  5 John Kalnas                  USA                     18.98m   62-03.25
      18.22m  18.98m  18.92m  FOUL                        

Wanamaker Mile: #6 for Lagat


Enjoy It While You Can
Per tradition, last but definitely not least, is the Wanamaker Mile at Millrose. The fans get listless as the night goes on, but the men's shot putters always pump up the crowd, to be followed by the loudest race ever year (the boys' high school mile) and one of the loudest (the Catholic 4*800 (there are a lot of Catholics in NY)). Thus the crowd is always ready for the finale, the National Anthem (yes right before the last event of the night) and the Wanamaker Mile.

This year's race featured a rematch of last year's duel between Bernard Lagat and Craig Mottram (and Alan Webb) which Lagat won in 3:54. Both Lagat and Mottram at the prerace press conference (story with quotes, pictures, and video here) thought the race this year would be just as fast. However, they were wrong as the rabbit, Sherridan Kirk, did a poor job.

Kirk ran great the first quarter (57.61) and was followed by the four main protagonists (Tim Bailey pulled out of the race with after coming down with a virus and throwing up) in expected order of finish (Lagat, Mottram, Nick Willis, and Rupp Shaker, Gale Force, G-Money, (all suggested nicknames from last week), the Kid, Galen Rupp). Kirk slowed the second 400 (1:59.1 so he ran 61.5) and then continued on past the 800. His rabbiting job was basically over, but he didn't pull enough to the outside of the track and the guys behind him got jumbled up for a second going around him. This let Mottram go by Lagat and assume the lead, but the running was far from all out.

Rupp in his attempt to go sub 4 for the first time, tried to move up on Willis right at 1200 (3:00.96), but he was soon outclassed in this field of world class milers, once the real racing began upfront.


#6

Lagat, knows how hard it is to pass on the final lap at Millrose (he did it last year, but said at times he thought the race was lost), made his move with a lap and half to go. He passed Mottram, and Willis was still on their heels. Lagat would open up the smallest gap as Mottram tried to stay close, but he had too much speed once again. Lagat got his 6th Wanamaker Mile title (one less than the record 7 by the "Chairman of the Boards" Eamonn Coghlan) in 3:57.51, as Mottram was 2nd in 3:57.90, Willis 3rd in 3:58.14 and Rupp short of the 4 minute barrier in 4:02.17.

After the race, Lagat was pleased with the win and in particular to be one step closer to Coghlan's record 7 Wanamaker titles. Lagat loves the big lights of New York City and has not tried to hide the fact he'd like to break Coghlan's record. He said afterwards, "I am the first one to confirm my participation for next year. I'm confirming it right now- it's official...Maybe we'll share the (title of) 'Chairman of the Boards (next year if he wins). And if I come back after that (in 2 years), then I'll become the 'President (of the Boards)'"

Mottram was relegated to runner-up once again to Lagat. He told USATF, "The race is what I expect except the pacemaker started slow. That was a little frustrating. I knew Bernard was going to come at some point. I had to just hold on."

Lagat, Despite Being World Champ, Does Not Have the Olympic Standard at 5k
Yes ladies and gentleman, Lagat despite being the World Champion at 5,000m still is forced to go and run the Olympic qualifying time because he did not do it last year. As mentioned on Thursday, up next for Lagat is a 1500 in Birmingham, then a 3000m in Stockholm. He'll then skip World Indoors so he can "come back in March and sit down with Coach Li and plan for the Olympics". Lagat indicated he may chase the 5000m standard in May.

 
                            101st Millrose Games                            
                    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY                     
 
Event 37  Men 1 Mile Run Wanamaker
================================================================            
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals             
================================================================            
Finals                                                                      
  1 Bernard Lagat                USA                    3:57.51  1500 3:42.4
  2 Craig Mottram                AUS                    3:57.90             
  3 Nick Willis                  NZL                    3:58.14             
  4 Galen Rupp                   USA                    4:02.17             
 -- Sherridan Kirk               TRI                        DNF      

Other Events:
Women's Pole Vault: Jillian Schwartz Pulls the Upset

This meet featured only the 2nd ever matchup between Jenn Stuczynski, the present of American vaulting, and the pioneer and past of American vaulting, Stacy Dragila. Stuczynski has received a lot of press this year, being featured as the athlete on the cover of the Millrose Program (she is being heavily promoted by adidas, and last week was heavily promoted by her other sponsor Nutrilite).

Dragila was not expected to contend for the win before hand as she said she'd be ecstatic with 14' 5". Instead she no heighted at 13' 10".

Someone forgot to tell Jillian Schwartz that Stuczynski was supposed to win. Just like in the past Stuczynski struggled at Millrose. She missed once at her opening height (14' 10") and twice at her 2nd height (15' 2"). Schwartz was clean through 14'10" and only missed once at 15' 2" a new pr. When Stuczynski and Schwartz both failed at 15' 6", the Millrose title was Schwartz's.

Schwartz was pleased afterwards. She told the NY Times afterwards, "I had to use the biggest pole in my bag. Iím going to have to add more now."

                           101st Millrose Games                           
                   Madison Square Garden, New York, NY                    
 
Event 25  Women Pole Vault adidas
==========================================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Jillian Schwartz             USA                      4.63m   15-02.25
     4.23 4.38 4.53 4.63 4.73                                             
        O    O    O   XO  XXX                                             
  2 Jenn Stuczynski              USA                      4.63m   15-02.25
     4.23 4.38 4.53 4.63 4.73                                             
        P    P   XO  XXO  XXX                                             
  3 Lacy Jansen                  USA                      4.53m   14-10.25
     4.23 4.38 4.53 4.63                                                  
        O    O    O  XXX                                                  
  4 April Steiner                USA                      4.38m   14-04.50
     4.23 4.38 4.53                                                       
        O    O  XXX                                                       
 -- Stacy Dragila                USA                         NH           
     4.23                                                                 
      XXX         

Men's 600: Bershawn Jackson Turns Tables on Khadevis Robinson
The men's 600y was a 2 man duel between Bershawn Jackson and Khadevis Robinson . 2 weeks ago in Fresno, the 400m hurdler Jackson and the 800m star Robinson raced at this unusual distance with Robinson coming out on top in 1:09.97 to Jackson's 1:10.61. This time, Jackson turned the tables.

Jackson took the early lead, and on the tight turns of Millrose that is a big advantage. Robinson, however, was in hot pursuit. On the final lap, he attempted to pass Jackson coming off the final turn. Most of the Millrose races end near the middle of the track, but the 600 ends near the end of the straight. Even with the extra yards to pass on the final stretch, Jackson had too much left and he held off Robinson to get the win.

Afterwards he told USATF: Bershawn Jackson: "Khadevis (Robinson) put a move on me in Fresno a couple weeks ago and I couldn't catch up with him. I wanted to get out in front this time and try to hold on and I was able to do that."

Khadevis Robinson: "Bershawn did what he was supposed to do. He got out in front and slowed the pace down and it worked well for him."

Event 18  Men 600 Yard Run Mel Sheppard
===============================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Bershawn Jackson             USA                    1:10.34
  2 Khadevis Robinson            USA                    1:10.53
  3 Michael Blackwood            JAM                    1:11.88
  4 Jamaal Torrence              USA                    1:12.65
  5 James Carter                 USA                    1:12.87

Men's 4*800: Pig Sooey Razorbacks


Twin Power
The collegiate men's 4*800 was full of tradition. Arkansas, Villanova, and Georgetown battled for the crown. Arkansas with Daniel LaCava opened up a lead at the end of the first leg (1:53.6) but things bunched up on the 2nd leg (Chris Bilbrew for Arkansas) as all 7 teams once again bunched up single file. The Razorbacks would briefly lose the lead as Nova and Georgetown came past. But Bilbrew reclaimed it and handed off to Andy McClary (one of the McClary twins who are making there impact at Arkansas in their first year) in first. McClary and Arkansas held the lead as Arkansas, Villanova, and Georgetown were clear of the field. McClary handed off to his twin brother Alex, and it was a two team duel on the final leg between Arkansas and Marcus O'Sullivan's Villanova. Nova took the lead with 2.5 laps to go, but Arkansas and McClary hung close. Alex McClary was saving something for the end, however, as he shot to the lead with a lap to go and it was all over. John McDonnell's Razorbacks, #1 in the country in the latest NCAA poll, got the win and took the victory lap doing a Pig Sooey Chant.

Arkansas splits from hogwired.com
Daniel LaCava 1:53.6
Chris Bilbrew 1:54.9
Andy McClary 1:53.3
Alex McClary 1:52.0

Event 21  Men 4x800 Meter Relay College
===============================================================
    Team                                                 Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Arkansas                                            7:34.18
  2 Villanova                                           7:35.45
  3 Georgetown                                          7:39.97
  4 Columbia                                            7:43.76
  5 George Mason                                        7:45.96
  6 Cornell                                             7:47.23
  7 Seton Hall                                          7:56.96


Women's 60m Hurdles: Lopes-Schliep Beats Star Studded Competitors

The top short sprint was the women's 60m hurdles. It featured 2004 Olympic Champ Joanna Hayes, 2003 World Champ (and 2007 Silver Medallist) Perdita Felicien, and fellow Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. Lopes may have been the least credentialed in the filed but this race was all hers. She blasted clear of the field to win comfortably in 7.95.

Event 23  Women 60 Meter Hurdles Tyson Foods
===============================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Priscilla Lopes-Schliep      CAN                       7.95
  2 Perdita Felicien             CAN                       8.05
  3 Damu Cherry                  USA                       8.07
  4 Joanna Hayes                 USA                       8.08
  5 Dawn Harper                  USA                       8.18
 -- Andrea Bliss                 JAM                        DNF


Men's Pole Vault: Skipper Surprises

World Champ Brad Walker did compete after missing last weekend's Glasgow meet with an injury. The night however belonged to 5 time NCAA champ Tom Skipper, formerly of Oregon. Skipper was the only athlete to clear 5.70, but Derek Miles and Walker still had two attempts at 19 feet (5.80) after passing after missing on their first attempt at 18' 8.5" (5.70). No one would clear 19' and the Dan Pfaff (former coach of Donovan Bailey) coached Skipper got the win.

Event 7  Men Pole Vault F Schmertz
==========================================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Tom Skipper                  USA                      5.70m   18-08.25
     5.35 5.50 5.60 5.70 5.80                                             
        P    O    O    O  XXX                                             
  2 Derek Miles                  USA                      5.60m   18-04.50
     5.35 5.50 5.60 5.70 5.80                                             
        P    O    O  XPP  PXX                                             
  3 Russ Buller                  USA                      5.60m   18-04.50
     5.35 5.50 5.60 5.70                                                  
        P    O   XO  XXX                                                  
  4 Giovanni Lanaro              MEX                      5.60m   18-04.50
     5.35 5.50 5.60 5.70                                                  
        O    O  XXO  XXX                                                  
  5 Brad Walker                  USA                      5.50m   18-00.50
     5.35 5.50 5.60 5.70 5.80                                             
        P   XO    P  XPP  PXX   


60m Hurdles Men: 2 in a Row for Antwon Hicks
Antwon Hicks
got his 2nd win in a row as he followed his Reebok win with a win here:

                     101st Millrose Games                      
              Madison Square Garden, New York, NY              
 
Event 26  Men 60 Meter Hurdles Hershey's
===============================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Antwon Hicks                 USA                       7.53
  2 David Oliver                 USA                       7.59
  3 Joel Brown                   USA                       7.66
  4 Anwar Moore                  USA                       7.69
  5 Aubrey Herring               USA                       7.75
  6 Henrique Llanos              PUR                       7.89


Men's 60: Leonard Scott Back on Track

Reigning World Indoor Champ Leonard Scott (We think that is proof right there how the 60 does not register in people's minds like the 100) was only third last week at Reebok Boston but he got revenge on Reebok winner Dabryan Blanton at Millrose. Scott got the comfortable win in 6.59.

Event 33  Men 60 Meter Dash Metro
===============================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Leonard Scott                USA                       6.59
  2 Dabryan Blanton              USA                       6.64
  3 Leroy Dixon                  USA                       6.67
  4 Phil Derosier                USA                       6.74
  5 Aulton Kohn                  USA                       6.80
  6 Dwight Phillips              USA                       6.83


Women's High Jump: Acuff As Expected
Amy Acuff
came out on top (there were only 2 other competitors) as expected. 2 weeks ago she had attempts at the American record (2.02) but tonight all she got was the win.

Event 13  Women High Jump John Thomas
==========================================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Amy Acuff                    USA                      1.92m    6-03.50
     1.75 1.80 1.85 1.89 1.92 1.95 1.98                                   
      PPP    O   XO    P   XO  PPP  XXX                                   
  2 Sharon Day                   USA                      1.89m    6-02.25
     1.75 1.80 1.85 1.89 1.92                                             
      PPP    O    O    O  XXX                                             
  3 Gwen Wentland                USA                      1.89m    6-02.25
     1.75 1.80 1.85 1.89 1.92                                             
      PPP    O    O   XO  XXX            

Women's 60: Carmelita Jeter Wins a Close One

 Flash Results, Inc. 
                     101st Millrose Games                      
              Madison Square Garden, New York, NY              
 
Event 32  Women 60 Meter Dash adidas
===============================================================
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Carmelita Jeter              USA                       7.29
  2 Miki Barber                  USA                       7.30
  3 Angela Daigle-Bowen          USA                       7.32
  4 Oludamola Osayomi            NGR                       7.34
  5 Hasani Roseby                USA                       7.39
  6 Aleen Bailey                 JAM                       7.47

*Recap of 2008 Millrose Games High School Miles
*Photos


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