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Songok Defends Retains Men's Crown
By Mike Scott
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Des Moines (12-Jun) -– Hometown favorite Lisa Koll, the American collegiate 10,000m record holder from Iowa State University, shattered the Drake Stadium record here tonight to win the NCAA women's 10,000m, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi senior Shadrack Songok successfully defended his NCAA men's 10,000 crown.  Both athletes had to contend with warm and humid conditions as the NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships concluded its second day.

Koll, who earlier this spring shattered the American Collegiate 10,000m record with a 32:11.13 at Stanford University, charged into the lead less than a lap into the race and proceeded to run away from the field, covering the first 1600m in 5:13 and 3200m in 10:25.

Behind her, a tightly bunched pack that included Stanford frosh Alex Gits, Providence's Danette Doetzel, Boston University's Marisa Ryan, Iowa's Diane Nukuri, Arkansas' Denise Bargiachi, Wisconsin's Katrina Rundhaug, and several others battled for the medals and critical team points.  At 3200, the chase pack was almost 30 seconds behind Koll.

Koll dominated the race in front of a wildly partisan crowd, passing 4800m in 15:41 – 36-seconds ahead of the pack -- and gradually extending her lead to win in a Drake Stadium record 32:44.95.  Koll's nearly one minute margin demonstrated underscored her dominance.

“Going into the race, I wanted to run fast because the weather was perfect,” said the Fort Dodge, Ia., native who was apparently accoustomed to the humidity.  “When you get an opportunity to run in perfect weather, you want to take advantage of it.  I felt very comfortable during the entire race.  I ran the first 5-K at a great pace and I knew I could pick it up for the last 5-K.  I heard the crowd the entire time and it was great!  Running here at Drake is the best feeling for me.  I never won a state title in high school and then, to come to Drake, and win a national championship is the best feeling.”

Nearly a minute behind Koll, Rundhaug and Gitz battled up front, while Nukuri, Ryan, Doetzel, and the others tucked in for the early portions of the race.

Doetzel, a junior from Macklin, Saskatchewan, surged away from the chase group in the final mile and gradually edged away from Gits to claim second in 33:44.23.  Gitz finished a few steps behind in 33:49.93, while Ryan closed well to claim fourth in 33:54.38.


The men's 10,000 opened much more slowly, with the whole field tightly bunched from the start.

Arkansas's Shawn Forest and James Strang made a strong surge early, opening up a lead over the pack with only UTEP's Japeth Ng'ojoy making the move with the Razorback duo.  LaSalle's Sean Quigley, the yearly leader with a 28:03.72 to his credit, Eastern Kentucky's Jacob Korir, Alabama's Tyson David, and Songok were among the leaders of the chase pack.

David was the first of the chase pack to catch Forest and Strang, with Quigley, Korir, Songok, and five others catching them by the halfway point.  With seven laps to go, Quigley and Korir led the pack of nine which stayed together through 8-K, passed in 23:21.

Songok charged to the lead with two laps to go and only Forrest, David, and Korir able to respond.  With a 60-flat penultimate lap, Songok and Forrest edged away, and it was a two man race.  The duo matched strides along the backstretch before Songok found one more gear, beating Forrest by less than 4/10ths of a second in 28:46.69.

“A couple of guys took off early but the guys I was worried (about) stuck around,” said Songok who was also the NCAA 5000m indoor champion this year.  “After we saw the two guys up front, no one wanted to go.  It was too early.   By the end, it was everybody’s race and it was very tactical.”

After Forrest (28:47.08), David was third (28:49.76) and Korir fourth (28:49.92).

In the first round of the women's 1500m, North Carolina's Brie Felnagle  --the defending champion-- won the first prelim in 4:15.56, while Florida State's Hannah England won the second prelim ahead of Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego, 4:17.36 to 4:17.48.  Kipyego, who won the 10,000 at this meet last year and finished second in the 5000, is attempting the 1500/5000 double this year.

In the men's metrick mile, Leonel Manzano of the University of Texas outsprinted Stanford's Garrett Heath, 3:41.70 to 3:42.21 to win the first prelim.   Georgetown's Andrew Bumalough won the second prelim in 3:42.28 over Wisconsin's Evan Jager (3:42.41).

The biggest story in the women's 800 semis was the no-show by defending champion Alysia Johnson from the University of California.  She had won her preliminary heat on Wednesday, but didn't show for the semi-final.  Her team's website said she was suffering from a minor foot injury.

"Alysia's foot was sore, but she could have run today," said Cal director of track and field Tony Sandoval to Calbears.cstv.com. "It would have been sorer if she ran today, and then even more if she ran in the final. She would have had to take some time off to let her foot heal with the Olympic Trials just a couple weeks away. We had her foot checked out and she's fine. We just didn't want to risk anything with the Trials right around the corner."

With Johnson out of the meet, Michigan's Geena Gall won the first semi in 2:04.02 ahead of LSU's Latavia Thomas (2:04.17), while Oregon's Zoe Buckman edged out Western Michigan's Becky Horn, 2:03.64 to 2:03.73.

In the men's two-lap competition Oregon's Andrew Wheating edged out Texas's Jacob Herandez, 1:47.15 to 1:47.18, in the first semi of the men's 800, while Southern Cal's Duane Solomon won the second semi in 1:47.60 ahead of Northern Iowa's Tyler Mulder.  Mississippi State senior Golden Coachman, who finished fourth at this meet last year, finished last in his heat and did not advance.

Friday's action includes both the men's and women's 3000m steeplechase and 5000m finals.

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