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The Week That Was May 12- May 18, 2008
May 19, 2008
*Last week's week in review can be found here
By LetsRun.com

College Conference Action
This weekend the 4 best conferences in the land held their outdoor conference meets - the SEC, Big 12s, Big 10s and Pac 10s. We analyze the major developments for you below.

Big 12s - CU Men For First Time Since 1947, Manzano Scorches at Altitude
The Big 12s were held in Boulder and the hometown Buffalo men put on quite a show. Powered by strong distance performances, the men won their first conference track title since 1947 and showed what far too many distance oriented programs don't understand - success in track and long distance aren't mutually exclusive.

The CU men scored a staggering 89 points in the 1500 through 10k. Yes that's right. 89. We've never heard of a domination that complete at a major conference level.  How is it even possible to score 89 points in 4 events? Here's how. They Buffs went 1-5 in the 10k to pick up 33. They went 1-3 in the steeple to get 16 more and had a runner-up in the 1500 for 8 more. They ended things in style as in the 5k, they scored 32 by having 6 scorers. Yes 6. The Buffs went 1-2-4-5-6-7. Unreal.

Now we're sure many of you are saying - the Buffs dominated because the meet was at altitude. We're not buying that excuse. Our only wish was that the meet had been somewhere else as the domination likely would have been that complete no matter where the meet was held.  After a disappointing cross country nationals when the Buffs finished 7th nationally, the CU distance runners have really been firing on all cylinders. Its' too bad no one noticed until this weekend.

In the 5k, the Buffs have two of the top six, 4 of the top 20, and 6 of the top 47 5k runners in the country, led by the #1 collegian Brent Vaughn. In terms of Big 12 rankings, CU has 6 of the top 7 in the 5k and the one guy that breaks them up - Ryan Vail - didn't run in the Big 12 meet as apparently he is hurt. Thus based on their performance to date, one could easily argue the Buffs actually should have even done better than they did in the 5k as the guy who got 3rd in the 5k was Oklahoma State's David Jankowski who has run 14:10 so far this year.  CU's 6th best 5k guy on the year, Chris Pannone has run 14:00 this year as well as 28:49 in the 10k and he didn't even score in the 5k as he was 9th. The 6th scorer for CU was Bradley Harkrader who hasn't hit the regional mark of 14:12 this year, yet did score.  Thus CU very easily could have had 7 scorers in the 5k based on pre-meet form charts. Moreover, CU didn't even double Brent Vaughn in the 5k-10k at the meet. He ran 1500 - 5k (and shockingly didn't make the 1,500 final). Imagine if they'd run him in the 10k, they would have gone 1-6 in the 10k.

So a mega, mega thumbs up to the CU Buffalo men for their great team performance and also for going for it in track. We're tired of distance squads just taking off the track seasons.  And a big thumbs up to the CU administration. By all accounts, the Big 12 meet in Boulder was a huge success as more than 6,000 people showed up to watch - the biggest crowd in Big 12 history. Very well done. Apparently the man who deserves most of the credit is Rich Cardillo. Cardillo, the man who hired coach Mark Wetmore at CU, came out of retirement to voluntarily serve as the meet director for more than two years.

To be fair, if we are going to devote 5 paragraphs full of praise for the Buffalo men, we have to give a thumbs down to the Buffalo women who finished DFL with a measly 13 points.  Just as it doesn't seem possible that one squad could score 89 points in the distances in a major conference, it doesn't seem possible that a team with the tradition and scholarships that CU has on the women's side could only score 13 points.  

The women's meet was won by Texas A&M in a laugher as they racked up 157 to Nebraska's 105. We imagine A&M will be winning these things with regularity now that Pat Henry - the greatest women's coach in history - has his program up and running.  

In terms of individual performances, Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech won both the 1,500 and 5k. In the 5k, she dispatched of American collegiate 10k record holder Lisa Koll (16:39 to 16:52). Koll captured the ladies 10k rather easily as expected.

Manzano A Winner

Manzano and Pifer Impress
On the men's side, the individual performance of the meet was turned in by Texas Leonel Manzano who won the men's 1,500 in .3:41.80. Yet again Colorado's Stephen Pifer really laid it on the line and tried to take it out hard to take the kick away from Manzano. Yet again it didn't work, but you've got to give Pifer a lot of credit for at least trying. His 3:43.65 performance at altitude was quite strong. The altitude conversion for Manzano means Manzano's win was equivalent to 3:35.22 and Pfifer's time to 3:37.07. Super impressive.

*Mark Wetmore Thanks About Team's Historic Win and Gives Big-time Praise To People Who Put on Big 12 Meet
*Big 12: Results
*Nice Recap of the Meet

SEC - A Legend Goes Out In Style
Late last month, it came out that Arkansas legendary men's coach, John McDonnell, is ending his career after this outdoor season concludes. Thus there was some pressure on the Hogs to win one for coach last weekend. McDonnell, himself who went into SEC's with 83 conference crowns himself, didn't shy away from the pressure as he quipped prior to the meet,
"I hate odd numbers." Life doesn't often end with storybook endings but in this case things worked out as the Hogs eked out another win, giving McDonnell 84 conference crowns to go with his 42 national titles.  84 and 42 - the symmetry of the two numbers is a perfect way to call it quits.  

We're sure McDonnell really wouldn't mind having an odd number next to his name if it was an 85th national title but that isn't going to happen this year barring a miracle. So a major thumbs up to John McDonnell for going out in style.

It's simply amazing how McDonnell has dominated the SEC over the years. The SEC is the best track and field conference in the country in and McDonnell has simply made it his personal play pen as he won a staggering 46 of 51 SEC titles since Arkansas joined the league 17 years ago.  An over 90% success rate in the nation's toughest conference.

Don't believe it's the best conference? Think again. People have the same debate in football ever year. Which is the better conference? The SEC or the Pac 10. It's not really an argument there or here. The SEC has the best athletes in football and track.

Below we list the marks it took to win the SEC on the men's side and compare that to the marks it took to win in the Pac 10. It's tougher to win a title in the SEC in 14 events compared to a 7 in the Pac 10.  And don't tell us that there are more teams in the SEC. Yes there are - but that would make it even harder for McDonnell to dominate like he has as compared to the Pac 10.



Pac 10



Pac 10































4 x 100






4 x 400



























Total Wins



Clearly the SEC is better.

Richard Thompson 9.93 and 20.23
In terms of outstanding individual performances, it should be pretty obvious from looking at the marks in the chart above. A 9.93 100 and a 20.23 in the 200 in an amateur meet. Are you serious? Yes we are. LSU's Richard Thompson is a major $tud.

In the women's battle, LSU won as expected.
*SEC: *Results

Pac 10s: Lananna, Alcorn, Johnson Shine
It was a good weekend for legendary coaches across the board, as in the Pac 10s Vin Lananna's Oregon men edged out the indoor national champions Arizona State for the team title. ASU's quest for the title was greatly boosted by a great individual performance by indoor 3k national champ Kyle Alcorn who pulled of the steeple/5k double.

On the women's side the indoor national champs, ASU, put on a show and just crushed the competition. The performance of the meet: A 2:00.57 meet record from Cal's Alysia Johnson who seems to be rounding into form at the perfect time of year.  Johnson, the USATF champ last year, clearly has been focused on Beijing this year.  Only 3rd indoor at NCAAs, Johnson will be virtually impossible to beat outdoors at NCAAs this year.
*ASU Women, Oregon Men Win

Big 10s: Wisconsin's Streak Comes to An End
In the Big 10 meet, the Michigan meet won their first Big 10 titles since 1983 and their first for coach Ron Warhurst. A big thumps up to them.  Interesting to note, that the Wolverines won despite only scoring 13 points in the 800 on up. Shows that despite CU's success, it's hard to win with a distance dominated team. You need a total team effort. Let your assistant coaches do their thing and work together as a coaching staff and you have a chance.  Michigan coach Ron Warhurst summed things up perfectly when he told the Michigan Daily, "
It's a great, great experience. We haven't done it in 25 years. These kids weren't even alive the last time we won one." He summed up how they won perfectly as well by saying, ""You really have to give a lot of credit to my coaches David Kaiser and Fred LaPlante," Warhurst said. "They really put the team together over the past year or so."

World XC Champ Craig Virgin Gives His Take on Big 10s

In terms of performances of note, a big thumbs up to Penn State freshman Sam Borchers who won the 1,500 title as a true frosh. An absolute sensation indoors (2:22.42 US leader in his first 1k and then a 4:01.98 school record in the mile), the freshman had struggled a bit outdoors as his 1500 seasonal best is just 3:47.32 - not good for a guy who ran 3:46 in high school.

Not sure if Borchers was tired or what but he's apparently found a second wind or maybe he found a slow pace to really be something he enjoys but a win is a win. The time (4:03.96) is irrelevant.

In the women's meet, Penn State captured the crown as Minnesota's Heather Dorniden scored 18 points with a win in the 800 and a runner-up in the 1,500.

*Warhurst Wins First Big 10 Title
More coverage from Big 10 network
On the boards: Michigan wins Men's Big Ten Meet
*Big10 1500????

And while not really a conference meet (it's the eastern champs), the IC4As were this weekend. The Liberty men won for the 2nd straight year, despite Josh McDougal not scoring. McDougal attempted to qualify for nationals in the 10,000m and dropped out. His team got the crown as did the UConn women.

But let's take just a second to give McDougal major props for his NCAA XC win this past fall. McDougal's about as blue collar and self-made as they get.
*Josh McDougal Drops Out of 10k

Continued Page 2 of our Recap Pro Running News: Adidas Track Classic, Oil Money and the NYRR, Healthy Kidney 10k, Bay to Breakers, Manchester and more

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