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LetsRun.com's 2009 Final Day Men's Distance Coverage
Symmonds & KD Put On A Show Once Again As Alan Webb Is A No-Show
by: LetsRun.com
June 28, 2009
*Race video at bottom of article
*Final Day Photos

Men's 1,500 - Lomong Over Manzano
With the pre-race withdrawal of Alan Webb (more on that at bottom of the article) from the men's 1,500m final, Olympians Lopez Lomong and Leo Manzano were the headliners of the field. They lived up to their billing, as they battled down the final stretch with Lomong coming out on top by .14 in 3:41.68 to get his first USATF title.

Manzano did all the early leading in the race held in sunny but windy conditions. The pace was slow early (46.0 and 62.8 (2:03.88)), but surprisingly not everyone was bunched right on his shoulder. Rather, the other runners in the field were for the most part running single file, almost as if most of them knew they were overmatched by Manzano and by Lomong, who was near Manzano the entire race.

Pifer Opens Up The Race
Former Colorado Buff Stephan Pifer blasted to the front with 550m to go to get the real racing underway. He opened up a small gap on the field as it took a while for the others to respond. Manzano and Lomong were the two guys to quickly respond to Pifer's move and give chase as they trailed him at the bell and heading onto the backstretch.

Manzano, Lomong and Will Leer would pass Pifer with 200m to go. Lomong and Manzano were well in front heading onto the final straight, with Lomong in the lead.The former NCAA rivals and 2008 Olympians sprinted down the homestretch side-by-side. Lomong had the slight lead heading into the homestretch and he was just a able to maintain it and get the win over Manzano (3:41.68 to Manzano's 3:41.82), thanks to a 26-second last 200 and 53.13 last 400.

Arkansas Razorback Dorian Ulrey blitzed the last lap as well in a super-quick 53.53 to finish a clear third. His last lap was nearly as fast as that of Lomong and Manzano, but he had trailed them by a second at the bell.

Last year's fourth-placer at the Trials, Will Leer, passed Pifer with 200m to go to move into third, but Ulrey came flying by on the turn to get third and then Pifer somehow battled back and re-passed Leer 5 meters before the line to finish fourth as both were 2.5 seconds behind of the winner.

Pifer's nip of Leer just before the line was potentially significant, as third-placer Ulrey doesn't have the Olympic B standard of 3:39.20, so it's possible the 4th-placer might go to Berlin.

Leer In Tears, Ulrey Very Happy
Leer, who had won his semifinal heat on Thursday and, with Webb's absence, was the expected third-place finisher on Sunday, was totally despondent after the race. He walked through the interview area sobbing before sitting down with his head down in his hands in tears in the tent area where the athletes collect their belongings. Minutes passed before OTC teammate Nick Symmonds came over to console him.

Dorian Ulrey

We talked to a pleased Dorian Ulrey (interview on the right) after the race. Many thought Ulrey, runner-up at NCAAs last year, would be the class of the NCAA ranks this year. After opening with a 3:57.6 mile in January, Ulrey never got faster. Only third at NCAA indoors and fourth outdoors, Ulrey finally got the the breakthrough many had expected for him all year on Sunday.

Ulrey said his performance at NCAA outdoors actually gave him confidence as, although he only finished foruth, he set a 2-second personal best and it came after he slept only an hour the night before the race due to a stomach bug.

We asked Ulrey how he was able to turn his season around after struggling at the end of the indoor season and early during the outdoor season. Ulrey said his struggles all were mental. He said indoors his confidence took a beating after Galen Rupp blew his doors off at the DMR at NCAAs. Ulrey said he figured something must be wrong if a 5k/10k guy could beat him with such ease. But after a while, after some strong performances at Penn and SECs, he realized nothing was wrong. Ulrey's confidence is now fully restored and he'll likely be on the Berlin team with Rupp if he can get over to Europe and run a 3:39.20.

Webb Seen Doing Strides Saturday Evening
You can read about Webb's withdrawal here. Interestingly, a fellow competitor in the 1,500m told LetsRun.com that he witnessed Webb doing strides Saturday evening near the stadium. He thought it was strange Webb was doing strides where he was (not on the track or the warmup area), but did not notice any problems with Webb's stride. Perhaps Webb was testing his leg one more time.

  1 Lopez Lomong                 Nike                   3:41.68
2 Leonel Manzano Nike 3:41.82
3 Dorian Ulrey Arkansas 3:42.84
4 Stephen Pifer Oregon TC Elite 3:44.21
5 William Leer Oregon TC Elite 3:44.28
6 Craig Miller unattached 3:45.15
7 Andrew Jesien Virginia 3:45.39
8 Christopher Lukezic Reebok 3:45.79
9 Jeff See Ohio State 3:45.87
10 Jordan McNamara Oregon 3:46.08
11 Darren Brown unattached 3:46.41
-- Alan Webb Nike DNS

Nick Symmonds And Khadevis Robinson Put On A Show

Nick Symmonds and Khadevis Robinson (KD) have dominated the US 800m ranks the last few years while developing an amazing rivalry and they put on a great show once again at Hayward field on Sunday afternoon. In years past, it has been KD in the lead with Nick Symmonds coming from behind. But on Sunday, just as was the case at USA indoors, it was Symmonds in the lead, with KD charging. Symmonds somehow was able to hold him off as he had just enough in the tank to get the win in 1:45.86 to KD's 1:45.97.

It's been well documented how when the two race, they almost always finish within a quarter of a second of each other, so the tight finish certainly wasn't a surprise.

Ryan Brown: "I never thought I'd be here."

The former prep star, 21 year-old Karjuan Williams, who emerged this year on the pro ranks with a 1:46.06 - a two-second PR - did the early leading. He led at the bell (51.50). Customary frontrunner Tevan Everett tried a new tactic and was just off the lead on Williams' heels. Williams continued to lead on the backstretch and Symmonds, who was fifth at the bell, moved up to challenge for the lead on the backstretch. Williams still led at 600, but Symmonds was right next to him. Coming off the final turn (aka the Bowerman curve), Symmonds catapulted into the lead and those who had watched Symmonds just dominate the last 100 at the Pre Classic probably thought the race was all over.

Not so fast. Khadevis Robinson was right on Symmonds' shoulder in hot pursuit. Symmonds had the lead but Robinson charged hard to nearly pull even with Symmonds halfway down homestretch. Just whe it seemed KD had the momentum, Symmonds dug deep and was able to hold off Robinson for the .11 margin of victory.

Former NCAA champ Ryan Brown passed 2008 Olympian Christian Smith on the homestretch for third. Smith got fourth and NCAA runner-up Everett was fifth.

Race Video and results below.

Men's 800m Race

 

Finals                                                          
1 Nicholas Symmonds Oregon TC Elite 1:45.86
2 Khadevis Robinson Nike 1:45.97
3 Ryan Brown Asics 1:46.67
4 Christian Smith Nike 1:46.92
5 Tevan Everett Texas 1:47.06
6 Michael Rutt Connecticut 1:47.57
7 Karjuan Williams unattached 1:47.87
8 Tyler Mulder Northern Iowa 1:47.98

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