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2009 Tyson Invite Distance Recaps
by: Stephanie Lowe
February 13, 2008

*Results
*AP Recap
*Photos

Men's 5000m: Rupp Gets American Record

The Tyson Invitational Men's 5000m was an “absolute showdown” between Bekana Daba, Galen Rupp and Sam Chelanga. This was the first time Rupp and Chelanga raced since NCAA cross country.

Seth Summerside paced the first kilometer with Chelanga and Shawn Forrest of Arkansas close behind. Rupp looked comfortable sitting back in 5th place.

“The first part of the race I was pretty relaxed, but I knew the two Ethiopians would run in the low 13s, so the pace was bound to get faster,” Rupp explained.

At the 2k mark (5:23.35), the pacer dropped out and Rupp moved up to 3rd. Daba and fellow Ethiopian Markos Geneti reacted by overtaking both Rupp and Chelanga for the lead.

Geneti and Daba hit 8:02.57 at the 3k, followed by Rupp and Chelanga. About 5 seconds back was Forrest and the rest of the pack.

Rupp then moved to 2nd behind Daba with 7 laps remaining. It appeared that Daba wanted Rupp to take the lead at this point, but Rupp controlled his energy by staying back.

Over the last kilometer, Geneti made a gutsy move. He sprinted into 3rd, but soon fell behind. Undeterred, Daba, Rupp and Chelanga held their positions with 2 laps to go.

Daba showed some fear as he looked back at Rupp. Then the race really began as Rupp took the lead.

“With about two laps to go I knew about how fast I had to run,” Rupp described. “I didn't focus on it too long though because I had a race to run.”

Rupp, Daba and Chelanga fought for the lead over the final lap, but Daba was able to outkick the field for a 13:17.89 victory.

It was still a good race for Rupp (13:18.12) and Chelanga (13:19.79). Both broke the collegiate, American and facility records.

“It was unbelievable,” Rupp said.”Any time you set a record it's special. They're all great to me.”

Rupp said he may compete in both the 5000m and 3000m at NCAA Indoor Championships. “My #1 priority is to help the team out.”

For fantastic lap by lap result splits of each runner, please click here.

Men's 800m: Symmonds and KD Put on a Show

In the Tyson Invitational men's 800m, Northern Iowa's Tyler Mulder led from gun with a 51.27 400m. Nick Symmonds raced as he often does, starting in the back of the pack.

Symmonds quickly picked off his competitors. At 600m, he was in 2nd place behind Mulder (1:19.69).

“Mulder was leading a fast pace at the beginning...I knew [he] would be pretty fast,” Symmonds said.

What Symmonds did not expect was Khadevis Robinson's kick. Although he is one of the best current US 800-meter runners, Robinson has not raced since an injury last year, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see him overtake Mulder in the final lap and make a late charge at Symmonds. 

“I started to let up at the end because when I looked at the video board coming around the last turn, he was a good five yards behind me. I should know that you can never do that against a runner like him,” Symmonds said after the race. “I didn't anticipate him on my hip at the end. It was definitely a wake up call for USAs.”

The finish was very close between the two, but Symmonds won the race in 1:47.72 with Robinson in 1:47.76. Mulder was 3rd with 1:48.53.

Results and lap by lap splits of each runner are here.

Women's Mile: Willard Gets Win and Is Now a Miler

After Anna Willard won the Tyson Invitational Mile Friday night, she stated that will focus on the 1500 this year. Best known as a steeplechaser, Willard attributes her success to a new coach, Terrence Mahon.

“I did a lot of blind mileage before. Now I'm doing more quality mileage,” she explained. “I think every time I get to work on my speed, it obviously helps. I'm feeling a lot quicker.”

Willard's speed led her to win the mile with a new personal best time of 4:30.69.

Tennessee's Sarah Bowman led the start of the race. Followed by Treniere Clement, Willard and Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego, she went through the first quarter mile in 65 seconds.

Bowman tried to open a gap, but Willard then moved to 2nd at the half-mile (2:14.9). Kipyego and Brie Felnagle were close behind.

“It was a hard effort,” Willard said. “I just wanted to commit. When I made my move, I made my move.”

With two laps to go, Kipyego took the lead as Bowman fell to 4th position. Felnagle held on as the four women raced for the finish. Over the last lap, Willard was in front with Felnagle and Kipyego vying for 2nd place.

Kipyego was barely 2nd in 4:32.01, with Felnagle in 4:32.17.

Results and lap by lap splits of each runner are here.

Men's Mile: Nick Willis Cruises, Ulrey Falls

The Arkansas fans cheered as Razorback Dorian Ulrey was in contention to win the Tyson Invitational Mile. However, it was not to be.

After a 30-minute delay, the final race of the evening got off to a slow start with Ulrey and Nick Willis in the lead. No one went with the pacer, which allowed for a more tactical race.

“All of us felt a little flat,” Willis said. “But a race is a race and sometimes time isn't really important.”

Willis, the 2008 1500m Olympic bronze medalist, was the favorite. He recently won the finished 2nd in the mile at the Millrose Games and won at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. However, this race was much slower, with Ulrey, Chris Lukezic and Alan Webb close behind.

Webb is the American record-holder, but his performances have been up and down this past year, so no one knew what to expect. A few times during the race, he tried to make a move around the outside of the leaders, but that cost him valuable seconds as he was stuck running in lanes 3 and 4 for much of the race.

Ulrey was in the lead at the ¾ mile (3:01.3), with Willis in 2nd. Webb was in 3rd place, but soon dropped to 6th.

During the bell lap, Ulrey was 3rd , but then tripped and fell on the first turn. Willis sprinted ahead and avoided the mishap. He won in 4:02.70. Chris Lukezic was 2nd (4:03.87), followed by Rob Myers in 4:05.60. Webb was 4th (4:05.60).

“Given the slow pace, I expected a strong push at the end, but fortunately, I was able to hold on and get the victory,” Willis said after his race.

Results and lap by lap splits of each runner are here.

Women's 3000m

The women's 3000m was led entirely by Alex Becker. After the first kilometer, she opened an 8 second gap in front of Texas Tech's Lillian Badaru.

The gap grew to 10-12 seconds between Becker and the rest of the pack. She went through the 2k mark in 6:12.01. Followed by Badaru were Denise Bargiachi of Arkansas and Geneviive LaCaze of Florida.

Becker completely dominated the field as she had a 15 second gap with about a lap to go. Badaru made up some ground over the last lap, but it was not enough. Becker won in 9:23.78. Badaru was nearly 5 seconds behind in 9:28.90, followed by Bargiachi in 9:29.63.

Results and splits are here.
*Photos above from Trackandfieldphoto

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