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2009 USATF Thursday Women's Preview: Women's 10k Final: The Shalane Flanagan Show And The Emergence Of Serena Burla?
2009 has been an interesting year for Flanagan. Despite her tremendous success in 2007 (American record at 5,000m with 14:44.80) and 2008 (30:22.22 bronze medal) under Nike coach John Cook, Flanagan dumped Cook this year and has gone in a different direction. Indoors, she was being coached by her husband Steve Edwards and set the American indoor record at 5k (14:47.62) at the Reebok Boston Games. Since then she has moved to the tutelage to former Wisconsin coach Jerry Schumacher, who is now based in Portland, coaching Nike athletes.
Schumacher had tremendous success with the Badgers and rising American 5k star Matt Tegenkamp, but all of his success was with the men, as Schumacher did not coach the Badger women. Now, he has the daunting task of having the Olympic bronze medallist and American record holder at 10k as his first female athlete.
Bronze For Flanagan
Flanagan's results under Schumacher have been a mixed bag. Flanagan ran an unimpressive 15:10 for 5k at the adidas meet in Carson California, and ran a respectable 4:06.91 for 1,500m at Pre. The beauty for Schumacher and Flanagan is that none of these early season results matter. Schumacher and Flanagan will largely be judged on one race this year, the World Championships 10,000m final in Berlin.
Flanagan is pleased with her progress so far under Schumacher. She told David Monti in a nice pre-race article that she is enjoying her situation in Portland. "I'm really impressed, really happy. Steve and I were both saying that this is the best balance we've felt in terms of running and lifestyle." You can read the full article here. Under Schumacher, she has upper her mileage and reduced the amount of drills she is doing. Barring a disaster on Thursday, we'll judge the new regime's results in Berlin. The new regime apparently believes there is a lot of upside still left in Flanagan. She told David Monti, "I may not see overnight results but I'm willing to make some sacrifices now to get results. He (Schumacher) says we've got a lot of work to do to before I become a true distance runner." A bit scary to think an Olympic bronze medallist at 10k may not yet be a true distance runner.
In the field versus Flanagan is one of the feel-good stories of the 2008 Olympic Trials, Amy Begley. Although a two-time NCAA champ while in college (indoor 5k in 2000, outdoor 10k in 2001), Begley came into the meet as a total darkhorse. Not only had she not run the Olympic qualifying standard of 31:45, she wasn't even running that pace for 5k (15:52.5) in 2007 as her best was a 15:54.
Nonetheless, she joined Alberto Salazar's group to train with Kara Goucher and there was Begley in the Trials going toe-to-toe with Goucher and Flanagan. Begley had to push the pace to try to hit the Olympic standard and that is exactly what she did as she just dipped under it with a great last lap to finish in 31:43. Although she ended up finishing third in the race, her performance was stunning. You can read the LRC race recap here and see the Toni Reavis LRC video show with Amy here.
2008 Olympic 10k Team
The problem for Amy in Eugene is her PR is 1:21 behind that of Shalane Flanagan. Barring a disaster, it seems nearly impossible for Flanagan to lose on Thursday. Amy in 2009 has been following the Alberto Salazar plan that has worked brilliantly with Galen Rupp, testing her mettle at the shorter distance. She has set 800 (2:08.80), 1,500 (4:10.04) and even 2k PRs this year. Thursday will be her first test at a longer distance on the track, although she did capture the US 15k crown at the Gate River Run on March 14.
Begley's 15k win was by 6 seconds over former US 10k champ Katie McGregor, who is also in the field and is the next challenger on paper. McGregor was an NCAA XC champion at Michigan, the US 2005 10k champ, and has made the last 2 World Championships teams at 10,000m. She's run a respectable 32:14 this year (at Brutus Hamilton) and a 15:41 (at Reebok) and on credentials is the third pick.
2008 NCAA champ and American collegiate record holder Lisa Koll (she had plantar fasciitis and didn't score at NCAAs this year), 2008 US Olympian at the marathon, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 2006 indoor NCAA 5k champ Amy Hastings and former Notre Dame star and American junior 5k record holder Molly Huddle are all in the field as well and the only athletes who have run a 10k within 1 minute of the World Championships qualifying standard, but all have a few question marks surrounding them. Koll, as mentioned above, has been injured. Magdalena Lewy Boulet did win the US Half Marathon champs in January, but she hasn't run a track race all year and is more of a marathoner. Hastings has only run 33:03.63 this year (she ran 32:18 last year) and Huddle only has raced twice this year (9:26 3k and 15:53 5k while her bests are 8:58 3k and 15:17 5k).
LetsRun.com Budweiser Longshot Serena Burla
Burla hails from the training mecca of Ellisville, Missouri. She's definitely the LRC Blue Collar runner in the field. For a brief chat with her from RW click here.
In our analysis, Flanagan is the class of the field and then comes Amy Begley. The next group of women have quite a bit of ground to make up, but Burla is on a tremendous upswing.
So our predictions:
1) Flanagan 2) Amy Begley 3) Serena Burla
Section 1 Timed Finals 1 Stephanie Rothstein unattached 33:08.37 2 Melissa Cook New Balance 33:18.12 3 Erin Nehus unattached 33:36.77 4 Kara Storage RUNOHIO R T 33:19.27 5 Danielle Domenichelli unattached 33:19.43 6 Shalane Flanagan Nike 30:22.22 7 Sally Meyerhoff unattached 33:14.14 8 Amy Begley Nike 31:43.60 9 Catherine White Arkansas 33:37.83 10 Allison Grace ZAP Fitness 33:17.15 11 Tara Storage RUNOHIO R T 33:18.31 12 Wendi Robinson Indiana 33:40.79 13 Mattie Bridgmon Oregon 33:37.33 14 Melissa White Hansons-Brooks 33:15.80 15 Clara Grandt West Virginia 33:16.96 16 Molly Huddle unattached 33:17.73 17 Katie McGregor Reebok 32:14.57 18 Magdalena Lewy Boulet unattached 32:33.02 19 Serena Burla RIADHA 32:47.48 20 Katherine Newberry N Y A C 32:50.97 21 Jill Steffens New Balance 33:16.53 22 Amy Hastings adidas 32:18.72
Other Thursday Action:
The women's discus final, featuring Olympic champ Stephanie Brown Trafton, is on Thursday. Brown Trafton may have won Olympic gold in 2008 but she was only third at the US Nationals behind American record holder Suzy Powell and 2008 US champ Aretha Thurmond. All three are in the field Thursday, but Brown Tafton is the favorite with 2009 wins at Pre and Reebok.
In the high jump the competition likely will be between 2005 Worlds silver medallist Chaunte Howard and NCAA champ Destinee Hooker. Amy Acuff, after 4 Olympic teams and 7 World Champs teams, will try to make it an incredible 8 World Championships in her last and final USATF nationals.
Round 1 Of Women's 1,500 - Why So Many Time Qualifiers?
The rules need to be changed to take away the time qualifiers for the final in the women's 1,500. The 1,500 is often a tactical race and having six time qualifiers is ridiculous and a big advantage to heat #2. Heat 1, however, might be fastest up front, as 2008 1,500m surprises Anna Willard and Christin Wurth are in the same heat.
Event 10 Women 1500 Meter Run =============================================================================== 12 Advance: Top 3 Each Heat plus Next 6 Best Times Thursday 6/25/2009 - 6:45 PM World: 3:50.46 9/11/1993 Yunxia Qu, CHN American: 3:57.12 7/26/1983 Mary Slaney, Athletics West Hayward: 3:59.19 1984 Mary Slaney, USA Name Year Team Seed =============================================================================== Heat 1 Prelims 1 Renee Metivier Baille Nike 4:15.95 2 Jessica Pixler Seattle Pacific 4:37.83 3 Anna Willard Nike 4:01.44 4 Sarah Bowman Tennessee 4:13.59 5 Treniere Clement Nike 4:09.57 6 Amanda LoPiccolo Syracuse Charger 4:16.48 7 Christin Wurth Nike 4:01.72 8 Lisa Senakiewich Michigan St 4:14.25 9 Kellyn Johnson unattached 4:34.41 10 Heidi Dahl East Tenn St 4:14.92 11 Natalie Picchetti unattached 4:14.75 12 Lauren Hagans unattached 4:09.86 Heat 2 Prelims 1 Margaret Infeld Georgetown 4:14.55 2 Dacia Perkins unattached 4:17.08 3 Amy Mortimer Reebok 4:07.19 4 Molly Lehman Duke 4:15.19 5 Sara Vaughn adidas 4:15.65 6 Erin Donohue Nike 4:06.70 7 Mary Jayne Reeves unattached 4:10.85 8 Frances Koons Villanova 4:16.86 9 Shannon Rowbury Nike 4:00.33 10 Lauren Centrowitz Stanford 4:10.42 11 Jordan Hasay San Luis D C 4:14.50
Round 1 Of The Women's 800
Heat 2 looks the most interesting with Prefontaine surprise winner Maggie Vessey and NCAA champ Geena Gall in the same heat. But with the top 4 in each heat making the semis, these women have no excuse for not making the next round.
Event 8 Women 800 Meter Run =============================================================================== 16 Advance: Top 4 Each Heat plus Next 4 Best Times Thursday 6/25/2009 - 5:15 PM World: 1:53.28 7/26/1983 Jarmila Kratochvilova, CZE American: 1:56.40 8/11/1999 Jearl Miles-Clark, Reebok Hayward: 1:57.57 1997 Maria Mutola, Mozambique Name Year Team Seed =============================================================================== Heat 1 Prelims 1 Colleen Newhart Fleet Feet/Nike 2:05.16 2 Latavia Thomas L S U 2:01.56 3 Ty Davis Team Indiana/Brk 2:03.22 4 Hazel Clark Nike 1:59.82 5 Becky Horn unattached 2:03.87 6 Angee Henry Team Nebr/Brks 2:04.79 7 Katie Palmer B Y U 2:03.26 8 Katie Waits Reebok 2:01.78 9 Dominique Jackson North Carolina 2:03.89 Heat 2 Prelims 1 Chantee McBride unattached 2:04.69 2 Maggie Vessey unattached 2:00.18 3 Heather Dorniden Minnesota 2:03.77 4 Molly Beckwith Indiana 2:02.51 5 Ashley Puga unattached 2:05.23 6 Mary Jayne Reeves unattached 2:03.48 7 Trisa Nickoley unattached 2:04.62 8 Geena Gall Michigan 2:00.80 9 Nikeya Green Reebok 2:02.36 Heat 3 Prelims 1 Brenda Martinez Cal Riverside 2:03.05 2 Aja Jackson Charlotte 2:05.21 3 Alysia Johnson Nike 2:03.85 4 Phoebe Wright Tennessee 2:02.15 5 Nicole Cook Reebok 2:04.29 6 Laura Hermanson North Dakota St 2:01.37 7 Sara Vaughn adidas 2:04.75 8 Morgan Uceny Reebok 2:00.01 9 Jesse Carlin Nike 2:03.42