Saturday Recap of 2010 USATF Champs: Women's 1500m Anna Pierce Defeats Star Studded Field
There was only one senior distance race on Saturday at the 2010 USATF Track and Field Championships and it was the highly anticipated women's 1500m final which featured 3 world championship finalists: sub four 1500m runners Anna Pierce and Christin Wurth, plus World Championship bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury.
In non distance action in the 400s, favorites Jeremy Wariner pulled up lame and Sanya Richards did not start the women's final, but they both may have had their hands full regardless. Unheralded Greg Nixon loves the Drake track (he ran his 45.08 pb here earlier this year) and picked the perfect time for a huge 400m pr (a world leading 44.61) to get the win at 400. Debbie Dunn became the first women in the world under 50 seconds this year (49.64). In other action, Bershawn Jackson had a world leader in the 400m hurdles as did Hyleas Fountain in the heptathlon, but the biggest accomplishment of the day was Chaunte Lowe breaking her own American record in the high jump (video here). For an AP recap of the day click here.
Women's 1500m recap below.
Women’s 1500m Run: Anna Pierce Defeats Star Studded Field
The highly anticipated final of the women’s 1500m didn’t disappoint on a sizzling Des Moines afternoon (the high on Saturday was 92 but the heat index was well over 100 much of the day even at 6pm). A bulk of the fans lined the homestretch while others desperately searched anywhere they could for relief from the cloudless sky. Ironically, attendance likely suffered as many competitors stayed in their hotels to rest up and enjoy the US soccer match that current USATF head Doug Logan was so integral in promoting (Logan used to be the MLS commissioner).
Those in attendance cheered with great enthusiasm as a star-studded field ran impatiently behind Minnesota’s Gabriele Anderson for the first half of the race. The race became very physical as the pace slowed from an opening quarter of 69.9 back to 72.3 as the 800 was reached in a pedestrian 2:22. With 650 meters left in the race, potential contender Olympic 10k bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan tumbled onto the infield. Shalane quickly came to her feet in an attempt to catch up with the distant pack, but her efforts were to no avail. “I was ready for something special,” said a somber Flanagan afterwards.
As the runners approached the bell lap, last year’s fourth place finisher Erin Donahue positioned herself for a tremendous move she launched on the backstretch that broke the race wide open. Anna Pierce was the first to follow, beginning an intense kick of her own from 200m out while Shannon Rowbury and Christin Wurth trailed in hot pursuit. Donahue’s had really strung out the field and had a 5 meter lead comign down the homestreach. The move proved to be slightly too much too soon as Pierce overtook her the final 30 m to get the win in 4:13.65.
Pierce who made the 1500m final at Worlds last year and was undefeated at 800m with 2 Golden League wins last year was coming off of a disappointing 8th place finish at Adidas Grand Prix meet that had kicked off her 2010 outdoor pro season. That defeat left her with a little extra motivation, “Sometimes I think maybe it’s good to get your ass kicked.”
Donahue was also excited to take a few lessons away from her efforts. “I still have a ways to go with my speed and explosiveness at the end of the race,” said Donahue with a modest smile. Donahue had not been able to hold on for the win, but she did get quite convincingly get the scalps of the more accomplished Rowbury (3rd) and Wurth (4th). Wurth, who lost some ground during the fall spoke of the value of the experience. “It’s regaining composure, learning from it and moving on. Working on tactics, working on kicking…that’s what the world is going to bring.”
|5||Sarah Bowman||New Balance||4:16.50||1(5)|
|11||Shalane Flanagan||Oregon TC-Nike||4:19.56||1(11)|
*LRC Thursday: Lauren Fleshman Upsets Jenny Barringer
*LRC Thursday: Galen Rupp Reigns Supreme, Amy Begley Over Hometown Hero Lisa Koll