The Pre Classic That Was
(The Week That Was In Running - June 28 - July 4, 2010)

By LetsRun.com
July 7, 2010

To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click Here.
To read any 2010
LRC Week That Was, click Here.

LRC Recap of Pre Classic With NBC Videos

This week, instead of recapping the winners and losers from the week as whole, we focus on one thing exclusively - the 2010 Pre Classic. And given the fact that we have been swept over by World Cup fever, we have gone ahead and given every single American participant in a mid-d or distance event a letter grade for their performance, much like soccer websites rate players on a 0-to-10 scale after a match.

Now please realize that grades are curved based on what the expectations are for that particular person. If a 4:00 miler runs a 3:55 mile, that's an A+ ... but if a 3:53 miler runs 3:55, that's probably a B.

Agents, parents and pros, no whining. We're not trying to be rude, we're just trying to make the sport interesting. If anything, we probably are too generous in our grades.

Before we get to the grades, we do want to do three things. 1) Make a correction from last week - Our Email Of The Week #1, 2) Share an interesting email with you - Our Email Of The Week #2 and 3) Give out One Recommended Read for you.

Email Of The Week #1
1) Last week on LetsRun.com, we talked about the somewhat disappointing attendance figures in Des Moines for USAs but then mentioned that a few papers had actualy pointed out that the 2010 USA attendance was bigger than 2009. Well, thanks to LRC visitor Jim, we know now that the papers in Oregon and Iowa had it wrong (as did we). Jim's email appears below.

The statement "The figures reveal that attendance was actually higher than Eugene last year" is not correct! Attendance in 2009 USATF Eugene was 38,441- a 4 day  record! How quickly we forget! the 32,048 attendance was better than the "31,000+" in Eugene the preceding year. Where this fgure-"31,000"- came from is unclear - I think from some web sites that are not very fastidious with figures - but it is clearly wrong.

Email Of The Week #2
And since we are sharing visitor's emails, we thought we'd share one from a few weeks ago that we really liked. It has nothing to do with anything from this week but we promised Bart - from the Netherlands - that we'd share it with the LRC community. At one point on the home page, we had something up about how we kind of liked Dwain Chambers but didn't know why. Bart wrote in to tell us that we weren't crazy to like a drug cheat.

The reason to like Dwain Chambers is pretty obvious. There are several reason which combined make Chambers a 'nice' guy.

He's one of the few athletes after being busted, who tries get back to form without any help from any others.  In fact whereas in American sports drugcheats after a (few month) ban continue to play on their multi-mill contracts, Chambers has hardly any posibilities to get a contract or race $$ meets in the Diamond or Euroleague. He's broke but still racing, because that what he does.

He actually confessed, didn't try to lie or come around with cry baby stories (like Jones or Montgomery). He served his ban, trains is brains out and is still the fastest Britton, while he never gets the chance to race the money races.

Some important figures try to bash him (I think it was Steve Cram in his British newspaper columns) even after he served his ban, whereas he didn't criticize the likes of Ohurugu (400 sprinter) who missed 3 ooc drugtests, but also Seb Coe. Those athletes where part of the biggest drug era in the sport, but they don't have any comment on their former teammates. Did those Brits (or Yanks) really beat the GDR-athletes fair and square? People don't like that anymore.

He's actually a nice guy? Watch him cheer on his teammates in last weekends Euro Team Champs.

Recommended Read Of The Week
Normally we encourage you to read a lot of things from the week before. This week we'd rather you focus on a story we had inadvertently ignored:

AISLING CUFFE INSPIRES WITH BRAVE PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR WOMEN'S 5,000M

The junior US runner put up a show that should make all fans of the sport proud and we failed to mention anything about it.

Now onto our Grades For 2010 Pre Classic. If you missed the Pre Classic, you can relive it with this recap.

LetsRun.com's Grades 2010 Pre Classic
Men's Mile

One Mile - Men Race 1                                         
                                                            Pts
    1 Kiprop , Asbel                   KEN    3:49.75          4        
    2 Laalou , Amine                   MAR    3:50.22          2        
    3 Gebremedhin , Mekonnen           ETH    3:50.68          1        
    4 Komen , Daniel                   KEN    3:50.70                   
    5 Wheating , Andrew                USA    3:51.74                   
    6 Kemboi , Nicholas Kiptanui       KEN    3:52.84                   
    7 Lomong , Lopez                   USA    3:53.18                   
    8 Moustaoui , Mohamed              MAR    3:53.70                   
    9 Lagat , Bernard                  USA    3:54.36                   
   10 Keitany , Haron                  KEN    3:57.07                   
   11 Manzano , Leonel                 USA    4:06.51                   
      Kamel , Yusuf Saad               BRN        DNF                   
      Renshaw , Lachlan                AUS        DNF                   
      Gathimba , Gideon                KEN        DNF   

Andrew Wheating, 3:51.74, 5th: A
A very good run for Wheating, who was wearing the Oregon uniform for the last time. Definitely not an A+ because he never was in contention in the race (although going out in 55 might have resulted in a disaster) and may have been a bit too tentative in the middle and had too much at the end. Also a couple of times he started to go way wide heading into a turn before deciding not to and moving back. That is the definition of wasted energy.

Lopez Lomong: 3:53.18, 7th: B-  A minor PR for Lomong, who had a PR of 3:53.35 coming into the race. Not bad, but you'd expect a World Championships finalist like Lomong to do a bit more than basically what Alan Webb did in high school (3:53.43).

Bernard Lagat: 3:54.36, 9th: C- Never a factor and he only ran 3:54. One would certainly expect more from someone who won a World Championships medal in the 1,500 last year. This race in our minds officially ends Lagat's days as an elite 1,500/mile guy. Yes, we know that at age 35, he's more focused on the 5,000 nowadays, but if that's the case then why wasn't he entered in the 5k at Pre?

Leo Manzano: 4:06.51, 11th: F If you thought last year's 3:58 next-to-last showing was as bad as Manzano could do, you were wrong. Not sure what happened out there for Leo, but it was AWFUL. He's already run 3:33.92 for 1,500, which "equates" to a 3:51 mile.

"B" Mile

One Mile - Men Race 2                                         

    1 Gregson , Ryan                   AUS    3:53.19
    2 Acosta , Andrew J.               USA    3:53.76
    3 van Deventer , Juan              RSA    3:54.12
    4 Torrence , David                 USA    3:54.47
    5 Kithii , Josphat Mitunga         KEN    3:55.16
    6 van der Westhuizen , Peter       RSA    3:55.98
    7 Pifer , Stephen                  USA    3:56.12
    8 Brown , Russell                  USA    3:56.92
    9 Ali , Belal Mansoor              BRN    3:57.22
   10 Rupp , Galen                     USA    3:57.72
   11 Leer , Will                      USA    4:08.45
      Novak , Rob                      USA        DNF                   
      Wieczorek , Mark                 USA        DNF

AJ Acosta: 3:53.76, 2nd: A+ A fantastic race for the NCAA runner-up. The NCAA runner-up probably should be able to run a 3:53 mile, but still it was a massive PR for a guy who only had a 3:39 1,500 PR coming into the race. How he ran faster than Lagat and Manzano and almost as fast as Lomong is beyond us.

David Torrence: 3:54.47, 4th: B+ A pretty good showing for the guy who was 4th at USAs. But the 3:35 1,500 PR he ran at adidas is equivalent to about a 3:53.1 mile.

Stephen Pifer: 3:56.12, 7th: B+ The results seem better than his 12th-place showing at USAs and in line with his 3:38 PR in the 1,500, which equates to a 3:55 mile.

Russell Brown: 3:56.92, 8th: C+ The 6th placer at USAs last week only managed to barely break 3:57 when his 1,500 PR from earlier this year equates to about a 3:54.2 mile.

Galen Rupp, 3:57.72, 9th: B- Rupp is a 10k/marathon guy in our books, so a 3:57 mile isn't too shabby for him, but he did run a 3:56.22 indoors on an illegal oversized track in Washington. We imagine he was hoping to run in the 3:55 range or better, but we don't want to be too hard on him. Quite honestly, our first instinct was "Why wasn't he in the loaded 5k?" but then we remembered he actually bothered to win the US 10k title the week before.

Will Leer, 4:08.45, 11th: F Here's a tip for you fans that are new to LetsRun.com. If you ever want to know if a professional running man ran a truly awful mile race, ask yourself a simple question, "Would an elite level woman be upset with the same time for a 1,500?"

Men's 1k

1000 Metres - Men                                             

    1 Kaki , Abubaker                  SUD    2:13.62
    2 Lalang , Boaz Kiplagat           KEN    2:14.83
    3 Symmonds , Nick                  USA    2:16.35
    4 Yego , Alfred Kirwa              KEN    2:17.60
    5 Solomon , Duane                  USA    2:17.84
    6 Mulder , Tyler                   USA    2:17.91
    7 Hernandez , Jacob                USA    2:18.42
    8 Brown , Ryan                     USA    2:21.21
      Scherer , Matthew                USA        DNF                   
      Robinson , Khadevis              USA        DNF  

Nick Symmonds: 2:16.35, 3rd: B Yes, he got a big PR, but if he ran the equivalent of his 1:43 800 PR, he'd run right around 2:14-flat or even slightly faster. If he'd done that, he'd have been competitive for the win and been at least 2nd in the race - not 1.52 seconds arrears of Lalang - a guy who has run almost the exact same seasonal best as Symmonds this year at 800 (1:45.02 versus 1:45.05) and a guy who has an 800 PR of 1:44.68 as compared to Symmonds' 1:43.83. This race makes it clear to us that Symmonds is pretty much a pure 800 guy. That being said, Symmonds did crush Yego - who has medalled in the 800 each of the last two years.

Duane Solomon: 2:17.84, 5th: B
Like Symmonds, it wasn't a great showing but not a bad one. Equates to a 1:46-mid or so for 800 and he's run 1:45 low this year, but he's more of an 800 guy.

Tyler Mulder: 2:17.91, 6th: A- 
Mulder ran the equivalent of a 1:46-mid or 1:46-high 800, which is pretty good for a guy with a 1:46.44 PR.

Jacob Hernandez: 2:18.42, 7th: B+
Fernandez ran the equivalent of a 1:47-low for 800, which is good for a guy who has run just 1:47.34 this year. Hopefully, he's on his way to getting close to his 1:45.31 800 PR because if we were comparing this to his career best and not his seasonal best, we'd rank this as a C.

Ryan Brown: 2:21.21, 8th: C
Brown has run 1:46.17 in his career but this barely equates to a high 1:48.

Men's 5,000

5000 Metres - Men                                             
                                                            Pts
    1 Bekele , Tariku                  ETH   12:58.93          4        
    2 Gebremeskel , Dejen              ETH   12:59.30          2        
    3 Merga , Imane                    ETH   13:00.18          1        
    4 Kipchoge , Eliud                 KEN   13:01.17                   
    5 Daba , Bekana                    ETH   13:05.35                   
    6 Kisorio , Mathew Kipkoech        KEN   13:07.26                   
    7 Solinsky , Chris                 USA   13:08.11                   
    8 Salel , Daniel Lemashon          KEN   13:09.80                   
    9 Birmingham , Collis              AUS   13:10.97                   
   10 Kipkoech , Josphat Bett          KEN   13:11.60                   
   11 Kuma , Abera                     ETH   13:11.92                   
   12 Macharinyang , Hosea Mwok        KEN   13:21.05                   
   13 Tegenkamp , Matthew              USA   13:25.09
   14 Barrios , Juan Luis              MEX   13:30.09
   15 Komon , Leonard Patrick          KEN   13:31.68
      Mutahi , Sammy Alex              KEN        DNF                   
      Rono , Aron                      KEN        DNF                   
      True , Ben                       USA        DNF                   
      Renshaw , Lachlan                AUS        DNS                                  

Chris Solinsky: 13:08.11, 7th: B+ It was a good race for Solinsky. He put himself up in the race and still had a shot to do something with two laps to go. It's certainly one of the fastest times ever run by an American on US soil. That being said, the race was hyped a great deal given the fact that Solinsky skipped USAs to run it and it left us wanting a bit. If Solinsky hadn't already run 26:59 and 12:56 this year, we'd be giving him an A. However, we were expecting a little more from him on Saturday.

That being said, looking at the four guys that trounced Solinsky over the last 800, it's clear that based on career accomplishments, Solinsky was going to lose nine times out of 10 to three of them in Tariku Bekele (who beat Solinsky when Solinsky ran 12:56 earlier this year and has a PR of 12:52.45), Imane Merga (the winner in both Oslo and Rome this year, 12:53 earlier this year) and Eliud Kipchoge (4-time medalist at 5k, 12:51 earlier this year). 20-year-old Dejen Gebrsemeskel set a new PR to get 2nd and beat Merga and Kipchoge in the process, so there is no shame in losing to him.

As for the two other guys to beat Solinsky in Eugene, there is no real shame in losing to them either, as Bekana Daba and Matthew Kisorio were two guys that finished just behind Solinsky in Oslo (where they ran 12:58 and 12:57 respectively). In Eugene, Solinsky finished just behind them, so all-in-all Solinsky finished about where he should have - he was just a little bit off of what he was capable of. Supporting our view that Solinsky ran a solid B+ race is the fact that just behind were two guys that PRed or nearly PRed. 19-year-old Daniel Salel ran 13:09 in Eugene as compared to 13:08 in Oslo and Australian Collis Birmingham managed to run 13:10 despite having just a 13:14 PR coming in.

Solinsky himself basically admitted after the race that it wasn't a great showing for himself, as he said to The Oregonian, "The last three or four laps, the only thing that was going through my head was, 'how can I get out of this without looking terrible.'"

Matt Tegenkamp: 13:25.09, 13th: C Tegenkamp thought he might be in over his head at Pre and that proved to be the case, as he finished in 13:25 - a far cry from his 12:58 PR. That being said, we give him credit for racing in the biggest race of the year in the US. He could have easily begged out of it.

Women's 800

800 Metres - Women                                            
                                                            Pts
    1 Savinova , Mariya                RUS    1:57.56          4        
    2 Langat , Nancy Jebet             KEN    1:57.75          2        
    3 Busienei , Janeth Jepkosgei      KEN    1:57.84          1        
    4 Wright , Phoebe                  USA    1:58.22                   
    5 Johnson , Alysia                 USA    1:58.84                   
    6 Pierce , Anna                    USA    1:59.42                   
    7 Sinclair , Kenia                 JAM    1:59.55                   
    8 Jamal , Maryam Yusuf             BRN    1:59.89                   
    9 Vessey , Maggie                  USA    1:59.90
   10 Rowbury , Shannon                USA    2:00.47
   11 Jelimo , Pamela                  KEN    2:03.14
      Shinkins , Karen                 IRL        DNF                                      

Phoebe Wright: 1:58.22, 4th: A+ Wright beat all of America's top 1,500 runners, the 2008 Olympic champ, and got a huge PR as well. A perfect day for her. Wright, who finished 3rd at USAs last year, came into the year with a 2:01.12 PR and has almost taken 3 full seconds off that. She's now PRed two weeks in a row, as she ran her previous best at USA the week before (2:00.47), where she was third again. Wright had only run under 2:01 twice ever in the race and she almost skipped the 1:59s and the 1:58s. A+

Alysia Johnson, 1:58.84, 5th: B+ Johnson broke her PR from 2007, so there isn't too much to complain about. We do think she's currently the best the US has to offer at 800, and she finished behind Wright, whom she trounced at USAs the week before. But that probably only happened because Johnson was the only American to really put herself in the race to win it. She was looking to win - period - and for that she deserves praise even if she paid for it a bit at the end.

Anna Pierce, 1:59.42, 6th: C+ We guess technically the time wasn't that disappointing for someone who has a PR of 1:58.80 but the way the race was run certainly was disappointing. Pierce ran the race more as if she was just someone entered into the race to fill out the field with a pretty face, rather than because she was ranked #2 in the world at 800 and undefeated at the distance in 2009. The 800 was way, way down in 2009 and Pierce was totally outclassed in this race. Coming down the stretch, there was a lead pack of 5 or 6 and Pierce wasn't even in that group yet. Her future certainly is in the 1,500 or steeple in our minds.

Maggie Vessey 1:59.90, 9th: C One never knows what to expect when Vessey competes. It seems to be either very mediocre or extremely good and this certainly wasn't extremely good for someone who has a 1:57.84 PR. Breaking 2:00 isn't an awful performance, but it's certainly average at this level and hence the C grade. Although it was a seasonal best.

Shannon Rowbury: 2:00.47, 10th: B The World Championships bronze medallist at 1,500 did lower her PR from 2:00.94 to 2:00.47 in this race but quite honestly she's totally overmatched at this distance and didn't truly belong in the race.

Women's 5,000

                 
      5000 Metres - Women                                           

    1 Dibaba , Tirunesh                ETH   14:34.07
    2 Flanagan , Shalane               USA   14:49.08
    3 Kipyego , Sally                  KEN   14:54.50
    4 Korikwiang , Pauline Chemning    KEN   14:55.27
    5 Begley , Amy                     USA   14:56.72
    6 Ayalew , Wude                    ETH   15:02.47
    7 Metcalfe , Megan                 CAN   15:21.70
    8 Rhines , Jennifer                USA   15:22.05
    9 Davila , Desireé                 USA   15:29.78
   10 Fleshman , Lauren                USA   15:33.32
   11 Metivier Baillie , Renee         USA   15:41.95
   12 Hastings , Amy                   USA   16:39.85
      Clement Moser , Treniere         USA        DNF                   
      Howard , Julia                   CAN        DNF                   
      Dimoff , Carrie                  USA        DNF                   
      Wellings , Eloise                AUS        DNF     

Shalane Flanagan: 14:49.08, 2nd: A Her American record is 14:44, so this was a very strong effort, considering the weather in Eugene wasn't ideal. But getting beaten by 15 seconds is never going to result in us giving someone an A+. And this was a step in the right direction but the verdict is still out on her switch to coach Jerry Schumacher. Flanagan may get an "A" for this performance, but in her first race indoors last year being self coached she ran 14:47.

Amy Begley: 14:56.72, 5th: A- Coming into the year, Begley had a PR of 15:24. Now it's 14:56. Enough said. Plus this performance equates very close to her 31:13 10k PR considering she's more of a 10k runner. Begley continues to get better and better.

Jen Rhines: 15:22.05, 8th: C+
Not a good showing for someone who broke 15:00 in 2006, 2007 and 2008. But then again, it's not bad for someone who ran 16:00 at adidas earlier this year and hadn't run faster than 15:35 all year.

Desiree Davila: 15:29.78, 9th: A- 
The marathoner is working on her speed this spring and killing her PRs. Her previous best was 15:49.

Lauren Fleshman: 15:33.32, 10th: C She has a 14:58 PR and shockingly won USAs the week before and yet she only ran 15:33 here. Clearly she left it all in Des Moines.

Renee Metivier Baillie: 15:41.95, 11th: C+ Not sure why she'd even want to run at Pre considering her three 5ks outdoors this year were a 15:59, a 16:03 and a DNF. A 15:41 is a step in the right direction, but no where near her 15:15 PR.

Amy Hastings: 16:39.85, 12th: D- Not a good collegiate time. We're sure people are saying we should give her props for not dropping out but quite honestly people should drop out if they are getting lapped in a 5,000 outdoors. But we know people think differently about the DNF, so we'll give her a D-.

Women's Steeple

3000 Metres Steeplechase - Women                              
                                                            Pts
    1 Cheywa , Milcah Chemos           KEN    9:26.70          4        
    2 Domínguez , Marta                ESP    9:29.61          2        
    3 Assefa , Sofia                   ETH    9:30.05          1        
    4 Hinds , Korene                   JAM    9:32.20                   
    5 Franek , Bridget                 USA    9:32.35                   
    6 Parker , Barbara                 GBR    9:35.17                   
    7 Galaviz , Lisa                   USA    9:45.50                   
    8 Bush , Nicole                    USA    9:53.34                   
    9 Houlihan , Shayla                USA    9:57.11                   
   10 June , Kara                      USA   10:18.50                   
      Zarudneva , Yuliya               RUS        DNF                   
      Hyman , Mardrea                  JAM        DNF                   
                    

Bridget Franek: 9:32.35, 5th: A Franek bounced back nicely after a disappointing 5th-place showing at USA (maybe she doesn't like the heat) to run 9:32 when her previous PR was 9:36. Eugene has been kind to Franek as of late, as she made the World Champs team there last year, won NCAAs there this year and now runs 9:32 this year - 6th all-time in the US.

Lisa Galaviz: 9:45.50, 7th: C You'd expect more from someone who has a PR of 9:28 (former AR), ran 9:41 back in May and came into the race after earning an upset win at USAs.

Nicole Bush: 9:53.34, 8th: C+ Like Galaviz, she was 4 seconds off her seasonal best. We gave her a higher ranking, though, because expectations weren't as high for the US runner-up given the fact her PR is 9:39 and not 9:28.

Shayla Houlihan: 9:57.11, 9th: A This is an up-and-comer. Coming into the year, she had PR of 10:29. At USAs, she ran 10:02 and now she's under 10:00. She was lucky to get into Pre but then came through with the PR.

Kara June: 10:18.50, 10th: C- Well off the seasonal best of 10:05 she ran in the heat of Des Moines and well off her PR of 9:49.

Thumbs Up to Pre Meet For Putting Race Videos Online
One more thing. We'd Like to Give a Thumbs Up to the Pre Meet for making sure the NBC videos of all the races are online. We find it a bit strange that we can embed highlights of NBA games on LetsRun.com much easier than we can embed highlights of track races. (Don't believe us? Check out the latest Lebron James news below). So thumbs up for the Pre meet for making the race videos online. You can find them all here on the meet website or them here on the LRC website with our comments and results. Our sport needs as much publicity as possible.

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