NCAA 800m Champ Fred Samoei Wins Slow Texas Relays Mile Over Leo Manzano And German Fernandez
April 9, 2011
Most track and field fans would agree that the Jerry Thompson Invitational Mile at the 2011 Texas Relays was a huge letdown. The mile featured a totally stacked field, as it included former NCAA champ, UT Star and Olympian Leo Manzano, 2009 NCAA 1,500m champion and NCAA indoor record holder German Fernandez of Oklahoma State, recent NCAA indoor 800m champ Fred Samoei of Alabama, plus 1:43.7 800m man Jackson Kivuva of Kenya, but the quality of the race didn't come close to matching the quality of the field.
Despite the stellar field, the first 409m was covered in a pedestrian 69.54, ensuring that the final time would be a slow one. There's nothing wrong with a slow race (LetsRun.com is famous for advocating for fewer rabbited races in Europe each year), but the pace only picked up slightly over the next two laps as basically nothing happened and no one made any significant moves. 800 to go was reached in 2:15.97 and the bell in 3:18.15. It was anyone's race at the bell and the affair had turned into basically a 400-meter free-for-all. As a result, the field was running four wide with runners out in lane three jockeying for position on the pace that would only be moderate for a 5,000m.
German Fernandez had gone four wide to move into third or fourth at the bell and Leo Manzano was positioned near the front throughout. Fernandez moved up to second on the backstretch and coming off the turn was still in good position, but nearly the entire field was right on his heels and he was soon engulfed by the field and would not be a factor the final 100m. One message boarder is reporting Fernandez's shoe was stepped on from behind and that is why he lost four seconds the final 100m.
In the end, the slow pace played right into the hands of the 800m specialists, NCAA champ Fred Samoei and World Championships 2009 finalist Jackson Kivuva. Samoei was clearly best over the final 100m and won comfortably over Kivuva, as this one wasn't as close as you might expect with everyone in an all-out sprint the final 400m. Another thing that wasn't as expected was the final 400 split for Samoei, as the last lap split from leader to leader was "just" 55.71, not a particularly fast last 400 for such a slow race.
Of course, the conditions were far from ideal, as the wind readings in the event before the 1,500, the men's 100, were as high as 4.9 meters per second, which is more than 10 miles per hour, and looking at the wind readings as a whole, it looks like the wind was variable and thus likely gusting at times.
Kyle Miller was 3rd and Leo Manzano moved up the final 100m to finish a well-beaten 4th. Fernandez packed it in and finished 13th in 4:17.
The runners got one thing from this race, racing experience in a non-rabbited race. The problem is most non-rabbited races are much faster than this one.
In other events on Saturday at the Texas Relays, the Texas A&M men's and women's 4 x 400s stole the show. The Texas A&M women ran 3:27.33, but the story of the meet have been anchor Jessica Beard's 49.68 split. The Texas A&M men were even better as they came within a second of the collegiate record by running 3:00.45 (very, very fast for April - the collegiate record is 2:59.59), as the top four teams all broke 3:03.
Mile Results below, Full Texas Relays Results here
Event 77 Men 1 Mile Run Jerry Thmpsn Invitational =============================================================== World: ! 3:43.13 1999 Hicham El Guerrouj, MAR American: $ 3:46.91 2007 Alan Webb, Nike Collegiate: % 3:52.44 1981 Sydney Maree, Villanova Myers Std: S 3:56.98 2008 Leonel Manzano, Texas Meet: M 3:56.98 2008 Leonel Manzano, Texas Name Year School Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Samoei, Fred SR Alabama 4:13.86 2 Kivuva, Jackson NIKE 4:14.07 3 Miller, Kyle NIKE 4:14.18 4 Manzano, Leonel NIKE 4:14.59 5 Gowell, Chris Team Rogue Elite 4:14.86 6 Bayley, Tim PUMA 4:15.02 7 Solares, Pablo NIKE 4:15.13 8 Gonzales, Logan SR Texas 4:15.95 9 Ondrasek, Kevin Top Tier Training 4:15.99 10 Sang, Amos SR Abilene Christian 4:16.26 11 Campbell, Kemoy FR South Plains 4:16.99 12 Bor, Emmanuel SR Alabama 4:17.16 13 Fernandez, German SO Oklahoma State 4:17.71 14 Barry, Will JR Texas A&M 4:17.83 15 Ruiz, Alex NIKE 4:18.08 16 Bor, Julius SR Alabama 4:19.23