LetsRun.com's Recap Of Day 1 Of The 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

*Live Results

By LetsRun.com
June 9, 2011

The 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships got under way in Des Moines on Wednesday in fine fashion, as the women's 10,000 had a fantastic finish with 8 women battling for the win over the last 1,000 and a totally stacked men's 800 got underway. We recap all of the mid-d and distance action for you below.

In terms of non-distance action, the big news were that the favorites for the win in the men's and women' s 100 both failed to advance. Women's favorite Semoy Hackett of LSU had a huge mental gaffe, as she let up at the wrong line in the women's 100 and didn't make the final, whereas defending champ Jeff Demps of Florida ran poorly on the men's side and then was a victim of bad luck. Demps finished third in his heat in 10.40 but ran against a -2.3 wind, which means his time equates to a 10.25 in still conditions, whereas the final time qualifier ran 10.38 into a -1.1 wind, which equates to 10.28 according to the wind/conversion calculator.

Women's 10,000 Final - Duke Sophomore Juliet Bottorff Destroys The Field & Beats The Heat With One Masterful Lap

1 Juliet Bottorff           SO Duke           34:25.86    
2 Kate Harrison             JR West Virginia  34:30.35    
3 Jennifer Bergman          SO Arizona        34:31.69    
4 Dani Stack                SO Iowa State     34:32.28    
5 Aliphine Tuliamuk         SO Wichita State  34:32.77    
6 Stephanie Marcy           SR Stanford       34:35.18    
7 Tonya Nero                SR Wichita State  34:39.56    
8 Katie Matthews            JR Boston U.      34:45.77    
9 Ruth Senior               SR New Mexico     35:04.52   
10 Sarah-Anne Brault         JR West Virginia 35:05.36    
11 Annie Beecham             SR Ohio U.       35:08.39    
12 Morgan Haws               SO BYU           35:22.40    
13 Andie Cozzarelli          SO NC State      35:22.69    
14 Tone Hjalmarsen           SR Oklahoma State35:23.97    
15 Bronwyn Crossman          JR Oregon        35:25.12    
16 Jessica Engel             JR Oklahoma      35:27.27    
17 Haley Greenwell           SO Mississippi St.35:33.70    
18 Holly Knight              JR Auburn         35:41.72    
19 Kara Millhouse            JR Penn State     35:44.09    
20 Bridget Lyons             SR Georgia        35:53.00    
21 Tara Erdmann              SR Loyola Marymount35:53.48    
22 Lauren Sara               FR Connecticut     36:01.52    
-- Carly Seymour             JR Duke            DNF    
-- Betsy Saina               JR Iowa State      DNF

1k Splits
3:33 1st 1k.
3:46 - (7:17.9)
3:41.6 (10:59.5)
3:21.2 (14:20.7)
3:22.6 (17:43.3) - 15 in lead pack.
3:23.9 (21:07.2) - 15 in lead pack
3:24.1 (24:31.3) - 13 in lead back
3:25.3 (27:56.6) - 11 in lead pack
3:25.3 (31:21.9) - 8 in lead pack
3:04.7 (34:25.86) -1 winner
*Splits are hand timed.
Official lap-by-lap splits here.

1,600 Splits
5:56 - 11:43
5:18 - 17:01 - 15 left in lead pack
5:27 - 22:28 - 12 left in lead pack
5:27 - 27:56
5:21 - 33:17
67.40 last lap (last full 1,600 - 5:05)

"I love the heat!" exclaimed Juliet Bottorff after winning the women's 10k at the first day of the NCAA Championships at Drake University in Des Moines, IA this evening." I'm from Delaware, so it doesn't really match up, but I really like the heat!" Bottorff has good reason to forever love the heat, as in hot and humid conditions (race time temperature: 85 degrees, 39% humidity), Bottorff bided her time and ran in the pack and saved energy for the whole race before grabbing glory with a last lap that truly was a thing of beauty.

The pace really dawdled in the opening miles, as the Wichita State Shocker duo of Aliphine Tuliamuk and Tonya Nero led the field through the 1,600 in 5:46 and 3,200 in 11:43 (5:56 2nd 1,600). The third 1,600 split of 5:18 pared the lead pack to 15.

In terms of kilometers, the pace was very slow for 3km before getting a little bit more honest on the 4th kilometer and the pace would stay modest but consistent until the very end. From 3k on, the lead pack got in the groove with steady splits between 3:21-3:25 for kilometers 4 through 9. After 6k, slowly the death march in the heat was taking its toll, as a few runners would fall off the lead pack each kilometer. At 7k, the race was all about Cyclones and Shockers, as the Iowa State duo of Betsy Saina and Dani Stack joined the two from Wichita State up front for much of the time. No one was really making a move. At 7,600 meters, U. of New Mexico's Ruth Senior tried to mix it up but would fade to 9th place overall. With 4 laps remaining, there were still 10 or 11 women still in the lead pack. The pace would get faster each lap to the finish but not by much until the final lap. At 8,700 meters, disaster struck as Betsy Saina, who had done much ot the leading, suddenly collapsed to the infield and became an unexpected DNF.

At 9,000, there were still 8 in the lead pack and women's running was going to have a rarity - a ton of girls battling it out for an NCAA title over the last 1k. So many women were still in contention, as no one was making moves and the pace wasn't increasing that much. Over the last four laps, the steady stream of 81 and 82 second laps got faster, but only to 80, 79, 77 before there was one lap to glory.

And in an instant, the race was over. As the runners approached the bell, Duke's Juliet Bottorff hammered to the front and within the span of maybe 20 meters it was clearly over. In May, we had watched Bottorff sit patiently in a large pack and then destory the ECAC field over the last lap and had been so impressed we called her our upset pick to win in the LetsRun.com preview. Now Botorff, who came in seeded 5th (but only 8 seconds behind #1), was destroying the NCAA 10,000 meter field just as we had thought might be possible. If you have the best kick, a wise strategy is to do zero work, save energy and then unleash it at the very end - and Bottorff did this perfectly.

Bottorff's 67.4 last lap was a thing of beauty. It was 3.44 seconds better than what anyone else in the field had in the tank and it gave her a huge 4.49-second margin of victory, as West Virginia's Kate Harrison finished 2nd. Arizona sophomore Jennifer Bergman had a great run to finish 3rd, gradually moving up to equal her PAC-10 placing. After the race, Bergman remarked how her coach Erin Dawson is always encouraging her that she is capable of great things. Looking outside the interview area, she laughed as she saw her coach jumping up and down and going nuts. Iowa State's Dana Slack finished fourth while the Witchita State duo of Tuliamuk and Nero finished 5th and 7th, respectively.

Tara Erdmann of Loyola Marymount had the fastest time going in (33:10), but was never a factor and finished in 21st place. After nearly tripping twice in earlier laps, BYU's Morgan Haws hit the wall in the last lap and crawled over the line on all fours in 12th place, a testament to the very tough conditions in tonight's 10k.

NCAA Champ Juliet Bottorff

NCAA 3rd Placer Jennifer Bergman

Men's 800 Semis - The Loaded Field Certainly Put On Quite A Show

Heat  1 Preliminaries
1 Elijah Greer              SO Oregon                 1:47.17Q 
2 Cory Primm                SR UCLA                   1:47.43Q 
3 Harun Abda                SO Minnesota              1:47.66  
4 Joe Abbott                JR Washington St.         1:47.73  
5 Michael Rutt              SR Connecticut            1:47.75 
6 Sean Obinwa               SO Florida                1:48.14  
7 Felix Kitur               SR VMI                    1:48.83  
8 Brian Hill                SR Harvard                1:50.26  

Heat  2 Preliminaries
1 Charles Jock              JR UC Irvine              1:45.77Q 
2 Willie Brown              SO Akron                  1:45.91Q 
3 Edward Kemboi             FR Iowa State             1:46.06q 
4 Ryan Martin               JR UC Santa Barbara       1:46.29q 
5 Sharif Webb               SR Kentucky               1:47.59  |6 Joey Roberts              JR Texas A&M              1:48.22  
7 Jack Howard               SR Notre Dame             1:48.24  
8 Nathaniel Litwiller       SO Sacramento St.         1:51.79  
Heat  3 Preliminaries
1 Robby Andrews             SO Virginia               1:46.99Q 
2 Casimir Loxsom            SO Penn State             1:47.34Q 
3 Samuel Borchers           SR Penn State             1:47.51  
4 Fred Samoei               SR Alabama                1:47.60 
5 Erik Sowinski             JR Iowa                   1:47.83  
6 R. Dinkins           SO Princeton              1:48.26  
7 Justin Hedin              JR BYU                    1:48.52  
8 Michael Preble            JR Texas A&M              1:48.97  

Quick Thought #1 - What we asserted in the preview certainly proved to be correct.

In our NCAA preview, we said two things and they both came true. 1) The men's 800 was totally loaded. 2) Simple math was telling us that there would be some major casualties in the semis of the men's 800, as only eight guys could make the final and there were more than eight big names in the race.

The quality of the men's 800 was astounding. Consider this stat - 24 guys ran and 22 of them had broken 1:49.00. Seven guys actually ran 1:47 on Wednesday and didn't advance. Indoor champ Fred Sameoi is gone, as is indoor runner-up Michael Rutt, and it's not like they ran poorly, as they slowest either of them ran was 1:47.75.

Quick Thought #2 - The time qualifiers out of heat two should thank Michael Preble of Texas A&M, who took the heat out in 50.4. We overheard someone say that he then died terribly. That really wasn't the case, as he still ran 1:48.22. It's just that a 1:48.22 looks bad when four guys run 1:46.29 or faster.

Quick Thought #3 - The 0 for 6 streak that sophomore phenoms Casimir Loxsom of Penn State and Elijah Greer of Oregon had in making NCAA finals is officially over in a big way. Greer had us fooled, as at the bell in his heat, he was in 7th and the race hadn't gone out fast. As the field approached 500, it seemed as if he was losing contact with the field, but in reality he was just moving himself outside to make a ridiculously big move at the 520 mark that catapulted him to 2nd by 600. Greer looked very, very impressive - although we think his move was a bit too sudden and too extreme if he's looking for victory in the final.

Quick Thought #4 - The mixed zone after the race showed the whole spectrum of human emotion.

Our faith in humanity was restored a bit when we heard NCAA indoor champ Fred Sameoi, who didn't advance, wish the guys who did make the finals good luck, saying, "I just want to wish the guys who made the final the best of luck." Sameoi easily could have been irate, as being Kenyan, he may have a hard time making it as a pro, so this might have been his last race (although Sameoi said he is hoping to have a pro career), but he was total class act and we hope a shoe company notices!!!

It also was refreshing to hear an athlete actually tell the truth after a race. It was great to hear Elijah Greer admit he's struggled with confidence in the past ("I'm working overall on confidence and attitude. I think that's the big difference from last year - trying not be scared when I come into a race - try to be confident.").

On the flip side, Penn State's Sam Borchers certainly showed emotion - maybe too much - after being the first person not to advance. Earlier in the year, much was made of the fact that former American record holder in the steeplechase and Penn State alum George "malmo" Malley said the PSU 800 crew was lacking emotion, but Borchers displayed enough emotion for a full 4 x 800 squad after his race. He repeatedly yelled "How do I get out of here" and somewhat comically tried to exit out the wrong door before nearly falling down as he did a mini-Alan Webb post-race impersonation.

We can understand how not advancing can be crushing, but a big part of running well is having the proper perspective, and Borchers has nothing to be ashamed of. All he has done this spring is basically resurrect his career and there is no shame in what he did on Wednesday, either, as he ran great and set a new PR by 1.29 seconds.

Heat 1 - The leaders got out in 25.7 but Elijah Greer was last at 200. At 400 (53.81), Greer was 7th but he looked incredible in moving from 7th to 2nd in the span of about 50 meters on the backstretch. What a move. Could he possibly go from having never made an NCAA final to NCAA champion?

Heat 2 - Joey Roberts took things out hard (50.4-5 at 400). 600 was reached in 1:17.8.

Heat 3 - After the second heat went so fast, it seemed as if the time qualifiers were bound to come from there and that proved to be the case, as the third heat had the slowest 400 split of the night (53.91). At 400, world junior silver medallist Casimir Loxsom was in 4th and Robby Andrews was 7th. Andrews looked good in moving up to get the win. How will his move to the front look if the heat goes out in 51 and not 53? We'll find out in two days.

Elijah Greer After Making His First NCAA Final

NCAA Indoor Champ Fred Sameoi - A Total Class Act

Women's 800 Semis - Chanelle Price And Lea Wallace Impress

Heat  1 Preliminaries
   1 Lea Wallace SR Sacramento St. 2:04.57Q
2 Cydney Ross SO Duke 2:04.79Q
3 Lacey Bleazard JR BYU 2:05.42
4 Lyndsay Harper SR Virginia 2:05.91
5 Boglarka Bozzay JR Kansas State 2:05.97
6 Caroline King JR Boston College 2:06.38
7 Brigitte Mania SO Connecticut 2:07.27
8 Tasha Stanley JR North Carolina 2:09.44

Heat  2 Preliminaries
  1 Chanelle Price JR Tennessee 2:02.84Q
2 Kate Grace SR Yale 2:03.48Q
3 Charlene Lipsey SO LSU 2:03.96q
4 Kenyetta Iyevbele FR NC State 2:04.83q
5 Kathy Klump JR Cincinnati 2:05.46
6 Dominique Jackson SR North Carolina 2:06.31
7 Anna Layman SR Washington St. 2:06.60
--- Chelsea Cox FR Georgetown DNF
Heat  3 Preliminaries
   1 Anne Kesselring SO Oregon 2:04.70Q
2 Natalja Piliusina FR Oklahoma State 2:04.79Q
3 Christine Schmaltz SR North Dakota State 2:05.09
4 Laura Roesler FR Oregon 2:05.29
5 Katie Palmer SR BYU 2:06.04
6 Holli Hosch SR Northern Iowa 2:06.25
7 Stephanie Brown SO Arkansas 2:09.22
8 Mary Cate Quiett SR DePaul 2:14.10

Quick Thought #1 - The #2 (Stephanie Brown - So - Arkansas - 2:02.59), #4 (Laura Roesler - Fr - Oregon - 2:03.12) and #6 (Anna Layman - Sr - Washington St. - 2:03.48) seeds didn't advance. That being said, we sort of expected Layman to not make it and we didn't think Bleazard would contend for the win, but seeing the West region champ Brown bomb out was a surprise.

Quick Thought #2 - Chanelle Price looked much better on Wednesday than she did in the East regional final, as she turned the tables on Kate Grace. But Grace said she was bothered by the heat and humidity. Will the result be the same on Friday when the weather will be much cooler?

Quick Thought #3 - Oregon's Anne Kesselring, who came in as the national leader, picked a great time to beat her teammate Laura Roesler, as Roesler had gotten best of her both at PAC-10s and the West Regional.

Heat 1
Lea Wallace, who is the only athlete at NCAAs attempting the 800/1,500 double, looked great in advancing to the finals. The 400 was reached in 61.4, and at 600, Wallace and NCAA indoor champ Lacey Bleazard occupied the top two positions (Bleazard had the lead). Wallace would move to the front with 150 to go, whereas Bleazard faded to 3rd in her heat and didn't advance.

Heat 2
Chanelle Price and Kate Grace dominated their heat after roaring through the first 400 in 60.0 seconds and 600 in 1:31.3. In the post-race interview, Price remarked that when she felt Grace on her shoulder in the last 200 that she made a conscious effort to power ahead to the win. Grace, the East regional champ (2:03.41), noted that while she ran virtually the same time today, the humidity was unfamiliar after racing on the East Coast all spring. Look forward to a great race between these two titans in the final.

Heat 3
Anne Kesselring of Oregon entered the meet with the year's fastest time and proved she's still a force to be reckoned with, winning her heat. Freshman sensation Natalja Piliusina was right with her, though. Another freshman phenom, Laura Roesler, did not make finals, nor did Stephanie Brown, the West region champ in 2:02.59.

Oklahoma State's Natalja Piliusina

Men's Steeple - A Few Minor Surprises

Heat  1 Preliminaries  
  1 Matt Hughes                SR Louisville             8:40.04Q 
  2 Benjamin Johnson          JR Stanford               8:40.32Q 
  3 John Sullivan             SR Stanford               8:41.46Q 
  4 Andrew Poore              JR Indiana                8:44.56Q
  5 Justin Tyner              SR Air Force              8:48.54Q 
  6 Hillary Bor               SR Iowa State             8:48.95Q 
  7 Andy Weatherford          JR Indiana                8:49.34q 
  8 Steve Finley              SR Oregon                 8:50.00q 
  9 Andrew Benford            SR Richmond               8:50.11  
 10 Cory Leslie               JR Ohio State             9:00.68  
 11 Matt Cleaver              JR Georgia                9:03.91  
 12 Rick Elliott              JR Arkansas               9:19.72  

Heat  2 Preliminaries   
1 Craig Forys               JR Michigan               8:41.59Q 
  2 Donn Cabral               JR Princeton              8:44.56Q  8:44.556
  3 Brett Hales               SR Weber State            8:46.52Q 
  4 Travis Mahoney            JR Temple                 8:47.31Q 
  5 De'Sean Turner            JR Indiana                8:49.32Q 
  6 Ryan McDermott            SR Duke                   8:49.84Q 
  7 Jared Bassett             SO Portland               8:50.99  
  8 Tom Wade                  JR Lamar                  8:54.73  
  9 Jacob Cosby               SO BYU                    9:02.09  
 10 Adrien Dannemiller        SR Cornell                9:05.23  
 11 Alexander Brill           FR Wisconsin              9:06.35  
 12 Steve Sodaro              SR California             9:13.38 

Quick Thought #1 -  Seven of the top 10 fastest seeds advanced, with the only casualties being #6 Richmond's Andrew Benford, who fell on the last hurdle, #8 Cory Leslie of Ohio State and #9 Adrien Dannemiller of Cornell.

Quick Thought #2 - Oregon's Steve Finley, who went into regionals as the national leader, looked awful and was very, very lucky to advance on time. Other people that didn't look as good as we might have thought included Iowa State's Hilary Bor.

Quick Thought #3 - Michigan's Craig Forys was way better than expected and looked like the high school phenom he once was. Others that were way better than expected were the top two Stanford runners in heat 1.

Quick Thought #4 - After watching the semis, it would seem the only people who could win are the top three from the first heat and top two from the 2nd heat. Look for it to come down to Matt Hughes and Donn Cabral as we expected, but could Forys pull off a total shocker?

Quick Thought #5 - In heat 4, Weber State's Brett Hale put his hands up in celebration and stopped running a lap early. He had no problem, though, realizing his mistake and advancing a lap later.

Princeton's Donn Cabral

Louisville's Matt Hughes


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