USATF 800 Semifinals: All the Favorites Advance
June 24, 2011
The men's and women's 800m semifinals were Friday and fortunately all the favorites advanced. Recap and a few interviews below.
Women’s 800 Semi-Finals: Top 4
No major surprises as main contenders Montano, Gall, Schmidt, Wright, Vessey and Beckwith advance, setting up a very competitive final!
Semi-Final 1: Alysia Montano Cruises
No big surprises here as the top four advanced as expected. Here’s how it played out: Former hurdler Erica Moore took the field out in 28.4 with defending champ Alysia Montano in close pursuit. The 400 was 58.93 as Moore continued to lead. Montano gook the lead with 300 to go and former NCAA champ and recent sub 2:00 runner Geena Gall was in close pursuit, followed by Moore and Olympian Alice Schmidt. As the field headed for home, the first four easily distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, as fourth place Schmidt was over a second in front of fifth place Lea Wallace.
Quick take: Alysia Montano looked really good. With 100m to go she looked over her shoulder to see where everyone was. There are no style points for looking good, but if there were she deserved some.
Semi-Final 2: Vessey and Wright Cruise
As in the first semi-final, the top three contenders advanced with ease. Last year's NCAA champ Phoebe Wright and 2009 World team member Maggie Vessey did not mess around, taking the field through in 28.5 and then 58.93. Vessey made a play for the lead at 250 but Wright kept to the lead as 2010 NCAA runner-up and sub 2:00 runner Molly Beckwith was right behind. The battle for the fourth spot was exciting as Christine Schmaltz was the surprise fourth place finisher, knocking out stars Heather Kampf and Latavia Thomas.
Quick Take: Vessey, Wright and Beckwith all looked good.
Men's 800m: Favorites Set Up a Great Showdown on Sunday
Key players advanced as Sunday’s final will feature a bold front-runner (Charles Jock), two great kickers (Nick Symmonds and Robby Andrews), a wily veteran (Khadevis Robinson) and a very deep field.
UC Irvine’s Charles Jock sat back in the first round but came into today’s race intending to run from the front. He led the pack through in 24.5 and then 51.34. Three-time defending champion Nick Symmonds lurked in last through the first 550. Cas Loxsom took the lead with 200 to go and Jock was in tow. Symmonds and fellow OTC teammate Tyler Mulder moved up very well on the inside as all four crossed the line in a blanket finish to earn spots in Sunday’s final, Jock declared the winner as all four were within .07 of each other. Former LSU All-American Richard Jones was fifth while Tevan Everett was sixth. And as it turned out, all eight finishers in heat one were faster than the winner in heat two.
Quick take: The favorites did what was expected.
Note: Earlier we confused Richard Jones with Richard Smith, a high school teammate of Alan Webb.
|2||Tyler Mulder||Oregon TC Elite||1:45.82||Q|
|3||Casimir Loxsom||Penn State||1:45.85||Q|
|4||Nicholas Symmonds||Oregon TC Elite||1:45.87||Q|
|5||Richard Jones||Santa Monica Track Club||1:46.51|
|8||Rob Novak||New York Athletic Club (NYAC)||1:48.27|
Semi-Final 2: Robinson And Andrews Look Good
Heat 1 had some stars but heat two was arguably a bit stronger as NCAA Champion Robby Andrews took on hometown favorite Elijah Greer of Oregon, veteran Khadevis Robinson and Sam Borchers of Penn State. The race was slow from the gun, however, and Andrews, who usually sits at the back, found himself ahead of several runners during the first lap. Sharif Webb of Kentucky and Michael Rutt of UConn led through a slow 26.7 but then Rutt tripped and fell as the group went by the steeple water jump. The 400 was a very slow 55.80 and Robinson made a big move with 300 to go and would power home convincingly to the finish. Andrews preserved his place in the final by surging over the final 300 as well. Mark Wieczorek came on well at the end for second while Sam Borchers of Penn State edged Greer for the final qualifying spot in fourth. Rutt never regained contact after his fall but did manage to finish (interview with him below). Robinson displayed signs that he still has what it takes to make the world team, as he easily pulled away from his younger competitors for the win.
Quicktake: The much anticipated final is finally here and all main protagonists made it.
|4||Samuel Borchers||Penn State||1:49.41||Q|
|7||Cory Primm||U C L A||1:49.77|
800 Semifinal Reaction
Khadevis Robinson Entertains and Ask For Your Help:
Michael Rutt Talks About Falling in 800 Semi