Fans Get What They Deserve - Two Stacked 800 Finals

The 6 Fastest Women and 6 Fastest Men All Qualify For The Final

June 23, 2012

The 800 is one of the most exciting events in track and field as everyone can stay in it normally until the final 200 and it's often a bit unpredictable as a lot of traffic or too fast or too slow of a pace can kill one's chances. One wouldn't know it's an unpredictable event after watching today's semis, however, as the top six seeds in both the men's and women's races made it to Monday's final

Women’s 800 Semis:
The women's 800 finals are set and US fans will get the 800 final they deserve. The heats today all went according to form as the three automatic qualifiers in both heats were way better than everyone else in their heats. And those six women were the six fastest qualifiers coming in and also the six fastest women in 2012 (the qualifying window dates to last year).

Phoebe Wright took the field through in 28.70 at 200 meters.  Molly Beckwith was close behind followed closely by high school sensation Ajee Wilson and Geena Gall, with Brenda Martinez lurking.  Wright took the field through in 58.85 at 400 meters.

At 600, Beckwith had the lead at 1:29.79 as Wilson began to fade.  Now, the top three was Beckwith, Wright and Gall, all well clear of the rest of the field as Beckwith crossed in 2:00.57, Gall in 2:00.58 and Wright safely through to the ifnal in 2:00.88.

Heather Kampf was fourth in 2:02.59 while Martinez faded to fifth in 2:02.82 but both would advance on time to the final.

Quick Take #1: Beckwith looked really good here. She's the US #2 on time in 2012 and she looked like it. She also said afterwards that she felt like it: "Honestly, I feel very, very smooth this weekend," Beckwith told reporters."I'm really looking forward to getting some treatment and some rest the next day, and really get after it on Monday."

Wright probably looked the worse of the three auto qualifiers. It was a bit hard to tell if Gall was just doing the minimum or if she had more in the tank as she did move up in the last 100 and the top three were way ahead of 4th and 5th.

Quick Take #2: Unless you believe in miracles, we are ruling out the time qualifiers as Olympic contenders. Of course, Kampf had pulled off a miracle before. Regardless of what happens in the finals, kudos to Kampf for making the finals. Three weeks ago, she was serving as the rabbit for Pre. Hopefully, next year she'll be running in it open.

1 Molly Beckwith Saucony 2:00.57 Q
2 Geena Gall Nike / Oregon TC Elite 2:00.58 Q
3 Phoebe Wright Nike 2:00.88 Q
4 Heather Kampf Asics / Team USA Minnesota 2:02.59 q
5 Brenda Martinez New Balance 2:02.82 q
6 Margaret Infeld N Y A C 2:03.30
7 Nachelle Mackie B Y U 2:04.45
8 Ajee Wilson Juventus Track Club 2:04.96

Molly Beckwith After Winning Heat 1

Heather Kampf Talks About Making Final and Rabbiting at Pre

High Schooler Ajee Wilson After Fading


2012 World #3 Alysia Montano was out like a bolt of lightning, 27.18 at 200. 2008 US Olympian Alice Schmidt was in pursuit but by 300 meters was already 15 meters down.

Montano barely slowed over the second 200, going through 400 in an amazing 55.65, almost two seconds clear of second-place Schmidt (57.60).  With 300 to go, Maggie Vessey moved into third behind Schmidt and it appeared that the top three automatic qualifiers were set as a big gap opened to fourth.

Montano slowed a great deal over the third 200 as she hit 600 ins 1:26.92  but her lead had barely been reduced (1.92 second lead over Schmidt). Over the final 200, Schmidt and Vessey slowly cut into the daunting lead but Montano looked fine coming home.  Despite a 33.34 second last 200, she looked relatively controlled, running 2:00.25.  

Oregon’s Laura Roesler ran 2:03.35 for fifth but would not advance on time.

Quick Take #1: Some in attendance thought Montano was tying up over the last 200 but we aren't going with that line of thought. Yes, we think 55.65 is too fast for the first 400 but it's the way Montano likes to run. At Pre, when Montano ran what at the time was the world #2 on the year (1:57.37), Montano's first 400 was very similar as the rabbit was out in 55.49 and Montano was right behind her.

That being said, we just think it would be safer for Montano to go out in 56-7 for the first 400. She doesn't need to run 1:56 to make the Olympic team and if she ties up and run 1:59, there is a possibility she could get left at home.

Montano told David Monti after the race that she indeed was shutting it down - not tying up at the end. "My strategy is just to feel it out, do it how you do it, then shut it down the last 200," she said.'

Quick Take #2: Hard to read too much into this one as the Montano was running her own race for 600 and Schmidt and Vessey had little incentive to do much either because the top three were miles ahead of fourth.

1 Alysia Montano Nike 2:00.25 Q
2 Alice Schmidt Nike 2:00.50 Q
3 Maggie Vessey New Balance 2:01.01 Q
4 Laura Roesler Oregon 2:03.35
5 Lea Wallace Nike 2:04.14
6 Katie Palmer Unattached 2:04.53
7 Ashley Miller Nebraska 2:05.58
8 Shannon Leinert Big River Running Company 2:07.63

Alysia Montano After Going Coast to Coast

Laura Roesler After Not Making Final

Men’s 800:
Much as is the case with the women, the fans will get a final on Monday that they deserve as the top six entrants in the field during the qualifying period all advanced to the final. All six of those men have the Olympic 'A' of 1:45.50.

Who else is in the final? Well one of the spots went to 2007 world championship team member Duane Solomon, who is no slouch himself. If the entrants in the 800 at the Trials were ranked on just 2012 times, Solomon would be ranked # 7 at 1:45.66. The 8th is unsponsored Mark Wieczorek.

Front-running Charles Jock was in the lead at 24.53 at 200, with Duane Solomon right on his heels.  When Jock hit 400m in 50.67, 2004 Olympian Khadevis Robinson "KD" was 15 meters behind in 4th in 51.68. 

With 300 to go, Jock was still in the lead with Solomon still in tow.  Michael Rutt was in third and Robinson was starting to mount his charge.  

Just before 600, Solomon (1:18.14) jumped Jock (1:18.26) for the lead and Jock looked to be in trouble as Robinson (1:18.62 at 600) soon ate him up as well on the Bowerman Turn. Robinson would power away from Solomon on the homestretch to get the win in 1:45.83 as Solomon was second in 1:46.04.

When Robinson came by, Jock didn't totally crater as he knew he had to battle if he was going to advance. But the hometown fans erupted as Oregon’s Elijah Greer passed Jock with 10 meters to go for the third and final auto qualifying spot.  Greer ran 1:46.28 to Jock’s 1:46.40 while the unsponsored Mark Wieczorek was .08 back in fifth.  Both Jock and Wieczorek would eventually advance on time to the final.

Quick Take #1: "KD" looked great. Jock looked dead at 650 but managed to live for another day. We can't wait for the final.

Quick Take #2: Kudos to the unsponsored Mark Wieczorek for making the USATF final for the second year in a row. Wieczorek of course won a free pair of shoes earlier in the year from us in the Puma FAAS challenge. We love the unsponsored shirt that he wears when he races (see pic on the left)..

1 Khadevis Robinson Nike 1:45.83 Q
2 Duane Solomon Jr Saucony 1:46.03 Q
3 Elijah Greer Oregon 1:46.28 Q
4 Charles Jock Nike 1:46.40 q
5 Mark Wieczorek Unattached 1:46.48 q
6 Brian Gagnon New Jersey New York Track Club 1:46.77
7 David Pachuta Minnesota 1:46.83
8 Michael Rutt New Jersey New York Track Club 1:46.84

Charles Jock UnsureWhether He'd Made 800m Final

Khadevis Robinson After Winning His Heat to Make 800 Final

Elijah Greer After Getting into Final


Iowa’s Erik Sowinski had the lead at 200 in 24.95 with US Champion Nick Symmonds running his typical race mid-pack.

Through 400 it was still Sowinski in the lead, now at 51.15 (Symmonds was sixth in 52.08).  With 300 to, Symmonds was still in the back of the field but everyone was tightly bunched and he soon started his patented move down the back-stretch moving out into lane 3 to do.  Halfway down the backstretch, Symmonds' OTC teammate Tyler Mulder made a great move on the inside to get the lead by 1:18.81, a lead that Mulder would never give up. With 100 to go, Mulder and Symmonds were well clear and on there way to the final.

Mulder, fourth the last two years at the USA meet, looked like a man on a mission and extended his lead down the homestretch to win in 1:46.14 with Symmonds looking controlled in a second place 1:46.82.  UCSB’s Ryan Martin came on for third in 1:47.37 and the final auto qualifying spot, while Sharif Webb (1:47.95) and Rob Novak (1:48.24) would not be fast enough in fourth and fifth to advance.

Quick Take #1: Mulder looked good but we wouldn't say that he really beat Symmonds as Symmonds didn't need to win this race. Symmonds was constantly looking around down the stretch. In the final, Symmonds will be going all out and we would be stunned if Mulder will be able to get a perfect trip where he gets the lead with an inside pass on the back stretch. That being said, the snake-bitten Mulder is definitely a guy who can make the Olymipc team. He's a bit overlooked as he's been fourth the last two years but his 1:44.83 is legit. Symmonds was pleased to get through the race without having to dip into the 1:45s. He said he might even have a burger and a beer before Monday's final.

Quick Take #2: After the race, UCSB's Ryan Martin said he is feeling good and much better than last year when he was on fumes and bombed out in the first round (video interview below). He also seemed motivated to make up for his disappointing fourth place showing at NCAAs and seemed to realize that a strong showing in the final could really help secure him a shoe contract for the next few years whereas a poor showing could make it very tough on him.

In our mind though, the three Olympic spots will go to Mulder, Symmonds, KD, Solomon or Jock.

1 Tyler Mulder Nike / Oregon TC Elite 1:46.14 Q
2 Nicholas Symmonds Nike / Oregon TC Elite 1:46.82 Q
3 Ryan Martin U C S B 1:47.37 Q
4 Sharif Webb Unattached 1:47.95
5 Rob Novak N Y A C 1:48.24
6 Tevan Everett New Jersey New York Track Club 1:48.25
7 Michael Preble Texas A&M 1:49.95
8 Erik Sowinski Iowa 1:50.83

Tyler Mulder After Winning His Semi

Nick Symmonds Will Have a Burger and Beer Before the Final

Elijah Greer After Getting into Final

David Monti:
Tyler Mulder Upstages Nick Symmonds In 800m Semifinals


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