A Fan's Guide to the 2012 USATF Occidental High Performance Meet

Tegenkamp and Ritz at 5000m; America's #1 and #2 in the women's 5000; Manzano, Webb, Andrews, Batty, Rupp and Farah in the same 1,500; Uceny, Pierce & Rowbury in the women's 1,500; A preview of the men's steeple Olympic Trials; plus Jenny Simpson, Andrew Wheating and more

By LetsRun.com
May 17, 2012

A lot of America's top distance stars will be at Friday's 2012 USATF Occidental High Performance Meet (A lot of  America's top runners run this meet because USATF picks up the tab for travel if you meet certain USATF high performance criteria). The good news is in the steeple and 5000s, they'll all be racing each other. The bad news is in the 800s and 1500s they won't.

The 800s and 1500s highlight everything that is wrong with track and field, as instead of having the best runners compete against one another, in the 800 and 1500, the stars will often be racing in different heats on purpose. The emphasis is on creating "equal" heats, so Olympic "A" qualifying standards can be hit, not so that the best can go head to head against one another.  And for a meet where the focus is on times, having equal heats does make a lot of sense as instead of screwing over a pretty good runner by putting them in heat 2, everyone gets a chance to run fast. But it's not good for the fans. And one thing that makes a big difference in these type of things is the rabbititng. Finding good rabbits isn't easy. Find multiple good rabbits for multiple heats is next to impossible. Does USATF really have good rabbits set up for all of these heats? We'll find out.

We'll touch on the 800 and 1500 time trials last. First, a discussion of the 5000s and steeples which either have just one section or a faster section and a slower section.

The meet starts at 6:15 pm pacific and will be streamed here on the meet page on Runnerspace. We'll also try and embed it on LetsRun.com.

*Start lists   *Results will be here

Tegenkamp and Ritz a Long Time Ago

Men's 5000m: Tegenkamp and Ritzenhein Square Off

The men's 5000m features sub 13 minute runners Matt Tegenkamp and Dathan Ritzenhein. Tegenkamp ran the 5000m at Stanford the last week of April and ran 13:15.00 so he already has the Olympic "A" standard of 13:20. This is all about sharpening up for the Olympic Trials. Dathan Ritzenhein returns to the track for his first 5000m since his 12:56.27 American record in 2009. Ritz stunned just about everyone with that run and has not run a 5000m since. He ran a 28:21 10,000m in early April in his first track race since 2009. He was supposed to run the second Stanford meet but pulled out with injury. This race will tell a lot about his overall fitness and whether he can be a contender at next month's Olympic Trials.

Juan Luis Barrios ran 13:09 last year and should be a factor. Villanova assistant Adrian Blincoe of New Zealand, who went down after making contact with Chris Derrick in the Stanford 10,000, already has the standard. Ian Dobson,  Sam Chelanga, and Bolota Asmerom have all hit the standard in the past, but haven't hit it for this Olympics.

Event 8  Men 5000 Meter Run
Friday 5/18/2012 - 9:40 PM
           Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    106 Bolota Asmerom                   Unattached                  
  2    109 Chris Barnicle                   New Balance                 
  3    200 Stephen Pifer                    Oregon TC                   
  4    139 Ian Dobson                       Oregon TC                   
  5    116 Brandon Bethke                   Michigan Elite              
  6    197 Tony Okello                      Santa Monica TC             
  7    167 Jeremy Johnson                   Brooks                      
  8    113 Scott Bauhs                      Mammoth TC                  
  9    146 Rory Fraser                      UK Athletics                
 10    110 Juan Luis Barrios                Nike                        
 11    133 Robert Cheseret                  U S Army                    
 12    117 Adrian Blincoe                   New Zealand                 
 13    159 Sean Houseworth                  Falcon Dst Prjct            
 14    205 Jacob Riley                      Unattached                  
 15    154 Elliott Heath                    Unattached                  
 16    132 Sam Chelanga                     Nike O T C                  
 17    124 Forest Braden                    Unattached                  
 18    118 Josphat Boit                     Mammoth TC                  
 19    206 Dathan Ritzenhein                Nike O T C                  
 20    226 Matt Tegenkamp                   Nike O T C                  
 21    240 Lane Wurthy                      Unattached                                    

Women's 5000m: Julia Lucas vs Jackie Areson and the Return of Deena Kastor

With Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher sticking to the marathon at the Olympics, the US women's track team spots are wide open. The women's 5000m at Occidental features the top 2 2 of the top (editor's note: Julie Culley has the #2 time in American this year) Americans in 2012 so far, Julia Lucas and Jackie Areson, who will battle for the first time on the year.

Lucas is having a resurgent 2012. Her 15:08.52 second place at the second  Stanford meet got the "A" standard out of the way. Cracking the 15:00 barrier would seem to be the objective here. Former NCAA indoor champ Areson's 15:18 win at the first Stanford meet also got the "A" standard out of the way. Olympians Blake Russell and Carrie Tollefson, who is on the comeback trail, plus Sara Slattery, have all hit the standard in the past. That brings us to the biggest name from the past, American record holder in the marathon Deena Kastor. This is Kastor's first 5000m since 2007 as she attempts to make her 4th Olympic team. Former NCAA star Lisa Uhl also needs the "A" standard.

The Olympic Trials picture will be clearer after this race for sure. Is Lucas for real?

Event 7  Women 5000 Meter Run
Friday 5/18/2012 - 9:20 PM
           Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    305 Annie Bersagel                   N B Silicon Vlly            
  2    358 Julia Lucas                      Nike O T C                  
  3    354 Monica Kinney                    Unattached                  
  4    387 Kristen Rohde                    Unattached                  
  5    351 Deena Kastor                     Asics                       
  6    319 Georgie Clarke                   Australia                   
  7    324 Liz Costello                     Tennessee AC                
  8    323 Lisa Corrigan                    Australia                   
  9    366 Tarah McKay-Korir                Canada                      
 10    390 Blake Russell                    Reebok                      
 11    303 Jackie Areson                    Nike                        
 12    397 Sara Slattery                    Unattached                  
 13    380 Sarah Porter                     Zap Fitness                 
 14    308 Addie Bracy                      Italy                       
 15    402 Carrie Tollefson                 adidas                      
 16    322 Melissa Cook                     Unattached                  
 17    405 Lisa Uhl                         Nike O T C                  
 18    338 Kaitlin Gregg                    N B Silicon Vlly   

Men's Steeple is Almost a Preview of the Olympic Trials

The men's steeple has all of the top Americans from last year except for Ben Bruce who was the second fastest American last year. Last year's leader Billy Nelson leads the field and #3, #4, and #5 from last year Kyle Alcorn, Brian Olinger, and  and Dan Huling are in the field. So is former World Championship team member Steve Slattery. 2008 Olympian Anthony Famiglietti is absent.

Only two Americans - Nelson and Bruce - have the Olympic 'A' of 8:23.10 so everyone else will certainly be trying to get that.

That brings us to 23 year old Evan Jager.  Jager made the World team at 5000m as a 20 year old in 2000. Making the Olympics at 5000m will be very difficult, so he's trying the steeple this year.  His debut was a smashing success, an 8:26 win at Mt. Sac. This time he faces stiffer competition.

The only other American guys we could see making the Olympic team that are the collegians and the leading collegiate steepler in our minds in Princeton's Donn Cabral, who was the NCAA runner-up the last two years, and he is in this field. Cabral is in great form as he anchored Princeton to both DMR and 4 x mile glory at Penn. Both times he straight up beat Columbia's Kyle Merber who just ran 3:35. As a result, it's hard to imagine that Cabral isn't ready for a huge PB here. His current pb is 8:32.14.

Analysis: Nelson was the best in the US last year. Olinger is in good shape, having run 13:26 and 27:50 this year and Alcorn was the winner of Stanford in 8:26. Jager is probably the most talented of them all and Cabral seems unbeatable right now. The steeple has gone from a event that was boring us as anyone with the 'A' was going to go to one that is entertaining us as at least the drama to make the team is suddenly exciting.

Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    192 Billy Nelson                     New Balance                 
  2    104 Kyle Alcorn                      Nike                        
  3    198 Brian Olinger                    Reebok                      
  4    160 Dan Huling                       Reebok                      
  5    163 Evan Jager                       Nike O T C                  
  6    136 Donald Cowart                    Unattached                  
  7    218 Steve Slattery                   Unattached                  
  8    103 David Adams                      Unattached                  
  9    130 Donn Cabral                      Princeton                   
 10    188 Rob Mullett                      UK Athletics                
 11    239 Chris Winter                     Speed River TC              
 12    233 Lyle Weese                       Unattached                                    

Women' Steeple: Can the Americans Beat Barbara Parker?

Bridget Franek, the US runner-up last year, and the world leader in 2012 so far (9:39) leads the women's steeple field. The field also features US 3rd placer, Delilah DiCrescenzo, Pan Am champion Sara Hall, and former American record holder Lisa Aguilera. Aguilera is the only one who needs the 9:43.00 "A" standard.

Brit Barbara Parker is the most credentialed (Editor's note: As pointed out in this thread, Barbara Parker is also on the Diamond League Shanghai start list so likely she isn't running here), as she made the World final last year, and is coming off a 15:14 5000m pr. We'll see if she can bring down her modest 9:35.17 pr.

American Stephanie Garcia who competed at Worlds isn't in this field, she's in the Diamond League race in Shanghai on Saturday. Props to Stephanie. Preview of that here.

Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    374 Barbara Parker                   New Balance                 
  2    332 Bridget Franek                   Oregon TC                   
  3    342 Sara Hall                        Asics                       
  4    328 Delilah DiCrescenzo              Puma                        
  5    382 Beverly Ramos                    Unattached                  
  6    384 Stephanie Reilly                 Ireland                     
  7    300 Lisa Aguilera                    Nike                        
  8    301 Lindsay Allen                    Unattached                  
  9    409 Lennie Waite                     adidas/Rogue AC             
 10    401 Kara Thorne                      adidas/Rogue AC             
 11    345 Ashley Higginson                 Saucony                     
 12    347 Shayla Houlihan                  Brooks                      
 13    339 Chantelle Groenewoud             Unattached                  
 14    355 Genevieve Lalonde                Speed River TC            

Women's 800m: Top Americans in 2 Different Heats as Jenny Simpson and High Schooler Ajee Wilson Join the Fray

Four (Geena Gall, Alice Schmidt, Latavia Thomas and Molly Beckwith) of the 8 US women who went  under the "A" standard of 1:59.90 last year are in this race. The problem is they're in different heats. Molly Beckwith went sub 2:00 in the Diamond League meet last week, now she's in section 2 of an 800 here.

Heat 2 is interesting as it does have World 1500m champion Jenny Simpson (2:01.20 best) and high schooler Ajee Wilson. Wilson ran 2:02.64 last year, but has only run 2:05 this year so this will be her first real test. This is Simpson's first race of the year where she should be outmatched.

Heat 3 has former American star Hazel Clark but we think it's considered a "B" heat.

Event 3  Women 800 Meter Run
Friday 5/18/2012 - 7:20 PM
           Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    386 Christina Rodgers                Unattached                  
  2    361 Nachelle Mackie                  BYU                         
  3    333 Geena Gall*                      Nike O T C                  
  4    392 Alice Schmidt*                   Nike                        
  5    367 Erica Moore                      Nike                        
  6    350 Laura Januszewski                Brooks                      
  7    304 Neisha Bernard                   adidas                      
  8    337 Kate Grace                       N J- N Y TC                 
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1    393 Lindsey Schnell                  Unattached                  
  2    396 Jenny Simpson                    New Balance                 
  3    400 LaTavia Thomas*                  Nike                        
  4    415 Molly Beckwith*                  Unattached                  
  5    395 Jemma Simpson                    Nike O T C                  
  6    372 Lemlem Ogbasilassie              Canada                      
  7    398 Jessica Smith                    Valley Royals               
  8    413 Ajee Wilson                      Neptune                     
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1    365 Kimarra McDonald                 Tennessee AC                
  2    326 Diane Cummins                    Mt. West                    
  3    381 Bethany Praska                   Unattached                  
  4    314 Stephanie Charnigo               N J- N Y TC                 
  5    357 Annie LeBlanc                    Canada                      
  6    373 Katie Palmer                     BYU TC                      
  7    343 Lyndsay Harper                   Unattached                  
  8    362 Leanna Maclean                   Canada                      
  9    317 Hazel Clark                      Nike            

Men's 800s: Boaz Lalang and Andrew Wheating in Different Heats

2008 Kenyan Olympian Boaz Lalang has run 1:42.95 in the past and is in heat 1.

Andrew Wheating is in heat 2 and it will be interesting to see if his hamstring handles an 800.

Iindoor US champ Duane Solomon who won Mt. Sac and then  just ran 45.98 last week is in heat 3 as is 13:1  5000 guy Lopez Lomong, and incdoor world championship finalist Michael Rutt, who recently beat Robby Andrews. The 800 in the US is very deep.

The Olympic "A" standard is 1:45.60. In the 800 in the US that is not very important as tons of guys already have the A and the Trials race likely will go that fast.

Event 4  Men 800 Meter Run
Friday 5/18/2012 - 7:40 PM
           Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    156 Kevin Hicks                      S E T A                     
  2    194 Rob Novak                        New York AC                 
  3    203 Lachlan Renshaw                  Nike O T C                  
  4    172 Boaz Lalang                      adidas                      
  5    168 Richard Jones                    Santa Monica TC             
  6    235 Mark Wieczorek                   Unattached                  
  7    143 Tevan Everett                    N J- N Y TC                 
  8    170 Moise Joseph                     Haiti                       
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1    142 Dustin Emrani                    N J- N Y TC                 
  2    166 Brandon Johnson                  Unattached                  
  3    234 Andrew Wheating                  Nike O T C                  
  4    201 Cory Primm                       Unattached                  
  5    214 Fred Samoei                      adidas                      
  6    189 Prince Mumba                     Santa Monica TC             
  7    141 Tetlo Emmen                      adidas Legacy               
  8    164 Jamaal James                     Trinidad/Tobago             
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1    219 Kyle Smith                       Canada                      
  2    190 Julius Mutekanga                 New Balance                 
  3    222 Duane Solomon                    Saucony                     
  4    187 Tyler Mulder                     Nike O T C                  
  5    140 Andrew Ellerton                  Reebok                      
  6    210 Alex Rowe                        Melbourne TC                
  7    212 Michael Rutt                     N J- N Y TC                 
  8    176 Lopez Lomong                     Nike O T C                  
Section 4  Timed Finals
  1    155 Jacob Hernandez                  Nike                        
  2    114 Tim Bayley                       GBTC                        
  3    173 Jackson Langat                   U S Army                    
  4    199 Jaden Ostapowich                 Edmonton Thunder            
  5    157 Brian Hill                       BAA                         
  6    220 Christian Smith                  Unattached                  
  7    217 Brandon Shaw                     E V O TC                    
  8    123 Liam Boylan-Pett                 N J- N Y TC                 
  9    221 Pablo Solares                    Nike/Mexico                 
 10    223 Darren St. Clair                 UK Athletics                                

Women's 1,500

World #1 Morgan Uceny is in heat 1 and 2009 bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury is in heat 2.

Really the name of the game is 4:06.00. Besides Uceny and Rowbury, only two Americans have the "A" of 4:06.00 - Christin Wurth-Thomas and Jenny Simpson.

In heat 1, Treniere Moser and Canadian Hilary Stellingwerff have gone sub 4:10 this year. A resurgent Brie Felnagle can't be ignored in heat 1 as well as she's run 15:22 for 5000. Heat 2 has Anna Pierce, Brenda Martinez and  NCAA leader Natalija Piliusina who have all run under 4:10 this year. Can they go sub 4:06?

Event 5 Women 1500 Meter Run
Friday 5/18/2012 - 8:05 PM
           Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    404 Morgan Uceny                     adidas                      
  2    302 Gabriele Anderson                Brooks                      
  3    360 Katie Mackey                     Brooks                      
  4    369 Treniere Moser                   Nike                        
  6    399 Hilary Stellingwerff             Speed River TC              
  7    363 Elizabeth Maloy                  New Balance                 
  8    331 Brie Felnagle                    adidas                      
  9    410 Lea Wallace                      Nike                        
 10    370 Marina Muncan                    New Balance                 
 11    391 Nicole Schappert                 New York AC                 
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1    388 Shannon Rowbury                  Nike                        
  2    394 Nicole Sifuentes                 Saucony                     
  3    378 Anna Pierce                      Nike                        
  4    364 Brenda Martinez                  New Balance                 
  5    414 Phoebe Wright                    Nike                        
  6    407 Sara Vaughn                      Nike                        
  7    379 Natalja Piliusina                Oklahoma St                 
  8    349 Maggie Infeld                    NYAC-Nike                   
  9    358 Julia Lucas                      Nike O T C                  
 10    341 Lauren Hagans                    Asics                       
 11    306 Lauren Bonds                     adidas/Raleigh              
 12    320 Emma Coburn                      U of Colorado               
 13    327 Heidi Dahl                       New Balance                 
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1    313 Lauren Centrowitz                New Balance                 
  2    321 Kim Conley                       SRA Elite                   
  3    406 Kate Van Buskirk                 Canada                      
  5    403 Renee Tomlin                     Nike                        
  6    356 Annick Lamar                     New York AC                 
  7    368 Amy Mortimer-Garman              Saucony                     
  8    334 Lindsey Gallo                    Unattached                  
  9    352 Julia Kawamoto                   Canada                      
 10    348 Carmen Husser                    New Balance                 
 11    408 Maggie Vessey                    New Balance                 
 12    340 Dawn Grunnagle                   Nike O T C                  
 13    376 Dacia Perkins                    adidas/Rogue AC             
 14    346 Ashley Hinther                   Canada                      
 15    329 Amanda Dunne                     Unattached                  
 16    307 Sarah Bowman                     New Balance                 

Men's 1500: Heat 1 With Manzano, Webb, Andrews, Batty, Rupp and Farah is the Most Interesting

The first 3 heats we believe are meant to be equal. Heat 1 is by far the most interesting. It's got Olympian and in form Leo Manzano plus NCAA star Miles Batty, not to mention the most interesting guy on LetsRun.com, American record holder in  the mile, Alan Webb, plus his training partner Robby Andrews. Throw in the mix American record holder at 10,000m Galen Rupp and the most credentialed guy Worlds 5000m champion Mo Farah, plus the unsponsored AJ Acosta.

Webb ran 3:38.86 for 11th last time out and everyone on LetsRun.com was impressed. Can he get the "A" standard of 3:35.50 here?

A lot of guys are after the "A" standard including Canadians Nate Brannen and Taylor Milne in heat 2.  David Torrence, in heat 3, already has it in the 5000m and 800m so some of the pressure may be off but the 1,500 is probably his best bet for the Olympics so maybe not. We sure hope the heats are even as Torrence is one of the best guys in the whole field.

Event 6  Men 1500 Meter Run
Friday 5/18/2012 - 8:40 PM
           Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1    179 Leo Manzano                      Nike                        
  2    112 Miles Batty                      BYU                         
  3    174 Will Leer                        Nike                        
  4    231 Peter Van Der Westhuzen          South Africa                
  5    129 Andrew Bumbalough                Nike O T C                  
  6    232 Alan Webb                        Nike                        
  7    147 Brian Gagnon                     N J- N Y TC                 
  8    144 Mo Farah                         Nike O T C                  
  9    102 AJ Acosta                        Unattached                  
 10    242 Riley Masters                    U/Oklahoma                  
 11    105 Robby Andrews                    Unattached                  
 12    211 Galen Rupp                       Nike O T C                  
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1    107 Andy Baddeley                    New Balance                 
  2    125 Nate Brannen                     Saucony                     
  3    207 Zane Robertson                   New Zealand                 
  4    186 Taylor Milne                     Speed River TC              
  5    182 Jordan McNamara                  Nike O T C                  
  6    216 Jeff See                         Saucony                     
  7    230 Dorian Ulrey                     Nike O T C                  
  8    196 Christian O'Hare                 Tulsa                       
  9    225 Nick Symmonds                    Nike O T C                  
 10    152 Garrett Heath                    Saucony                     
 11    148 Kris Gauson                      Unattached                  
 12    108 Michael Banks                    Unattached                  
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1    228 David Torrence                   Nike                        
  2    101 Jamal Aarrass                    France                      
  3    237 Jordy Williamsza                 Australia                   
  4    185 Kyle Miller                      Nike                        
  5    119 Jack Bolas                       Melbourne TC                
  6    181 Geoff Martinson                  Prince George TF            
  7    131 Hamish Carson                    New Zealand                 
  8    209 Jeremy Roff                      NSWIS Sydney                
  9    120 Kyle Boorsma                     Speed River TC              
 10    178 Matt Maldonado                   Unattached                  
 11    184 John Mickowski                   Unattached                  
 12    149 Christian Gonzalez               N J- N Y TC                 
Section 4  Timed Finals
  1    135 Peter Corrigan                   Running Room AC             
  2    180 Justin Marpole-Bird              Unattached                  
  3    227 Darius Terry                     Unattached                  
  4    202 Ross Proudfoot                   Speed River TC              
  5    183 Ryan McNiff                      adidas                      
  6    175 Matt Lincoln                     Unattached                  
  7    150 Chris Gowell                     adidas/Rogue AC             
  8    161 Jake Hurysz                      Unattached                  
  9    191 Rob Myers                        Unattached                  
 10    238 Connor Winter                    Unattached                  
 11    134 Michael Coe                      Bay Area TC                 
 12    241 David Edwards                    Unattached                  
 13    137 Ian Cronin                       Unattached                  
 14    165 Carlos Jamieson                  New Balance                 
 15    127 Sean Brosnan                     Unattached                  
 16    169 Tony Jordanek                    Unattached                  
 17    122 Raul Botezan                     Oklahoma St                 
 18    195 Tiidrek Nurme                    Estonia                     

The meet starts at 6:15 pm pacific and will be streamed here on the meet page on Runnerspace. We'll also try and embed it on LetsRun.com.

*Start lists   *Results will be here

Women Steeple (2 sections): 6:15pm (slow to fast)
Men Steeple (2 section): 6:50pm (slow to fast)
Women 800 (3 sections): 7:20pm (equal)
Men 800 (4 sections): 7:40pm (equal)
Women 1500 (4 sections): 8:05pm (fast to slow)
Men 1500 (5 sections): 8:40pm (fast to slow)
Women 5k (1 section): 9:20pm
Men 5k (1 section): 9:40pm

More: LRC Preview of Saturday's Shanghai Diamond League: Kenenisa Bekele Gets a Test at 5000m, Meet The Next Kenyan Star, World Indoor 1500 and 3000m Champs Square Off


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