LetsRun.com's Recap Of Men's Races At 2012 USATF Occidental High Performance Meet

*Results *Women's Recap *Videos of all races

By LetsRun.com
May 19, 2012

On the men's side, the 2012 USATF Occidental High Performance meet certainly was very entertaining from start to finish. The meet started off with a face plant and an American collegiate record in the men's steeple and ended with a world champion rabbitting and and then winning the men's 5,000. Along the way, Galen Rupp showed speed he's never shown before that made us think he might be a medal contender, Robby Andrews set a PR by 5.99 seconds as both ran 3:34, David Torrence got the "A" and a whole lot more.

We break it down for you. Steeples, 1,500s, 5,000, 800s, as that's roughly the way it happened (the 800s are presented last even though they happened second as not much happened in them).

Men's Steeple: Cabral Breaks American Collegiate Record as Evan Jager Face Plants

The men's steeple just got a lot more interesting. Coming into tonight's race, only two Americans had the "A" standard. Now six have the 8:23.10 and America seemingly now has two new leading contenders for the team in Donn Cabral and Evan Jager.

Heading into the last 200 of the men's steeple, it seemed as if the race belonged squarely to Evan Jager, who was running only the second steeple of his life. Jager had taken the lead with 800 remaining and had pulled clear of Dan Huling, who had been with him for most of the race, and seemed to be on tap for an 8:17-8 type clocking. Princeton's Donn Cabral, who twice outkicked 3:35 man Kyle Meber at Penn Relays a few weeks ago, was lurking in third and coming on well but he was roughly 15 meters back as he'd been gapped a bit earlier in the race, and  it would have taken a ridiculous kick for Cabral to catch Jager. But Jager tried to leap over the last water jump without stepping on it and ended up face planting instead.

To his credit, Jager did a good job of getting up and still fighting back for fourth in an Olympic "A" time of 8:20.90, just behind Huling's 8:20.81 and Kyle Alcorn's 8:20.86. But Cabral's strong last 100m gave him the win in 8:19.14.

Not only did Cabral get the win and the "A" but he also set a new US collegiate steeplechase record as his 8:19.14 is just better than the 8:19.27 that Weber State's Farley Gerber ran to win the 1984 NCAA title in Eugene. Cabral also now is the second fastest collegiate steepler in history - behind only the great Henry Rono - according to marks compiled by T&FN.

Cabral's post-race interview was far from normal. Check out who he credited with his big breakthrough (previous PR was 8:32).

"On the plane ride here, I had motivational speakers on my left and right and they got me really pumped up. They gave me a lot of good information. It really was the power of positive thinking is what they hashed into me for 6 hours and I used that today," said Cabral. "I was pretty confident coming in. I knew I had the fitness. I had more than an inkling that 8:32 was going to be way behind me."

"(When I saw that Jager fell, I thought,) 'Oh, that kind of sucks.' I kind of wanted to race him fair and square."

LRC Analysis: Coming into tonight, the two Americans with the "A" were Bill Nelson and Ben Bruce. Bruce didn't run here tonight but Nelson was way back in 8:34.10. As a result, we'd have to say that Jager (if he doesn't take a swim) and Cabral now are at a minimum favored to make the US Olympic team. It's hard to rate Bruce's fitness as he hasn't run under 8:30 this year but he hasn't run any time trial type races either.

The men's steeplers had a great rabbit as the winner of the NCAA steeple the last two years, Matt Hughes, got them on "A" standard pace for the first four laps before deciding to continue on in the race.

Fast Heat                                                     
  1 Donn Cabral                  Princeton              8:19.14
  2 Dan Huling                   Reebok                 8:20.81
  3 Kyle Alcorn                  Nike                   8:20.86
  4 Evan Jager                   Nike O T C             8:20.90
  5 David Adams                  Unattached             8:27.77
  6 Donald Cowart                Ragged Mt Racing       8:30.14
  7 Lyle Weese                   Unattached             8:30.83
  8 Chris Winter                 Speed River TC         8:31.25
  9 Rob Mullett                  UK Athletics           8:31.62
 10 Billy Nelson                 New Balance            8:34.10
 11 Brian Olinger                Reebok                 8:35.48
 12 Matt Hughes                  Unattached             8:44.42
 13 Steve Slattery               Unattached             8:51.70

Top 7 Collegiate Steeples In History
8:05.4      Henry Rono' (Washington St./Ken.)     05/13/78
8:12.39     Rono'     06/03/78
8:14.75     Rono'     04/15/78
8:17.92     Rono'     06/02/79
8:18.63     Rono'     06/01/78
8:19.14    Donn Cabral   (Princeton)      05/18/12
8:19.27     Farley Gerber (Weber St)        06/01/84

Leader's Splits On Friday
43.13 to finish line
67.15 - 1:50.28
65.56 - 2:55.84
64.16 - 4:00.16
65.460 - 5:05.46
66.63-  6:12.09
64.10 - 7:16.19
62.82 - 8:19.01
(Cabral was probably 61.0 as he was down by more than a second with a lap remaining).

Men's Steeple
(We've got it set to start with 400 to go but you can watch the whole race)  

Slow Heat

Justin Tyner just missed Olympic Trials A standard.

Slow Heat                                                
  1 Justin Tyner                 Falcon Dst Prjct       8:33.98
  2 Matt Brunsting               Speed River TC         8:36.35
  3 Hillary Bor                  Kenya                  8:36.44
  4 Augustus Maiyo               Kenya                  8:36.66
  5 James Nipperess              Australia              8:37.79
  6 JT Sullivan                  N B Silicon Vlly       8:38.60
  7 Jared Bassett                Portland               8:38.87
  8 Cameron Bean                 Zap Fitness            8:38.95
  9 Julian de Rubira             Unattached             8:40.21
 10 Luis Ibarra                  Nike/Mexico            8:41.02
 11 Tom Karbo                    Augustana              8:41.69
 12 Jacques Sallberg             Run With Us            8:51.33
 13 Kyle Heath                   Army WCAP              8:51.92
 14 Thomas Brooks                Unattached             8:53.51
 15 Matt Williams                Falcon Dst Prjct       8:57.97
 16 John Ricardi                 Club Northwest         9:16.95
 -- Brett Hales                  Unattached                 DNF

Men's 1,500

Heat 1: Galen Rupp, Mo Farah & Robby Andrews All Look Really Good & Impress Us A Ton

Heat 1 was almost like a fantasy track and field race as there were so many big names in it was crazy. Galen Rupp, Alan Webb, Mo Farah, Leo Manzano, Robby Andrews.

And the race lived up the hype.

The pace was honest throughout - 57.5, 1:55.8 and 2:53.7-2:54. American mile record holder Alan Webb was up front early but when the real racing started with about 200 meters remaining, it was clear this was a three-person affair. World 5,000 champion Mo Farah had taken the lead with 250 remaining and his traiing partner Galen Rupp was right behind him, but former UVA 800 meter star Robby Andrews was seemingly doing what he does in an 800 - destroying the last 200 - as he had passed a ton of guys to put himself into contention. Coming into the last 100, it seemed as if Andrews was going to pull away as he got the lead, but Farah never gave up and Andrews tied up a bit in the last 40 and Farah came back on the inside to get the win. But wait, that's not all. Farah himself tied up a little and Galen Rupp moved up late and almost stole it from both Rupp & Andrews as Rupp would end up nipping Andrews.

In the end, the clock read:

Farah 3:34.66
Rupp 3:34.75
Andrews 3:34.78

All three well unde the Olympic A of 3:35.50 - not that Rupp or Farah care - as there is no chance they will run the 1,500 at the Olymipcs. But what a race. Rupp came in with a 1,500 PR of 3:39.14 so this was 4.39 PR. And that wasn't even the biggest PR of the night as Andrews may have found a new event. His previous best was 3:40.77, so he knocked off 5.99.

"This was a great performance for both of us. The goal was to mix it up with the 1,500 guys. I had a good race. I'm really happy with my day today," said Farah.

Rupp also was happy with the race. "I ran 3:39 my senior year of college so this was a good race for us. I felt all right. We put a good training block so we didn't know what to expect. We just wanted to put ourselves out there."

The times below the top 3 were all prety fast as the top 9 all broke 3:38.

LRC Analysis: Galen Rupp's close was very impressive. He is looking more and more like a legitimate medal threat in the 10,000.

Alan Webb's 3:37.26 was certainly another step in the right direction as was AJ Acosta's 3:36.41.

Leo Manzano got beat by two 10,000m runners. 1500m speed clearly can come from strength.

Section  1                                                     
  1 Mo Farah                     Nike O T C             3:34.66
  2 Galen Rupp                   Nike O T C             3:34.75
  3 Robby Andrews                Unattached             3:34.78
  4 Leo Manzano                  Nike                   3:36.08
  5 AJ Acosta                    Unattached             3:36.41
  6 Riley Masters                U/Oklahoma             3:37.19
  7 Alan Webb                    Nike                   3:37.26
  8 Peter Van Der Westhuzen      South Africa           3:37.45
  9 Miles Batty                  BYU                    3:37.50
 10 Will Leer                    Nike                   3:39.31
 11 Brian Gagnon                 N J-N Y TC             3:39.49
 12 Andrew Bumbalough            Nike O T C             3:40.11

Men's 1500m (Final Lap or Full Race)

Heat 2 - Nate Brannen Wins As Nick Symmonds Gets Big PR

The second heat (the first three heats were supposed to be even in quality) saw Nate Brannen and Nick Symmonds put up impressive performances. The Canadian Brannen, who had tied up on Monday in Swarthmore after going out fast for the A standard, was more patient tonight as he waited until late to take the lead, moving from fourth to first on the final turn before getting the victory in 3:35.88. Unfortunately, that time was .38 slower than the 3:35.50 that Brannen wanted.

The 800-meter man Symmonds ended up second in a nice new PR of 3:36.04. Last year, Symmonds ran his previous PR of 3:38.18 at Occidental. Symmonds was aggressive throughout as he was up front after the rabbits dropped out and had the lead at the bell (2:39) and would keep it until 250 meters remained. He'd fall back to third or fourth before getting out of a little box with about 50 to go to get second.

Despite coming up short of the "A" standard, Brannen was upbeat after the rae. "Overall I'm pretty happy. My body felt great tonight. I'm pretty pleased going 3:36 and 3:35 in the same week. I just need it to be a little bit faster up front," said Brannen. "I didn't want to put myself out there like I did on Monday when I failed miserably at the end. If I had run another 3:36, I might have started to get a little bit concerned.  but I felt great tonight," added Brannen who will go to Hengelo next week to try to get the A.

This wasn't just a two-person race though. The third, fourth and fifth placers in Jeff See, Garett Heath and Jordan McNamara all ran PRs in the 3:36s. They could be factors at the US Trials if they get the "A."

LRC Comments: If Brannen had been in heat 1, he'd definitely had gotten the A.

Symmonds is probably feeling pretty good about himself. He was struggling early in Australia, but his 1:44.0 split at Penn and now this have to make him very confident.

Jeff See hadn't broken 3:40 before this year. Now he's run 3:36.11.

Splits: 56.5 for 1st 400, 1:40 at 700, 1:55.1 at 800, 2:39 at 1,100 for Symmonds in lead, 2:54 at 1,200.

Section  2                                                     
  1 Nate Brannen                 Saucony                3:35.88
  2 Nick Symmonds                Nike O T C             3:36.04
  3 Jeff See                     Saucony                3:36.11
  4 Garrett Heath                Saucony                3:36.24
  5 Jordan McNamara              Nike O T C             3:36.48
  6 Taylor Milne                 Speed River TC         3:37.17
  7 Dorian Ulrey                 Nike O T C             3:37.69
  8 Kris Gauson                  Unattached             3:39.08
  9 Zane Robertson               New Zealand            3:39.13
 10 Christian O'Hare             Tulsa                  3:39.22
 11 Michael Banks                Unattached             3:43.92

Heat 3 - Jamal Aarrass Goes For It As David Torrence Gets The A

If France's Jamal Aarrass hadn't served a doping ban, we'd love him as he's a fearless racer.

Aarass came to play today as he passed the rabbit around the 750-meter mark and went through 800 in 1:53.5. The future of NCAA running in 19-year-old Jordan Williamsz of Australia, who is a Villanova signee and who ran 3:36.74 at Swarthmore on Monday, was the only one fearless enough to go with him. But Jordan would pay dealy for his naiveté as he'd end up fading from second at the bell to second-to-last at the finish thanks to a 63 final lap.

Aarrass hit the bell hin 2:36.6 and had 20+ meter lead (almost exactly 3 seconds) on third placer David Torrence. But Williamsz wasn't the only one who found the hot opening pace a bit too much too handle. Aarrass himself started to slow and Torrence started to speed up. Torrence, who for 3 laps seemingly was in a JV race as compared to Aarrass, almost ended up getting the win as Aarrass' lead would shrink all the way to the finish line. In the end, Aaarrass won in 3:34.85 to Torrence's 3:35.41.

But Torrence didn't care as the man who had opened up in 3:35.66 and had run 3:35.91 last year finally had the "A" standard by .09.

Once Torrence heard his time, he was visibly pumped as he gave the crowd high fives. His enthusiasm continued even when he got the stadium microphone, as Torrence yelled, "Real quick Los Angeles, LA, let me hear you!!!"

"I thought the third lap would be faster so when I came through in 2:39 (at 1,100), I was like, 'Now or never.' I just put the target on his back and tried to get him. I've been chasing this 1,500 standard ever since the calendar opened up. So to finally to get it now, in front of home crowd, my family and friends, high school teammates, it was the perfect set up. It's such a relief," said Torrence, who already had "A" standards in his off events - the 800 and 5,000 - but not his main event, the 1,500. "I know I'm fit, but the more you chase, the less fit you become. Now I can just focus on the Trials 100%."

LRC Comment: We know the first three heats were supposed to be even but this heat seemed the weakest to us, but perhaps that was because the first lap was too fast by the rabbit Liam Boylan-Pett -  54.8 first 400.

Section  3                                                     
 1 Jamal Aarrass                France                 3:34.85
 2 David Torrence               Nike                   3:35.41
 3 Matt Maldonado               Unattached             3:37.68
 4 Hamish Carson                New Zealand            3:39.22
 5 Geoff Martinson              Prince Geroge TF       3:39.27
 6 Jack Bolas                   New Balance            3:39.80
 7 Christian Gonzalez           N J-N Y TC             3:39.95
 8 Jeremy Roff                  NSWIS Sydney           3:40.37
 9 Kyle Miller                  Nike                   3:41.10
 10 Kyle Boorsma                 Speed River TC         3:42.66
 11 Jordy Williamsz              Australia              3:43.08
 12 John Mickowski               Unattached             3:49.07

Heat 4

Section  4                                                     
  1 Raul Botezan                 Oklahoma St            3:41.14
  2 Rob Myers                    Unattached             3:42.02
  3 Justin Marpole-Bird          Unattached             3:42.04
  4 Ryan McNiff                  adidas                 3:42.27
  5 Peter Corrigan               Running Room AC        3:42.35
  6 Chris Gowell                 adidas/Rogue AC        3:42.48
  7 Matt Lincoln                 Unattached             3:42.51
  8 Darius Terry                 Unattached             3:42.65
  9 Michael Coe                  Bay Area TC            3:42.67
 10 Jake Hurysz                  Unattached             3:42.89
 11 Connor Winter                Unattached             3:44.10
 12 Tiidrek Nurme                Estonia                3:44.26
 13 Ian Cronin                   Unattached             3:44.29
 14 Ross Proudfoot               Speed River TC         3:44.41
 15 David Edwards                Unattached             3:49.03
 16 Sean Brosnan                 Unattached             3:49.22
 17 Carlos Jamieson              CPTC New Balance       4:01.54

Men's 5,000: Rabbit Mo Farah Wins As Dathan Ritzenhein Runs 13:14!!!

What a race.

The race started out fast up front as Alistair Cragg took the top dogs through 1,200 in 4:14. American Dathan Ritzenhein was way back in the second half of the field in about 4:18. 4 seconds doesn't seem like much but it's 30 meters. But in hindsight, there was no reason for Ritz fans to be nervous as he had his own two rabbits for him and they have some pretty good credentials to their names.

Yep, you guessed. His two training partners in world 5,000 champion Mo Farah and in 26:48 man Galen Rupp were in the race rabbiting Ritz. Ritz would stay about 4 seconds down through 3k (7:58/8:02) before the gap would start to narrow. How far would Rupp and Farah go? Well, Rupp dropped out just past 4k when Ritz had almost caught the lead group. Farah kept going, however. How far would he go? Well, once the pack was caught on the next lap, Farah didn't stay in the back or drop out. He and Ritz just kept moving up and Farah took Ritz basically to the lead.

But now the racing started. On the last lap, Sam Chelanga tried to throw down with about 200 meters to go. Farah's competitive juices took over and he would seemingly effortlessly destroy everyone on the final lap as he'd run it in 56.7 to win in 13:12.87. Mexico's Juan Luis Barrios would end up second in 13:13.54 and Sam Chelanga third in 13:14.05, with Ritz fourth in 13:14.72. Ritz's last lap was rouglhy 58.8 - 59 flat

Farah said afterwards that he wasn't planning on finishing the race.

"No (the plan wasn't to finish) but I felt good so I just finished it. I thought honestly we weren't going to catch the guys in the lead," said Farah.

Ritz was the happiest 4th place finisher on the night as he was ecstatic getting under the Olympic "A" standard.

"I feel great. This is really one of the races where I finally felt good in. I've been workring out with these guys in Park City and I've been holding on with them on the long stuff but on the short stuff, 400 and below, they've been blasting me," said Ritz. "The team is working really great."

"Compared to any time I have (ever run) in May, I'm light years ahead of where I've been in May," said Ritz, whose previous best 5,000 in May was 13:22.23 in May of 2005. "To tell you the truth, I'm so far ahead of where I've been before. I feel some 12:56s coming this summer - God willing."

Ritz, who ran tonight's race in racing flats and not spikes as he didn't want to risk anything after getting a stress reaction a few weeks ago, added that he'll run the Hengelo 10,000 in 9 days. Because of that, he said he didn't go all out over the last 200. He also said that when he had his stress reaction, he was still able to crank out 120 miles per week on the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill.

LRC Analysis:
This certainly was encouraging for Ritz's fans. This race also reminds us why Mo Farah is the world champion at 5,000. In the 1,500, we were wondering if Rupp was catching Mo. He's certainly gaining on him, but this race reminded us that Farah is still ahead. Farah was the one international male star at this meet and his performances showed why.

We're not sure what happened to Adrien Blincoe. He was in the lead pack with 800 to go.

  1 Mo Farah                     Nike O T C            13:12.87
  2 Juan Luis Barrios            Nike                  13:13.54
  3 Sam Chelanga                 Nike O T C            13:14.05
  4 Dathan Ritzenhein            Nike O T C            13:14.72
  5 Adrian Blincoe               New Balance           13:23.73
  6 Rory Fraser                  UK Athletics          13:27.87
  7 Scott Bauhs                  Mammoth TC            13:28.40
  8 Elliott Heath                Unattached            13:28.65
  9 Brandon Bethke               Michigan Elite        13:29.26
 10 Bolota Asmerom               Unattached            13:30.33
 11 Ian Dobson                   Oregon TC             13:30.70
 12 Jacob Riley                  Unattached            13:32.82
 13 Tony Okello                  Santa Monica TC       13:33.19
 14 Robert Cheseret              U S Army              13:37.02
 15 Forest Braden                Unattached            13:42.14
 16 Sean Houseworth              Falcon Dst Prjct      13:46.73
 17 Lane Werley                  Unattached            13:58.81
 18 Ruben Sanca                  Cape Verde            14:26.49
 19 Jeremy Johnson               Brooks                14:36.27
 -- Matt Tegenkamp               Nike O T C                 DNF
 -- Josphat Boit                 Mammoth TC                 DNF

4:14 at 1,600 (4:18 for Ritz)
5:18 at 2k (13:17 pace)
7:58/8:02 at 3k
Rupp out at 10:43. 4k
12:15 at 4,600
61.7 from 600 to 200 out
Last lap: 56.7 Farah, 58.7 Ritz

Men's 5000 Final Lap (Or Full Race)

Men's 800
Heat 1 - Aussie Lachlan Renshaw Wins

Heat 1 saw the rabbit go out way too fast; as a result, former UT runner Tevan Everett sort of was running in no-man's land as he went through 200 in 24.7, with Kenyan Olympian Boaz Lalang not too far back in third.

After 400 (51.5), things really slowed down around 500, as the field bunched up and there was some contact. At 600 (1:19), it was clear that any one wanting the Olympic "A" was out of luck.

In the end, Australia's 25-year-old Lachlan Renshaw would get the win in 1:46.61.

LRC Analysis: Renshaw must feel snake bitten. Last year, he ran 1:45.66 and the "A" is 1:45.60. Now this year, this is his third straight 1:46 since April 21.

Section  1                                                     
  1 Lachlan Renshaw              Nike O T C             1:46.61
  2 Mark Wieczorek               Unattached             1:47.05
  3 Richard Jones                Santa Monica TC        1:47.43
  4 Rob Novak                    New York AC            1:47.74
  5 Tevan Everett                N J-N Y TC             1:48.57
  6 Kevin Hicks                  S E T A                1:48.97
  7 Moise Joseph                 Haiti                  1:49.11
  8 Boaz Lalang                  adidas                 1:49.19

Heat 2 - Brandon Johnson Beats Andrew Wheating

Former 48.59 400 hurdler Brandon Johnson, who came into the year with a 1:50.85 PR, is making the transition to the 800 rather well, thank you. Tonight, he got by far the biggest win of his career as he out-battled 2008 US Olympian Andrew Wheating over the final 50, as he got a third straight win in 1:46 since April 21st.

Wheating went out in last and was next to last at 200. Wheating's first 400 was about 52.2. By 600 (1:19), Wheating had moved up to 4th. Many probably assumed Wheating was on his way to a patented come-from-behind win. But Wheating didn't look great over the final 100.

LRC Analysis: Wheating didn't look real sharp but people need to remember he's lightly-raced this year. Also in 2010, when he won double NCAA titles at 800 and 1,500 and ran 3:30, Wheating was losing to Robby Andrews as late as Penn Relays.

Weird that the 1st two heats were both won in 1:46.61.

Section  2                                                     
  1 Brandon Johnson              Unattached             1:46.61
  2 Andrew Wheating              Nike O T C             1:46.83
  3 Prince Mumba                 Santa Monica TC        1:47.56
  4 Tetlo Emmen                  adidas Legacy          1:48.06
  5 Jamaal James                 Trinidad/Tobago        1:48.22
  6 Dustin Emrani                N J-N Y TC             1:53.12

Section 3: Tyler Mulder Runs Fastest Time Of Night

Tyler Mulder ran the fastest of anyone on the night after opening splits of 25.1, 51.0 and 1:18.4. 13:11 5,000 man Lopez Lomong was in the middle of the pack around fourth for much of the race and ended up third in 1:46.21.

Section  3                                                     
  1 Tyler Mulder                 Nike O T C             1:45.68
  2 Duane Solomon                Saucony                1:45.86
  3 Lopez Lomong                 Nike O T C             1:46.21
  4 Michael Rutt                 N J-N Y TC             1:46.24
  5 Andrew Ellerton              Reebok                 1:46.66
  6 Julius Mutekanga             CPTC New Balance       1:47.17
  7 Alex Rowe                    New Balance            1:47.55
  8 Kyle Smith                   Canada                 1:48.11

Section 4

Section  4                                                     
  1 Geoff Harris                 Speed River TC         1:47.37
  2 Liam Boylan-Pett             N J-N Y TC             1:47.71
  3 Christian Smith              Unattached             1:48.25
  4 Pablo Solares                Nike/Mexico            1:48.29
  5 Jackson Langat               U S Army               1:48.70
  6 Brian Hill                   BAA                    1:48.84
  7 Tim Bayley                   GBTC                   1:48.93
  8 Brandon Shaw                 E V O Track Club       1:48.99
  9 Jaden Ostapowich             Edmonton Thunder       1:49.45

*Results *Women's Recap *All Race Videos
Occidental On the boards:

Editor's Note: The quotes for this article came from two sources - the post-race interviews that the meet announcer did with the top finishers as well as the interviews that flotrack did with the top finishers on their live stream. For nearly every race, the meet announce would interview someone and then they flotrack people would follow up with a more in depth interview. We jotted down the most interesting things from these interviews.

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