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

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By LetsRun.com
May 19, 2012

The women's action at the 2012 USATF Occidental High Performance meet confirmed what we already knew - the US women's 1,500 team is going to be very hard to make (world #1 Morgan Uceny was beaten and world champion Jenny Simpson ran 2 seconds slower than she did last year), Deena Kastor is very tough and still motivated at age 39, and Bridget Franek, Lisa Uhl and Jackie Areson are all in good form.

1,500 Heat 1: World #1 Morgan Uceny Gets Surprised By Gabriele Anderson

The race was going perfectly to script after opening splits of 67.7, 2:14.6 and 3:19 (3:03.6 for 1,100), as world #1 Morgan Uceny went to the lead with 160 meters to go and seemed to be pulling away as the runners entered the homestretch. But Uceny's last 50 left a little something to be desired and Gabriele Anderson came on really strong over the last 30 meters and seemingly stole the race as she nipped Uceny at the line.

"I'm a little speechless. This is my season debut (at 1,500). I just came here to get the wheels turning," said Anderson after the race.

LRC Analysis: No reason for Uceny fans to be too worried. Last year, Uceny didn't win a race until USAs.

But this is a big boost for Anderson, who ran 4:06.77 at the end of last year but only 4:12 in May. Don't know Anderson? Read her bio here or our praise for her in 2010. She's a cancer survivor who was the NCAA runner-up in 2010.

Section  1                                                     
  1 Gabriele Anderson            Brooks                 4:06.46
  2 Morgan Uceny                 adidas                 4:06.52
  3 Katie Mackey                 Brooks                 4:06.67
  4 Hilary Stellingwerff         Speed River TC         4:07.64
  5 Nicole Schappert             New York AC            4:07.79
  6 Brie Felnagle                adidas                 4:08.80
  7 Marina Muncan                New Balance            4:09.06
  8 Elizabeth Maloy              New Balance            4:09.64
  9 Treniere Moser               Nike                   4:10.79
 10 Lea Wallace                  Nike                   4:12.87

Last Lap or Full Race of Anderson Catching Uceny

Heat 2: Shannon Rowbury Holds Off A Fast-Closing Anna Pierce

A strange race for sure.

No one wanted to go with rabbit Kate Grace for the first 200 but then Brenda Martinez decided she'd get on Grace's shoulder. When Grace heard 66.5 at 400, she accelerated and Martinez went with her. They ended up getting a huge lead on the field - at least 15 meters. But once Grace stepped off after a 63 second 400, Martinez was in the DMZ and she'd quickly be swallowed up by early 2012 US leader at 5,000, Julia Lucas, with 450 meters remaining.

Lucas would hit 1,200 in 3:16. On the backstretch, 2009 World Championships bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury, who was in third about 7 or 8 meters back, started to  move up and she'd take the lead on the final turn. An easy victory for Rowbury? Not so fast.

The resurgent Anna Pierce was coming on very fast. She was way back in 6th with 200 remaining but mowing down people with each step. In the end, Rowbury would hold on for a narrow victory in 4:05.92 to Pierce's 4:06.11. The Olympic "A" is of course 4:06.00 (Rowbury already had it - Pierce does not).

Afterwards, Rowbury was happy to have gotten the win. "I'm excited how it turned out. I was happy I was able to close the last 100. It's a good start," said Rowbury. "My goal (tonight) was to win. So mission accomplished. I'm pleased I ran so fast today going out relaxed and just closing."

LRC Analysis: Pierce has little reason to be worried in our minds about not having the A. Her blazing last 200 might make Trials favorites like Uceny and Rowbury a bit nervous as there was no doubt as to who had the best last 100 meters in all of the heats tonight - Pierce.

WIth better pacing, we'd be surprised if Martinez (who fell back in the pack but surged back for 3rd) doesn't get the "A" as well.

Section  2                                                     
  1 Shannon Rowbury              Nike                   4:05.92
  2 Anna Pierce                  Nike                   4:06.11
  3 Brenda Martinez              New Balance            4:06.96
  4 Julia Lucas                  Nike O T C             4:07.23
  5 Sara Vaughn                  Nike                   4:08.34
  6 Phoebe Wright                Nike                   4:08.72
  7 Emma Coburn                  Unattached             4:09.42
  8 Maggie Infeld                NYAC-Nike              4:09.76
  9 Nicole Sifuentes             Saucony                4:09.80
 10 Natalja Piliusina            Oklahoma St            4:13.95
 11 Heidi Dahl                   New Balance            4:17.06
 12 Lauren Bonds                 adidas Raleigh TC      4:20.56

Last Lap or Full Race of Rowbury's Win

Heat 3

Section  3                                                     
  1 Kim Conley                   SRA Elite              4:14.00
  2 Kate Van Buskirk             Canada                 4:14.13
  3 Renee Tomlin                 Nike                   4:14.92
  4 Julia Kawamoto               Canada                 4:15.47
  5 Amy Mortimer-Garman          Saucony                4:15.78
  6 Lauren Centrowitz            New Balance            4:15.94
  7 Amanda Dunne                 Unattached             4:16.05
  8 Dawn Grunnagle               Nike O T C             4:16.30
  9 Annick Lamar                 New York AC            4:17.71
 10 Dacia Perkins                adidas/Rogue AC        4:18.98
 11 Carmen Husser                New Balance            4:21.36
 12 Ashley Hinther               Canada                 4:34.31

Women's 5,000 - Deena Kastor Does All The Work

In the end, the results of this race show it to have been a repeat of the first Stanford 5,000, where Jackie Areson got the best of Lisa Uhl at the end. However, that wasn't the whole story as at least this time Uhl go the "A" standard of 15:20.

This race really to us was all about the continued return of Deena Kastor to the track. The 39-year-old ended up third in just over 15:23 as she was only able to close in 2:28.3, but she did ALL of the work after the rabbits were done and looked good in our minds.

LRC Comment: There is no doubt that Steve Prefontaine would probably be turning over in his grave if he could see this race, as Areson and Uhl did nothing but sit on Kastor. Yes, that's racing, but this race is all about getting the "A" so it would have been nice to see them help out. But Kastor will race the 10 at the Trials anyway, so it doesn't matter too much.

  1 Jackie Areson                Nike                  15:14.31
  2 Lisa Uhl                     Nike O T C            15:15.22
  3 Deena Kastor                 Asics                 15:23.51
  4 Liz Costello                 Tennessee AC          15:45.11
  5 Tarah McKay-Korir            Canada                15:57.39
  6 Sarah Porter                 Zap Fitness           15:59.95
  7 Melissa Cook                 Unattached            16:07.01
  8 Kaitlin Gregg                N B Silicon Vlly      16:12.48
  9 Annie Bersagel               N B Silicon Vlly      16:17.07
 10 Kristen Rohde                Unattached            16:18.85
 11 Blake Russell                Reebok                16:25.49
 12 Monica Kinney                Unattached            17:04.77

3:05 for 1k
6:10 for 2k
9:12 for 3k - only three are left
12:17 for 4k
12:54 for 4,200
74.66 for Kastor
73.68 for Kastor

Last 500 or Full Race of Women's 5000

Women's 800: No One Gets The Olympic A Of 1:59.90
Heat 1
The first 700 featured Olympian Alice Schmidt and Erica Moore, who won a bronze medal at the World Indoors, in the top 2 spots as they went through 400 in 58.3. At 700, Moore started to fade and 2008 and 2009 NCAA champion Geena Gall started to make her presence felt as she moved up and powered away from Schmidt over the last 50.

Section  1                                                     
  1 Geena Gall                   Nike O T C             2:00.44
  2 Alice Schmidt                Nike                   2:00.79
  3 Kate Grace                   N J-N Y TC             2:01.63
  4 Nachelle Mackie              BYU                    2:01.84
  5 Neisha Bernard               adidas                 2:01.91
  6 Laura Januszewski            Brooks                 2:02.49
  7 Christina Rodgers            Unattached             2:03.32
  8 Erica Moore                  Nike                   2:03.55

Heat 2 - Molly Beckwith Wins As Jenny Simpson Runs 2:03.49

Molly Beckwith, who ran 1:59.51 in Doha last week, went out hard today and tied up but still hung on for the victory in 2:01.24. The opening splits of 27.3 and 57.6 were quick.

World 1,500 champion Jenny Simpson, who ran 2:01.20 here last year, ended up sixth in 2:03.49. She went through 400 maybe a second back in about 58.6.

Beckwith: "I decided to go out as fast as I've even gone out before and see what happened. My coach said, 'Why don't you go 57 pace for as long as you can until you hit the wall?'"

LRC Analysis: It's hard to read too much into this race for Simpson as she's definitely not an 800 runner and the early pace was so hot.

Section  2                                                     
  1 Molly Beckwith               Unattached             2:01.24
  2 Lemlem Ogbasilassie          Canada                 2:01.53
  3 Jessica Smith                Valley Royals          2:01.79
  4 Jemma Simpson                Nike O T C             2:02.18
  5 LaTavia Thomas               Nike                   2:02.21
  6 Jenny Simpson                New Balance            2:03.49
  7 Lindsey Schnell              Unattached             2:04.93
  8 Stephanie Charnigo           N J-N Y TC             2:06.70

Section 3 - Katie Palmer Wins

In a battle of two Canadians, NCAA third placer from indoors, Katie Palmer, who is redshirting for BYU, outdueled two-time World Championships finalist Diane Cummings over the final 100 to get a narrow victory in a new PR of 2:02.77 to Cummings' 2:02.82. The 2:02.82 represents the best time for the 38-year-old Cummings since 2010 when she ran 2:00.08.

The pace was 28 for 200 for the pack, 58.6 for 400, and 1:31 for 600. Three-time Olympian Hazel Clark was a no-show.

Section  3                                                     
  1 Katie Palmer                 BYU TC                 2:02.77
  2 Diane Cummins                Mountain West          2:02.82
  3 Bethany Praska               Unattached             2:04.12
  4 Kimarra McDonald             Tennessee AC           2:04.45
  5 Annie LeBlanc                Canada                 2:04.55
  6 Leanna Maclean               Canada                 2:04.66
  7 Lyndsay Harper               Unattached             2:05.02

Women's Steeple Fast Heat - Bridget Franek Is The Class Of The Field

Bridget Franek was the class of the field and the victory was really never in doubt over the second half of the race.

The Olympic "A" is 9:46.00, which Franek (and Delilah DiCrescenzo, who was 4th, and Sara Hall, who was 7th) already had.

Fast Heat Women's Steeple                                                    
  1 Bridget Franek               Oregon TC              9:41.96
  2 Ashley Higginson             Saucony                9:46.83
  3 Beverly Ramos                New Balance            9:47.47
  4 Delilah DiCrescenzo          Puma                   9:47.50
  5 Stephanie Reilly             Ireland                9:54.55
  6 Lisa Aguilera                Nike                   9:54.77
  7 Sara Hall                    Asics                  9:57.60
  8 Shayla Houlihan              Brooks                10:03.95
  9 Genevieve Lalonde            Speed River TC        10:09.10
 10 Kara Thorne                  adidas/Rogue AC       10:09.43
 11 Chantelle Groenewoud         Unattached            10:12.69
 12 Nicole Bush                  New Balance           10:19.08

Slow Heat

Jamie Cheever was pumped to get an automatic qualifer for the Trials in 9:52.15 as her previous PR was 10:02.

Slow Heat Women's Steeple                                                     
  1 Jamie Cheever                Mammoth TC             9:52.15
  2 Bethany Nickless             Run Racing             9:59.81
  3 Dana Buchanan                Speed River TC        10:02.99
  4 Lois Keller                  Club Northwest        10:03.42
  5 Mary Goldkamp                RC Elite              10:04.03
  6 Fiona Crombie                Unattached            10:04.51
  7 Maggie Callahan              Tucson Intrnl         10:10.33
  8 Milly Clark                  Australia             10:13.73
  9 Lydia Willemse               Speed River TC        10:15.61
 10 Andrea Parker                RGF Sports            10:16.38
 11 Meredith MacGregor           Speed River TC        10:21.08
 12 Leonora Petrina              Saucony               10:25.35
 13 Jacqui Wentz                 Raiၤha                10:45.79
 14 Jane Rudkin                  Bowerman Ath Club     10:47.99
 -- Rolanda Bell                 Tennessee AC               DNF

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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