2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship: 800 Semifinal Recaps

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Heats Go Largely According To Form Although Florida And Arkansas Take A Hit In Men’s Competition

By LetsRun.com
June 5, 2013
Eugene, Oregon

Below we recap the men’s and then women’s semifinals at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Men’s 800: Florida and Arkansas Don’t Get What They Want

There were a few casualties from the SEC in the 800 semifinals at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor track and field championships that may impact the team title chase.

Arkansas’ Patrick Rono, who was seventh indoors and one of just four collegians who had run under 1:47 outdoors, failed to move on as did his teammate Tony Squella (6th indoors) of Chile. Off-setting those losses to some extent for the Hogs was the fact that indoor third placer Sean Obinwa of Florida also didn’t make the final.

Besides those three, most of the favorites advanced as the top five NCAA qualifiers based on time prior to NCAAs (Rono’s 1:46.49 came in the NCAA preliminary round) all moved on. In terms of the team battle, Rono’s and Squella’s failure to advance for Arkansas was offset by the fact that Arkansas Leoman Momoh, who ran 1:46 indoors, did make the final.

Heat 1.

On a day where it was kind of windy on the backstretch and no one seemed to want to lead, this was the only heat that went out in under 55 seconds as Loyola’s Declan Murray, the third placer indoors, took the field through 400 in 52.84. He and Arkansas’ Leoman Momoh, who ran 1:46 indoors but failed to score at NCAAs, would advance automatically.

Thanks to the honest first lap, the third and fourth placers from this heat, Minnesota teammates Harun Abda (the Big 10 champ) and Travis Burkstrand, both ended up advancing on time.

A post-race interview with Murray above.

Quick Take #1: Experience counted tonight.There were six seniors in this heat and four of them (the maximum possible) moved on. The other two heats had four seniors combined.

Looking at all the heats, six of the 10 seniors (60%) advanced.
For juniors, zero of four (0%) advanced. For sophomores, zero of five (0%) advanced.
For freshmen, two out five (40%) advanced.

QT #2: Next year the NCAA 800 is going to be wide open as everyone is graduating.

QT #3: Interview with the Arkansas senior Momoh here.

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                       
  1 Leoman Momoh              SR Arkansas               1:47.44Q            
  2 Declan Murray             SR Loyola (Ill.)          1:47.48Q            
  3 Harun Abda                SR Minnesota              1:47.78q            
  4 Travis Burkstrand         SR Minnesota              1:48.74q            
  5 Harry McFann              JR Columbia               1:48.76  1:48.752   
  6 Grant Grosvenor           SO Montana State          1:49.41             
  7 Ricky West                SR Penn State             1:49.87             
  8 Ryan Waite                SR BYU                    1:50.57

Heat 2

The runners put on the breaks on at 200 and the first 400 was a pedestrian 55.12. Indoor runner-up Cas Loxsom (post-race interview with him on right) dominated the second lap and looked great as he ran a big negative split to win in 1:48.71. Middle Tennessee State freshman Eliud Rotto of Kenya surprising grabbed the second qualifying spot in 1:48.91. Coming into NCAAs, his pb was just 1:49.13, but he ran 1:49.55 in the East Regional.

Villanova’s Sam Ellison, who made the finals in his first NCAA appearance last year, failed to advance. Interview with him here.

Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                       
  1 Casimir Loxsom            SR Penn State             1:48.71Q            
  2 Eliud Rutto               FR Mid. Tenn. State       1:48.91Q            
  3 Sean Obinwa               JR Florida                1:49.23             
  4 Samuel Ellison            JR Villanova              1:50.99             
  5 Hector Hernandez          FR Texas A&M              1:51.37             
  6 Tomas Squella             FR Arkansas               1:53.27             
  7 Anthony Lieghio           SR Arkansas               1:55.08             
  8 Kisean Smith              FR Georgia                1:56.45

Heat 3

In the end, indoor champ Elijah Greer of Oregon advanced as the heat winner, but boy did he make it interesting. Greer clearly didn’t want to lead this heat at 200 and slammed on the breaks and as a result was engulfed by the pack. Boxed in, he was only in sixth when the pack went through 400 in 56.76. Clearly only two would advance after that split. Still only fourth at 600, Greer had to work a bit to make sure he got the heat win to advance.

In the end, Greer got the heat win but he admitted to us (interview embedded on the left) that he was far from satisfied with his own tactics.

Penn State’s freshmen 3:59 miler Brannon Kidder got the second qualifying spot ahead of Rono.

QT #1: We know people don’t like leading when their is a breeze but you’d think a 1:44 guy who is an NCAA champ and raced in the Diamond League wouldn’t be fazed by leading the first 400 in a pedestrian 53 or 54. Greer ultimately won his heat but he stupidly put himself in harms way – totally boxed in a 56 split – where a fall was quite possible.

QT #2: Kidder’s great freshmen year continues. He came in as a total stud but has improved more than you could expect. 3:59 for the mile indoors and now a spot in the NCAA 800 final. Not bad at all for Kidder who ran 1:51.09/4:03.12 (full mile) in HS.

Heat  3 Preliminaries                                                       
  1 Elijah Greer              SR Oregon                 1:48.76Q 1:48.755   
  2 Brannon Kidder            FR Penn State             1:49.01Q            
  3 Patrick Rono              SO Arkansas               1:49.17             
  4 David Mokone              JR Western Kentucky       1:50.38             
  5 Russell Dinkins           SR Princeton              1:50.70             
  6 Charles Grethen           SO Georgia                1:51.91             
  7 Josh Hernandez            SO Texas A&M              1:53.78             
  8 Brandon Lasater           SO Georgia Tech           1:54.27

Women’s 800: Things Go Largely According To From

The women’s 800 semis went largely according to form as six of the eight women who had run 2:03 coming in advanced and one of them who didn’t make it was the first person out of the final. SEC runner-up Megan Malasarte (2:03.23 pb), who came in as the overall #4 seed, failed to advance as did # 8 seed Kelsey Brown of BYU (2:03.95) who was ninth fastest on the day at 2:04.36.

Heat 1

Indoor champ and outdoor leader Natoya Goule came in as the heavy favorite for NCAAs in the 800 and she certainly left with the same tag as she controlled heat number one with ease.

After a 60.80 opening 400, Goule and #4 seed Megan Malasarte of Georgia were five meters clear of the rest of the field by the 500 mark. After a 1:32.2 600, Malasarte started to fade and only ended up fourth.

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Natoya Goule              JR LSU                    2:03.77Q             
  2 Lauren Wallace            SR UC Davis               2:04.05Q             
  3 Bienna Freeman            SR Jacksonville           2:04.71              
  4 Megan Malasarte           JR Georgia                2:05.46              
  5 Amanda Duvendack          JR Illinois               2:06.96              
  6 Anima Banks               SO Duke                   2:08.30              
  7 Chelsea Cox               JR Georgetown             2:13.44              
  8 Shawnice Williams         JR Nebraska               2:18.26

Heat 2

Indoor runner-up Laura Roesler of Oregon looked good in winning this heat in 2:03.22 as Stanford teammates Justine Fedronic and Amy Weissenbach both advanced. We caught up with Roesler as well as Weissenbach afterwards.

The Oregon star Roesler is bound to get a ton of publicity here this week so we have embedded our interview with the freshman Weissenbach in this story. To watch Roesler’s, click here. Weissenbach was a three time California high school champ who ran 2:02.04 as a prep.

Splits: 61.66, 132.8

Heat 3

Last year’s runner-up and this year’s third placer indoors, Charlene Lipsey of LSU got the heat win in heat three as Duke senior Cydney Ross knocked .90 off her pb to get second in 2:03.62.

Splits: 30.1, 61.82, 133.2.

Heat  3 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Charlene Lipsey           SR LSU                    2:03.22Q             
  2 Cydney Ross               SR Duke                   2:03.62Q             
  3 Samantha Murphy           JR Illinois               2:04.20q             
  4 Brigitte Mania            JR Connecticut            2:05.28              
  5 Olicia Williams           FR Baylor                 2:06.74              
  6 Joane Pierre              SR Jacksonville           2:08.59              
  7 Nijgia Snapp              SR Tennessee              2:09.07              
  8 Baylee Mires              SO Washington             2:12.74

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