Weekly Recap: The Guts/Collapse of Georgetown, The Most Unlikely All-Americans, The Mysterious Mark Wetmore, Dathan Ritzenhein 2.0, and Kenya 500x Greater Than The USA?
The Week That Was 12/4/2013
December 4, 2013
To see previous weekly recaps, go here.
Last week, our weekly recap took a Thanksgiving week vacation. So this week, we spend most of our time commenting on the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships from two weeks ago. If you haven’t already seen our special LRC coverage page, check it out as we’ve already offered up a great deal of analysis (Six Thoughts On NCAA Men’s Cross-Country D1 Individual Race Won By Edward Cheserek, 9 Thoughts About The Team Races).
We start however with a quick take on the biggest action from last week – the 2013 Fukuoka Marathon.
Questions? Comments? Email us.
Stat of The Week I
1 – total number of sub-2:10 performances achieved by all US Marathoners in 2013. (Dathan Ritzenhein 2:09:45 in Chicago)
3 – number of sub-2:10 performances achieved by Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi in 2013.
Kawauchi became the first Japanese man to break 2:10 three times in the same calendar year last week when he ran 2:09:05 in Fukuoka in a race won in 2:07:06 by Martin Mathahi. On the year, Japan is third in the world in terms of # of sub-2:10 performers for 2013 but they trail 2013 leader Kenya by a factor of 10+ as Kenya has 79.
|# of Sub-2:10 Performers in 2013|
In comparing Kenya to the US, Kenya is producing 79 times more sub-2:10 men than the US. Making that fact even more impressive is that Kenya’s population of 43.2 million is just 13.8% of the United States’ 313.9 million. So adjusting for population differences a Kenya is 574 times more likely to run sub-2:10 than an American. One out of every 546,582 people in Kenya has gone sub-2:10 in 2013 whereas one in 313.9 million has done it in the US.
More: 2013 Fukuoka Marathon: Martin Mathathi Wins (2:07:06) As Yuki Kawauchi (2:09:05) Steals Show With Third Sub-2:10 Of 2013 – Bobby Curtis PR (2:13:24)!!! Kawauchi made a bold move and got a 10-second lead just past halfway and became the first Japanese man to break 2:10 three times in a year, pleasing the Japanese federation but not himself. Ireland’s Alistair Cragg fell off the pace before 5k and ran over 2:23. *2013 Fukuoka Marathon Results. MB: Official 2013 Fukuoka Thread MB: Kawauchi 2:09:05 for 3rd @ Fukuoka
Stat of The Week II
The Colorado men won NCAAs with 149 points. That number is the highest in NCAA men’s history.
Winning 100+ NCAA Men’s Cross Country Point Totals
2013 Colorado – 149
1972 Tennessee – 134
2009 Oklahoma State – 127
1957 Notre Dame – 121
1983 UTEP – 108
1988 Wisconsin – 105
1984 Arkansas – 101
1977 Oregon – 100
A men’s team with a winning score over 100 points is a rarity (this was just the third time in 25 years). In fact, only seven times in NCAA history has the men’s runner-up scored more than 150 points.
That being said, on the women’s side Providence’s winning score of 141 wasn’t newsworthy at all. Eight of the last 11 women’s champs have scored over 100.
Most Unlikely All-American – Women – Emma-Lisa Murphy (Wisconsin)
The sophomore from Wisconsin came into the year far from credentialed. During her senior year of high school, she wasn’t even top 10 at the Wisconsin state meet (12th). As a freshman at Wisconsin last year, she was 66th at the Big 10 meet and had a 10:19 3000 pb. Yes 10:19.
This year, she was much improved, 17th at Big 10s. But a result like that is a far cry from All-American status. The people who were 16th and 18th at Big 10s finished 152nd and 118th at NCAAs. A finish between those two spots would have made a lot of sense for Murphy as she was 61st at the Wisconsin adidas meet earlier in the year. But no, she’s now an All-American as she was 35th at NCAAs. Kudos to her.
Most Unlikely All-American – Men – Aaron Nelson (Washington) and Trent Lusignan (South Dakota State)
Nelson came into the year lightly credentialed with pbs of 8:17, 14:30 and 8:52 (Steeple). Last year in cross country, his claim to fame was being 25th at Pac 12s. A year later, after a stellar season from start to finish (4th at Wisco, 8th at Pac 12s), Nelson is an All-American as he was 20th at NCAAs.
A former South Dakota State Jackrabbit emailed us to praise Lusignan, who was 12th in Terre Haute, and it’s well deserved:
How about Trent Lusignan, a junior from South Dakota State, who finished 12th? He was only 50th at the NCAA regional last year but was 2nd this year, almost getting O’Hare at the end. Has PR’s of only 14:13 and 29:40 from last spring and is now running low 30’s on XC courses. Ran just 4:20 and 9:20 in HS. I’d say he’s burst onto the national stage in a significant way.
Talent Doesn’t Go Away/Comeback Performer Of The Year/Most Improved – Sammy Silva – New Mexico
(Many thanks to LRC visitor “Coach Sweet” of San Diego who tipped us off about this great story when we asked you to email us about great stories buried deep in the results.)
One of our favorite saying about track and field is that “talent doesn’t go away.”
New Mexico’s Sammy Silva certainly proved that to be the case at NCAAs where she was 12th for New Mexico.
Silva’s story is pretty remarkable.
If we told you that a woman, who was just 202nd at NCAAs in 2012 and only was sixth in the Ivy League 1500 last spring, was 12th at NCAAs, you’d find it hard to believe right? But that’s exactly what happened with Silva.
In high school, Silva was a phenom. She ran 4:47 for 1600 and won the California state title in the event in 2009.
At Harvard, things started out well for her as she was 12th at the Ivy League/Heps Cross country meet as a freshman. Then her talent went into a cold Northeast hibernation as she struggled with injuries. After finishing 39th as a sophomore at conference in xc, she produced zero results in track or xc until her senior year of xc where she was sixth at conference (But 202nd at NCAAs). In track, she scored her first and only point by placing sixth in the 1500 at Heps in May. Then off she went to New Mexico and now she’s 12th in the country.
Kudos to her for her perseverance and for New Mexico coach Joe Franklin for bringing it out.
At Least They Went For It
In our team recap, we told you how the Georgetown women, who won in Terre Haute in surprise fashion two years ago, tried to pull off a stunner once again. Georgetown which won NCAAs in 2011 without winning the Big East tried to do just that in 2013.
The Hoyas had the lead at 4k but by 6k – they weren’t even on the podium. How is that possible? When everyone in your top five loses a ton of ground.:
|Individual Place||Runner||Time||Movement last 2k||Team Place|
|47||Samantha Nadel||20:51.2||↓ 12||30|
|52||Haley Pierce||20:55.1||↓ 19||35|
|60||Katrina Coogan||20:57.8||↓ 28||40|
|69||Rachel Schneider||21:05.3||↓ 15||49|
|99||Madeline Chambers||21:18.9||↓ 33||72|
It looks like we have the answer to one of those old hypothetical questions. The cross country equivalent of “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it make a noise” has been answered. “What if some team just went out and got in amazing position, particularly in the mud, wouldn’t they just hold on?” No. But there’s no shame in going for it.
Waldo Wetmore? What’s Different About This Picture?
Did you play Where’s Waldo as a kid? If so, you’ll likely excel at this task. Take a look at the podium celebrations of the eight podium teams from NCAAs?
Do you notice anything different about the Colorado men’s team picture on the left as compared to the others?
Look closely (click for a larger image).
#3 Ok. State
We noticed something.
Colorado’s picture is the only one where the head coach – in this case Mark Wetmore – is nowhere to be seen.
Not sure if it’s part of a plan to build the Wetmore mystique but we certainly thought it was worth pointing out.
In his dealings with the press, Wetmore also deflected attention from his role in the championship as he had this to say about #1 man Ben Saarel, who was eighth as a freshman:
“Ben (Saarel) was one of the best high school runners in American just six months ago. We knew he was a big talent, but the NCAA Cross County Championship is a killer race with a lot of mature, developed young men. For him to be eighth overall is indicative of his talent. I don’t think it would be fair for us to take a whole lot of credit for what he’s done in only three months, but he is going to be one of the major runners for us over the next four years if we all make good decisions.”
Speaking of Wetmore. Before NCAAs, we were talking to LetsRun.com’s good friend and author of Running With The Buffaloes (which was about Wetmore’s 1998 Colorado team), Chris Lear. We asked him what we he thought of our pre-race interview with Wetmore where Wetmore gave comical answers. His reply, “That was hilarious. I wish I could bet on this race as I’d put a lot down on the Buffs as that means he’s confident.”
Ben Saarel – Dathan Ritzenhein and Adam Goucher 2.0?
Speaking of Saarel, LetsRun.com has been leading the Saarel is a special talent bandwagon for the last six months.
Clearly, he is a special talent but Wetmore at least deserves some credit for having him come through on the big stage. There were two Americans ahead of Saarel at Foot Lockers last year – Sean McGorty and Jake Leingang. Where did they finish at NCAAs this year? Well McGorty was 161s for Stanford and Leingang was 149th for Oregon. The jump from the high school to the collegiate ranks is a big one.
Now that Saarel has backed up our faith in him, we thought it was worth comparing him to other great superstars Mark Wetmore has guided at Colorado:
Place at NCAA Cross Country As A Freshman/Eventual Achievements
2nd – Adam Goucher (1993) -NCAA XC Champ, 2000 Olympican: 3:36, 13:10, 27:59
4th – Dathan Rizenhein (2001) – NCAA XC Champ, 3 Time Olympian: 12:56, 27:22, 60:00, 2:07:45
8th – Ben Saarel (2013): ??
47th – Jorge Torres (1997): NCAA XC Champ, 2008 Olympian, 13:20/27:42
109th – Brent Vaughn (2003): 13:18/27:40/62:04
Yes, as freshmen, Goucher and Ritzenhein placed higher than Saarel did this year. But if there was such a thing as a track and field GM and there was a draft of those five after their freshman year as they were going pro early, we can easily make the case that Saarel is your pick based on upside.
Why? Because he’s got a lethal kick. He regularly closed high school races in under 55 and ran 4:02 in the mile in high school. Dathan Ritzhenhein, arguably the greatest prep harrier in US history and one of the all-time US distance greats, has still never broken 4:00 in the mile.
Ritz, Jorge Torres, and Brent Vaughn never won an NCAA title on the track. Their flaw? No big-time wheels.
And experience has shown us, with all due respect to the many great coaches out there, there is one thing you can’t develop and that’s big-time speed. If you are struggling to break four in college, you are going to struggle big-time on the last lap in Europe. Now, Galen Rupp is the one big time exception to this rule. But we’d much rather already have great speed than try to be the second person we know of to develop it age 22+.
One more thing about Saarel. Guess where the Buffs would have finished without him? Third.
It helps big-time to have a low, low stick up front.
A Heck of A Career
NC State’s Andrew Colley was seventh in Terre Haute, a fantastic way for the American to end his collegiate xc career. Three times Colley was top 20 at NCAAs but he’s never received a ton of publicity because this was his first top 10 finish (15th in 2011, 16th in 2012).
Can We Run It Again?
The 2013 NCAAs didn’t go swimmingly for everyone. There were 7 men and 7 women who were in the top 5 of their region but not in the top 100 at NCAAs. We’re sure the following people would love to run the meet again:
|Athlete||School||Regional Place||National Place|
|Kristina Aubert||Arkansas State||2nd||124th|
There were certainly others that didn’t have their best days. UNC Greensboro’s Paul Chelimo was picked 5th in the LetsRun fans polls for good reason. He was 10th last year and also was the NCAA 5000 runner-up. However, he had an off day in Terre Haute and ended up 82nd.
Oklahoma State’s Joseph Manilafasha, who was 24th last year, had been up and down all year and he had a down day in Terre Haute as he was just 211th. However, even a win by Manilafasha wouldn’t have given the Cowboys the win as that would only have reduced their score by 73 points and Colorado won by 81.
Weekly Free Coaching Advice – Don’t Wear Costumes To 2014 NCAA Cross Country Banquet
Annually, one of the highlights of the week at the NCAA Cross Country Championships is the pre-race banquet where sports elite strut their stuff in their finest clothes. At this year’s banquet, we loved the looks sported by Tulsa’s Chris O”Hare and Texas Tech’s Kennedy Kithuka. O’Hare paid homage to his Scottish roots and Kithuka to Texas Tech’s Western roots.
Then the races came and both underperformed. Kithuka lost for the first and only time during his collegiate cross country career and O’Hare was just 50th.
The Conditions In Terre Haute Were Very Fast……At Least Compared To 2006
The course was very wet and the wind was pretty stiff in Terre Haute at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championshps. However, the course was running way faster than it did in 2006 when Josh Rohatinksy of BYU won. In 2006, Rohatinksy’s winning time was 30:44.9. In Terre Haute this year, Edward Cheserek ran 29:41.1 for 9890 meters. Even if you add on 20 seconds because the start line was moved up 110 meters so the runners could start in a semi-dry area, Cheserek’s time of 30:01 is still way faster than what Rohatinsky ran in 2006.
Winning Times in Terre Haute, Indiana:
2002 Jorge Torres, Colorado, 29:04.7
2004 Simon Bairu, Wisconsin, 30:37.7
2005 Simon Bairu, Wisconsin, 29:15.9
2006 Josh Rohatinsky, BYU, 30:44.9
2007 Josh McDougal, Liberty, 29:22.4
2008 Galen Rupp, Oregon, 29:03.2
2009 Samuel Chelanga, Liberty, 28:41.3
2010 Samuel Chelanga, Liberty, 29:22.2
2011 Lawi Lalang, Arizona, 28:44.1
2013 Edward Cheserek, Oregon, 30:01* (extrapolated from 29:41.1* for 9890 meters)
Proof That Life’s Not Fair
Hopefully by now, you have read Doug Binder‘s fantastic profile of North Carolina state champion Kayla Montgomery who is a state champion despite having multiple sclerosis and not being able to feel her legs when running.
After reading the profile, we thought to ourselves, “If she makes Foot Locker finals, some national news organization like CBS should do a piece on her.” So on Saturday we logged on to the Foot Locker cc site to see how she finished. 10 make it in every region and she finished 11th? Say it ain’t so.
The good news is an autistic boy did make it to NXN: MB: Autistic High Schooler Qualifies for NXN. Sub-4 miler Liam Boylan-Pett has written a great profile of Mikey Brannigan, the 2013 NY NXN individual champion.
Quote of the Week (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)
“I remember the 2008 Olympics, when I got my edition of Runner’s World or something and was looking through all these people — you know, Dathan Ritzenhein and Alan Webb and Ryan Hall. People I knew personally in high school. And just had this flash of thinking about their lives, and was like, I would hate for my life to be running and eating and sleeping, and having these races. … If you want to be a really successful runner, that’s all you do.”
– former high school phenom Amber Trotter talking in a fantastic article on her by Phil Barber in the Press Democrat. Barber caught up with Trotter 12 years after her Foot Locker nationals win.
Trotter, who was home schooled until ninth grade, says she had trouble making friends and realized she could gain acceptance through running and realized according to Barber that “she could run faster (at least for a while) if she starved herself. ”
We highly recommend you read the article. Trotter now tries to live her life according to the ideals espoused by theologian Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
A Quick History Lesson
On November 22nd, the country remembered the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy‘s assasination. On November 23rd, the 51st JFK 50 Mile race was held in Maryland.
Many of you may not know the history of the race. Well the Baltimore Sun has you covered: In its 51st year, JFK 50 Mile race keeps competitors coming back. Despite the name of the race, we bet many of you don’t realize the race was started in March of 1963 (8 months before Kennedy’s assasinaton) by Kennedy as one of many nationwide used to inspire the troops:
President John F. Kennedy created the original race as a challenge to military officers to meet a fitness requirement that President Theodore Roosevelt expected of his officers — being able to travel 50 miles on foot in 20 hours.
The “Kennedy challenge” led to the creation of 50-mile events nationwide, but the Western Maryland race, which is open to the public, was the only one that continued to be held every year after Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
Other Action of Note
- Sam Chelanga Wins 77th Manchester Road Race As Aaron Braun Is 2nd And Donn Cabral 4thFormer NCAA mile champ Miles Batty was 9th. Kenyan Alice Kamuny won the women’s race as Desi Davila was 5th and Lisa Uhl 9th.
- David Torrence And Kim Conley Win Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5K Torrence won in 13:34 as Diego Estrada was 2nd in 13:38. Leonard Korir and Shadrack Biowott were 3-4; Alan Webb was 7th (13:56). Conley won in 15:29 over Sally Kipyego (15:37), Brie Felnagle (15:44.5) and Betsy Saina (15:44.7).
- David McNeill Wins Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Run, Beating Fernado Cabada By 1 Second McNeill won the 4-miler in 18:49. Recent Adams State graduate and DII All-American Kristen Arendt won the women’s race in 21:57. Olympic marathon trials 12th placer Wendy Thomas was 4th.
- Lukas Verzbicas Wins O’Side Turkey Trot 5-Mile In 25:16Verzbicas talked about trying to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in both the triathlon and either the 5K or 10K on the track. He said, “Triathlons are my focus now. But, down the road, running is my love and my future.”
- Stephen Sambu Sets New Long Island 5K Record To Win Oyster Bay Turkey Trot
Questions? Comments? Email us.
Quotes Of The Day & Last Week’s Homepages:
Note: To see a particular day’s homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date. The hyperlink below the date on the quotes will take you to that particular article – not that day’s homepage.
“I shouldn’t have taken off like that. I was shooting for time so I wanted to shave the pack down to five or people, but I ended up spending everything there. That was a truly painful race. I have to try harder in the future.”
– Yuki Kawauchi, amazingly still disappointed after his third sub-2:10 marathon (and tenth overall) of the year. Kawauchi made a bold move and got a 10-second lead just past halfway, but faded to third place with 2:09:05.
“I really enjoyed a lot of what Duke had to offer, and was extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend such a prestigious school on a scholarship. That being said, I took issue with elements of the Duke undergrad culture, which I don’t think always created a healthy atmosphere on campus especially for young women. The Greek life (frats and sororities) is extremely visible, and there are very pervasive expectations about how students should act (dress, speak, conduct themselves) based on gender. By the end of my time at Duke, I thought that if I saw one more poster for an on-campus frat party with a ‘pimps and hoes’ or ‘bosses and slutty secretaries’ theme, I would lose my mind. This was just one example of the kind of daily, in-your-face sexism that was very hard to escape.”
– Kate Van Buskirk, collegiate record holder in the 1k and 2013 Canadian WC team member, talking about her experience at Duke. *Discuss this Kate Van Buskirk thread in our forum.
“I’ve been working extremely hard for this race since June 1st, and it’s all coming together. I’ve been dreaming of being a top marathoner my whole career but when I got to the point where I had to change training to move to the longer distance which results in sacrificing obvious opportunities on the track, support structures didn’t cater for it.”
“And this really complicated why I was doing it. No longer for the love of the sport, but I had to feed myself. So basically, this year I’ve gone back to simplifying things. John McDonnell as my coach and mentor. And just loving what I do on a day to day basis. Physically I am well prepared, mentally I am focused and excited for the task ahead on Sunday.”
– Ireland’s Alistair Cragg talking ahead of tomorrow’s Fukuoka Marathon. Cragg has tried the marathon twice and twice DNFed, but says he’s been extremely focused on this race and is hoping to go sub-2:10 and maybe take a shot at the Irish national record of 2:09:15.
– Prep runner Kayla Montgomery talking about the difficulties of trying to race with multiple sclerosis, which causes her not to be able to feel her legs and collapse at the end of every race. Montgomery won the North Carolina State Meet and will try to qualify for Foot Locker tomorrow at the Foot Locker South Regional.
“I had an ex-girlfriend … I’m still thinking about what she told me. She told me this: She said, ‘Fernando, 30 years from now, nobody is going to remember you.’ I remember, we were in an ice cream shop and I walked out of that ice cream shop. I was mad and I didn’t know what to say. … Parts of me want to keep in it [running] just to prove her wrong …”
“I’m kind of disappointed and not as enthusiastic about my future as I should be. I just think over the years of being injured and having disappointments, have humbled me to not think too crazy about it. Dreams are good, I guess. Dreams are free and they keep me going, but I’m just really in tune right now with what I think I can do. I just don’t know if it’s good enough to last the 30 years. I don’t believe if I run 2:09, that that is going to last 30 years.”
“I can work hard all I want, but maybe I’ll never achieve that. If that helps me to keep going then I guess it was a success. I guess whatever it takes, right? Whether or not we are trying to prove a phantom wrong or something like that. … I think it doesn’t matter who you are trying to prove wrong – whether it’s real or not, if that’s what it takes. … I think a lot of us think that way. We want to prove somebody wrong, but we don’t even know who that person is.”
– Fernando Cabada talking about his career and the unlikelihood of being remembered for it in 30 years. This is a long interview with Cabada, but worth a read if you have some down time on Thanksgiving as he talks about living on a small budget, today’s drug culture and why he’d never dope, and how he spent “40 or more hours a week” on LetsRun when he was in college.
British Athletics are due to announce that they plan to enlist the help of Alberto Salazar – the super-coach who turns also-rans into world-beaters – to consult on middle and long distance coaching in the UK. But, in an age when artificial performance is such a prominent topic of debate, how much do we really know about Mr. Salazar and his attitudes towards drugs in sport? …
He is directly quoted as saying that not a single member of his group would ever ‘test positive for anything. No way in the world,’ Salazar conveniently forgot that one of his athletes in the past did return a positive test – Mary Decker cited birth control pills for her failed test in 1996 but was never wholly exonerated …
– UK writer James Fairbourn, writing on eightlane.org how he’s not convinced getting Alberto Salazar‘s help is a good thing in an article titled, “Careful what you wish for: Why getting into bed with Salazar mightn’t be such great news.”
“The surgeon told my family I wouldn’t walk again, but thankfully no one told me that. After I had a little twitch in my legs, I decided if my legs can move that much, then I will not just run but I will be better than I was before. I am feeling better running now and know I have just a little ways to getting back to full strength. I will get there …”
“I will be running for the win. I am still coming back from my spinal cord injury last year and am in a heavy training block right now. I am very excited to run alongside 10,000 of my fellow Southern Californians for my first Thanksgiving down here in San Diego.”
– Lukas Verzbicas talking about his comeback from his spinal cord injury and racing at this Thursday’s Oceanside Turkey Trot in San Diego.
Questions? Comments? Email us.