Collis Birmingham Stuns Galen Rupp; Centro Cruises; Elijah Greer Beats Robby Andrews at His Own Game; Dan Huling 8:17

May 16, 2014

Below we recap the men’s action at the 2014 USATF High Performance Distance Classic (Oxy High Performance Meet) which took place late Thursday night in LA.

Women’s recap here: 2014 Oxy Women: Brenda Martinez Edges Maggie Vessey as Both Break 2:00; Shannon Rowbury Wins as Jordan Hasay PRs; Kate Van Buskirk PRs.

Men’s 5000: Collis Birmingham Takes Down Galen Rupp

Given the fact that coach Alberto Salazar said a super-fast time shouldn’t be expected and given the fact that the men’s 5000 was run in temperatures that were still over 80 degrees at 10:40 pm, it wasn’t a big surprise that the winning time was ‘just’ 13:18.57.

However, the fact that the winner of the race was Australia’s Collis Birmingham and not America’s Galen Rupp was a stunner.

Birmingham outkicked Rupp over the final 150 to finish off a 55.44 last lap to get the win as the Olympic 10,000 silver medallist Rupp ended up second in 13:19.59 (56.66 last lap) and Olympic 1,500 silver medallist Nick Willis was third in 13:20.33 (55.99 last lap).

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“I normally go a little bit too early and die in the homestretch. It’s good to do something different and get the win,” said the 29-year old Birmingham, who has pbs of 13:09.57 and 27:29.73 on the track, after the race on “Obviously Galen has had loads of great races – so any race where you can match up with him means you had a great race so I’m pleased.”

Collis Birmingham takes down Galen Rupp Collis Birmingham takes down Galen Rupp

The Race

The race started with a 4:17 first 1600 before Aaron Braun, who ended up running 13:33, hit 3k in the lead in 8:09.94 (65.34 per lap). The pace then started to increase.

With three laps to go (10:19.39 leader), the lead pack was down to seven. With two laps to go (11:23.85), Will Leer (ended up fifth in 13:23.94) had the lead but the top seven were still very closely bunched.

Rupp, as he often does, made his move 600 meters out from the finish. The only one to respond immediately to Rupp was Birmingham.

A lap later, it was clearly a two person race. Rupp led around the final turn, but Birmingham would not be dropped. Halfway around the turn, it was Birmingham seizing the lead from Rupp. Could Rupp respond? No. Rupp glanced back over his shoulder to see who was behind him. Clearly beaten half-way down the homestretch, Rupp again looked over his shoulder and realized he had second sewn up and let up as he came home. Birmingham was your upset winner.

Quick Thought #1: Birmingham’s Win a Big Surprise: Birmingham, who in addition to his 13:09 5000 pb also was 8th at World Cross in 2013, clearly is a great runner but this result was a huge upset. If he were American, it would sort of be the equivalent of Ben True taking down Rupp prior to this year as coming into the season True and Birmingham’s PRs were very similar (13:09/27:29 for Birmingham, 13:11/27:41 for True) and True was 6th at World Cross last year, Birmingham 8th. Rupp ran 13:01.26 indoors this year in his first race, so there was not the expectation that he wouldn’t open up well here.

Birmingham comes up on Rupp on final turn Birmingham comes up on Rupp on final turn

Quick Take #2: A PR for Willis: 13:20.33 was a new pb for Willis. His previous pb dated to his collegiate days when in 2005 he was third in the NCAA 5000 in 13:27.54 behind Stanford teammates Ryan Hall and Ian Dobson who both ran 13:22.

Quick Take #3: The heat took its toll on most guys in this field as only five guys broke 13:30 and only seven broken 13:40. Case in point, we were watching 13:11 man Bobby Curtis closely as he was running up front for the first 3k. At 3k, he was in second. A lap later he wasn’t even in the top 12. The 13:11 man ended up eighth in 13:46.09.

MB Reaction: *Collis MF Birmingham- outkicks Rupp at Oxy HP 5K!
*Yes or no: Did you enjoy it when you saw Birmingham blow by Rupp??

*Race video

Event 8  Men 5000 Meter Run
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  Points
  1 Birmingham, Collis           Melbourne Tr          13:18.57        
  2 Rupp, Galen                  Nike Oregon Project   13:19.59        
  3 Willis, Nick                 adidas                13:20.33        
  4 Abdi, Bashir                 Topsport Vlaanderen   13:20.61        
  5 Leer, Will                   Nike                  13:23.94        
  6 Braun, Aaron                 adidas                13:33.12        
  7 Osako, Suguru                Jpn-Nissin Foods      13:39.10
Birmingham leads with 100 to go Birmingham leads with 100 to go
 8 Curtis, Robert               Hansons-Broo          13:46.09        
  9 Robinson, Brett              Melbourne Tr          13:46.33        
 10 Okello, Tonny                Santa Monica          13:46.52        
 11 Batt, Kevin                  Adams State           13:51.64        
 12 Blankenship, Ben             Nike Otc Elite        13:54.64        
 13 Finan, Eric                  Team Usa Mn/Saucony   13:59.06        
 14 Pollock, Paul                Melbourne Tr          14:07.89        
 15 Peterson, Jonathan           Team Usa Mn/Brooks    14:08.79        
 16 Lowry, Dan                   Playmakers E          14:10.47        
 17 See, Jeff                    Saucony               14:12.05        
 18 Hicks, Malcolm               Nike New Zealand      14:15.08        
 19 Robertson, Jake              Athletics Ne          14:20.31        
 20 Hanrahan, Mark               Melbourne Tr          14:35.80        
 21 Smith, Scott                 Northern Ari          14:54.66        
 -- Borrego, Diego Alberto       Uaz                        DNF

Steeple: Dan Huling Breaks 8:20.00 For First Time Since 2010

American Dan Huling was fantastic in the men’s steeple on Thursday night. Running in temps that were in the neighborhood of 90 degrees (the men’s steeple was the second race of the night), Huling ran his best time in nearly four years as he won going away in a new meet record of 8:17.00.

A Happy Dan Huling A Happy Dan Huling

Quick Take #1: A fantastic run for Huling, who hadn’t broken 8:20 since July 16, 2010. Huling ran 8:13 in 2009 and 8:14 in 2010 but had been over 8:20 ever since. After the race Huling said he was disappointed coach Jerry Schumacher wouldn’t let him run the 5000 at Payton Jordan a few weeks back as he wanted to try to break his 5000 pb, but the focus on this race clearly paid off big time.

“I haven’t broken 8:20 for 4 years so it’s been frustrating so it was a good race for me. I’m finally feeling good in the steeple for the first time – for whatever reason – in a while,” said Huling on the broadcast after the race. “I actually was a little bit disappointed Jerry wouldn’t let me run at 5k at Stanford. I was in PR shape.”

Only four Americans have ever broken 8:10.00 in the steeple but it’s hard to think after this one that Huling doesn’t have REAL good odds of doing that later this summer. Of course, it’s easier said than done. In this race, it certainly was a great help to have his American record holding teammate, Evan Jager, take him through on perfect pace for a sub-8:20 clocking until just two laps remained.

Screenshot 2014-05-15 at 19.57.36Quick Take #2: The meet record before tonight belonged to 2012 Olympic finalist Donn Cabral who ran his 8:19.14 pb here in 2012. Cabral was scheduled to run this race but was a scratch because of calf soreness. Cabral, who struggled mightily in 2012, has been in great form so far this year as he ran 5:00.19 for 2000 indoors and then ran a huge 5000 pb of 13:22.19 at Payton Jordan earlier this month (previous pb of 13:40).

Quick Take #3: 2013 US World Championship team member DeSean Turner was running in the lead pack until he seemed to hyper-extend his knee when landing after the water jump with 2.5 laps to go.

*Race Video

Event 2  Men 3000 Meter Steeplechase
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  Points   
Section  1                                                                
  1 Huling, Dan                  Nike                   8:17.00           
  2 Forys, Craig                 Nyac                   8:26.30           
  3 Hughes, Matt                 Nike                   8:29.65           
  4 Milne, Taylor                Speed River            8:31.43           
  5 Winter, Chris                Speed River            8:36.83           
  6 Bor, Hillary                 Adp                    8:38.42           
  7 Mahoney, Travis              Njnytc                 8:40.35           
  8 Ibarra, Luis                 Unattached             8:41.70           
  9 Mullett, Rob                 Saucony                9:05.19           
 -- Turner, De'Sean              Team Indiana Elite         DNF           
 -- Genest, Alex                 Speed River                DNF           
Section  2                                                                
  1 Gunn, Luke                   Asics                  8:35.45           
  2 Brockerville, Ryan           Canada                 8:37.65           
  3 Stevens, Tabor               Adams State            8:39.20           
  4 Draper, Mark                 New Balance/TIE        8:40.48           
  5 Dulhanty, Chris              Speed River            8:41.84           
  6 Hardy, Mike                  Unattached             8:50.64           
  7 Goodman, David               NE Distance            8:52.50           
  8 Romo, Jesus                  Nbsv                   8:53.14           
  9 Ricks, Trevor                Unattached             8:53.93           
 10 Jordan, Michael              University o           8:54.33

Men’s 1500: Centrowitz Cruises As More Than Half The Field PRs Led By Pat Casey

Centrowitz pulls away in the final 50 Centrowitz start to pull away in the final 50

Full of confidence after a recent 13:20 5000 pb at Stanford, two-time world 1500 medallist Matthew Centrowitz ran aggressively early in the men’s 1500 on Thursday night as he was right on the heels of the rabbits in the men’s 1500. He then got passed by a few people in the pack once the rabbits departed before finding the great kick which has served him so well over the years as he led throughout the final 200 and got the win in 3:35.44.

The guy finishing second wasn’t upset that he lost at all. In fact, he was pumping his fists before he even crossed the finish line, and for good reason. Former Montana and Oklahoma star Pat Casey ran a massive pb of 3:35.95 to get second (previous pb of 3:40.04 for 1500, 3:56.28 for the mile). Australian national record holder Ryan Gregson, who is still just 24 but has been struggling in recent years, was an encouraging third in 3:36.17.

BU’s Rich Peters was eighth in 3:38.83, becoming the second collegian to break 3:39 this year (Brannon Kidder leads the NCAA at 3:38.82).

McNamara Impresses
As was the case in the men’s 800, we believe meet organizers tried to make the first two heats roughly equal in terms of ability, but it certainly didn’t play out that way as heat two was much slower. One guy who said before the race he wanted to be in heat #1 was Jordan McNamara, who ran 3:34.00 last year.

McNamara proved in heat two that he should have been in heat one as he ran with the rabbits early, before finding himself boxed in and in about fifth with 100 to go. Once he found an opening, he was much better than everyone else as he won heat two in 3:37.39.

Post-race Reaction

Centro was pleased to get the convincing win in heat 1.

“This is a great opportunity (to run fast) before the Pre Classic. I know our team is going to run really well there,” said Centrowitz after the race on referring to his Nike Oregon Project teammates. (Centro will not be a part of Team USA running at the World Relays championships next week). “It’s awesome to come out with the win.”

“(My 13:20 pb in the 5k) shows I’m very strong this time of year. That let me know I can go out hard with the rabbit and not worry about dying. I’m stronger than I am sharp (right now) and didn’t want to wait until the end.”

McNamara was happy to win as well and to get out of the box. “I just wanted to get up there (early). I’m not used to running in the front like that, but I knew I had a good finish and just needed to put myself in the thick of it. With 100 to go, it was getting a little dicey, but my patience paid off.”

Quick Thought #1: Centro Is in Fine Form, McNamara Ready: A good win for Centro and McNamara and a huge pb for Casey. Casey wasn’t the only guy in heat one setting a pb. Seven of the 13 guys in heat 1 set a new pb. We’ve done the research. See all of the pbs in the results below (note we didn’t do the research for heat 2 as we think it’s a lot less).

Jordan McNamara celebrates early Jordan McNamara celebrates early

Quick Thought #2: A Little Trash Talking On the Track and on Twitter: McNamara celebrated is heat two win by putting his arms out wide before he crossed the line. For us, the show of emotion was fun to watch and appropriate given he felt he was slighted by being in heat #2. Guys celebrate touchdowns in the NFL, why can’t runners celebrate wins in track and field? Sub-27:00 runner Chris Solinsky didn’t like it though as he tweeted out, “Enough with the showboating……..Just finish and walk away” which drew a response from Irish 1500 runner Ciaran O’Lionaird who tweeted a picture of Solinsky with his arms out wide after he set the American record in the 10,000.

Quick Thought #3: 20-year old Brit Charlie Grice continues to impress. His pb is now 3:36 at age 18. He ran a 3:57 mile at age 18.

Hassan Mead backed up his 5000 pr at Stanford with a 1500m pr here.

*Race Video

Event 6  Men 1500 Meter Run
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  Points   
Section  1                                                                
  1 Centrowitz, Matthew          Nike Oregon Project    3:35.44           
  2 Casey, Pat                   Nike Otc Elite         3:35.95 PB (previous 3:40.04)           
  3 Gregson, Ryan                Melbourne Tr           3:36.17           
  4 Grice, Charlie               Nike UK                3:36.31 PB (previous 3:38.13)         
  5 Heath, Garrett               Brooks Beast           3:36.88           
  6 Hill, Ryan                   Nike Bowerman TC       3:37.10 PB (previous 3:38.36)         
  7 Mead, Hassan                 Nike Otc Elite         3:38.72 PB (previous 3:41.03)          
  8 Peters, Richard              UK                     3:38.83           
  9 Gowell, Chris                Adidas/Rogue AC        3:39.08 PB (previous (3:39.29)        
 10 Bishop, David                GB                     3:39.27           
 11 Schmitz, Tommy               Speed Factor           3:39.61 PB (previous 3:39.90)          
 12 Stockberger, Danny           Team Indiana Elite     3:39.79 PB (previous 3:40.61)          
 13 Gonzalez, Christian          Njnytc                 3:41.36           
Section  2                                                                
  1 McNamara, Jordan             Nike Otc Elite         3:37.39           
  2 Robinson, Paul               Melbourne Tr           3:37.81           
  3 Matthews, Julian             New Zealand            3:38.20           
  4 Brannen, Nate                Saucony                3:38.36           
  5 Levins, Cam                  Nike Oregon Project    3:38.46           
  6 Philibert-Thiboutot, Cha     Laval (Canada)         3:38.55           
  7 Palmer, Ford                 Njnytc                 3:38.58           
  8 Carson, Hamish               New Zealand            3:39.63           
  9 Masters, Riley               Brooks                 3:39.71           
 10 Boylan-Pett, Liam            Njnytc                 3:40.30           
 11 Jordanek, Tony               Brooks - Team Ohio     3:40.40           
Section  3                                                                
  1 Herrera, Daniel              Unattached             3:43.25           
  2 Ferris, Dylan                Nbsv                   3:44.29           
  3 Gauson, Kris                 Unattached             3:44.38           
  4 Alex, George                 Zap Fitness/Reebok     3:44.57           
  5 Esparza, Jesus               Tec de Monterrey       3:44.91           
  6 Terry, Darius                Unattached             3:45.36           
  7 Ripley, Ryan                 Red Rock Run           3:46.12           
  8 McGregor, Patrick            Slalom/NJNYTC          3:46.61           
  9 Coghlan, John                Nyac                   3:47.35           
 -- Edwards, Jake                Columbus Run               DNF

Men’s 800: Elijah Greer Beats Robby Andrews At His Own Game

Elijah Greer Elijah Greer

When he was running collegiately for two years for UVA, there rarely was no stopping the late kick of Robby Andrews. Tonight, with a little more than 150 meters to go, Andrews turned on the jets and quickly moved to the lead. One small problem, 2013 NCAA indoor and outdoor champ Elijah Greer was also turning on his jets just behind Andrews and coming on even faster.

Greer showed he’s improved a lot from his first two years in college when he was no match to Andrews’ lethal kick as Greer kicked by Andrews and everyone else in the first heat to get the win in 1:45.86. Andrews ended up third in 1:46.37 as former VMI runer Felix Kitur got second in 1:46.09.

We believe the second heat was supposed to be equal in strength to the first but the times were much slower. In the end, 2013 indoor World Championship team member Mike Rutt got the best of his NY/NJ teammate Ben Sheetz, the former DIII star for Amherst, 1:47.21 to 1:47.26.

Post-Race Reaction

“I definitely was a little bit nervous before this meet, but coach (Mark) Rowland is a great coach and great tactitioner,” said Greer on after the race, which we believe was his 2014 opener. “When I get on the line, I want to win every race. I want to show them I’m the best guy out there. That’s what I did so I’m happy.”

“When I saw him (Andrews) move, I knew it was a good one but I had a better one.”

Mike Rutt Mike Rutt

Rutt was happy to get the win in heat 2 and is very excited to represent the US for the second time ever next week at the inaugural World Relays Championships. Rutt realizes the US has a chance for gold.

“It’s incredible. To wear the US flag is a dream that I’ve always had as a runner. To be able to do it now – for the second time – it’s just great to be able to represent the country,’ said Rutt. “We’re going there to win. The US is arguably one of the best middle distance countries in the world so I don’t know why we can’t go there and get the gold medal.”

Gold isn’t impossible. Kenya is the favorite, but the US has a strong team.

Quick Thought #1: It’s too bad they couldn’t select the US World Relays team after today’s meet, as Elijah Greer is likely the #2 or #3 in the US right now, and he won’t be on the US team. Duane Solomon who has run 11:43.88 this year is #1, Erik Sowinski who has run 1:44.58 (also not running World Relays) might be #2 but it might be Greer. Today, at least, Greer was clearly better than both Andrews.

MB Reaction: *800 craziness – Elijah Greer pulls an Andrews and outkicks Andrews
*Race Video

Event 4  Men 800 Meter Run
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  Points   
Section  1                                                                
  1 Greer, Elijah                Nike Otc Elite         1:45.86           
  2 Kitur, Felix                 Santa Monica           1:46.09           
  3 Andrews, Robby               Adidas/NJNYTC          1:46.37           
  4 Rogestedt, Johan             Stenungsund            1:46.64           
  5 Eichberger, James            Unattached             1:46.77           
  6 Murray, Declan               Njnytc                 1:46.83           
  7 Gagnon, Brian                Njnytc                 1:47.17           
  8 Harris, Geoff                Halifast Nik           1:49.22           
Section  2                                                                
  1 Rutt, Mike                   Hoka One One           1:47.21           
  2 Scheetz, Ben                 Njnytc                 1:47.26           
  3 Hilbert, Gabriel             Unattached             1:47.52           
  4 Martin, Ryan                 Asics                  1:47.70           
  5 Romaniw, Anthony             Speed River            1:47.88           
  6 Gilreath, James              Team Green Running     1:48.02           
  7 Lumax, Selasi                Njnytc                 1:48.39           
  8 Rimmer, Michael              Nike                   1:48.42           
  9 Emmen, Tetlo                 Brooks I.D.            1:49.77           
Section  3                                                                
  1 Riva, Thomas                 University o           1:48.50           
  2 Burkstrand, Travis           Team Usa MN            1:48.72           
  3 Husted, Mark                 Brooks I.D.            1:50.28           
  4 Bilbrew, Chris               Team Green Running     1:50.56           
  5 White, Sadiki                Njnytc                 1:51.47           
  6 Yokota, Masato               Fujitsu                1:51.57

Women’s recap here: 2014 Oxy Women: Brenda Martinez Edges Maggie Vessey as Both Break 2:00; Shannon Rowbury Wins as Jordan Hasay PRs; Kate Van Buskirk PRs.

Screenshot 2014-05-15 at 22.55.49 Screenshot 2014-05-15 at 22.54.50

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