July 22, 2014
The 2014 World Junior Championships got underway this afternoon in Eugene, Ore., and there were two mid-distance events on the schedule: the semifinals of the men’s 1,500, featuring Americans Patrick Joseph (Virginia Tech) and Foot Locker/adidas Dream Mile champ Grant Fisher, and the first round of the women’s 800, featuring Raevyn Rogers (TX HS, headed to Oregon in Fall) and Sabrina Southerland (Georgetown). Recaps and results below.
Men’s 1500 Semis
The men were up first and the first heat contained Grant Fisher, the part-time soccer player who last fall became only the second American boy to win Foot Locker nationals as a junior.
There was a lot of pushing and shoving early in this one but things settled down after the first turn and 400 was passed in a very quick 58.96 seconds. Leading the way was Kenyan Jonathan Sawe, trailed by Ethiopia’s Arewgawi Berhane, Sweden’s William Levay and Fisher. The second lap slowed, but only slightly, as Sawe hit 800 in 2:00.28 with the order the same behind him. Fisher was on the outside of Sawe and Berhane, well-positioned to move.
However, the hot pace began to take its toll on Fisher at that point and with 600 to go he was second-to-last. At the bell, Sawe, Berhane and Levay still led but Fisher had been gapped by the main pack and was fading.
On the backstretch, Berhane also began to feel the effect of the pace and started to slow down as Slovenia’s Jan Petrac made a big move up to second place. Sawe began to pull away over the final turn and had a comfortable gap by the home stretch and won by nearly two full seconds in 3:41.35. Petrac won the battle for second (3:43.15) over Levay (3:43.28) while Berhane faded all the way to eighth (3:46.47).
The top three in each of the three heats qualified automatically to Thursday’s final with the next three fastest on time also advancing. Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa (3:43.44), Morocco’s Hassan Ghachoui (3:45.01) and Germany’s Julius Lawnik (3:45.22) were the beneficiaries of Sawe’s quick pace up front as all three time qualifiers would come from this heat. Fisher crossed in ninth (3:49.62) and was never in contention during the final lap.
“Difficult. Very difficult,” Fisher said to Chris Lotsbom after the race in between sips of water, referencing both his race and the constant jostling faced mid-contest. “That’s how it goes. It’s international racing, definitely different than anything you get in the States. Everyone here is competitive and the best in their country. Going in you have to expect that stuff and today my response wasn’t the greatest.”
Quick Take #1: Fisher went out too hard and paid for it early on.
Sawe has run 3:38 for 1500 and was clearly ready to run fast, taking it out in 58.96 for the first lap. That proved to be too big of an ask for Fisher and Berhane, both of whom ran with Sawe for the first two laps but faded badly at the end. Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back it might have made more sense for Fisher to go out more conservatively and kick at the end rather than trying to stay with Sawe the entire time even though Fisher was in a stronger tactical position near the front. But that sort of decision can be difficult to make in real time.
Fisher just finished his junior year and will still be eligible for the next World Juniors in 2016 where ideally he will be able to learn from his experience here and make the final.
|1||982||Jonathan Kiplimo SAWE||KEN||3:41.35 Q||SB|
|2||1330||Jan PETRAC||SLO||3:43.15 Q||NJR|
|3||1391||William LEVAY||SWE||3:43.28 Q||PB|
|4||837||Yemaneberhan CRIPPA||ITA||3:43.44 q||PB|
|5||1040||Hassan GHACHOUI||MAR||3:45.01 q|
|6||706||Julius LAWNIK||GER||3:45.22 q|
Heat 2 went out more conservatively with the Czech Republic’s Filip Sasinek taking the field through 400 in 62.33 seconds. They slowed down even more over the next lap, passing 800 in 2:07.37 with Australia’s Jack Stapleton leading Sasinek, the Netherlands’ Roy van Eekelen and the rest of a tightly-bunched field. Stapleton began to push the pace and on the back stretch of the final lap, Brazil’s Thiago Andre took over and opened a gap on the field. As the runners hit the home stretch, it was clear that Andre would get the win, but with Heat 1 going so fast, the battle was on for the last two auto qualifiers.
In the end, it was France’s Alexis Miellet and van Eekelen prevailing in a three-way battle that also included Canada’s Mike Tate (who runs for Southern Utah, just as fellow Canadian Cam Levins did). Tate looked like he was going to grab the third spot but van Eekelen surged over the final 50 meters and was just able to hold off Tate at the line, sending the Canadian home.
|1||277||Thiago ANDRÈ||BRA||3:47.68 Q|
|2||611||Alexis MIELLET||FRA||3:48.48 Q|
|3||1097||Roy VAN EEKELEN||NED||3:48.51 Q|
|1019||Hamza AL HADI||LBA||DNS|
The final heat was the most exciting of the three, with the top five separated by .64 seconds. Hillary Ngetich sprinted to the front immediately in this one, but the pace slowed down after the initial burst off the line as Ngetich led Ethiopia’s Chalachew Shemeles and Australia’s Zak Patterson after the first lap of 63.30 (American Patrick Joseph of Virginia Tech was in eighth place). Just before the 700-meter mark, Djibouti’s Abdi Mouhyadin lost his balance and almost fell but recovered and immediately went to the front to avoid further trouble. The field passed 800 in 2:08.14 and it became clear, that, just like the second heat, there would be no time qualifiers in this one.
The pace increased considerably on the third lap, which was run in 59.72, and by that point Patterson had seized the lead with Joseph running in sixth on the inside. On the backstretch, it was a battle for first between Patterson and Ngetich, with a gap to Mouhyadin, Shemeles and Joseph behind them. The chasers would make up some of the gap on the lead two, with Mouhyadin eventually passing them in the home stretch to take the win. Shemeles and Joseph closed well, but they didn’t have enough to overhaul Ngetich or Patterson and had to settle for fourth and fifth, respectively.
Quick Take #1: Sometimes it pays to be in the first heat.
Generally in championship 1500s, you want to be in the last heat because you know exactly what time you have to beat to qualify. But if you’ve got a very fast athlete in the first heat, such as Sawe of Kenya, it can be an advantage to run first. After Sawe, the next three runners were dragged along to a PR and all three time qualifiers came from that heat. It’s unlikely any of them would have run that fast had they run in Heat 2 or 3, but because they had someone pushing the pace up front, they were able to follow along and run a PR.
If the first heat had been won in a moderate time, the latter heats would have likely run faster to try and beat it. But because it was so fast, no one in Heat 2 or 3 wanted to be the person to push it and risk blowing up when they knew there were still three auto qualifiers up for grabs in each heat.
|1||479||Abdi Waiss MOUHYADIN||DJI||3:48.36 Q|
|2||980||Hillary Cheruiyot NGETICH||KEN||3:48.40 Q|
|3||156||Zak PATTERSON||AUS||3:48.64 Q|
|7||1061||José María MARTÍNEZ||MEX||3:50.27|
|11||509||Luis Gustavo SOLÓRZANO||ESA||3:58.05|
Germany’s Sarah Schmidt took this one out but once Iceland’s World Youth/European Junior champ Anita Hinriksdottir took over the lead with 250 meters to go, the race for the win was over. Behind Hinriksdottir, Schmidt and Georgia Griffith of Australia had a big lead on the field for the auto spots to Wednesday’s semifinals (top three in each heat plus next four fastest), but Canadian Katelyn Ayers moved up very well over the home straight and passed Schmidt for the final auto spot (though Schmidt would make it through as three of the four time qualifiers were from this heat).
Want more on this race? Anita Hinroksdottir Leads Qualifiers in Women’s 800m at World Junior Championships.
|1||822||Aníta HINRIKSDÓTTIR||ISL||2:03.41 Q|
|2||176||Georgia GRIFFITH||AUS||2:04.53 Q|
|3||332||Katelyn AYERS||CAN||2:04.89 Q||PB|
|4||747||Sarah SCHMIDT||GER||2:05.56 q|
|5||1072||Arantza HERNÁNDEZ||MEX||2:06.49 q||PB|
|6||1279||Gena LOFSTRAND||RSA||2:07.04 q|
|800||Arachana Ramdas ADHAV||IND||DNF|
Another German, 16-year-old Alina Ammann, led Heat 2 through 400 (60.25) before Ethiopia’s Dureti Edao took the lead on the back stretch, followed by Australia’s Georgia Wassall. Ammann was passed in the final turn and looked to be dead after her fast first lap, but she fought back valiantly over the final 100 and snagged the final auto spot as Wassall edged Edao for the win. France’s Charlotte Mouchet could have been DQ’ed in this one as she was drifting out over the final meters and appeared to interfere with Turkey’s Asli Arik (Arik definitely had to alter her direction and run extra distance even if it’s unclear how much, if any, contact there was).
|1||163||Georgia WASSALL||AUS||2:05.69 Q|
|2||568||Dureti EDAO||ETH||2:06.15 Q|
|3||719||Alina AMMANN||GER||2:06.91 Q|
|6||1518||María Pía FERNÁNDEZ||URU||2:10.97|
Heat 3 began quickly and by 200 meters, American Raevyn Rogers, Kenyan Maximila Imali and Ethiopian Zeyituna Mohammed already had a gap on the field, which continued to widen heading into the home stretch for the first time. Just after 300 meters, Rogers appeared to trip on Imali and almost went down but quickly stabilized herself and led through 400 in 60.20.
Mohammed and Imali took off on the back stretch while Rogers began to fade. Mohammed pulled away off the turn and won big while Imali was passed for second but still qualified. Rogers gave up a lot of ground over the final 200 and finished sixth in just in 2:08.01.
“I was moving towards the inside and got tripped up and it all went wrong,” said a visibly dejected Rogers after this race to Chris Lotsbom. “Everything happens for a reason.”
Quick Take #1: The trip wasn’t the reason why Rogers failed to advance.
The announcers said that the near-fall of Rogers on the first lap broke up her momentum and caused her to fade over the final 400. But Mohammed and Imali were also affected by the trip and they still ran well enough to qualify. Similarly, in Heat 3 of the men’s 1500, Djibouti’s Abdi Mouhyadin almost fell and rebounded to win his heat.
Rogers’ poor second lap likely had more to do with the fact that she went out too fast, resulting in splits of 60-68.
|1||577||Zeyituna MOHAMMED||ETH||2:04.47 Q|
|2||1043||Sara SOUHI||MAR||2:06.38 Q|
|3||985||Maximila IMALI||KEN||2:06.91 Q|
|4||356||Erinn STENMAN-FAHEY||CAN||2:06.97 q||PB|
The final heat featured the world #2 in 2014, Sahily Diago of Cuba, who has run 1:57.74 at age 18. Kenya’s Margaret Wambui and Diago separated early and had a gap on the field at the bell, with the U.S.’s Sabrina Southerland, a rising sophomore at Georgetown University, leading the chase pack entering the back stretch. By then, Wambui and Diago had completely separated, but Southerland pushed on the back stretch and coming off the final turn, she had a big gap on third and was able to coast it in over the final 100. Wambui clearly wanted the win in this one and kept pushing all the way to the line to take the heat in 2:04.24.
“The race was different. It was interesting to see all the other countries and I was giving all I got,” said Southerland to Chris Lotsbom after the race. “I didn’t know what to expect, but now I know going into the second round.”
Want to know more about Southerland? Read this: Sabrina Southerland Making Most of World Juniors Opportunity.
Quick Take #1: This looked easy for Diago.
Diago is the heavy favorite in the 800, with a season’s best almost
four seconds faster than anyone else entered at World Juniors. The women’s 800 has three races on consecutive days (prelims Tuesday, semis Wednesday, final Thursday) and Diago seemed content to sit on Wambui, grab the second auto spot and conserve energy for the later rounds.
Discuss Day 1 on the messageboard: Official Day 1 2014 World Junior Discussion Thread: Fisher and Joseph Go Home – Southerland Only American To Advance.
|1||991||Margaret Nyairera WAMBUI||KEN||2:04.24 Q||PB|
|2||434||Sahily DIAGO||CUB||2:04.60 Q|
|3||1622||Sabrina SOUTHERLAND||USA||2:05.84 Q|
|5||811||Siofra CLEIRIGH BUTTNER||IRL||2:08.50|
|6||1122||Jennifer Adaeze EDOBI||NGR||2:09.65|
|7||1074||Hannia Michelle PALAFOX||MEX||2:20.90|