Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 4 - Eugene 08

The men's 800 was a thriller. After breaking out of a box with about 150 meters to go, Nick Symmonds blew away the rest of the field. His performance wasn't a big suprise - but the action behind him was stunning.

After swinging wide off the last corner, Andrew Wheating was in 6th with about 50 meters to go. But, he held form and ran hard through the line to pull of a second place finish. Behind him, Christian Smith was battling with Kadevis Robinson (many time national champ) and Lopez Lomong (Northern Arizona alum and one of the lost boys of the Sudan).

Literally diving across the line, Smith held off Robinson for third; and, to make it even better, he got the A standard with his 1:45.4 +- finish.

It's an all Oregon team with Symmonds and Smith representing the Oregon Track Club and Wheating an Oregon sophmore.

The other big race of the night is the men's 5,000. They've just taken off. Brett Vaughn (Colorado) took it out right away and has about 20 meters at the 800. Lagat, Goucher, Solinsky, Riley, Tegenkamp all handing with the pack.

Goucher is trying to join his wife on the team (she has qualified in the 10,000 and is in the 5,000 finals); but, in addition to being in the top 3, he needs to run sub 13:21 to ge the A standard.

The crowd is loud and active. Lots of rythmic clapping, feet stomping on the wood floor of the East grandstand and yelling their heads off. What a rush it must be to race in taht atmosphers.

Pack through mile at about 4:20. They've caught up to Vaughn. Goucher needs the pace to stay honest to have a shot at the standard.

Tegenkemp looks great, Lagat is crusing, Goucher has takent he lead at 8:00 and is pressing.

My prediction is Lagat, Tegs and Solinsky. Goucher isn't going to be able to pullit off.

A mile to go and they are at 9:22. So, in order to make it, Gouch needs to place and run a 4:00 last mile to make it.

Lagat is tracking, with Asmeron, Dobson, Tegs and Solinsky. Asmeron is really looking good and has just takent the lead with 1200 to go. He may be the spoiler.

Solinky just made a big move with 1,000 to go. The real race is on. Gouch dropping back and just stepped off the track with 800 to go.

The rest of the bigies on in the hunt.

Solinky still leads, Asmeron hangin on, He's got a kick. Tegs and Solinksy still in it.

Here comes Tegs with 400 to go.

Bell lap, 5 guys in the hunt for 3 spots.

Lagat pulls away with 200 to go. Tegs got tripped up with about 120 to go but pulls it back togetehr and gets in for 2nd. Dobson pulls it off for third.

Not a bid team. Lagat is defending world champ, Tegs was 4th. Dobson is solid.

Goucher has to hope to be able to make it in the 10,000.

Now, two rest days and then we pick it back up on Thursday.

See you later in the week.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Track Town

Eugene '08 is underway with the Olympic Track Trials returning to the motherland of US Track and Field - the venerable Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. The first 3 days are in the books - no big surprises so far; but some stunning performances.

My choices of the performances of the weekend -
  • Women's 10,000 - Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher putting on a classic distance duel with the outcome not decided until the last 300 meters. But the big story of the race was Amy Yoder Begley finding a way to dig deep over the last 800 (especially the last 200) to get the Oly A standard and make her way onto the team.
  • Men's 100 - Tyson Gay smoked the track. American Record in the quarters (9.77) and the fastest all time in the finals @ 9.68. Unfortunately, the wind was over the allowable, so it won't go into the record books. But the guy was flying. He came out well, had great initial drive phase, and his form over the last 50 meters was a thing of beauty.
  • Women's Heptathlon - Diana Pickler had to stay within 1.5 seconds of GiGi Johsnon in the final event (the 800) to hold onto her third place slot. She stuck to her like glue, set a Heptathlon PR for the event, finish less than a second behind GiGi and booked her Oly ticket.
  • Women's 400 hurdles - Queen Harrison drives over the last couple of hurdles from lane 8, and pulls off an upset 2nd place finish.
  • Men's Pole Vault - 40 year old Jeff Hartwig goes 18-8 for 2nd place and to represent us old guys at the big show.

More as the week progresses.