Friday, March 30, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for March 30 - 31

Our weekly listing of links to the weekend's important results ...

Stanford Invitational: Men & Women
Update: Cheever 2:07.46; Puhl 9:06.51, Rombough 14:10.00

Bobby Lane Arlington Invitational: Men & Women
Update: Roehrig 5621

Stanford Invitational: Men & Women
Update: Jake Watson 3:45.25, Garrett Heath DNF 5000,

Bobby Lane Arlington Invitatiional: Men & Women
Update: Schnaible 195-6, 55-9

St. John's Invitational: Men/Women
Update: Erichsen 9:18.10; Schuster2:14.63

Minnesota/ROTC High School Indoor Championships: Boys & Girls
Update: Kleinhuizen 56-6 3/4, Pollard 7.83, 60.44

Get Your Rear in Gear Colon Cancer Run: Men & Women
Update: Russell 15:25; Lyons 17:24

Gopher Outdoor Season Gearing Up

It's still only March, but the outdoor season is starting to build up some speed for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Athletes from both the men's and women's program will be split between the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California and the Bobby Lane Arlington Invitational at the University of Texas - Arlington.

According to a media release from the men's program, the Gopher's top distance runners will compete at Stanford, while the strong Minnesota throws squad will compete in the Lone Star State. Gophers Matt Rombough and Antonio Vega are entered in the Stanford 5000 meters. Among those competing in Texas will be jumper Derek Gearman and throwers Aaron Studt and Adam Schnaible.

The Gopher women are sending their strong middle distance squad to California. Their release names Heather Dorniden, Emily Brown, Gabriele Anderson, Jamie Cheever, Ayla Mitchell, Julie Schwengler, and Elizabeth Yetzer on the Stanford startlists. Among those competing at Arlington are heptathlete Liz Roehrig, throwers Liz Alabi and Liz Podominick, sprinter Kadian Douglas, and the Gopher pole vault crew.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Letter From Kenya II: " ... that was the hardest race I had ever run"

Yesterday, Marty Rosendahl told us about the "atmosphere" at the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya; today, he tells us about the atmosphere (no quotation marks) at World Cross, which was really, really hot ...

"The biggest challenge of the setting was definitely the weather environment," Rosendahl (pictured) said. " says that on March 24 at 5:oo p.m. -- our race was at 5:20 -- the temperature was 88 with a heat index of 97 and 66% humidity. At the start of the Junior Women's race, the temp was 90 with the heat index at 99, and our team tent stakeout was near the start-line medical center."

"About halfway through that race," he recounted, " some of the Kenya's team doctors/managers carried one of their girls past us to the medical tent, and she was lifeless, her eyes were rolled back in her head, etc. By the end of the race, the medical tent at the finish line was at max capacity, and the racing for the day was only 25% complete."

There were 20 DNFs in the 87 runner junior women's field.

"Once the junior men started needing medical attention," he continued, "there was no place to put them. Thankfully we had an incredible medical team traveling with us in Kenya, and anything that we needed we were able to get treated for by our own doctors so we were able to avoid the mess in the race medical tent."

"I guess I can't really say that I was surprised by the conditions," Rosendahl concluded, "but I was surprised by the effect of those conditions. I can't ever remember racing in any weather that hot, but for some reason I didn't think it was going to feel that bad. When the race was over, I felt like that was the hardest race I had ever run."

Rosendahl finished 103rd in 41:25 over the 12K course.

"The field told the same story with only about 75% of the field able to finish the race -- a little over 180 entered, about 160 started, and a little over 120 finished," he said.

And the greatest cross country runner in the history of the sport, Kenenisa Bekele himself, was left utterly humbled by the conditions:

“Suddenly, I felt that my coordination was not good and that my mind was dizzy," he said via a statement from his management team. "I even started to doubt about how many laps I still had to run.... I felt that I lost all my energy. I was slowing down and felt that I was losing control over my body as well as my mind. This is why I decided to stop the race."

Photo courtesy of Hansons-Brooks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Letter From Kenya: "Obama! Obama! Obama!"

"When we walked in on race day wearing our USA gear, the Kenyan people started chanting, but I couldn't quite understand what they were saying," Marty Rosendahl told us yesterday about his trip to Mombasa, Kenya for the World Cross Country Championships there.

"It sounded like they were chanting 'Osama, Osama, Osama.' But when I listened closer, they were chanting 'Obama, Obama, Obama.' I guess [Illinois Senator and U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama] had visited the area a few months ago -- one of the heads of our security team had been with Obama's security team when he visited. And I guess that Obama has a heritage to Kenya, and from what I experienced there, if he ran for President of Kenya, he'd win in a landslide."

"They loved him there, and they loved us because of him! We ran and they'd chant 'USA' or 'Obama.' At least since I knew they were chanting his name, they were being encouraging, so that was neat."

DtB sent Rosendahl, a Fridley native and MSU-Mankato grad who trains with the Michigan-based Hansons-Brooks program, a few questions about his Kenya experience and in return we got a thorough, breathless report from him on the experience. We're hoping to publish some of his photos as well. Rosendahl finished 103rd in the senior men's 12K.

"The crowds were huge," Rosendahl confirmed. "I read in the Nairobi newspaper the next day that there were 30,000 in paid attendance for the race, but there were at least that many more sitting on the hillside, up in the trees, on top of the buildings, standing outside the fence, etc. etc. Probably 50,000 - 60,000 in total spectators was a figure I think I heard. I couldn't believe that all those people were there despite the conditions."

Rosendahl noted that official temperatures for his race were 88 with a heat index of 97 and 66% humidity. For the earlier-in-the-day junior women's race, the temperature was 90 with the heat index of 99 degrees.

"Then even through Kenya rocked the team competitions," Roesendahl continued, "when we were leaving they still yelled at us 'USA is #1!' I pointed to the winners podium and said 'Kenya moja!' (Moja is Swahili for 1.) They replied 'No, USA is #1!'"

"With all the travel warnings and security, I thought maybe they didn't like us, but Kenya seemed to love us. They were some of the most friendly people I've ever met. I really enjoyed their culture, eating their food, and learning as much of their language as I could. I'd like to try to repay a little of their hospitality too."

"The day before the race, we visited a local elementary school and passed out used shoes to the kids -- many of them had mental disabilities, but they were mainstreamed with the rest of the students. We also gave them candy. When we showed up they sang and danced and entertained us, and they were so grateful for the gifts we gave them."

"Their poverty really struck me, though. There were a little over 30 kids at the school that lived at the school, and they shared 2 rooms -- one male room, one female room. Each room had about 6 or 7 single beds. But their spirit was amazing, they didn't seem to care or even notice that they lived in poverty. And the teachers were totally committed to giving them the best possible education they could have."

"They really impressed me, and there were dozens of little kids that I wanted to adopt and take home because they were so adorable. Two of the kids are on the Kenya team to run in distance events at the 2008 Special Olympics. But they were paying a big rent for the land and buildings they had their school at, and they are working real hard to try to buy their own school. The principal/administrator of the school says it would cost between 5-7 million Kenyan shillings to buy a school (my head-math says that's about $100,000 US.) So when we got back on the bus to leave, I told Sam Grotewald (elite athlete coordinator for the New York Road Runners) that I wanted to start a foundation to raise money to buy them a school, and then maybe to provide continuing aid to them and other schools in Kenya."

"I said I could use the Olympic Trials as a sort of pledge-fundraiser type of thing. He said if I got the foundation set up and really wanted to do it he'd pitch it to USA Today, the NY Times, and the Today Show. It really would be great to pay back their hospitality because the Kenyan people really are a wonderful people -- and they love distance runners, especially Kenyan and American distance runners."

We plan to post more of Rosendahl's impressions -- and perhaps some of his photos from the trip -- on DtB later in the week.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

U of M Hires Bingle for the Long-Term

Matt Bingle, until now the Interim Head Women's Track & Field Coach at the University of Minnesota, was signed to a long-term contract, Gopher Athletic Director Joel Maturi announced yesterday.

Bingle (pictured) was instrumental in the Gopher's first-ever Big Ten Outdoor title last year as an assistant and won the 2007 Big Ten Indoor title as the interim head coach last month after long-time head coach Gary Wilson retired to an assistant coaching position.

"I am pleased to announce Matt Bingle as our new head women's track and field coach," Maturi said in the media release. "The recent success of the women's track and field program while Matt was an assistant and then the interim head coach was a huge factor in this hire. In addition, he embodies all of the values that make him such an important member of our Gopher family."

The removal of the interim modifier from Bingle's title was expected. The move will keep together the coaching triumvirate of Bingle, Wilson, and Lynne Anderson that has the led the Gopher women to their recent success.

"Matt, Gary Wilson and Lynne Anderson have done a tremendous job and we are very excited to keep that coaching staff together," Maturi said. "We look forward to many more years of success for our track and field program under Matt’s leadership."

Bingle was already named the 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year and Midwest Region Coach of the Year for his leadership this year.

“I am extremely blessed to be here at the University of Minnesota,” Bingle said. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my wife and family. I also have to thank Coach Wilson because he didn’t have to do this. He’s like a father-figure to me and I have a lot of respect for him."

Bingle is just the third head coach in the history of the women’s track and field program, following Wilson, who spent 21 seasons as the head coach, and Mike Lawless. Wilson remains on staff as an assistant coach with the track and field program and recently signed a six-year contract extension to retain his position as the head coach of the women’s cross country team. Anderson coaches the Gopher throwers.

“What’s great for the program is that for the next six years there will be stability in the coaching staff,” Bingle said. “What we have going right now is working and any time you can have a good staff together and stay together, the sky is the limit.”

We just hope there was decent money left over for Bingle after last week's Tubby Smith signing!

In Addition: The Gopher media folks just posted this review of the indoor campaign.

Photo courtesy of the U of M.

Monday, March 26, 2007

World Cross Country: The Aftermath

All accounts from the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Mombasa, Kenya make it sound like it was a brutal event. Although the fears of a terror attack thankfully didn't come true, the heat, travel, and stiff competition made for a hard racing for the Minneostans envolved.

Heck, if the five-time defending champion is forced to drop out of the race in heat-induced confusion, you know it's no cakewalk.

(A photographer friend of mine at the meet described the the conditions as, "Intense tropical heat and humidity." He also said long-time World Cross attendees thought the Mombasa crowds, estimated at 35,000, were the largest ever for the event.)

Cack Ferrell had the best race of the three Minnesotans in the US delegation, placing 30th in the open women's 8K in 29:34. She led her team to an 8th place finish in the team standings, which Ethiopia won.

"Honestly, it was so much fun," she told USATF media staffers after the race. "We all decided that we were going to go out a little more conservatively. It was good that Renee [Metivier], Kathy [Newberry], and I went out the way we did. It was reassuring to know that they were right there."

"Kathy made the point that in these international races, you have to keep moving up, because you really don't know where you are actively seek out people ahead of you. This has been an amazing experience. I am so honored to be part of this team."

Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson (pictured), who finished 88th in the senior men's 12K race in 40:41, used a similar race plan but wondered in the end if he shouldn't have been more aggressive.

"I don't have much experience competing in the heat," he said, "but I was pretty calm, and was able to offer advice to the guys, like to not get caught up in the race early, especially on the Kenyan home turf, and because it's a 12K, to be patient. I think I might have played it a little too conservatively, and wished that I had worked a little bit more with Michael [Spence], and maybe I could've placed higher."

Marty Rosendahl, an MSU-Mankato alum who runs for the Hansons-Brooks team in Michigan, was 103rd overall in 41:25. The USA senior men finished 11th; hosts Kenya defended their title.

Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for March 23-25

We had to go to Boston, Mombasa, and Atlanta to find events with Minnesotans in them!

USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships: Men & Women
Update: Thom Weddle 3rd in M65 3000

IAAF World Cross Country Championships: All Results
Update: Cack Ferrell 30th; Matt Gabrielson 88th, Marty Rosendahl 103rd

USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships: Men & Women
Update: Tom Langenfeld 4th in m65 high jump at 4-7

ING Georgia Half Marathon Men & Women
Update: Chris Lundstrom 2nd in 1:06:17

USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships: Men & Women

William Irvin 5K Registration Opens Today; Grandma's Marathon Still Not Filled

Entries for the William Irvin 5K, one of the Grandma's weekend events, became available today, race officials announced. The Irvin 5K is scheduled for Friday, June 15 at 6:00 p.m. in Duluth.

Entry forms are available by downloading a printable version from the Grandma's Marathon web-site or calling (218) 727-0947. Entrants of the race in 2005 and 2006 as well as those who have already requested entries should find them in today's mail. The race is limited to 1200 entrants.

Surprisingly, some 200 spots still remain in Grandma's Marathon. The 13th largest marathon in the U.S. has filled to capacity in each of the last twelve years.

Additional information since our original post ...

"Last year’s abnormally hot and humid race-day weather may be having an impact on 2007 Grandma’s Marathon registration," Grandma's Public Relations Director Bob Gustafson said. "Many of last year’s marathoners may have decided to opt for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon lottery."

Last year the marathon filled in six weeks, according to Gustafson.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gophers Dominate Big Ten Weekly Awards

Kari Schmidt and Aaron Studt were named Big Ten Field Athletes of the Week and Gabriele Anderson was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week as Golden Gophers dominated the conference's first weekly honors of the outdoor season.

Schmidt earned her notice for winning the shot put competition at the Shamrock Invitational hosted by Coastal Carolina University. The Gopher sophomore threw an NCAA regional qualifying mark of 47-3 1/2.

13.1 Mpls

Studt garnered his award in the same discipline, putting the shot a 58-11 for third place at the Georgia Relays. The mark established a new Minnesota freshman record in the event.

Anderson led a 1-2-3 Gopher sweep in the 1500 meters at the Shamrock Invitational to catch the eye of the Big Ten. Her time of 4:28.78 seconds is the ninth-fastest time in school history.

" ... I had to treat this like the last mile of an interval session."

Sunday's Human Race victor Pat Russell -- a runner with some wild range -- offered insights into his win recently on his The Unforgiving Minute site. I immediately recognized the feeling he describes in the snippet I used for the headline above ...

"I didn't hear a 4M split, but all I knew at that point is I had to treat this like the last mile of an interval session."

Russell completes the thought, and the race, with ...

"I felt strong, but Jeremy [Polson] looked strong as well. Joey [Keillor] was lurking too. Nobody could seem to break away. I could picture a photo finish coming up. As we approached the yellow gates at the starting line I knew we had about four blocks to go. I surged again and Jeremy covered and surged. I covered and surged. We were neck and neck with a block to go. I finally found some of that relaxation I had been looking for and put on one final all out sprint and managed to beat Jeremy to the tape (barely). Thank you indoor track."

Exciting 8K victories notwithstanding, Russell is actually pointing for the USA 100K Championship in Madison in less than three weeks. The event figures into the USATF selection criteria for the USA World Cup 100K to be held in the Netherlands in September.

Russell has represented the USA in the last two World Cup 100K events -- finishing 16th in 2005.

From Snowy New York to Sticky Mombasa

Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson (pictured) is in Mombasa, Kenya now, where it's, oh, 100 degrees outside.

He was in New York City through Sunday evening, finishing 11th at the USA 8K Championships, where they had to, you know, postpone the race for a day because it snowed so much.

What a difference 20 hours of flying makes!

The one-day delay in the USA Championship, however, didn't scramble Gabrielson's travel arrangements to Kenya for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, according to Team USA Minnesota's Pat Goodwin.

"He had an evening flight so it worked out," she explained. "Matt finished the race, did his cooldown with Chris [Lundstrom], and then was back to the hotel by 11:00. Chris had a 1:30 flight on Sunday so he had to hustle."

"Matt had lunch with Jorge Torres and a couple of other athletes and then headed for the airport around 5:00 p.m. along with Marty Rosendahl. They traveled via London to Naroibi and then flew to Mombasa - it was about a 20 hour trip. He called Dennis [Barker, his coach] and told him it was almost 100 degrees in Mombasa today."

Gabrielson is joined by Minnesota natives Rosendahl and Cack Ferrell on the USA squad in Mombasa. Tuesday's USA Track & Field media release for the event confirmed rumors that USA Junior Men's champion Elliott Heath of Winona is not competing in Mombasa after all.

Gabrielson isn't the only Team USA Minnesotan in action this weekend either. Lundstrom plans to race the inaugural ING Georgia Half Marathon in Atlanta on Sunday, according to the Team USA Minnesota web-site.

Forecast highs for Atlanta on Sunday: 82 degrees.

Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

High School League Redraws Sections

Also in our "somewhere in the pile on our desk" department ...

... is news that the Minnesota State High School League has redrawn its state-qualifying sections for next school-year and beyond. Section assignments were determined, the MSHSL explained, by school enrollment and activity classifications, and by using these methods to determine classification.

You can check out the groupings for each MSHSL sport by clicking here. (You can even see maps!) There's been an interesting discussion of the implications of the changes in cross country on Dyestat's Minnesota forum.

Half Way There?

Last fall, I wrote this "Editor's Comment" in Minnesota Running & Track about problems I saw with the MSHSL's State Cross Country Meet qualifying system. Basically, I saw the MSHSL's 16-team, two-from-each-section, formula as unfair to too many good teams which often cluster in strong sections.

It is true that the newly redrawn sections, had they been in force last year, would have resulted in a more representative State Meet in the especially problematic Boys Class AA division. Last year, you'll remember, only seven of the top thirteen teams in the final coaches' poll in Boys Class AA made it to State.

Using a quick-and-dirty method whereby ranked team's beat unranked teams (based on the post-section-meet polls) in the redrawn sections, 10 of the top-13 ranked teams teams make it to State through the new sections. Wayzata (#4), Roseville (#10), and Burnsville (#11) moved on in the new qualifying environment.

-- Wayzata made it because they were 2nd in a Rosemount-free 6AA.

-- Roseville qualified in a Mounds View-less 4AA

-- Burnsville moved on behind Rosemount from their new 3AA neighborhood.

No ranked teams that made it to State in 2006 would fail to advance with the new section alignment.

Still on the outside looking in, however: #5 Hopkins, #8 Edina, and #13 Moorhead.

-- Hopkins ends up 3rd in 6AA -- behind Eden Prairie and Wayzata -- despite the #5 state ranking.

-- Ditto Edina -- 4th in 6AA despite being the state's #8 in the poll.

-- Moorhead, at #13, still finishes behind Brainerd and Alexandria in an unchanged-at-the-top 8AA.

So, the fundamental problem still lurks ... If you're a really good team (like Hopkins and Edina in "virtual 2006") in a super-good section (like 6AA in "virtual 2006") you can still get left out of State when you deserve to go.

I think the MSHSL still needs to find a way to offer spots on the starting line at State to strong teams from demonstrably strong sections who are still likely to be left out of the most important meet of the season despite the new sectional changes.

The best teams in the state deserve the best from the MSHSL.

MIAC Honors Top Coach, Athletes, Scholars

In an effort to clear a few accumulated items from the DtB news desk, we're finally noting that the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has named its top coach and athletes from its indoor championships held March 1-3.

Bethel coach Jim Timp (pictured) was named Men's and Women's Coach of the Year. In just his second full year with both teams, his women's team finished a best-ever second place at the meet while the Bethel men were a strong fourth. Both teams were only ninth in the meet last year.

Bethel's Josh Otto joined his coach in receiving the MIAC's notice. He and Macalester's Kaela Schramm were named Track Athletes of the Meet. Otto won the 400 meters, finished second in the 600 yards, and was a member of Bethel's victorious 4 x 200m and 4 x 400m relay teams. Schramm won the 55m dash and 55m hurdles. Her 8.37 hurdle mark broke a 12-year-old MIAC record.

The top field eventers at the meet were Andy Klaers of Gustavus and Susan Brown of Macalester. Klaers won the 35-pound weight throw in 57-7 3/4 and was sixth in the shot put. Brown won the long jump in 17-6 3/4 and high jump in 5-5 and placed second in the triple jump.

Top performances in the meet -- yep, the MIAC gives out a lot of awards! -- went to pole vaulters Matt Schroeder of St. Thomas and Janna Castellano of Gustavus. Schroeder broke the 24-year-old meet record with his 16-3 1-4 leap. Castellano cleared 12-2 inches to win the women's vault and set a new MIAC record herself.

In addition: 17 teams and 19 individuals from the MIAC received All-Academic Cross Country honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, the conference recently reported.

Photo courtesy of Bethel University.

Marks, Heath Named USATF-Minnesota Athletes of the Month

Triple jumper Shani Marks and distance runner Elliott Heath were named USA Track & Field Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for March.

Marks, a former Apple Valley High School and Minnesota Golden Gopher standout, is recognized for winning the triple jump title at the AT&T USA Indoor Championships in Boston in February. Marks jumped 44 feet, 6 inches for the victory. Marks won the 2006 USA Outdoor title in the event as well.

Heath, a Winona Senior High School senior, is recognized for his surprise victory in the junior men’s division at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colorado last month. Heath ran 26 minutes, 7 seconds over the muddy 8K course. With the victory he earned the right to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya.

USA Track & Field Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota.

(Disclosure: Pete Miller and I serve, along with Kevin Moorhead, on the USATF-Minnesota Athlete of the Month committee.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Race Report: The Human Race 8K

The 2007 edition of the Human Race 8K featured a deep field, showcasing the best that local clubs have to offer. Patrick Russell dug deep in the last half mile to edge Jeremy Polson for the win. Both were timed in 24:14. Edina High School Senior TC Lumbar finished third ahead of Joey Keillor and Gophers Justin Grunewald and Ben Kampf.

On the women's side, Jenna Boren's margin of victory was considerably larger. Her 27:42 put Boren 1:51 in front of Nicole Cueno. Jennifer Hess, Marie Sample and Sonya Anderson-Decker rounded out the top five.

Update: USATF team results are up. Open Women: GEAR over RnF; Masters Women: RnF over GEAR; Grand Masters Women: Striders over MDRA; Open Men: GEAR (all former Edge boys) over RnF; Masters Men: TC Running Company over Ford; Grand Masters Men: Molar Milers over Northwoods.

Race photos: Russell edges Polson; Lumbar and Keillor; Paul Giannobile, Wade Bergner and Bill Magdalene; Boren; Sample; Anderson-Decker.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Race Report: Irish for a Day 5K

Huge numbers for the inaugural Irish for a Day 5K. Marathon Sports owner John Long estimated the crowd at 2,200. Results were kept for the top 500 runners. $2,000 in prize money attracted some top local talent. Jason Lehmkuhle outran his former Drake University teammate Zach Schendel, 14:51 to 15:19. Katie McGregor finished fourth overall in 16:25, nearly three minutes in front of the second woman.
Race photos: Big crowd on Lake Harriet, Jason Lehmkuhle, Zach Schendel and Irish girl Katie McGregor. Click on a photo for larger view.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for March 16-18

This weekend we turn our results-link-gathering attention to ... the roads:

Irish for a Day 5K: Men & Women
Update: See above

USA Men's 8K Championship (NYC): Men
Update: Event postponed until Sunday due to weather.
Update 2: Gabrielson 11th in 23:22, Rosendahl 15th in 23:30, Lundstrom 21st in 23:39.
Race photos by Victah Sailer.

St. Patrick's Day Human Race 8K: Men & Women
Update: See above.

Heath Recounts NCAA Indoor Success

Winona's Garrett Heath answered some questions for us about his hugely successful NCAA Indoor Championship last weekend. Heath (pictured) ran the lead-off leg on Stanford's title-winning DMR that edged arch-rivals California and finished 4th in the mile individually.

DtB: Can you describe how the DMR played out? Splits, the lead, and what the relay title means to you and the team.

Heath: The DMR is really the race that we have been focusing on all season. Winning that really meant a lot and gave us some redemption from last year when I was a bit sick and we knew that we could’ve have run better. The race this year started out pretty tactical in my 1200m leg until David Torrence from Cal made a move to the lead and got a little bit bigger gap on the rest of us than I would have liked. I was a little boxed in at that point and finally made my move somewhere around 350 to go, but my legs were still a bit tired from the mile prelims and I couldn’t quite chase him down.

Anyway, I ended up handing off at 2:56 to our 400 guy, Zach Chandy, who moved us up a little bit and split 47. Both he and our 800m leg really stepped up and ran PRs for us on a day when both Russell [Brown], our 1600m leg, and I split a little slower than usual after the mile prelims. Mike Garcia ran 1:48 for the 800 leg and handed off in 2nd, a stride back from first. From there Russell led most of the 1600m leg and held off two strong surges from the Cal team in the last 500m to run a 4:01 and win it for us.

It really came down to the last straightaway between us and Cal. It was the most exhilarating thing to be a part of and really just made whatever happened in the mile the next day icing on the cake.

DtB: Just how did the mile set-up and play out? Were you pleased with the place/time?

Heath: The prelims for the mile were probably the most nerve-wracking thing for me at the meet because it was my first race in a while and anything can happen there. They went perfectly though. I was able to sit back and felt relaxed for most of the race, and ended up winning after having a pretty strong kick. It was fun having Jake Watson in my same heat to work with and then go 1-2.

The next day I was sore from the night before and not being able to cool down like we had wanted to because of drug testing after the DMR. I ended up being a little farther back in the pack for most of the race than I had planned on, but the race went out at an honest pace so it wasn’t as big of a deal as if it had gone out slowly. From there I just tried to stay in contact with the pack and kick in the last 200. As it happens I probably should have gone a little sooner, but I was still extremely happy with how it turned out.

The time doesn’t really mean anything at a meet like that, but getting fourth was great. All in all it was just an added bonus to go with the DMR as that is really what made the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Stanford University.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Carlson Out of World Cross with Injury

Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson has withdrawn from next week's IAAF World Cross Country Championships due to a rib injury. Carlson suffered the injury in a fall on the ice while on a training run.

A doctor's examination this week confirmed a cracked rib as well as muscle and bone bruising, according to Pat Goodwin of Team USA Minnesota.

"This is just one of those unfortunate accidents," Team USA Minnesota Coach Dennis Barker said in the media release. "He needs a couple of weeks to mend before he can resume training. Then he'll get ready for the outdoor track and road racing season later this spring."

Carlson (pictured) earned a spot on the men's 12k team at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colorado in February. He most recently finished 10th at the USA 15k Championships held in Jacksonville, Florida on last weekend.

Update: We missed this earlier, but the latest news release from Team USA Minnesota notes that Katie McGregor has also decided to withdraw from the World Cross Country Championships "in order to prepare for the outdoor track season." This would have been McGregor's fifth consecutive U.S. World Cross Country Team.

Photo courtesy of Sean Hartnett.

On the Roads Again

It has become tradition that the Human Race 8K not only kicks off the spring road racing season, but also marks the beginning of the USATF Minnesota Team Circuit. On Sunday afternoon, the results from last year are meaningless. But by 2:00, you're either leading the 2007 Circuit, or you're playing catch up.

The Human Race is again the USATF MN 8K Championship, which means double points in Circuit scoring. But Sunday is important for many other reasons. It's your first opportunity to see who you're running against. Which team picked up a recent college graduate or a ringer that moved from out of state? Who has changed teams from last year? But the biggest question of all: Who's in shape? Training hard through the Minnesota winter requires a level of dedication that few possess. But if you plan to run well at the Human Race, that's exactly what's necessary.

The Run N Fun women will be hoping to defend their Team Circuit titles in the Open and Masters divisions, but should be challenged by GEAR Running Store in each category. GEAR took both titles in 2004 and 2005. The Prairie Striders are a prohibitive favorite to repeat as champions in the Women's Grand Masters division.

Due to the closing of Runners' Edge, the Men's Open category will crown a new champion in 2007. Run N Fun – which has alternated titles with the Edge in recent years – is expected to again show up with a loaded roster. But, word on the street is that many of the Edge boys will be competing for GEAR, in something of a merger of last year's first and fifth place teams.

The Men's Masters division promises to be a dog fight between Run N Fun, the Molar Milers and Lundgren Ford of Eveleth. While Run N Fun has come out on top in recent years, the standings are always close. The Molar Milers will also be looking to spoil the Run N Fun party in the Grand Masters category.

Of course there is always the possibility of a new team arriving to shake things up a bit. It's happened before, and probably will happen again.

The slate is clean. As of Sunday, we're keeping score.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Minnesotans in USA 8K Championship

Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson is one of the favorites in the USA 8K Championship to be held this Saturday in New York City's Central Park. Gabrielson will be joined by his teammate Chris Lundstrom as well as Fridley native Marty Rosendahl, who currently trains with the Michigan-based Brooks Hanson's Distance Project.

The New York Road Runners are hosting the national championship, with a $35,000 prize purse.

Also: Team USA Minnesota will have other athletes in action this weekend as well. Katie McGregor and Jason Lehmkuhle are entered in Saturday's Irish for a Day 5K in Minneapolis; Sara Wells is set to run Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Human Race 8K in St. Paul.

"We had a tough weekend ... "

"We had a tough weekend," University of Minnesota Women's Coach Matt Bingle told DtB after his Gophers' tepid results a NCAA Division I Indoor Championships.

"But, it was a good learning moment," he immediately added to the description.

The team which amassed 121.5 points in winning the program's first-ever Big Ten indoor title, scored only six at NCAAs -- all earned in defending 800 meter champion Heather Dorniden's 3rd place finish in the event this year.

"With Heather, she came through at 61 through the 400m mark," Bingle said of the 800. "We wanted her to be in the lead at 200 and then run 59-60 at 400m. She just did not engage early enough and got in too much traffic and could not recover. It was unfortunate but I believe that she learned a lot and will not let it happen again."

The team's other likely NCAA scorer, pentathlete Liz Roehrig who, like Dorniden, entered the meet as the #2 seed, finished 16th after failing to get a legal mark in the long jump.

"Liz has been hurt since early February with a knee injury," Bingle said of the three-time Big Ten champ. "She hurt it pretty bad in warming up for the hurdles. So that made the whole day tough."

"With the long jump situation, she kept getting faster and I could not get her on the board," Bingle said. "It was a great learning situation for Liz. We will get to see just how determined she is to be great!!"

The team narrowly missed scoring in weight throw and DMR. Liz Alabi finished 9th in the weight with a throw of 66-2 1/2. The DMR of Dorniden, Kadian Douglas, Jamie Cheever and Emily Brown also ended up a spot from scoring with a 11:14.91 clocking.

“We ran well and improved from being seeded 12th to finishing ninth,” Bingle said in the Gopher media release. “There were so many good milers running the DMR. We weren’t able to give ourselves enough of advantage with the first three legs of the relay.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"I just started sprinting my ass off with 250m to go ... "

We tracked down Minnetonka alum Will Leer, now of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, to get his take on last weekend's NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. Leer won the Mile in a meet record 4:08.19 and later finished 3rd in the 5000 meters in 14:34.24 ...

DtB: How did the mile set up and what did you have to do to win?

Leer: Coming into the mile finals I knew that I was going to have to pull out a good kick or Brian Butzler [UW - Whitewater, eventual runner-up] was going to take the title. The pace initially went out pretty well for the first 300m or so and then slowed drastically. I think we came through the first 809m roundabout 2:10. At that point I knew I was really going to need to kick hard because no one was tired.

So I basically just sat there and waited to make my move. My coach, Pat Mulcahy, and I had talked about some race strategies the previous evening and we both decided that it would probably be best to make my move with 250m to go but when I did, I would need to make it hard and decisive. And that was the plan I stuck to.

I just started sprinting my ass off with 250m to go, hoping I could maintain my speed and form over the final 50m. Overall the race felt pretty solid. I mean, I was out there to defend my title so I put a bit of pressure on myself to do well and luckily it all worked out in the end.

DtB: How did you feel coming back in the 5000?

Leer: The 5000 was essentially an afterthought of the mile. I came into the meet focused on the mile with a "whatever happens, happens" attitude about the 5000. After the mile I tried to stay as active as possible before the awards so I didn't get too tight and then I pounded calories and got in a short cooldown. By the time warming up for the second race came around I was feeling pretty good.

I definitely felt as though I had already raced hard once that day but I tried to stay focused on the task at hand, which was just racing the race and not worrying about anything else. I had no idea what to expect. This was my second 5000 ever, first on a 200m track, and I had not doubled back in hard races at all this year. I was very fortunate that my first mile was a 4:48, that allowed me to feel comfortable through two miles and then start thinking about moving up.

DtB: When did you know it wouldn't be a double victory?

Leer: I guess I realized that it wouldn't be a double victory with about 400m remaining. I had slight inclinations about it when Fred Joslyn [SUNY - Cortland, eventual winner] made his move and separated himself from the pack, but I didn't know if the pack I was with would catch back up to him or not. As a result I ended up sticking around in the chase pack for too long before going into my final kick. I was just focused on staying out of trouble and not getting tripped up and falling which is why I was just chilling in the back of the race for over two miles.

All-in-all I am pleased with the way the meet went. I hoped I would win the mile and thought I could possibly place top-3 in the 5000 and I accomplished both of those things. Now it is just onto outdoors, can't wait to race those guys again in Oshkosh!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Redraw: High School Track Begins TODAY!

Our apologies for running this post a few days too soon last week ...

Sade Pollard is practicing starts again ... Trey Davis is bouncing his indoor shot way out there ... Sean Duling is knocking the rust off his hurdling form ... Nikki Swenson is back figuring out what her best events are ...

Yep, high school track practice begins today!

And three months from now the season will culminate with the State Meet at Hamline University on June 8th and 9th. Nine defending individual champions return in Boys Class AA; Eight return in Girls Class AA.

How fast will Harding's Pollard sprint in 2007? How far will Farmington's Davis throw the shot? Will Duling and his Mounds View team defend? What events will Dawson-Boyd/Lac Qui Parle Valley's Nikki Swenson run at State?

Stay tuned to Down the Backstretch to find out!

Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon to Offer Prize Money

This June, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon will feature a cash prize purse for top place-winners at the Grandma's Marathon-sponsored event. Race winners will earn $1000 for their accomplishments; masters champions will take home $500. The overall purse totals $7000.

"As we examined other potential additions specifically for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, it became evident to us that one of the most logical steps for a race entering its 14th year was to install a cash prize structure." Grandma's Marathon Executive Director Scott Keenan explained to DtB. "We are confident the cash awards will be seen as a positive addition, especially by our elite half-marathon athletes, while at the same time maintain the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon as a citizen’s race."

The race has offered prize money before when it served, in 2003 and 2004, as the USA Women's Half Marathon Championship.

The new prize structure should reward regional runners who have long flocked to the race for its fast course and strong competition. It may now also attract national and international athletes looking for a nice pay-day.

"For many years, we have extended modest transportation and lodging assistance to half-marathon participants meeting our qualifications of an elite athlete," Keenan said. "We will continue to offer such assistance on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the race."

The June 16th race is currently full, but prospective elite athletes can still request elite entry.

Keenan hinted that the Garry Bjorklund purse could grow in the coming years.

"While we are not certain where the half-marathon prize structure might develop from here, we believe a $7,000 total purse is a good starting point," he said.

Also: As of Friday, only 450 spots remained in the Grandma's Marathon field, which has a limit of 9,500 runners. The event, to be held June 16th, has reached its capacity for 12 consecutive years. Official Grandma’s Marathon entry forms can be downloaded and printed from the event site.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for March 9-11

Big weekend. Get your championship results here...

NCAA Division I Indoor Championships: Men & Women
Update: Heath's DMR wins, Schnaible 15th in weight; Gopher DMR 9th, Podomonick, Alabi 11th, 12th in shot

NCAA Division II Indoor Championships: Men & Women
Update: Rains wins vault in record 14-0, King wins weight throw with 60-9 1/2; Dilling wins high jump duel at 7-4 1/2

NCAA Division III Indoor Championships: Men & Women
Update: Gusties Shine: Klaers 4th with 58-8, Castellano 4th at 12-3 1/2

USA 15K Championships: Men & Women
Update: McGregor 4th in 49:56; Lehmkuhle 5th in 44:17

NCAA Division I Indoor Championships: Men & Women
Update: Gophers: Buzard 2nd in 45.86, Kabia 5th in 6.63; Dorniden 4th in 2:04.87, Roehrig "no marks" in pentathlon long jump -- finishes 16th. Men's Mile: Heath 4th in 4:00.99, Watson 10th in 4:03.97.

NCAA Division II Indoor Championships: Men & Women
Update: Bemidji Throwers Star: Devine wins women's shot with 51-0 1/4, Remitz 4th in men's shot with 57-4 3/4; Palkie 2nd in 2:10.72, Lehmann 6th in 1:52.11

NCAA Division III Indoor Championships Men & Women
Update: Leer defends mile title in meet record 4:08.19, Schroeder vaults to 8th in 15-7 3/4, Sames 4th in 800 with 1:54.67, 5000: Leer 3rd in14:34.24, Erichsen 4th in 14:38.11
Update: Schramm hurdles to 4th in 8.29, Weinmann 8th in shot at 42-10 3/4

Nike Indoor Nationals: Boys & Girls
Update: Mounds View's Quinn Evans 11th in 400 in 50.03

Nike Indoor Nationals: Boys & Girls
Update: Farmington's Trey Davis puts shot 55-9 1/4 for 11th place

Thursday, March 08, 2007

USATF Minnesota Indoor Championships this Sunday

This Sunday, March 11, marks the 27th year that USATF Minnesota has hosted it's Indoor Championships. The event features competition for all ages – youth, open and masters. All competitors must become members of USA Track & Field, which you should do anyway.

Update: Results of the meet can be founs here.

Gophers Watch Lists for NCAA Indoor Championships

The U of M women's and men's track teams both have watch lists posted for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships. The women's team is sending nine individuals, plus their distance medley relay, while the men have four athletes competing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

NCAA Division II Indoor: Aerial Battles Highlight Meet

This weekend's NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston will surely feature lots of great competition, but the battle for the men's high jump title on Friday might be worth the price of admission alone.

I'll just run down the basics:

-- Mankato's Jim Dilling is the defending champ.

-- Dilling set the meet record of 7-6 last year.

-- Last year's indoor runner-up, Keith Moffat of Morehouse, also jumped 7-6. (Dilling won by making 7-6 on his second attempt; Moffat needed three tries.)

-- Moffat won the NCAA Division II outdoor title at 7-6 -- Dilling was third.

-- Dilling has jumped a D2 leading 7-6 1/2 this year.

-- Moffat's season-zenith is 7-5 3/4.

-- Both are seniors.

... hand me the popcorn and a score sheet, please, and don't block my view!

Fellow Mankato Maverick Katelin Rains expects to be part of her own epic aerial battle. She's seeded #2 at 13-6 1/2 in Friday's women's pole vault. Top-seeded Angie Aguilar of Abilene Christian has jumped but one thin centimeter higher. There's pedigree behind the current rivals, too: Mankato alum Amanda Frame holds the D2 record at 13-1 1/2 from 2005; Abilene Christian's Billy Olson was the first male vaulter to clear 19 feet indoors

Additionally, Moorhead's Jennifer Hensel is ranked #3 in the event.

Other North Star State athletes to follow in the meet include top-seeded weight thrower Emily King of Winona State and fellow #1 seed Sheena Devine of Bemidji State in the shot put. Minnesota State - Moorhead's Derik Brugger is the #2 seeded pole vaulter, Minnesota - Duluth's Liz Palkie is the #3 seed in the 800 meters, and Bemidji State's Joe Remitz the #6 seed in the shot put.

You can find men's heats and flights here; women's here. The meet begins Friday morning and concludes Saturday.

NCAA Division III Indoor: Leer's Side Project Expands

To hear Minnetonka High School grad Will Leer explain it, his "experiment" in indoor track last year had an ulterior motive.

"I just happened to notice that the NCAAs were going to be held at St. Olaf and thought to myself, 'Free trip home!'" Leer told DtB. " So I ran a couple of indoor meets last winter and wound up having great success!"

Lear (pictured), a senior at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in Claremont, California, not only got home on the NCAA's dime, he scored a two-and-a-half second, meet record-setting win in the event in 4:09.42. Outdoors, Leer ran both the 800 and 1500 meters at the Division III meet, finishing 8th in the 800 and 2nd in the 1500 to Nick Symmonds.

Leer returns to the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships this weekend in Terre Haute, Indiana, as the #1 seed in the mile and as a fleet threat at 5000 meters.

"It was really a painful realization that caused me to move up to the 5k," Leer, who finished 7th at last fall's Division III Cross Country Championships, said. "I recognized the fact that I was not fast enough to compete nationally in the 800m, so I decided to try the step up. My coach also had quite a bit to do with this. He thinks that the 5k will end up being my best event in outdoors, but we will have to see about that."

Leer has only raced twice indoors thie year. He qualified for the 5000 with a 14:32.84 run in Seattle in January. His mile mark of 4:07.01 came two weeks beforehand at the U of M's Northwest Open. In sunny Los Angeles, though, he's the only runner on the Pomona-Pitzer team training for indoor competition.

"During the winter I am am definitely training differently than they are," Leer explained. "Most of the guys just focus on building base mileage all winter long while I tend to do a combination of base mileage as well as a workout now and again to get myself out of my comfort zone so the shock of racing won't be so drastic."

Despite the 2006 title, the top seed, and the free junkets back to the heartland, Leer keeps an ironic distance from the indoor species of the sport.

"I basically view indoor track as a circus," he said. "I mean, you have all of these incredible athletes locked in this small "cage" pushing themselves to their extremes. As a result of that outlook I don't really put much emphasis on the difference between indoor running and outdoor running."

Leer, who was recently named the Division III All-Academic Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year, makes no apologies for his balmy training conditions either.

"After living in Minnesota for 18 years, I was ready for a change," he said of his SoCal environs. "There came to be a time in my life, like my senior year of high school, when I realized that I was looking for something other than 6 months of winter every year. Going to school in California takes one less variable out of the stress equation. I never have to worry about what to wear to class, it is always shorts, t-shirt, sandals, and sunglasses."

The NCAA Division III Indoor Championships get underway Friday. Entries and heat sheets can be found here, on RaceberryJam.

Photo courtesy of Pomona-Pitzer.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gophers Earn Additional Accolades

Gopher women's coach Matt Bingle and quarter-miler Aaron Buzard earned regional awards from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Bingle, who led the Gopher women to their first-ever Big Ten indoor title, was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year. Buzard, who won the Big Ten 400 meter, was named Midwest Region Track Athlete of the Year.

Bingle leads the program's largest contingent ever to the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend -- six individuals and a relay team will make the trip. Buzard, who enters the NCAA meet as the #9 seed, is one of four Gopher men making the trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the meet.

NCAA Division I Indoor: Dorniden, Roehrig Seeded #2, Heath Ranked #4

Gopher 800 meter runner Heather Dorniden and heptathlete Liz Roehrig are the #2 seeds in their events at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend. The NCAA has published the entry lists for both men and women for the meet.

Former Winona Senior High School star Garrett Heath, now at Stanford, is the top ranked Minnesotan in the men's meet. He's ranked #4 in the mile and is the 1200 meter leg on the Cardinal's #2 seeded distance medley squad. Stillwater alum Jake Watson of Notre Dame joins Heath in the mile as the #9 seed.

The Big Ten Champion Gopher women placed six individuals in the meet, plus their DMR. Jamie Cheever, ranked #17, joins defending champ Dorniden in the 800, Emily Brown is ranked #13 in the Mile, Liz Alabi is ranked #5 in the weight throw and #12 in the shot put, Liz Podomonick is #14 is the shot, and the DMR of Gabrielle Anderson, Kadian Douglas, Dorniden, and Brown sits 12th.

The Gopher men send four athletes to Fayetteville: 60 meter man Ibrahim Kabia (#11) quarter-miler Aaron Buzard (#9), high jumper Derek Gearman (#15), and weight thrower Adam Schnaible (#15).

Competition begins Friday morning with the men's pentathlon.

Four Team USA Minnesota Runners to Compete at USA 15K Championship

Katie McGregor, Andrew Carlson, Jason Lehmkuhle, and Chris Lundstrom of Team USA Minnesota will compete Saturday at the USA 15K Championship held in conjunction with the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida.

McGregor, who was third in the event last year, and Carlson (pictured) will use the event as part of their build-up for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships later this month. Lehmkuhle and Lundstrom have incorporated race into their training for the Boston Marathon.

Carlson and Lehmkuhle hope to extend the success they've had together at USA Championships road races. The duo went finished 4th and 5th, respectively, at the USA Half Marathon Championship in Houston, with both notching PRs. In 2006, the pair finished in the top-5 of both the USA 10 Mile Championship and USA 20K Championship.

One feature of the USA 15K is an "equalizer" format that has the top 25 women getting a five-minute head-start on the men. Race winners receive $12,000 plus a $5000 "equalizer bonus" for the first to cross the finish line.

In Addition: Former Team USA Minnesota and Brainerd High School athlete Turena Johnson Lane is listed on the USA 15K startlist. Johnson Lane is using the race as part of her build-up for the Boston Marathon in April.

Photo courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Monday, March 05, 2007

False Start!

I jumped the gun! The Minnesota high school track and field season doesn't begin until next week. Sade Pollard, Trey Davis, Sean Duling, and Nikki Swenson may indeed be practicing thier respective events as reported, but they won't be doing it officially until Monday, March 12.

My apologies for the mistake.

Beardsley 10th at Napa Valley in 2:45:11

Dick Berdsley, 50, the fourth fastest marathoner in American history, finished 10th at Sunday's Napa Valley Marathon in 2:45:11. Beardsley won his 50-54 age-group and was also the top masters runner in the field.

Beardsley (pictured, winning the 1981 Grandma's Marathon) the still holds the Napa Valley course record of 2:16:20 from 1987

"This race has been very good to me over the years," Beardsley told the Running USA Wire's Mark Winitz. "And, it worked out really well for me this year. It was just a perfect day to run."

Beardsley still holds the Grandma's marathon course record of 2:09:37 set in the 1981 race.

Photo courtesy of Grandma's Marathon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for March 1-4

Here's our regular listing of links to the weekend's results ...

MIAC Multi-Events: Men & Women
Update: Hamline's Dan Luiken repeats in Pentathlon

MIAC Multi-Events: Men
Update: St. John's Jeff Doll wins with 4576 points

MIAC Day One: Men & Women
Update: Kaela Schramm hurdles record 8.37, Janna Castellano vaults record12-2
Update: Kyle Brandon miles record 4:17.38, Josh Otto provos 49.11

Alex Wilson Invitational (Notre Dame): Men & Women
Update: Schnaible (65-2), Gopher DMR (9:46.23) don't improve NCAA rank.
Video: Watch the Gopher DMR here.

MIAC Day Two: Men & Women
Update: Tommie men win 23rd straight title, Schroeder vaults meet record16-3 1/4
Update: Tommie women win 20th title, Brown misses jumps triple by 3 centimeters

Iowa State NCAA Qualifier: Men & Women
Update: Nate Englin provos 60-3 in shot for Missouri

Alex Wilson Invitational (Notre Dame): Men & Women
Update: Buzard improves to 46.43, Gearman to 51-3

NACAC Cross Country Championship: Men & Women
Update: Heath 5th in 19:33, Canada beats USA Junior Men 22-27

Elliott Heath to Compete in International XC Race Saturday

USA Junior Men's Cross Country Champion Elliott Heath will compete against athletes from Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico this Saturday as part of the USA team for the NACAC Cross Country Championships to be held in Clermont, Florida.

Heath (pictured) will be a member of the four-member junior men's team that will compete over 6K. The North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association meet will also include a 4K junior women's race, a 6K senior women's race, and an 8K senior men's contest. Last year the USA beat Canada 22-34 for the junior men's title.

Later this month, Heath will compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya.

Photo courtesy of Sean Hartnett.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wells, Johnson Lane High on Boston's USA Championship Startlist

2003 USA Marathon Champion Sara Wells of Team USA Minnesota (pictured) and former Brainerd High School star Turena Johnson Lane are two of the top contenders at next month's 2007 USA Marathon Championship to be held in conjunction with the 111th Boston Marathon. Wells' PR of 2:33:15 ranks her third in the championship field, Johnson Lane's 2:34:43 puts her fifth.

American record-holder Deena Kastor headlines the race. Next year, Boston will host the 2008 Women's Olympic Trials Marathon the day before the running of their traditional race.

Planning to pin on a race number in the Boston men's field this year are Team USA Minnesota's Chris Lundstrom, who finished fourth at the Twin Cities Marathon last fall, and teammate Jason Lehmkuhle. The men's Olympic Trails will be run in New York this November.

Photo courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

MIAC Indoor Championships Begin Today

Weather permitting, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships will open today with the multi-events. St. Olaf plays host to the MIAC's 23rd indoor championship which run through Saturday.

In one of the more impressive streaks in all of track and field, the St. Thomas men look to add another bead to their perfect necklace of 22-straight men's indoor titles. Heat sheets for the men's meet can be found here. A conference-produced tip sheet for the meet is available here.

In women's competition, the St. Thomas women sport a more modest victory record -- they've won a mere 19 of the 22 indoor crowns! Women's heat sheets are available here; the MIAC tip-sheet is here.

You can also learn the names and faces of many of the MIAC's top contenders by checking out the MIAC-labelled stories from the DtB Index.

Update: As of Friday morning, the MIAC still plans to run their indoor meet as as scheduled, despite the bad weather. Friday's multi-event competition went off with only a 15 minute delay. St. Olaf's MIAC web-site, however, seems to be "experiencing difficulties."

Medtronic TC 1 Mile Registration Opens

Registration for the Medtronic TC 1 Mile race, scheduled for Thursday, May 3rd, opens today.

The 2007 version of the event features a $5,700 prize purse. Last year, Luke Watson won the men's race in 4:16; Kristen Nicolini won the women's race in 4:53.

Details on the the third annual event can be found here.