Kara Goucher is set to run another World Championships 10,000-meter. The last time she did that, you’ll remember, some good things happened.
Goucher earned a spot on the USA 10,000m team for the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea later this summer with a 31:16.65, runner-up finish in Thursday night’s USA Championships.
Goucher, who still needed a qualifying mark for the event, let eventual winner Shalane Flanagan run away from the field in the early-going, rather than risk a blow-up. The Duluth East graduate bided her time behind Jen Rhines, who finished third, before moving ahead of the three-time Olympian and claiming the silver medal spot.
“I was here to come and run hard and make the team,” Goucher said. “I’m really excited. I missed the track a lot. I’m actually going to go race this summer. I’m just happy."
Goucher ran the 2007 World Championships 10,000m and earned a shock bronze medal in the event.
Goucher was the fastest of four Minnesota competitors in the race. Team USA Minnesota’s Emily Brown finished 11th in 33:00.74 and Mankato Loyola alumnus Dani Stack, competing for Iowa State, was 12th in 33:04.17. Team USA Minnesota’s Megan Hogan, who followed Goucher and Rhines in the early going dropped out around the 5000-meter mark.
After Goucher moved ahead of Rhines, the nine-second lead Flanagan had on the University of Colorado alumnus seemed surmountable. But Flanagan never faltered and Goucher couldn’t reel in the margin.
“I thought maybe she was coming back with six laps to go,” Goucher allowed. “But, I was never getting any closer. I knew I wasn’t going to get her today -- and maybe never -- but it wasn’t going to happen tonight.”
Earlier this year, Goucher accepted a place on the USA marathon squad for Daegu, but said she would give up the spot, if she made the 10,000 team. On Friday, she confirmed that she’d run only the 10,000 at the World Championships.
Podominick Takes Sixth ... In the night’s only other final involving Minnesotans, four-time Big Ten champion Liz Podominick finished 6th in the women’s discus by marking a 188-4 on her opening throw of the competition. The Lakeville North alumnus topped the first flight of the completion, entered finals in 6th-place, and held her position to the end. Podominick’s longest throw of the finals was a 180-9.
Erhard, Minnesota native Rachel Longfors, the University of Florida alumnus who now coaches at North Dakota State, finished 13th in the event with 174-10. Longfors, who finished 11th at the Olympic Trials in 2008, fouled her first two throws of the prelims.
Preliminary Round Action ... Former NCAA indoor champion Heather Kampf and Laura Januszewski, the NCAA outdoor runner up in 2009, each advanced to Friday’s semifinals in the women’s 800m. Kampf, the former Rosemount and University of Minnesota star, finished 3rd in Heat 2 in 2:03.76. She avoided a bell-lap, backstretch crash in her heat that was reminiscent of the one that knocked her out of the running in last year’s meet.
Januszewski, the former Burnsville and North Dakota State standout, finished 3rd in Heat 4 in 2:04.17.
“I realized at 800, it’s going to be slow, you really need to get in the top-four,” Anderson said. “There was not a lot of room to get out before when I did. I said, you need to get towards the front, it’s going to get ugly at the end."
In the men’s 1500m, Minnetonka High School grad Will Leer used a hard kick to grab second place in a slow third semifinal heat in 3:44.13. The University of Minnesota’s Ben Blankenship finished 5th in the same race, but was left on the outside looking in when it came to advancing to the final.
The top four finishers in each semi advanced , plus the three fastest times. Burnsville High School alumnus Rob Finnerty finished 11th in this semi in 3:42.81.
Justin Tyner, the Air Force Academy senior from Brainerd advanced to the 3000m steeplechase final with an 8:46.43, 7th-place semifinal finish.
Complete results of Day 1 action in the meet can be found HERE.
Results from the opening day of USA Junior competition are HERE.
Photos by Becky Miller.