Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Riter Returns from Indy with Mixed Feelings

Former Mounds View and U of M star Trent Riter returned from the USA Championships in Indianapolis having qualified for the 800m finals and sporting a sparkling new PR. But, since the final went poorly -- he finished 8th of eight in 1:48.00 -- the 25-year-old who put his graduate school career on hold to focus on racing isn't exactly high-fiving everyone in sight.

"I am very disappointed with the way the final went," Riter (pictured) told DtB. "I felt prepared mentally and physically but apparently that was not the case. I believe I ran really well tactically in the prelims and semi's but I have no clue what happened in the final."

In the semi (which is viewable HERE, thanks to Flocast), Riter ran a patient race from the latter half of the pack and cruised up into third place in the final 50 meters to make the final and notch a 1:46.62 PR for himself.

In the final, it appeared the second fastest Minnesota prep 800m runner all-time was planning a similar strategy, but the late surge never came. (That race, shown live on NBC, is viewable HERE.)

"I was definitely not just happy to be there," Riter asserted. "I felt ready to run faster, especially after how easy the semi's felt. I had sprained a ligament in my foot a week before the Championships and taped it for the first two rounds but opted not to for the finals. I am uncertain whether it played a factor in how things went."

Amidst the disappointment, Riter does see the progress he's made.

"Everyone I've talked to has been really happy for me about the "big" new PR," he said. "I kind of felt it coming and thought I was prepared to run faster. I guess I was really humbled in the final. I'd have to say it's going to gnaw at me a bit, at least for a while, but it will wear off."

"This year was about getting back on track to where I thought I could be," he continued. "I was in the pool all of March struggling with achilles tendinitis and on the verge of despair. Considering it is my first year out of college and doing this kind of my own way, I'm very happy with things. Nevertheless, I'm going to be even hungrier for next year and we will make the necessary adjustments to make a run at an Olympic team. I feel like I can be a contender with a full year of health and determination."

Riter's immediate future is less certain. His exploits at USAs didn't automatically extend his race calendar or change his sponsorship situation.

"I was not approached by any agents and I have no means to get to Europe and into races," Riter said. "We'll see if any doors open up. I may go knocking on some. I would like to keep racing this year. I am confident I can still improve. I only raced three times (four if you include the Meet of the Unsaintly) before US Championships and most athletes in the field competed many more times than I did."

"When you are racing on your own dollar it is hard to create many opportunities," he added. "There is an outside shot I could run on the Pan Am team or at the NACAC Championships. I would feel very fortunate to be a part of either one."

Photo courtesy of Sean Hartnett.

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