Thursday, June 28, 2007

To Run or Not to Run: Dorniden and USAs

Allow me to take you back to early June ...

I'm sitting in the stands of Carleton College's Laird Stadium with a friend. (Hi Brian!) We're watching the 1AA Section meet on a Saturday afternoon, the day after Elliott Heath ran his solo 8:57, which seems sorta slow for him now, come to think of it.

Anyway, we notice that Heather Dorniden is one of the official timers for the meet (as is Elizabeth Yetzer) and our conversation turns to the Gopher 800m star. She'd be racing the NCAA Championships the next week. We did wonder if she should be spending so much time on her feet timing, but our main topic of concern was the USA meet.

"So, do you think she should run USAs," the friend asked?

"Boy, long season for her, lots of racing, I don't know," I say.

"Be nice to have that sort of experience before the Olympic Trails next year, though," he notes.

"True, true," I say, "I wonder what they'll do."

In the end , Dorniden didn't race at the USA Championships in Indianapolis last week. California's Alysia Johnson, who beat Dorniden and Michigan's Katie Erdman to win the NCAA meet, won the 800 at USAs in 1:59.47. Two other NCAA finalists, Morgan Uceny of Cornell and Geena Gall of Michigan made the USA final. Uceny ran 2:01.75 for 4th; Gall ran 2:02.31 for 6th.

(You can watch the race, HERE.)

At NCAAs, Gall was 5th and Uceny was 6th.

Back to Dorniden ... I asked Gopher coach Matt Bingle after USAs what the decision-making process was for Dorniden and the meet, and found out it was a simpler decision than my buddy and I imagined.

"When it comes to things after the Big Ten meet," he said, "we leave it in the student-athletes' hands. She expressed that she was tired and a little achey so she decided that she did not want to run. I look for her to be ready for the trials next summer. Hope this makes sense!"

Does to me ...

In other 800m news ... Adam Steele never put together the sort of 800 he needed to qualify for the USA meet, or that he knows he's capable of.

He told DtB right before USAs:

" ... the nagging injuries really play a toll on you mentally and physically. Coach [Frank Gagliano] and I decided it was best to call it a season and begin training for next year. Now I have a better understanding of his training program and what I need to do be competitive at this level."

"Even though there were a lot of bumps on this journey," he added, "I still believe I made the best decision and the future is still bright."

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