Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Catching Up with Troup and Richardson

Today's a good day to learn a little more about two runners coming off big weekends ...

Chad Austin just posted THIS interview with Rasa Troup, who ran a 9:51 steeplechase on Saturday at the Drake Relays to finish second to fellow Gopher alum Emily Brown. Troup, who hopes to make the Lithuanian Olympic team in the event this summer, broke the existing meet record at Drake.

Also, KARE 11 just named Irondale's Andy Richardson one of its "Prep Athletes of the Week." You can see their video piece HERE. Richardson, of course, achieved an epic come-from-behind win over Burnsville's Rob Finnerty in the Hamline Elite-Meet 1600 meters on Friday. Richardson clocked 4:15.16.

Count me as a Richardson booster ... The ex-coach in me gets exasperated by his wildly fast starts -- his 29.3 opening 200 at the Elite-Meet was pace for, ho-hum, a 3:54 1600m! -- but the track fan in me loves his abandon, his toughness and grit, his unlikely runner's build, and his ability to finish with a flourish.

If you haven't watched the Elite-Meet Boys' 1600m, you can check it out HERE.

Thanks to DtB photographer Gene Niemi for the tip on the KARE 11 video about Richardson.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chris Lists: Top HS Boys Distance Performances

As he did in 2007, DtB's Chris Marshall (pictured, uploading the video he shot at the Hamline Elite-Meet) is compiling performance list of the top Minnesota high school marks in the boys 800, 1600, and 3200 meter events. We expect he'll update his lists every week or so to keep up with the action on the track.

Below is Chris' first edition of the lists, which includes events through April 26. As always, corrections are appreciated. Also, if you are interested in compiling performance lists for other high school events, please let us know -- DtB would love to publish them!

Zach Mellon Buffalo 1:56.90 Hamline Elite-Meet
Robel Kebede Minneapolis South 1:58.01 Hamline Elite-Meet
Obai Hussein Rosemount 1:58.0* JFK/AV Triangular
Harun Abda Fridley 1:59.04 Hamline Elite-Meet
Jake Sorby Bemidji 1:59.23 Moorhead
Jordan Carlson Rosemount 1:59.29 Faribault Invite
Kevin Bradley Mounds View 1:59.45 Lakeville Mega Meet

Andy Ricahrdson Irondale 4:15.16 Hamline Elite-Meet
Rob Finnerty Burnsville 4:15.29 Hamline Elite-Meet
Danny Docherty Cretin-Derham Hall 4:20.71 Burnsville Relays
Travis Beniak Zumbrota-Mazeppa 4:23.52 Hamline Elite-Meet
Brian Wille Rochester Century 4:24.17 Hamline Elite-Meet
Andy Papke-Larson Bemidji 4:25.10 Grand Rapids Triangular
Dom Rosario Edina 4:25.70 Hamline Elite-Meet
Pieter Gagnon Minneapolis Washburn 4:26.30 Hamline Elite-Meet
Jordan Carlson Rosemount 4:28.35 Faribault Invite
Erik Truedson Bemidji 4:29.28 Grand Rapids Triangular

Danny Docherty Cretin-Derham Hall 9:20.64 Wildcat Invitational
Jordan Carlson Rosemount 9:23.18 Hamline Elite-Meet
Pieter Gagnon Minneapolis Washburn 9:26.49 Minnesota/ROTC
Tyler King Lakeville North 9:31.92 Hamline Elite-Meet
Erik Truedson Bemidji 9:46.73 Morehead
Mahad Hassan Willmar 9:46.9* Willmar Optimist
Jeremy Drenckhahn Wayzata 9:48.25 Hamline Elite-Meet

* = hand time

Photo by Charlie Mahler.

Twin Cities Marathon 75% Full

The field for the 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is 75% filled, race officials announced yesterday. Capacity for the October 5 race is 11,000.

“Registration is essentially on-track with last year,” Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. executive director Virginia Brophy Achman said in a media release. “With the Bank of America Chicago Marathon filling last week, we’re starting to see an increase in runners from around the country who may still be seeking the perfect spot for their fall marathon."

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon was ranked 10th largest in the United States in 2007, based on number of finishers. Last year the race filled in 19 days.

More information on registration for the race can be found HERE.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Brown Steeples into the Olympic Mix

With a record-breaking 9:45.38 Drake Relays steeplechase victory -- in an Olympic A qualifying time -- Team USA Minnesota's Emily Brown converted the breakthrough fitness she's displayed since the start of 2008 into something especially tangible: an impressive mark in an Olympic event.

Brown (pictured), who's previous best in the 3000m steeplechase was 9:56.62 from 2006, is now the U.S. leader in the event for 2008 with a mark that currently ranks her #4 in the world. The new PR, which broke the Drake Relays and Drake Stadium record, is the 6th fastest steeplchase by an American woman ever.

Brown earned the time, and all the Olympic possibilities it entails, in a back-and-forth battle with fellow University of Minnesota alum Rasa (Michinovaite) Troup, who represented Lithuania in the steeple at the 2005 IAAF World Outdoor Championships. The two traded the lead at Drake. Troup finished second in 9:51.28.

"I got out right away and knew that Rasa would be there," Brown, who finished 18th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships last month in Scotland, said in a Team USA Minnesota media release. "We traded back and forth for first and second. I tried to keep the pace pretty solid and it worked out. Dennis (Barker) wanted me to shoot for 75s per lap but I didn't know where to find any splits. I didn't realize there was a running time clock high on the scoreboard.

"I got out of rhythm a bit and was forced to use my left leg over the hurdles but I got a little smoother after awhile. I usually go with my right leg because it feels more natural. When you get into a race you just take whichever leg comes up first. I could have used either one but I didn't want to shorten or lengthen the stride so I just took whichever leg was there."

At the water pit, Troup pulled ahead on some of the laps but Brown quickly regained contact. "Some people are good water jumpers and I'm not," Brown said. "I am an aggressive runner and I just get over the pit without any faltering."

Brown took the lead for good at 8:03 into the race, and went through the bell for the final lap at 8:35.

"My last two laps I was pretty much pushing," she said. "At 200 meters to go I finally saw the time and then saw that I didn't break 9:45 at the finish. At first I was disappointed because I thought the Olympic "A" standard was 9:45. I was thinking there was no point in doing the race if I didn't get the "A" standard. If I missed it by point four of a second, it would be hard to be happy with it. I learned later that the standard was 9:46 so I was pretty happy."

Winning at Drake, where Brown competed as a collegian, was especially sweet.

"They have the best crowd in track and field," she said. "It is nice to win and go see the crowd and have people rush down to shake my hand. It was fun too that all these little kids wanted to have me sign autographs as I went along the stands on the track."

Brown said she doesn't plan on doing another steeple until the Trials in Eugene "unless Dennis thinks it is a good idea." Next up for her will be the 5000 meters at the Cardinal Invitational on May 4.

"The 5000 started off as a backup race if this weekend went poorly," she said. "Now it is nice that Cardinal will be a no pressure race. It will be kind of like a workout to see where I am at. Even if I do well in the 5000, it is a brand new event for me so I am going to stick with the steeple for the Trials because I am experienced with it."

A Good Meet for Minnesotans ... The Drake Relays was kind to a lot of Minnesota athletes this year. Along with Brown, the state's Drake Relays champions include Ibrahim Kabia in the 100m dash, where the U of M's star edged Clint Allen of Eastern Michigan for the title; both were timed at 10.44. The Gopher women's 4 x 800m relay team of Julie Schwengler, Jamie Cheever, Gabrielle Anderson, and Heather Dorniden defended their 2007 title and set a world-leading mark of 8:32.73 . Gopher Ruby Radocaj won the javelin throw with 179-11.

Minnesota State Mankato's Katelin Rains won the University/College pole vault with a 12-7 1/2 clearance while the Maverick men's sprint medley team of Mike Elliott, Kelvin Rogers, Nate Pieper, and Denise Mokaya won the College division of the event in 3:23.50.

Competing in an exhibition held in conjunction with the University/College women's triple jump, three-time USA triple jump Shani Marks jumped 45-3 3/4. Her training partner Amanda Thieschafer hopped, stepped, and jumped 44-0 1/4.

Full Drake Relays results -- which include Derek Gearman's decathlon debut and Jim Dilling's runner-up high jump performance in a Des Moines shopping mall -- can be found HERE.

Photo by Gene Niemi.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Round-Up: Highlights from Friday Action

The Hamline Elite-Meet wasn't the only track and field action on Friday. Here's a quick update on other performances of note:

Duluth-native Kara Goucher (pictured post-race with coach Alberto Salazar) won the Oregon Relays 5000 meters last night in 15:33.25. In men's 5000 meter action, Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson finished second in 13:49.45.

You can find full Oregon Relays Friday results HERE.

The Gopher women won't be repeating their Drake Relays triple-crown of relay victories from 2007 -- the Gopher DMR placed third on Friday -- but the team of Julie Schwengler, Jamie Cheever, Gabriele Anderson, and Heather Dorniden did edge the Laura Hermanson-anchored North Dakota State team to win the 4 x 800m relay. The Gopher quartet clocked a world-leading 8:32.73 for the win.

Also winning for the Gophers at Drake was women's javelin ace Ruby Radocaj and men's shot put star Aaron Studt. The Gopher men's 4 x 1600m team finished 3rd. Notre Dame, with Stillwater alum Jake Watson carrying the baton on the third leg, won the 4 x 1600m. Minnesota State Mankato pole vault star Katelin Rains won the women's pole vault.

You can find full Drake Relays results HERE.

And, if you still haven't had enough Elite-Meet, we recommend THIS John Millea story (and its photo by Jennifer Simonson) of the Star-Tribune.

Photo by Tim Hooton.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 4 x 400m

Hopkins wins big with 4:08.87.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 4 x 400m

Mounds View -- Quarter-Miler High School -- wins in 3:28.97.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls 3200m

Danielle Berndt...the 3200 field, winning in 11:16.18.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 3200m

Minneapolis Washburn's Pieter Gagnon, who placed 3rd in the AA cross country meet, lead the field to a 4:47 opening mile before XC runner-up Jordan Carlson of Rosemount moved to the front, where he would remain until the end. Carlson's 4:36 second 1600 gave him 9:23.18 for the win, eight ticks better than Kevin Lachowitzer of Class A Perham. Tyler King was third, and Gagnon held on to finish fourth.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 200m

Paige Kuplic of Prior Lake out-runs 2007 Elite-Meet 100m champ Julia Rozman.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 200m

Faribault's Joe Rancourt completes his 100-200 doubles with his win here.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 800m

The announcers and DtB got it wrong at first, but here's proof that Hannah McAllister of Brainerd won the Girls' 800m.

Elite Meet Video: Boys' 800m

Zach Mellon makes it two in a row -- winning his second straight Elite-Meet 800m.

You can see his 2007 Elite-Meet win HERE.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls 300m Hurdles

Bree Woelber of Pipestone holds on for the win.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 300m Hurdles

Hopkins Greg Kufall wins in a speedy 39.51.

Elite-Meet Video: Girl's 400m

Grand Rapids' Lindsy Mattson powers the homestretch to win.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 400m

Quinn Evans has moved on to Wisconsin, but just like last year, a Mounds View runner crossed the line first in the 400 meter dash. This year it was Kevin Bradley, breaking the 50 second barrier for the win in 49.58.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 4 x 100m

Anoka wins a close one in 50.71, completing the Anoka sweep of the 4x100.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 4 x 100m

The boys from Anoka earned their second sprint relay victory in 45 minutes, taking the 4x100 in 43.90, matching their season-best mark.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 1600m

By just three hundredths, Chelsea Pettit of Holy Angels defeated St. Louis Park's Mara Olson in a dash for the top place. Pettit recorded 5:10.80 to Olson's 5:10.83.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 1600m

Irondale's Andy Richardson set a brisk early pace, and only cross-country champ Rob Finnerty of Burnsville followed closely in what became a two-man race. After Finnerty took the lead with a lap to run, Richardson kicked him down in an amazing final stretch of the track, winning 4:15.16 to 4:15.29.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 4 x 200m

Hopkins lives up to the top-seed hype, winning with plenty of room to spare. The Royals ran 1:44.63 for the win, as St. Cloud Tech was second.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 4 x 200m

Anoka puts nearly two seconds on the field, taking the relay home in a season-best 1:31.86.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 100m

St. Cloud Tech's Caitlin Dhein wins in 12.37.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 100m

After each was victorious in prelims, Joe Rancourt of Faribault took the final, with Spring Lake Park's Chris Norgaard just .04 behind.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 100m Hurdles

The race was close, with the top four competitors separated by just .19 seconds, but Mounds View's Kayla Sawtell emerged victorious in 15.62.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 110m Hurdles

Top-seeded Paul Mallory of Fairmont wins comfortably in 14.84.

Elite-Meet Video: Girls' 4 x 800m

White Bear Lake pulls away late, edging Andover Anoka 9:48.23 to 9:50.77.

Elite-Meet Video: Boys' 4 x 800m

Brainerd wins in 8:01.61 over Bemidji.

Elite Meet: Live Coverage from Hamline

That completes the action on the track and in the field here at the Hamline Elite-Meet. Thanks for joining us! Remember we'll be posting running-event video later tonight.

On behalf of my partner Chris Marshall (he's warmer now!), I'm Charlie Mahler signing off from Klas Field in St. Paul!

You can find complete Elite-Meet results HERE.

Girls Pole Vault:

Caitlin Weber of Lakeville North wins with 11-3 ... Lyndie Bosshart of St. James 2nd with 11-0 ... Aubrie Bowers of Owatonna 3rd at 11-0.

Running events are complete here at Klas Field, although we're still waiting for the girls pole vault to finish.

My partner, the chilly Chris Marshall, is beginning to load the running-event video he shot tonight. We hope to start posting that before too long.

Boys Long Jump:

Zach Bork of Rocori wins with 21-7 3/4 ... Diahn Zeon of Richfield 2nd in 20-11 3/4 ... Tylor Erickson of Jefferson 3rd with 20-10 1/4

Girls Long Jump:

Nicole Murphy of Blaine sets a meet record 17-03 3/4 to win ... Alycia Ford-Washington of Richfield 2nd in 16-11 3/4 ... Kayla Sawtell 3rd at 16-8 1/2

Girls Discus:

Abby Busch of Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop wins with 129-1 ... 2007 Elite-Meet champ Jessica Cagle 2nd with 128-0 ... Stephanie Hofland of Centennial 3rd with 119-7

Girls 4 x 400m Relay:

@400 -- Hopkins leads ... 62.1

@800 -- Hopkins with a big lead ... 2:05 ... then Woodbury and Brainerd

@1200 -- Still Hopkins, at 3:08, with Woodbury chasing

@1600 -- Hopkins wins in 4:08.87 ... Grand Rapids 2nd in 4;13.43 ... Rogers 3rd in 4:14.30

DtB would like to thank presenting sponsors TC Running Company and USA Track and Field - Minnesota for supporting live coverage of the Elite-Meet.

Boys 4 x 400m Relay:

@400 -- Mounds View leads ... 51.0

@800 -- Mounds View then Fairmont

@1200 -- Fairmont ... Mounds View

@1600 -- Mounds View wins in 3:28.97 ... Fairmont 2nd at 3:29.86 ... Austin 3rd in 3:31.33

Girls Triple Jump:

All-time Minnesota triple jump record-holder Jordan Helgren of Wayzata wins with a meet record 37-11 3/4 ... Chelsea Fogarty of Belle Plaine 2nd with 35-6 3/4 ... Elizabeth Wilson of Armstrong 3rd at 34-8 1/4.

Boys High Jump:

Derek Jerde of Chaska makes it a three-way tie for the meet record winning with 6-7 .. Wayzata's Billy Buffington is 2nd with 6-4 ... Mike Nielson of Sartell is 3rd at 6-4

Girls 3200m:

@400 -- a huge, massed pack crossed at 83.

@800 -- Danielle Berndt of Bloomington Kennedy leads by 10m in 2:44.

@1200 -- Berndt still clear by 10m in 4:09

@1600 -- Berndt by 15m in 5:34 ... Dani Stack of Loyola and Lauren Rice of Holy Family follow.

@2000 -- Berndt by 20m in 7:01 ... a line of five runners is chasing.

@2400 -- Berndt up by 25m at 8:29 .. but four runners are within stirking distance.

@2800 -- Berndt leads by 20m in 9:57 ... Dani Stack trying to close ...

@3200 -- Berndt wins by 40m in 11:16 unofficially.

Danielle Berndt of Kennedy wins with 11:16.18 officially ... Emma Bates of Elk River 2nd in 11:21.46 ... Dani Stack of Mankato Loyola 3rd in 11:21.62

Boys Shot Put:

Brian Leonhardt of Spring Lake Park wins with 58-11 ... Casey Dehn of Owatonna 2nd with 56-3 3/4 ... Joe Plante 3rd with 53-6 3/4.

Girls High Jump:

Katie Loberg of Princeton wins at 5-5 ... Katie Guse of Waseca 2nd at 5-4 ... Maranda Dohrn of Lake City 3rd in 5-4.

Boys 3200m:

@400 -- Pieter Gagnon leads in 70 ... followed by Jordan Carlson.

@800 -- Gagnon leads in 2:21 ... followed by Carlson.

@1200 -- Gagnon still leads at 3:34 ... then Carlson.

@1600 -- Gagnon in 4:47 .. then Carlson.

@2000 -- Carlson in 5:57 .. then Kevin Lachowitzer and Tyler King.

@2400 -- Carlson, 7:07, followed by Lachowitzer and King and Gagnon.

@2800 -- Carlson clear by 40m in 8:18, then King, Lachowitzer and Gagnon.

@3200 -- Carlson runs away with the win in 9:23, unofficially.

Jordan Carlson's official winning time was 9:23.18 ... Kevin Lachowitzer of Perham was 2nd in 9:31.07 ... Tyler King 3rd in 9:31.92

Remember, we’ll be posting running event video from the Elite-Meet starting immediately after the action ends.

Girls 200m:

Paige Kuplic of Prior Lake wins in 25.86 ... Julia Rozman of Edina 2nd in 26.39 ... Magie Darling of Austin 3rd in 26.41

Boys 200m:

Joe Rancourt of Faribault, tonight's 100m champs, wins the 200 in 22.24 ... Mandella Bakhi of Anoka 2nd in 22.58 ... Paul Yerhot of Chaska 3rd in 22.79

Girls 800m:

Official results ... Hannah McAllister of Brainerd wins in 2:19.93 ... Mikaya Larson of Edina 2nd in 2:21.69 ... Emily Emerson of Centennial 3rd in 2:22.13

@200 -- Schellinger McAllister leads a pack at 32.5

@400 -- Still Schellinger McAllister ahead of a pack at 66.7

@800 -- Schellinger McAllister pulls away to win in 2:19.92 unofficially.


Hannah McAllister of Brainerd wins the race in 2:19.92 unofficially.

Boys 800m:

@200 -- Mellon leads at 28.5

@400 -- Mellon still in front

@ 800 -- Mellon wins wire-to-wire in 1:56.89 unofficially.

Mellon wins in an official time of 1:56.90 ... Robel Kebede of South 2nd in 1:58.01 ... Harun Abda of Fridley 3rd in 1:59.04.

Needs some socks? Click on the sidebar ad to win a pair!

Girls 300m Hurdles:

Bree Woelber of Pipestone wins in 46.03 ... Jessica Keesling of White Bear Lake 2nd in 46.21 ... Jenna Severson of Spring Lake Park 3rd in 46.51

Boys 300m Hurdles:

Greg Kufall of Hopkins wins in 39.51 ... Paul Mallory of Fairmont 2nd in 39.73 ... Brady Roden of Foley 3rd in 40.00

Girls 400m: Lindsy Mattson of Grand Rapids wins in 58.61 ... Leah Hansen of Mounds View 2nd in 59.10 ... Bridget Sweeney of Hopkins 3rd in 59.82

Wondering what’s next? Check out the Elite-Meet schedule HERE.

Boys Discus Throw:
Micah Hegerle of Kasson Mantorville wins in a meet record 179-11 ... Joe Plante of MACCRAY is 2nd in 175-10 .. Brian Leonhardt is 3rd with 166-11.

Boys 400m:
Kevin Bradley of Mounds View wins in 49.58 ... Nate McGriff of Bemidji 2nd in 50.61 ... Andrew Blazer 3rd in 51.03

Girls 4 x 100m Relay:
Anoka wins in 50.71 ... St. Cloud Tech 2nd in 50.84 ... Prior Lake 3rd with 51.10

Boys Pole Vault:
Erik Romsdahl of St. Jams wins at 14-6 1/4 ... William Brenny of Foley 2nd with 14-0 ... Yoni Seevers of Irondale 3rd at 13-6.

Boys 4 x 100m Relay:
Anoka win in 43.90 ... Irondale 2nd in 44.22 ... Andover 3rd in 44.34.

DtB would like to thank presenting sponsors TC Running Company and USA Track and Field - Minnesota for supporting live coverage of the Elite-Meet.

Boys Triple Jump:
Austin Delaney of St. Louis Park wins with 45-8 ... Eyo Ekpo of Andover 2nd at 43-6 1/2 ... Kenny Schofield of little Cotton High School is 3rd with 43-5 1/2.

Girls 1600m:
@400 -- Brase of Centennial in 74.7
@800 -- Brase leads
@1200 -- Brase leads at 3:58

Chelsea Petit of Holy Angels wins at the line in 5:10.80 ... Mara Olson of St. Louis Park 2nd in 5;10.83 ... Kaylea Brase 3rd in 5:12.85

Boys 1600m:
@200 -- Andy Richardson of Irondale leads at 29.3
@400 -- Richardson and Finnerty at 62.4
@600 -- Richardson and Finnerty at 1:36.0
@800 -- Richardson and Finnerty abreast at 2:09.2
@1200 -- Finnerty to the fore at 3:13.0 ...

Richardson comes screaming down the homestretch to win! Finnerty led by 30m heading into the final turn, but the 2007 Elite-Meet champ narrowed the gap on the curve and hustled down the final stretch to nip the tiring Finnerty.

Richardson wins in a meet record 4:15.16 ... Rob Finnerty of Brunsville 2nd in 4:15.29 ... Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Travis Beniak 3rd in 4:23.52

In case you're wondering how we know the event winners before the events are schedule to run ... it's because Elite-Meet organizers are running tonight's meet on a rolling schedule!

Conditions ahead of the 1600m runs ... 43 degrees ... rainy ... light winds.

Girls 4 x 200m Relay:
Hopkins wins large in a meet record 1:44.63 ... St. Cloud Tech 2nd in 1:47.33 ... Armstrong 3rd in 1:47.61

Boys 4 x 200m Relay:
Anoka wins big in 1:31.86 ... Mankato East 2nd in 1:33.84 ... Bemidji 3rd in 1:33.90.

Need to know the Elite-Meet records? Click HERE.

Girls 100m:
Caitlin Dhein of St. Cloud Tech, the 2006 Elite-Meet champ wins a second Elite-Meet 100m title in 12.37 ... Paige Kuplic of Prior Lake 2nd in 12.48 ... Leah Hansen 3rd in 12.58 ... 2007 champ Julia Rozman of Edina finishes 8th in 12.83.

Girls Shot Put:
Amy Kubat wins in a meet record 41-9 1/4 ... 2007 champ LaiShema Hampton of St. Louis Park 2nd in 40-10 1/4 ... Jessica Cagle 3rd in 38-2 1/4

Remember, we’ll be posting running event video from the Elite-Meet starting immediately after the action ends.

Boys 100m:
Joe Rancourt of Faribault wins in 10.91 ... Chris Norgaard of Spring Lake Park 2nd in 10.95 ... Chi Chi Ojika of Irondale 3rd in 11.04

Girls 10m Hurdles:
Kayla Sawtell of Mounds View wins in 15.62 ... Bree Woelber of Pipestone 2nd in 15.74 ... Madison Smith of Brainerd 3rd in 15.79.

Boys 110m Hurdles:
Paul Mallory of Fairmont wins in a meet record 14.83! Austin Delany of St. Louis Park 2nd in 15.01, Nick Spaeth of Montevideo 3rd in 15.10.

Wondering what’s next? Check out the Elite-Meet schedule HERE.

Girls 4 x 800m:
1st Leg -- Willmar leads in 2:21 over Mankato Loyola
2nd Leg -- Loyola leads by 40m over Willmar in 4:43
3rd Leg -- White Bear Lake leads Willmar at 7:22 ...
Anchor -- White Bear Lake wins in 9:48.23 ... Anoka 2nd in 9:50.77 ... Mounds View 3rd in 9:52.51.

Boys 4 x 800m:
1st Leg -- Bemidji leads at 1:59 ... followed by Willmar and Brainerd ...
2nd Leg -- Willmar and Brainerd together at 3:59 ...
3rd Leg -- Bemidji and Brainerd together at 6:01 ...
Anchor -- Brainerd pulls away on the final turn to win in 8:01.61 ... Bemidji second in 8:04.21, Edina 3rd in 8:16.13 ... Buffalo was disqaulified.

Girls 100m finalists are ... Dhein, Dransgtveit, Hansen, Kuplic, Floyd, Otto, Held, Rozman (defending champ), and Darling.

Boys 100m finalists are … Norgaard, Rancourt, Bobaric, Ojika, Zeon, Sinkfield, Jackson, Dvorak, and Winkelman.

Girls 100m Prelims:
Heat 1 -- Caitlin Dhein of St. Cloud Tech, the 2006 Elite-Meet Champ, wins in 12.42 unofficially.
Heat 2 -- Nicole Drangstveit of Andover wins in 12.66.

Boys' 100m Prelims:
Heat 1 -- Chris Norgaard of Spring Lake Park/St. Anothony wins in 10.98 unofficially.
Heat 2 -- Joe Rancourt of Faribault wins heat in 10.99 unofficially.

Weather conditions here in St. Paul are not as bad a originally forecast -- it's 45 degrees, there's light rain, but winds are fairly calm around the track.

Welcome to Down the Backstretch's live, on-site coverage of the Hamline Elite-Meet. We're reporting live from Klas Field at Hamline University in St. Paul.

To enjoy the meet as it happens, just refresh your browser window regularly for event-by-event coverage of the meet. The latest coverage will appear at the top of this page, older news will be collected beneath.

Running and field events will commence at 5:30 p.m.

Weather Won't Stop Elite-Meet, Officials Say

"The meet is a go!"

That was Hamline Elite-Meet director Lynden Reder's response this morning to the question on the minds of athletes, coaches, and spectators for the tonight's Elite-Meet, where 40 degree temperatures, wind, and rain-turning-to-snow is predicted.

"We really wish, along with everyone coming to the meet, that the weather were going to be better, but what else could we expect with how this spring has been around the state," Reder added.

It doesn't appear event organizers ever seriously consider postponing or cancelling the event.

"With our college schedule, and the meet schedule for high schools in mind, this is really the best night to host the meet," Reder said. "We continue to cross our fingers that the weather blows through, but if not, it will be a true test of our best Minnesota track athletes!"

Reder does expect the pole vault and high jump events to be moved indoors due to the weather.

"Other than that," he said, "things will mainly stay the same. Our schedule is pretty close, but we will roll ahead if things are pretty nasty. Again, we are hopeful but prepared."

Reder, the Hamline men's coach, invoked Steve Prefontaine to describe a proper philosophy for the challenging conditions:

"Prefontaine said, 'We run to see who has the most guts' right? He didn't say, 'We run to get a tan.'"

"These races will be every bit as fun to see - although its fair to say that the times and distances might not be what we could expect on a perfect night," Reder added. "There are great events up and down the line, so it will be good to see who handles the elements and rises to the top."

Action begins at Hamline Klas Stadium at 5:30 p.m.

If you won't be braving the weather yourself, join Down the Backstretch on tonight beginning at 5:15 p.m. for our live coverage of the Hamline Elite-Meet. We'll feature live-text coverage of the events and same-night video of action on the track.

#10 Gophers Aim for Relay Trifecta Repeat

The #10-ranked University of Minnesota women's track squad returns to the blue Drake Relays track today for what they hope will be more relay glory at "America's Athletic Classic." The Gophers, who jumped from #22 in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll, hope to duplicate the relay trifecta they accomplished last year when they won the 4 x 800 meter, 4 x 1600m, and distance medley relays.

This year's 4 x 800 meter relay will feature Jamie Cheever, Gabriele Anderson, Julie Schwengler, and Heather Dorniden, the same foursome that posted a Drake Relays record time of 8:27.42. The Gophers will shoot for their third straight title in the 4 x 1600 meter relay, where Cheever, Anderson and Dorniden will be joined by rookie Nikki Swenson. Cheever and Anderson were members of the 2007 relay that set a new Drake Relays record at 19:07.75. The DMR lineup is expected to be Challis Larson, Jamie Dittmar, Julie Schwengler, and Nikki Swenson.

The Gopher men hope to share in some Drake glory as well. Their 4 x 1600m relay today will feature will feature cross country all-Americans Chris Rombough and Hassan Mead and include seniors Eddie Kibira and David VanOrsdel.

Live results from Drake can be found HERE.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Elite-Meet: Hot Events for a Cold Night

This post was updated at 11:50 a.m. Thursday, noting an important late scratch and correcting an error ...

The weather forecast for the third running of the Hamline Elite-Meet on Friday looks windy, cold, and rainy. (See for yourself, HERE.) The action on the track and in the field, however, looks to be good and hot in Minnesota's annual attempt to gather the best athletes and relays teams from high schools of all sizes into a single event.

Seven previous Elite-Meet champions return for additional glory. Three Four reigning MSHSL Class AA State champions are scheduled to compete, including Minnesota's best girl triple jumper ever, Wayzata's Jordan Helgren. The meet will also feature some scintillating match-ups and delicious meet-record-breaking possibilities, if the weather allows.

You can find boys startlists HERE.

Girls startlists are HERE

Here are some of the events we're particularly eager for ...

Girls Triple Jump ... 40 degrees and rainy isn't exactly ideal triple jumping weather, but we're eager to see what Wayzata's Helgren can do in her return to the site of her state-title-winning, Minnesota all-time best triple jump performance of 38-10 1/4. Helgren has jumped 37-7 already this year and is no doubt eying the Elite-Meet record of 36-07 1/2 held by Alise Post of St. Cloud Tech.

Boys 1600m ... 2005 Class AA 3200m and 2007 Class AA cross country champ Rob Finnerty of Burnsville will battle Irondale's Andy Richardson in the metric mile. The pair went 2-3 in the Class AA 1600m last June, Finnerty edging Richardson 4:10.39 to 4:10.78. Finnerty, with a PR of 4:08.84, is the 4th-fastest 1600m man in Minnesota prep history. Richardson is the defending Elite-Meet titlist in the event.

Girls 100 meters ... Call it the battle of the Elite Meet champions. In 2006 Caitlin Dhein of St. Cloud Tech won the Elite-Meet 100m. Last year, Julia Rozman of Edina won the event in a record-setting 12.38. Both seniors now, the two will battle to join the short list of two-time winners of the meet.

Boys 800 meters ... Two of the best half-milers in the history of Minnesota prep track and field will square off as Class AA champ Zach Mellon of Buffalo meets last year's State Meet runner-up Andy Richardson. Richardson, the 5th fastest Minnesota prep of all-time after his blazing prelim run of 1:51.60 at State, will battle Mellon after running the 1600m. Mellon, the reigning Elite-Meet 800m champ has the 8th fastest Minnesota high school 800m of all-time at 1:51.87.

Update: DtB has learned that Andy Richardson is a late scratch from the 800 meters. He will still contest the 1600m. Also, we failed to note Derek Jerde's presence in the meet.

Boys High Jump … In first two editions of the Elite-Meet, the high jump has been won at 6-7. Junior Derek Jerde of Chaska jumped 6-8 to win the Class AA title in the event last spring. He’ll jump in his first Elite-Meet on Friday with the hopes establishing a new record for the meet.

And more ... Other athletes and events we'll be keeping a close eye on include: Micah Hegerle of Kasson-Mantorville in the boys' discus. He enters the meet with a mark of 186-4. One of his top challengers will be Brian Leonhardt of Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony, the #1 seed at 57-7 in the boys shot put. The defending Elite-Meet champs in the girls throws return. LaiShema Hampton of St Louis Park will attempt to defend her shot title. Jessica Cagle of Grand Rapids, the meet record-holder in the discus, will attempt the same.

There will be a new Elite-Meet champion in the boys' triple jump -- two-time winner Tommy McNamara has graduated from Mounds Views. St. Louis Park's Austin Delaney enters the meet with an impressive 46-7 mark. Junior Zach Mellon of Buffalo, the defending Elite-Meet and Class AA 800m champ will aim for his own meet record of 1:55.26.

Join Down the Backstretch on Friday night beginning at 5:15 p.m. for our live coverage of the Hamline Elite-Meet.

Fitger's and Earth Day Photo Galleries

Two new photo galleries from Saturday's road action have been added to the USATF Minnesota site. Craig Yotter provided a sizeable set of photos from the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud, while Gregg Robertson submitted shots from Fitger's 5K in Duluth.

Preliminary Team Circuit results from the Earth Day Half are also available.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Elite-Meet: Final Startlists Announced

Organizers of the Hamline Elite-Meet have released final startlists for the third annual event.

You can find girls' entrants HERE.

You can find boys' entrants HERE.

Remember, join Down the Backstretch on Friday night beginning at 5:15 p.m. for our live coverage of the Hamline Elite-Meet.

Tollefson Out of Drake Relays

Carrie Tollefson has withdrawn from the Drake Relays 1500 meters, Team USA Minnesota has announced. The come-backing 2004 Olympian is fighting a lingering bronchial infection, according to a media release.

Tollefson, who missed most of the 2007 season with an abdominal injury, has had a bumpy 2008 season so far. The thirteen time MSHSL champion finished 14th at the Central Park Challenge 8K in New York City last month. In February, Tollefson finished 6th in the Tyson Invitational.

Three Team USA Minnesota athletes will compete at Drake: Emily Brown will contest the 3000-meter steeplechase, while Matt Gabrielson and Brad Lowery will compete in the special invitational mile -- which features American record-holder Alan Webb.

Carlson in Oregon ... Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson will run the 5000 meters at the Oregon Relays in Eugene on Friday evening. The Oregon Relays will be held at historic Hayward Field, the site of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials this summer.

The meet marks the beginning of Carlson's outdoor track season. The reigning USA 15K champ withdrew from the Sun Angel Track Classic in Tempe April 12 due to illness. Carlson has a best in the distance of 13:32.71

Roehrig, Studt Named Athletes of Week

The best multi-event athlete in Minnesota Golden Gopher history and an emerging U of M shot put star are the current Big Ten Athletes of the Week.

Liz Roehrig, who set new school records in the heptathlon and high jump last week at the Kansas Relays, and Aaron Studt, who threw a PR 62-7 1/2 in the shot put at the Tommie Twilight meet earned the awards, the school has announced.

Roehrig accumulated 5740 points in the heptathlon, bettering her own Gopher record of 5621 and falling just 10 points shy of an automatic Olympic Trials A Standard. The mark currently ranks the junior second in the NCAA. A three-time All-American, Roehrig set the school high jump record during the heptathlon. Roehrig cleared 6-0, improving the Minnesota record she has held since her freshman season. She is one of only five jumpers in the NCAA to clear the 6-0 mark this season.

Studt's 62-7 1/2 was a personal best by over three feet. The effort is also the third-best throw in school history and the Big Ten’s top mark this season. The sophomore got a second victory last weekend as well, throwing the shot 60-10 1/2 at the Carleton Relays.

Also ... The Gopher media department recently published two feature stories on U of M tracksters. There's a piece, HERE, on the Gophers' Polish triple jumper Anna Arciszewska. There's also another story, HERE, on Gopher captain Pete Miller.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Elite-Meet: Reder Explains Idea, Allure

The Hamline Elite-Meet -- one of the highlights of the Minnesota track and field season -- takes place this Friday night. As we did last year, Down the Backstretch will cover the meet live, putting the top-results on your computer screen immediately and posting video of selected running events during the course of the meet.

To put everyone in the Elite-Meet mood, DtB talked to Elite Meet director Lynden Reder (pictured), the head men's track and field coach at Hamline, to learn about the origins of the event and what to look forward to Friday night.

DtB: How did the idea for the Elite-Meet come about?

Reder: That would be a great question for Adam Steele! Adam and I were captains together at Minnesota a million years ago, and when I was brought on full-time at Hamline, I was working towards bringing Adam on as our sprints coach. I can't remember the details of the conversation, but while talking track, like we constantly do, the idea came up to host a meet like this. The funny thing is, we were talking about the U of M hosting it, since at the point Adam was still helping out over there.

As Adam and I were talking about him working with me at Hamline, the idea shifted hosting it at Hamline. We had just been awarded the MSHSL State Championship Meet and thought it would be a perfect time to launch the meet. I ran it by some trusted high school coaches and they thought it was a great idea. We started getting confirmations from major programs like Mounds View, and we knew we were onto something. We came up with the idea to give all the qualifying athletes a dri-fit "Elite-Meet" shirt, and having the winning athletes throw a shirt into the stands on a victory lap (something they do at the University of Oregon, where Adam is ironically training now), later in the process. The event has changed and adapted countless times, and has turned into something even better than we imagined from the onset. It also has certainly caught on a lot faster than we ever imagined.

So, long story short, Adam and I have an on-going debate about who should get credit for the idea. I think as soon as he moved to Oregon, he forfeited all copy-rights! But in all seriousness, a lot of people, including Adam, all our HU track athletes who work the meet, and of course the entire coaching staff here at Hamline deserve credit for creating this meet and grinding out the large undertaking of hosting it every year.

DtB: Are you planning anything different for the 2008 Elite-Meet?

Reder: The qualifying process and time-line will get tweaked a little to account for the weather, but other than that, the major concepts of the meet are intact. Last year we added a prelim in the 100m, the only track event with a prelim and that is one of the most major changes so far. We are always open to new ideas for making the meet better for the athletes AND for spectators, so anyone reading this should feel free to suggest something!

At the end of the day, the major theme for the Elite-Meet is gathering the finest track and field athletes, regardless of their school size and let them duke it out!

DtB: Why do you think the event has proven to be so popular?

Reder: I think that seeing some match-ups you normally wouldn't see at this stage in the year is a major factor. The fields end up being of the highest quality, and because of the format of the meet, we're always confident there will be some BIG performances. Mike Torchia's sub-9 minute performance the first year we hosted the meet really set the tone for that going forward. Each year a new premier event seems to rise to the top, so its fun for people to see how it all plays out.

The culture of the meet seems to have become that of 'lets all get after it and see if we can't get some big personal bests!'. Winning the meet is great and all, but if someone drops 30 seconds from their 3200 pr and gets 6th, when in a normal meet that might not be possible, I'm sure they're still pretty pumped!I'm sure there are athletes that have finished towards the back of the pack from small towns outside of the metro, but mixed it up with some big-city kids for the first time and had major improvements. As a small town guy, that is my favorite part of the meet... seeing the best Class A athletes get a chance to mix it up against the top Class AA athletes, where those head-to-head match-ups aren't possible at the state meet.

DtB: Bad weather has been a factor this outdoor season, have you had to take that into account at all?

Reder: The poor weather is the biggest reason for the entry deadline being changed. We'll allow entries up until Tuesday night at 11:59pm... which will give kids the opportunity to get a mark in a Monday or Tuesday meet and still get in. It will make things tight on our end, but we think its the right thing to do. Similar to last year, we'll also allow a conversion from 1600 to 3200 since athletes haven't had many chances to race yet.

DtB: Is there anything else you'd like to add about the meet?

I just want to invite everyone to join us at the meet! It is a very spectator friendly meet, and again, a very fun culture for the athletes. Its a blast to watch the outstanding performances, and unlike most meets, its a meet filled with a final, after a final, after a final. No one has to suffer through 20 heats of an event.

We look forward to hosting the event every year! If you love track and field, you will love this meet!

Photo courtesy of Hamline University.

Down the Backstretch will post Elite-Meet updates and news items throughout the week. Remember, tune to "WDTB" on Friday night beginning at 5:15 p.m. for our live coverage of the Hamline Elite-Meet.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Twin Cities Marathon More Than 50% Full

The 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is more than 50% filled just four days after on-line entry for the race began, race officials have reported. This year's race registration, which began one minute after midnight last Friday, is out-pacing that of the past, they add.

The 2007 race filled in 19 days, and has filled within a month’s time for the last 20 years. Capacity for this year's event, to be held October 5, is 11,000, an increase of 500 from last year’s marathon.

"Online-only registration has been very successful this year,” Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. executive director Virginia Brophy Achman said. “It’s exciting to see such great interest in marathon running continuing, not only in Minnesota, but around the country."

Brown, Carlson Named Athletes of the Month

The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field has announced that Team USA Minnesota athletes Emily Brown and Andrew Carlson are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for April 2008.

Brown, a 2007 University of Minnesota graduate, was recognized for being the top finisher for the United States team at the IAAF World Cross County in Edinburgh, Scotland, last month. Brown, a former Big Ten steeplechase champion, finished 18th in the race, running 26:36 on the 8K course.

Carlson, also a U of M graduate, was honored for winning his first national title at the USA 15K Championship held in conjunction with the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida, in March. Carlson out-dueled 2002 Twin Cities Marathon champion Dan Browne for the win, running a personal-best 44:12 for the 9.3 mile distance.

USA Track & Field Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota. USA Track & Field is the governing body of the sport in the United States and the Minnesota Association of USATF sanctions and sponsors track and field, cross country, road racing, and racewalking events for athletes of all ages in the state.

Women's Olympic Trials Photo Gallery

Turena Johnson Lane, 6th in 2:34:17

Nicole Cueno, 55th in 2:44:54

Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, 59th in 2:45:14

Michelle Lilienthal, 85th 2:48:46

Jenna Boren, 94th 2:49:34

Marie Sample, 116th in 2:59:01
Other Minnesota finishers not pictured: Johanna Olson, 46th in 2:43:39; Melissa Gacek 50th in 2:44:10; Erin Ward, 86th in 2:48:51.
Photos by Victor Sailer

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Short-Cut: Results Links for April 18-20

Better late than never, here are results links for the busy weekend ...

Kansas Relays: Results
Update: Gopher women win DMR, Radocaj 2nd with 168-5.

Tommie Twilight: Results
Update: Gophers' Studt puts PR 62-7 3/4 .... Potter, Buzard run 47.38, 47.70.

Mount SAC Relays: Results
Update: Luke Watson runs 8:37.21, Ferrell runs 15:33.88.

Kansas Relays: Results
Mount SAC Relays: Results
Carleton Relays: Results
Manitou Classic (St. Olaf): Results
Earth Day Half Marathon (Team Circuit): Results

Women's Olympic Marathon Trials: Preview * Results
Update: Turena Johnson Lane 6th in 2:34:17.

Mount SAC Relays: Results

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lilienthal Leads Minnesota Trials Contingent

Team USA Minnesota's Michelle Lilienthal leads a strong contingent of Minnesota women into Sunday's U.S. Women's Olympic Trails Marathon in Boston. The 26-year-old University of Wisconsin graduate sports the sixth fastest qualifying time in the field -- the 2:35:51 she ran at the 2006 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Lilienthal, along with Brainerd native Turena Johnson Lane and former Team USA Minnesota runner Dana Coons are contenders for one of the three Olympic team berths on offer at the race. American marathon record-holder and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor is the prohibitive favorite in the race. Johnson Lane enters the Trials with a #9-seeded 2:36:15 qualifier; Coons ran 2:38:18 to earn her toe-space on the starting line, the #11 seed in the field.

In all, nine Minnesotans will compete at the 7th Olympic Marathon Trials for women: Lilienthal, Johnson Lane, Nicole Cueno, Erin Ward, Marie Sample, Jenna Boren, Wadena native Johanna Olson, Melissa Gacek, and Chaska native Stephanie Herbst Lucke.

Among the other contenders for tickets to Beijing are two racers familiar to Minnesota marathoning fans. 2003 Twin Cities champ Blake Russell, who finished 4th at the 2004 Trials after leading the race's early stages, is likely to be a factor in this year's race. Also a likely challenger for a team spot is defending Grandma's Marathon champion Mary Akor, the #3 seed.

1999 TCM champ Kim Pawelek will run her third Trials on Sunday. Former TCM champs Marla Runyan and Nicole Aish, however, have scratched from the event.

The race will be web-cast live, HERE, thanks for NBC.

You can find all sorts of information on the event, HERE, at the Trials web-site.

Boren: " ... there is opportunity in change."

Down the Backstretch asked Jenna Boren some questions ahead of the her race Sunday at the U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. Boren (pictured), who brings a personal best of 2:42:39 from last year's Houston Marathon with her to the event, talked to us about her training, her 7th place finish at Grandma's last summer, and her disappointing 28th place, 2:50:37 run at the New York City Marathon last fall.

DtB: So, how has Trials training gone for you?

Boren: It has been an interesting winter to say the least. As much as I would like to say everything went according to "THE PLAN", it didn't. A bit of injury and a dramatic winter/spring inspired the new "CREATIVE" plan. Although I had some frustrating days, I decided to focus on the things I could do successfully or without pain and minimized the aggravating activities.

I was unable to run on a treadmill due to a leg problem but I could run outside, hills, long runs. So I just plugged away doing almost all of my training outside (once a week in the dome). Finally, all running came to a halt for 2 weeks in March but fortunately I was able to cross train. For the past 3 weeks, I have been able to run pain free and my mind is in a good place...rejuvenated!

Although I had to adapt a significant amount of my training, I do believe there is opportunity in change. I am such a "routine" person that I may have previously considered the training alterations as "setbacks". I am learning that this actually an opportunity to grow/change/challenge my mind and learn how to be more adaptable. I am not certain where my fitness is right now but I do trust in the training I have followed consistently over the past 4 years is still in me and the "character building" runs this winter were beneficial mentally. Regardless, I learned how to focus on each day and the task at hand. I am hoping I broke some subconscious barriers by learning to adapt my training.

DtB: Are you able to get a sense at this point of how things might go for you in the race?

Boren: I honestly have NO idea what will happen. I would like to think that if I am patient and controlled early on, I might be able to crack the top 25-30 women. I just need to be smart early on and take it one mile at a time (and not worry about place in the beginning)!

DtB: What do you think is a realistic goal for yourself?

Boren: On a perfect day, I would love to run under 2:40 but who knows what could happen. I ran New York in November and training had gone really well....according to "THE PLAN". If there was time I thought I would run well, it was at New York. I really hope I am in the mix of things!

DtB: Walk us through the year-plus since your 2:42 at Houston?

Boren: After feeling pretty good at Houston, I felt great through April 2007 when I hurt my foot. I was unable to run for about 3 weeks but cross trained on the underwater treadmill and elliptical. I was about 1 day away from calling Scott [Keenan] at Grandmas to tell him that I was going to drop out. I was encouraged by a couple of friends to give it another day and I ended up being able to run. SO, I had 2 weeks to get my miles in and ended up 7th at Grandmas. I was really glad I still ran!

In the meantime, I had contacted New York because I thought Grandmas was going to be a disaster. They offered to pay for everything as part of an incentive to get closer to the "A" standard. I couldn't pass up the opportunity! Training went close to what I would consider perfect but I was exhausted at the start...maybe it had gone too well. I took some time off in November and did more stair type workouts without as much running in early December.

DtB: How difficult has it been to race at a high level while you're working full-time in your own chiropractic practice?

Boren: If I could give up the "management" part of the business and just treat people, it would be ideal. Helping people achieve their goals is VERY motivating for me and actually helps me when I run. I am lucky to combine both interests! The part that can be exhausting is managing a business but it is what I need to do for now. Someday, I hope to find a bit more balance. I have been lucky in the past few years to travel with the MEADP and AADP grants which has allowed me to race at a more competitive level. I really can't complain. There are many people who do FAR more things than I do in a day!

Photo by Gene Niemi.

News and Notes to Start the Day

Lot's to report on today, so we'll start out with quick news items ...

Roehrig wins, breaks record, qualifies ... Gopher junior Liz Roehrig won the Kansas Relays heptathlon yesterday with a school record-setting 5740 points. The mark broke her old school record of 5621, qualified her automatically for the NCAA Championships, and provisionally for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

More details can be found HERE.

R.J. McGinnis led four Gopher men to top-10 finishes in the Kansas Relays decathlon with his 4th place, 6879 point performance. Find details HERE.

Grandma's lodging fundraiser trying to stay legal ... A fundraising enterprise centered on the notorious lack of inexpensive lodging in Duluth on Grandma's Marathon weekend ran into legal troubles this week.

The Northern Communities Land Trust holds a fundraiser in which people offer lodging in their home to Grandma’s Marathon participants. The four-year-old fundraiser recently ran afoul of Duluth's lodging and rental ordinances. In an effort to stay on the right side of the law, the Duluth News-Tribune reports, HERE, that the organization will no longer require lodgers to sign leases or make rental payments.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Roehrig Leads Kansas with Record-Setting Pace

University of Minnesota junior Liz Roehrig handily leads the Kansas Relays heptathlon at the end of yesterday's first day of competition and is on pace to break her own school record of 5621 for the seven event competition.

Roehrig (pictured) is more than 400 points clear of first day runner-up Chantae McMillan of Nebraska. Already, the Chilton, Wisconsin native has broken the University of Minnesota high jump record with her 6-0 clearance in that event of the heptathlon yesterday.

Roehrig leads the competition with 3591 points. She opened yesterday's competition with a 14.35 clocking in the 100 meter hurdles for 929 points, earned 1016 for her high jump, put the shot 42-2 1/4 for 718 points, and then ran a PR 24.56 in the 200m for 928 points.

Last year, at the Bobby Lane Arlington Invitational in Texas where she set the current Gopher heptathlon record, Roehrig opened with marks of 14.13, 5-10, 41-9 1/4 and 24.60. On the second day of competition there she long jumped 19-7 3/4, threw the javelin 110-11, and ran the 800m in 2:31.03.

Gopher men's quartet in the mix ... Gopher men's multi-eventers R.J. McGinnis, Garrett Wankel, David Meissner, and Joey Schwecke find themselves in the top-10 in the decathlon competition at Kansas. McGinnis is currently 5th with 3680 first-day ponts. Wankel is 6th with 3279, Meissner is 8th with 3199, and Schweke is 9th with 3175.

You can follow today's Kansas Relays multi-event competition and the weekend's individual and relay events HERE.

Photo courtesy of the U of M.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Additional $2,750 Raised for Ngetich Family

Grandma’s Marathon announced today that it has raised an additional $2,750 for the family of two-time race champion Wesly Ngetich. The race used a week-long online auction, which included 2008 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon entries, to raise the funds.

Ngetich was killed on January 21 after being shot with an arrow while reportedly attempting to mediate conflict between two disputing tribes near his home in Trans Mara, Kenya . The 2005 and 2007 men’s champion of Grandma’s Marathon, Ngetich was expected to return to Duluth in June to defend his title.

The auction was the second fundraising effort Grandma’s Marathon had conducted to assist Ngetich’s family. In March, the organization raised $6,000 when it opened an additional 100 spots in the 2008 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon to runners not selected through the entry lottery.

Another online auction fundraiser is being planned for later this year.

Roehrig to Kick-Off Minnesota's First -Ever Kansas Relays Appearance

Improbable though it seems, when Gopher multi-event star Liz Roehrig steps into her blocks for the heptathlon 100 meter hurdles this morning at the Kansas Relays, she'll be the first-ever Golden Gopher woman to compete in the storied meet. Never, in the 81-year history of the event, has Minnesota participated in the Lawrence, Kansas meet.

Roehrig will be looking to achieve an NCAA-qualifying score in the two-day, seven-event contest, and exorcise the ghosts of last year's largely-lost outdoor season. The senior from Chilton, Wisconsin tallied a school record 5621 points in her only heptathlon of 2007, but then suffered a season-ending injury that kept her from defending her Big Ten title or competing in the NCAA Championships.

Roehrig competes today and tomorrow.

Another likely highlight of the Gophers' Kansas Relays debut will be Saturday's teaming-up of Heather Dorniden and Jamie Cheever in the 1500m. Both athletes have U.S. Olympic Trials "B" qualifying marks in their main events -- the 800m for Dorniden and the 3000m steeplechase for Cheever.

You can read the full Golden Gopher media release for the event HERE.

You can keep track of the action, HERE, via the Kansas Relays live results page.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Phillips Working for a Trials Qualifier

In an era of post-collegiate “career athletes” – Olympic hopefuls who put much of the rest of their lives on hold to grasp for the Olympic rings – hammer thrower April Phillips is living the flip-side of that kind of life.

She’s an athlete with a career … as well as the goal of qualifying for the Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Phillips (pictured), a four-time Big Ten champion in the shot put and hammer throw at the University of Michigan, is one of many Minnesota residents with a full-time job. The 26-year-old engineer, though, is one of the few nine-to-fivers with her sights set on the Trials.

“Work brought me to Minnesota,” Phillips told DtB recently. “When I hired into Lockheed Martin it was for a leadership development program that cycles you through 4 different types of jobs in two different locations. My first location was in Syracuse, New York, and I completely gave up throwing for the one and a half years I lived there -- time to grow up and enter the real world.”

When it was time for Phillips to choose her next work location for the giant defense and technology corporation, she picked Minnesota. She was beginning to miss throwing by then, too.

“Having thrown in the Big Ten conference in college and now living back in Big Ten country, I thought it would be a perfect time to use my network and try to get back into throwing,” Phillips said. “I’ve had a few opportunities to move since then for work, but have committed to staying in the area through Trials. Plus, I really have grown to LOVE Minnesota.”

Through University of Minnesota women’s throws coach Lynne Anderson, Phillips connected with Hamline men’s track and field coach Lynden Reder. The Gopher men's record-holder in the hammer, Reder is a Trials aspirant himself. Phillips now trains with Reder and works as an assistant coach at Hamline.

“Work as an engineer occupies my life from 6:30 – 4:30 and practice runs after that into the evening,” Phillips said. “Even then, track can get trumped by work and my own training suffers.”

Last weekend, though, Phillips and Reder took the time to travel to Tempe, Arizona to compete in the Sun Angel Classic. Phillips finished 6th in her event with 190-10. Reder was 3rd with 204-8.

“The previous two seasons Lynden and I have been lucky enough to have the MIAC schools let us compete in their track meets,” Phillips said. “However, this season, I’ve made the commitment to travel and hit some meets I’ve had success at in the past. I’ll be throwing at Cornell in a few weekends, and then at my favorite meet ever – the home meet at my alma mater, The University of Michigan.”

Phillips needs throw 206-8 to provisionally qualify for the Trials in Eugene, Oregon in late June; a throw of 219-2 would qualify her automatically for the meet. Phillips’ PR is 202-6 set last year.

“That is absolutely the goal this year,” she confirmed. “When I got back into throwing in October 2005 it was just as a hobby; I really missed throwing. I’m excited to have progressed enough these past few years to have the Trials as an achievable goal.”

Phillips conceded she was “disappointed” with her performance in Arizona over the weekend.

“Anytime I can get weather that nice and a competition that good, I hope to throw closer to (or break) my PR,” she said. “But, I did get to spend time talking to talented coaches and watching great throwers, so I definitely have some tangible things to bring to practice. It is still early in the season; I’m excited to get back to work!”

Phillips opened her season with a win at the Hamline Invite on April 5th, throwing 196-9.

“I feel pretty good about that meet,” she said. “It was the best opening meet I’ve ever had in terms of farthest throw, and overall a good series for me. Now, I did pull a little on one and throw it over a fence … but at least it was entertaining for the spectators!”

Photo by Justin Le.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Masters Great Ellen McCoy Dead at 87

Ellen McCoy, who in 2006 was named Minnesota's top female distance runner of the last 20 years in three separate over-70 masters categories, died April 12.

You can read her Star-Tribune obituary HERE.

McCoy, who is survived by her husband of 67 years, Morris, was a 14-time Minnesota Runner of the Year for her age-group. Although she stopped competing in 2000 at age 80, at the end of 2005 she still held 37 Minnesota age records.

McCoy ran PRs of 25:06 for 5K and 42:49 for 8K as a 70-year-old. She clocked a PR 52:20 10K at 71.

Twin Cities Registration Opens Friday

Now that registration for all of the Grandma's events has wrapped up -- Grandma's Marathon filled last week, you'll remember -- it's time to kick-off registration for the 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Indeed, online-only registration for the 27th running of "The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America" begins at 12:01 a.m. , Friday, April 18 at Registration is beginning three weeks earlier than in the past.

Race organizer remind runners that each year, the marathon fills within 20-30 days, although the field limit for the October 5 race has been increased to 11,000 this year.

Organizers are promoting the Corporate Team Challenge as an option for organizations to register as a group again in 2008. The Challenge offers companies an opportunity to add excitement, team building and good-natured competition to the work place. Any corporation (profit or non-profit) may participate with a team made up of employees of the corporation.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Short-Cut: Results Links for April 11-13

Here's our regular links-to-results post aimed at keeping you abreast of the latest happenings during the weekend. There's lots going on, as you might imagine. We're especially keen to see Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson take to the track on Saturday -- in the 5000 meters at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Arizona -- after all the road success he's had already in 2008.

Mesa Classic (U of M throwers): Results
Update: Jerry Netland wins disc with 159-8, Aaron Studt 2nd in hammer with 182-1.
Sun Angel Classic: Results
Update: Lynden Reder hammers 204-08; April Phillips throws 190-10

Sun Angel Classic (U of M men, Carlson): Results
Update: Kabia 3rd in 10.49, Storvick run 1:49.92, Carlson scratches due to illness.

Lee Krough Invitational: CANCELLED
Jim Duncan Invitational Results
Furman Invitational (Matt Gabrielson): Results
Update: Gabrielson ran 3:52.57 for 6th in the 1500m, according to Team USA Mn's Pat Goodwin.

Mad City/USA 100K: Results

NDSU Bison Invitational: Results
Update: Defending D2 outdoor champ Jennifer Hensel wins vault with 12-6.

T&FN: Only Goucher & Marks to Olympics

Track and Field News, the self-proclaimed "Bible of the Sport," just published a set of Olympic Track and Field Trials predictions. If you take the magazine's word as gospel, only two Minnesotans -- Kara Goucher in the 10,000 meters and Shani Marks in the triple jump -- will make the U.S. Olympic team.

The magazine, HERE, projects both Goucher and Marks as the runners-up in their events at the Trails in Eugene, Oregon. On the outside looking in, according to compiler Dave Johnson, are Jenelle Deatherage (5th) and 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson (8th) in the 1500, Cack Ferrell (7th) in the 5000, and Katie McGregor (5th) in the 10,000.

T&FN doesn't send any Minnesota men to Beijing. 2007 USA Outdoor champ Jim Dilling is picked for 4th in men's projections, HERE.

Also ... The hometown newspaper for the Olympic Track and Field Trials, the Eugene Register-Guard, just launched a special web-page covering the build-up to the Trails. You can find it HERE, and well as in the "Links" section on our sidebar.

What do you think? ... Is T&FN on target or off-base? Who from MN will represent the USA at the Games? Let us know with in the comments section.

(Full disclosure: Although I am a correspondent for T&FN, I have nothing to do with the predictions.)