Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fresh off their speed work at Drake Relays last weekend, Chris Rombough and Hassan Mead will head to Stanford University on Saturday for a fast 5000 meter race at the Payton Jordan Invitational. You can find heat sheets for the meet HERE.

So, we ask you ...

Yes/No: Will a Gopher break the men’s outdoor school record of 13:44.30 in the 5000m at Stanford on Saturday?

Note: Chris Rombough is a 3-time all-American in cross country as well as a Big Ten champ. Rombough has run 13:51.71 for 5000m. Hassan Mead was a superstar at Minneapolis South before joining the Gophers in 2007. The sophomore all-American and Big Ten champ is well on his way to being one of the most decorated Gopher distance runners ever. Mead currently owns the 5k school record of 13:44.30.

john cena

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 10:00 p.m. CDT Saturday, May 2nd. Please put your answer in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will continue to offer a bonus for participants making their debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for any first-time players.

My Answer: Yes

Yes/No Update ... The question from two weeks ago -- "Will Carrie Tollefson run 4:35.00 or faster in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile" was answered correctly by 16 contestants. Tollefson encountered a very windy day and still ran a very solid 4:45 in Boston.

You can find the full Yes/No leaderboard HERE.

Good luck and thanks for playing Yes/No on DtB!

Conference Awards for Hermanson, McGinnis

Burnsville alum Laura Hermanson of North Dakota State University was named The Summit League’s Female Indoor Track and Field Athletes of the Year in a vote by the league’s head coaches. Hermanson received a unanimous seven votes,

Hermanson (pictured) completed the indoor season with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2:05.44. Hermanson had an excellent indoor season as she set school records in the 600m, 800m, and mile . She led The Summit League in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:04.44. She also posted a league-best mile time of 4:41.96 and helped the Bison capture The Summit League Indoor crown for the second straight year.

Hermanson was the winner of the women's 800 meters at the Drake Relays last Friday.

McGinnis is Athlete of the Week ... Minnesota junior R.J. McGinnis was named the Big Ten Field Event Athlete of the Week after posting the third-best decathlon total in the NCAA this season at the Drake Relays last week.

McGinnis enjoyed career-best performances in five of the 10 decathlon events as he tallied 7,626 points to finish second in the competition. His mark ranks #3 in University of Minnesota decathlon history.

McGinnis was the Big Ten heptathlon champion indoors this year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon More Than Half Full

The field for the 2009 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is more than half filled after eleven days of on-line registration, race officials announced yesterday.

Registration for the October 4 event opened on Friday, April 17 and so far more than 5500 runners have registered for a spot in the race's 11,000 runner field.

"Continued interest in the marathon distance is exciting to see," Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. executive director Virginia Brophy Achman said in a media release. "In its 28th year, the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon continues to draw participants from around the world. Not only do they say they come back for the great shared experience, but also because the enthusiastic community support in the Twin Cities."

john cena

Entries do appear to be coming in more slowly than in recent years. Last year, entries for the race hit the half-full benchmark after only four days of registration, as opposed to the eleven it has taken in 2009. Last year, TCM filled in 31 days.

TCM officials noted that entrants to the race hale from 49 states and eleven countries.

TCM Awards Scholarships ... Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. awarded $5000 scholarships to two Twin Cities area high school seniors. Weiming (Vivian) Hou of Eastview High School and Samuel Seehof of Minnetonka High School are the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. $5,000 College Scholarship winners. Hou and Seehof were chosen from a field of more than 85 candidates, based on running accomplishments, academic performance, community service, and a personal essay.

Hou is a four-year letter recipient on Eastview’s cross country team, and captain of the 2008 team that qualified for the MSHSL State Meet. She has been on the varsity cross country team for three seasons, and participated in track for two years. Hou is a member of the National Honor Society, a National Merit Finalist, an AP Scholar with Honors and is ranked first academically in her class of 556 students. Hou has not yet decided on a university, but plans to study biology and neuroscience.

Seehof is a three-year varsity letter recipient in cross country and two-year recipient in track, in addition to carrying a 4.412 GPA in the International Baccalaureate program at Minnetonka High. He is editor of the school newspaper, an Executive Cabinet Member of the Student Government, co-captain of the Math Team and a member of the National Honor Society -- all while holding down two jobs throughout his high school career. Seehof will be attending Dartmouth College after he graduates from high school.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carleton Alum on Cross-America Run

2007 Carleton College graduate Katie Visco went out for a long run on March 29 ... and is still running.

Visco (pictured) is attempting to become the youngest female to run across the United States. She's doing so, she says, to inspire people to follow their passion, to empower individuals to connect to what gives them life, and to fund-raise for and promote Girls on the Run, a charity that empowers young girls through running

Visco, who is on Day 31 of her endeavor, plans to run from Boston to San Diego. Her route has taken her through Providence, Rhode Island, New Haven, Connecticut, and New York City and will continue through Cleveland; Chicago; Salina, Kansas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Flagstaff, Arizona before reaching San Diego.

john cena

Visco hopes to reach Sand Diego by mid-December.

There's lots of interesting information about Visco's run on her web-site, HERE, including video clips from her conversations with local media.

Local Fundraising Run ... Visco's former Carleton teammates are organizing a fun run in Northfield to raise money and show support for Visco's cause. The Pave Your Lane Run/Walk will take place Sunday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. in the Carleton Arboretum. Proceeds from the 3-mile run will be donated to the Girls on the Run non-profit organization.

Cost to participate is $10 ($8 for students) and T-shirts will be given to the first 50 registrants. Registration is on-site at Carleton's West Gym starting at noon on May 17th.

Also ... The Northfield News just ran THIS story on another Northfield-affiliated mega-miler: Stan Hup. Hup was featured for running 15 or more marathons a year and using his marathoning passion to take him across the globe for marathoning opportunities.

Photo by Sara Rubenstein, courtesy of Carleton College.

Drake Relay Photo Gallery -- By Gene Niemi

Laura Hermanson (#5) en route to a women's 800 meter victory. Also pictured (second from left) Gopher Jamie Dittmar.

The third leg of the Men's 4 x 1600m Relay: The Gophers' Chris Rombough, Stanford's Chris Derrick, and Notre Dame's Jordan Carlson.

Ladia Albertson-Junkans passes to Gopher teammate Heather Dorniden in the Distance Medley Relay.

Gopher Elizabeth Yetzer anchoring the Gophers' 4th-place DMR.

Stanford's Garrett Heath tracks Wisconsin's Craig Miller in the DMR, while Rombough works his way toward the leaders.

The Drake Relays 4 x 1600m Relay Champions: Albertson-Junkans, Yetzer, Nikki Swenson, and Dorniden.

Photos by Gene Niemi.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Minnesotans are Key Players at Drake Relays

There was no shortage of Minnesota news coming out of the Iowa capitol city of Des Moines at last weekend's Drake Relays.

The Gopher women won two relays, Aaron Studt won a second straight shot put title, and Burnsville High grad Laura Hermanson of NDSU was the runaway winner of the 800 meters at "America's Athletic Classic.".

But the men's 4 x 1600m and Distance Medley Relays were, perhaps, the most intriguing of the Minnesota stories. The Gophers won the 4 x 16 and finished runner-up in the DMR in races that featured Minnesota runners playing important role for each of the top-three teams.

In Friday's 4 x 1600m, the Gopher anchor Ben Blankenship held off Winona High School grad Elliott Heath of Stanford (pictured above) in a furious kick for the title. The Gopher team of Hassan Mead, Andy Richardson, Chris Rombough, and Blankenship edged Stanford 16:29.74 to 16:29.85.

The Des Moines Register featured the Minnesotans in THIS feature story. You can watch video highlights of the race as well as an interview with Hermanson HERE, thanks to the Register.

In addition to the Blankenship/Heath battle, 2008 Rosemount High School grad Jordan Carlson ran the third leg of the Notre Dame's thrid-place squad which clocked 16:44.95.

In Saturday's DMR, Stanford returned to top the Gophers -- but needed two home-staters to pull off the feat. Elliott Heath ran the 1200m opener for the Cardinal and brother Garrett anchored in the 1600m leg. Wisconsin led early in the anchor leg -- thanks in part to Mounds View grad Quinn Evans' 400m leg -- and Rombough put the Gophers into the lead, but Garrett Heath's finish was the difference for Stanford.

Stanford clocked 9:36.14, edging the Gopher squad of Blankenship, Logan Stroman, Richardson, and Chris Rombough. Wisconsin, which could field a DMR that includes Evans, Burnsville grad Rob Finnerty, and Buffalo High School senior Zac Mellon in the coming years, was third in 9:45.26.

Complete Drake Relays results are HERE.

Find great Drake Relays coverage HERE, from the Des moines Register.

Read about the Golden Gophers' exploits HERE (men) and HERE (women).

Photo by Gene Niemi.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Short-Cut: Results' Links for April 24-26

While we've been busy covering the Hamline Elite Meet -- see below! -- the rest of the track and field world has continued apace.

Find results of this weekend's action below ...

Drake Relays: Results
Update: Hermanson, Gopher 4x800 (w), 4x1600 (m), Studt win.
Hamline Elite Meet: Results
Brutus Hamilton Invitatiional: Results
Update: Moen 28:26, Gabrielson 28:44; Tollefson 15:35, Brown 15:37.

john cena

Get in Gear: Results
Update: Malakwen defends, Vega 3rd; Misganaw wins again, Lyons 2nd.
Drake Relays: Results
Gustavus Drake Alternative: Results
Sooner Invite: Results
Hamline Elite Meet: Results

Elite Meet: Boys' 4x400m

Act III of the Zach Mellon show: Buffalo wins again -- this time in the 4 x 400m in 3:25.33 -- thanks to come-from-behind stick-work by Mellon.

Elite Meet: Girls' 4x400m

Another relay, another win for Hopkins -- 4:02.46 winners of the 4 x 400m.

Elite Meet: Girls' 3200m

Jamie Piepenburg of Alexandria pulled away in the late-going for a 11:06.66 3200m win.

Elite Meet: Boys' 3200m

Wayzata's Jeremy Drenkhahn motored to a win in the 3200m in 9:23.50.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Elite Meet: Girls' 200m

Paige Kuplic of Prior Lake screamed to a 200m win in 25.34.

Elite Meet: Boys' 200m

Cameron Boy was the man in the 200m, winning in a run-away in 21.71.

Elite Meet: Girls' 800m

State champion as an eighth-grader, Elite Meet winner as a frosh, Haylie Zenner of Fergus Falls takes the 800m in 2:18.96

Elite Meet: Boys' 800m

Act II of the Mellon-drama, Zach Mellon of Buffalo, the fastest Minnesota high school 800m runner ever, runs down Winona's Sam Miner for a third-straight Elite Meet 800m crown, clocking 1:55.60

Elite Meet: Girls' 300m Hurdles

Bree Woelber of Pipestone scored a win for Class A with a 45.98 300m hurdle win.

Elite Meet: Boys' 300m Hurdles

Greg Kufahl of Hopkins wins the 300m Hurdles in 39.38.

Elite Meet Girls' 400m

Sophie Charlton of Rochester Mayo raced to the 400m title in 58.15.

Elite Meet: Boys' 400m

Harun Abda, the #5-ranked Minnestoa prep 800m runner all-time, is now the Elite Meet 400m champ at 49.40.

Elite Meet: Girls' 4x100m

Another relay, another relay victory for the Hopkins girls, who clocked 49.30.

Elite Meet: Boys' 4x100m

Andover speeds to an Elite Meet title in the 4 x 100m in 43.80.

Elite Meet: Girls' 1600m

Mara Olson of St. Louis Park, the reigning Class AA champ, won the 1600m in 5:06.84.

Elite Meet: Boys' 1600m

Moses Heppner of far-away Warroad takes the 1600m title in 4:17.74.

Elite Meet: Girls' 4x200m

In the western suburbs, speed is spelled H-O-P-K-I-N-S -- the 4 x 200m winners in Elite Meet record fashion with 1:42.91

Elite Meet: Boys' 4x200m

Brainerd makes a long trip worthwhile with a 1:31.01 victory in the 4 x 200m.

Elite Meet: Girls' 100m

Robbinsdale Armstrong's Sid'Reshia Floyd stormed to the 100m victory in 12.32.

Elite Meet: Boys' 100m

Irondale's Chichi Ojika speeds to victory in the 100m in 11.04.

Elite Meet: Girls' 100m Hurdles

Kayla Sawtell of Mounds View defended her Elite Meet title in the 100m Hurdles with a 15.09.

Elite Meet: Boys' 110m Hurdles

Brooklyn Center's Loquone Robinson sets a new Elite Meet record in the 110m Hurdles running 14.72.

Elite Meet: Girls' 4x800m

Prior Lake tops Eagan and Mounds View in the 4 x 800, running 9:41.74.

Elite Meet: Boys' 4x800m

In Act I of the Zach Mellon show, the Buffalo 4 x 800m sqaud wins in 8:13.87

Live Coverage: Hamline Elite Meet

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, I'm Charlie Mahler signing off from Klas Field in St. Paul!

Complete Elite Meet results are HERE.

Girls Pole Vault:

Taylor Brett of Forest Lake wins with 11-0 ... 2nd Alex Miller of Mankato East 10-6 ... 3rd Chelsea Borwege 10-3

john cena

Girls 4 x 400m Relay:

@400 -- Hopkins leads ...

@800 -- Hopkins ahead of Mounds View ...

@1200 -- Hopkins, then Mounds View

@ the finish -- Hopkins wins in 4:02.46 ... 2nd Mounds View 4:05.93 ... 3rd Fergus Falls 4:07.59

Boys 4 x 400m Relay:

@400 -- Buffalo and Austin in 51.3

@800 -- Buffalo and Chaska ...

@1200 -- Buffalo in the lead .. and passing to Mellon

@ the finish -- Buffalo wins in 3:25.33 ... Mellon splits 48.9 ... 2nd Chaska 3:27.86 ... 3rd Fridley 3:28.03

Boys Long Jump:

Eyo Ekpo of Andover wins with 22-5 ... 2nd Randy Khieu of Champlin Park 22-4 1/4 ... 3rd Lee Dhein of St. Cloud Tech 21-9

john cena

Boys High Jump:

Derek Jerde of Chaska wins with an Elite Meet Record leap of 6-9 ... 2nd Eyo Ekpo of Andover 6-5 ... Taylor Berger of Elk River 6-4

Girls 3200m:

@400 -- Piepenburg leads in 75

@800 -- Piepenburg leads Hauger and McRaith in 2:40 ...

@1200 -- 4:00 with the same threesome at the front ...

@1600 -- Piepenburg with a small gap at 5:25

@2000 -- Piepenburg leads by 10m 6:52

@2400 -- Piepenburg with a 25m lead in 8:19 ... McRaith, Hauger and Rice in a pack next.

@2800 -- Piepenburg by 25m in 9:47 ...

@ the finish -- Jamie Piepenburg of Alexandria wins in 11:06.66 ... 2nd Hannah McRaith of Waseca 11:10.66 ... 3d Lauren Rice of Holy Family 11:15.10

john cena

Boys 3200m:

@400 -- Drenckhahn at 69 ...

@800 -- Paradis leads in 2:19 then Drenkhahn and Hassan ...

@1200 -- Drenkhahn leads in 3:31 ... from Paradis and Hassan

@1600 -- 4:42 ... a line of five: Drenkhahn, Paradis, Hasan, Lindlaas, and Thorson.

@2000 -- Drenkhahn by 10m on Paradis in 5:53 ...

@2400 -- Drenkhahn by 30m over Paradis in 7:05 ... Thorson leads Hassan for 3rd.

@2800 -- Drenkhahn by half the straightaway in 8:16

@ the finish -- Jeremy Drenkhahn of Wayzata wins in 9:23.50 ... 2nd Drew Paradis of Alexandria 9:39.03 ... 3rd Josh thorson of Wayzata 9:41.97

Girls 200m:

Paige Kuplic of Prior Lake wins in 25.34 ... 2nd Antoinette Goodman of Burnsville 25.40 ... 3rd Stormy Nesbit of Roseville 25.78

Girls Discus:

Jessica Cagle wins with 141-4 ... 2nd Elisa Moenkedick of Perham 128-2 ... 3rd Becky Culp of Centennial 123-1

john cena

Boys 200m:

Cameron Boy of Jordan wins BIG ... in 21.71 ... 2nd Jarrett Allen of Anoka 22.29 ... 3rd Chichi Ojika of Irondale 22.68

Girls 800m:

@200 -- Zenner leads 33 seconds ...

@400 -- Zenner in 68 ...

@600 -- Zenner leads large in 1:43

@ the finish -- Class AA Champ Haylie Zenner of Fergus Falls wins in 2:18.96 ... 2nd Sam Miller of Edina 2:19.83 ... 3rd Hannah McAllister of Brainerd 2:21.49

Girls Triple Jump: Corrected

Elizabeth Wilson of Armstrong wins with 37-5 ... 2nd Stormy Nesbit of Roseville 37-2 1/2 ... 3rd Chelsea Fogarty of Belle Plaine 36-8 1/4

1 Nesbit, Stormy Roseville 37-06.00

2 Wilson, Elizabeth Robbinsdale 37-05.00

3 Fogarty, Chelsea Belle Plaine 36-08.25

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

Boys 800m:

@200 -- Miner leads at 28 ...

@400 -- Miner leads at 58 ...

@600 -- Miner still leads at 1:28 ...

@ the finish -- Zach Mellon of Buffalo wins his thrid Elite Meet 800m title in 1:55.60 ... 2nd Sam Miner of Winona 1:55.97 ... 3rd Moses Heppner of Warroad 1:59.10

john cena

Girls 300m Hurdles:

Bree Woelber of Pipestone Area wins in 45.98 ... 2nd Jessica Kessling of White Bear Lake 46.40 ... 3rd Kayla Sawtell of Mounds View 46.70

Boys Shot Put:

Jacob Fensky of Owatonna wins with 53-7 1/2 ... 2nd Jesse Reemtsma of Spring Lake Park 52-10 1/2 ... 3rd Mike Spampinato of Eveleth Gilbert 52-8 1/2

Boys 300m Hurdles:

Greg Kufahl of Hopkins wins in 39.38 ... 2nd Ryan Maloney of Elk River 39.87 ... 3rd Ben Stephens of Buffalo 40.46

john cena

Girls 400m:

Sophie Charlton of Mayo wins in 58.15 ... 2nd Lindsy Mattson of Grand Rapids 58.52 ... 3rd Katybeth Biewen of Edina 59.65

Boys 400m:

Harun Abda of Fridley wins in 49.40 ... 2nd Troy Pollard of St. Paul Highland Park 50.01 ... 3rd Aric Hoeschen 51.03

Girls 4 x 100m Relay:

Hopkins wins in 49.30 ... 2nd Osseo 50.16 .. 3rd St. Cloud Tech 51.55 ... Mounds View, which battled for the lead with Hopkins, was DQed on the final exchange

Girls Long Jump:

Nicole Murphy of Blaine wins in an Elite Meet Record 18-1 3/4 ... a close 2nd Antoinette Goodman of Burnsville 18-1 ...3rd Bree Woelber of Pipestone Area 17-8

john cena

Boys 4 x 100m Relay:

Andover wins in 43.80 ... 2nd Hopkins 44.05 ... 3rd Sartell-St. Stephen 44.12

Boys Pole Vault:

Macauley Spandl of Moorhead wins at 14-0 ... 2nd Chris Sluis of Anoka 13-6 ... 3rd Rory Alt of Forest Lake 13-6

Girls 1600m:

@200 -- Flores in 34

@400 -- Flores in 73

@800 -- Flores of Medford in 2:33

@1200 -- Salava in 3:54

@ the finish --Mara Olson of St. Louis Park wins in 5:06.84 ... 2nd Emma Bates of Elk River 5:07.09 ... 3rd Becca Dyson of Roseville 5;07.42

john cena

Boys 1600m:

@200 -- 32 seconds ... a little slower w/o Mr. Richardson in the field!

@400 -- Heppner of Warroad leads in 67

@800 -- Kebede leads in 2:10 ...

@1200 -- Kebede leads Bastryr and then Heppner in 3:14 ...

@ the finish -- Heppner wins in 4:17.74 with a huge final lap, coming from a distant 3rd at the bell ... 2nd John Holt of Roseville 4:18.93 ... Robel Kebede of Mpls South 4:21.42

Boys Triple Jump:

Eyo Ekpo of Andover wins with 45-7 ... 2nd Jordan Benesh of Mankato East 45-1 ... 3rd Trevor Jellum of Lakeville North 43-8

Girls 4 x 200m Relay:

Hopkins wins big ... in a Elite Meet Record 1:42.91 ... 2nd Prior Lake 1:45.22 ... 3rd Osseo 1:45.69

Boys 4 x 200m Relay:

Brainerd wins in 1:31.01, unofficially, catching Champlin Park at the line ... 2nd Champlin Park 1:31.18 ... 3rd Buffalo 1:31.22

john cena

Girls High Jump:

Katie Loberg of Princeton wins with a Elite Meet Record-tying 5-6 ... 2nd Katie Guse of Waseca 5-5 ... 3rd Hannah Schonhardt of Holy Famly 5-5

Boys Discus:

Ryan Ackman of Litchfield wins with 171-6 ... 2nd Nate Blais of Champlin Park with 164-5 ... 3rd Eric Stark of Pipestone Area 161-9

Girls 100m Finals:

Sid'Reshia Floyd of Robbinsdale Armstrong wins in 12.32 ... 2nd Stormy Nesbit of Roseville 12.33 ... 3rd Paige Kuplic of Prior Lake 12.52

Boys 100m Finals:

Chichi Ojika of Irondale wins in 11.04 ... 2nd Lee Dhein of St. Cloud Tech 11.11 ... Terrell Sinkfield of Hopkins 11.19

john cena

Girls Shot Put:

Abby Goraczkowski of Litchfield wins with Elite Meet Record 43-4 1/4 ... 2nd Kim Hovey of Red Wing 43-0 1/3 ... 3rd Heather Schultz of Perham 40-6

Girls 100m Hurdle Finals:

Kayla Sawtell wins in 15;09 ... 2nd Kelsi Ring of Brainerd 15.18 ... 3rd Emily Stalpes of Wayzata 15.23.

Boys 110m Hurdle Finals:

Laquone Robinson of Brooklyn Center wins in 14.72 in a new Elite Meet Record ... 2nd Keenan Stangl of Buffalo om 14.99 ... 3rd John Bye of Moorhead in 15.24

john cena

Girls 4 x 800m Relay:

@400 -- Grand Rapids in 68 ...

@800 -- Mounds View in 2:21 ...

@1200 -- Mounds View in 3:29 ...

@1600 -- Mounds View in 4:44 .. then Eagan and Prior Lake

@2000 -- Mounds View leads large in 5:54 ... the Eagan, Prior Lake and Hopkins ...

@2400 -- Mounds View in 7:13.. then Prior Lake, Eagan, Hopkins, and Grand Rapids

@2800 -- Mounds View in 8:24 ... but Eagan is closing ...

@ the finish -- Prior Lake wins in 9:41.74 ... Eagan, 2nd, in 9:42.70 ... Mounds View, 3rd, 9:42.71

john cena

Girls 100m Finalists: Stormy Nesbit, Rosey Erickson, Taylor Anderson, Sid'Reshia Floyd, Paige Kuplic, Mary Tanoe, Danielle Jones, Ketelyn Lewis, Jazzmin Willimas.

Boys 4 x 800m:

@400 -- Buffalo at 58 seconds ...

@800 -- Forest Lake leads Buffalo at 2:00 ...

@1200 -- Buffalo leads at 3:02 ...

@1600 -- Richfield at 4:06 followed by Forest Lake and Buffalo ...

@2000 -- Buffalo leads at 5:09 ... then Forest Lake and Richfield ...

@2400 -- Richfield leads at 6:12 ... then Richfield and Buffalo ... with Zach Mellon.

@2800 -- Richfield with Buffalo closing in 7:13 ...

@ the finish -- Buffalo in 8:13.87 ... then Richfield in 8:19.98 and Forest Lake, 3rd, in 8:22.73, officially.

Boys 100m Finalists: Skyler Jackson, Myint Maung, Brady Lipp, Chichi Ojika, Lee Dhein, Nick Nelson, Lekpea Kordah, Terrell Sinkfield, TJ, Struss

john cena

Girls 100m Prelims:

Heat 1: Stormy Nesbit of Roseville wins in 12.36.

Heat 2: Rosey Erickson of Alexandria wins in 12.54.

Boys 100m Prelims:

Heat 1: Chichi Ojika of Irondale wins in 11.28.

Heat 2: Lee Dhein of St. Cloud Tech wins in 11.18..

Heat 3: False Start! No DQ ... Another False Start! DQ: John Sharpley.

Heat 3 Results: Nick Nelson, Lakeville North wins in 11.23.

They've sung the national anthem, so track and field action can't be far off!

On the track -- prelims of the 100 meters ...

john cena

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. The latest results 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 Conditions ... At 5:00, thirty minutes before the start of the meet, the temperature is 75 degrees, humidity is 38% with a dew-point of 48 degrees. Winds are from the northwest at 15 miles per hours.

Weather Forecast ... "Windy with showers and thundershowers likely. A few storms may be severe. Chance of rain 60%."

john cena

Elite Meet: Thunder, Lightening, Speed, Power

The weather forecast for tonight's Hamline Elite Meet presented by Nike predicts a 60% chance of thunder and lightening.

There is, however, a 100% chance of speed and power at the Friday night session of the 4th-annual event which gathers many the state's best prep tracksters in a one-night, one-off, one-class, elite competition.

Meet organizers have expanded the meet this year to include a Saturday relay carnival component to the meet, which also includes 3000 meter race, co-sponsored by the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, open to adults athletes and a Fastest Kid in the City competition for St. Paul youngsters.

In tonight's action, nine 2008 MSHSL Class AA State Champions will return to Klas Field, the State Meet venue, headlined by the state's fastest prep 800 meter runner of all time, Zach Mellon of Buffalo. In its short history, the meet has proven to be an exciting preview of the season's State Meet match-ups and typically posts marks that aren't topped until Sectional competition.

john cena

Buffalo's Mellon will strive to become a three-time Elite Meet event winner. The Wisconsin-bound middle distance star, who sports a 1:48.64 PR, enters the event as the #2 seed behind Winona's Sam Miner. While Fridley's Harun Abda, a 1:50.74 man last year, has chosen the 400m at the Elite Meet, Class A cross country champ Moses Heppner of Warroad, the #3 seed, is an interesting addition to the 800m field.

Defending Class AA 200m champ Chichi Ojika, who helped Irondale to its runner-up team finish at State last year, enters the meet as the #1 seed at 100m and the #3 in the 200m. Ojika has clocked 10.84 for the 100m this year and 22.64 for 200m.

Casey Dehn of Owatonna, who won Class AA titles in the shot put and discus throw last spring, enters the Elite Meet shot competition as the #1 seed with a 62-7 mark. He's seeded #2 behind Litchfield's Ryan Ackman in the disc.

Chaska's Derek Jerde, the two-time Class AA high jump champ, seeks his second Elite Meet title. Jerde is the co-meet record holder in the event at 6-7.

In girls' competition, Jesica Cagle of Grand Rapids, the Elite Meet record-holder in the discus and the defending Class AA champ in the event, is the top seed in the disc and the #3 seed in the shot put. Cagle, who holds the All-Time State Meet record in the discus at 162-4, has thrown 153-2 already this year.

Sophomore Mara Olson of St. Louis Park, the Class AA 1600m champ last spring, tops the startlist in that event with a 5:10.68 seed, but could face a challenge from a strong field that includes 2007 Class AA 1600m champ Michelle Volz of Lakeville North and the U of M-bound Katie Moraczewski of White Bear Lake.

Young middle distance star Haylie Zenner of Fergus Falls, the Class AA 800m champ last year as an 8th-grader, is the #1 seed in the event with a 2:20.67 mark this year.

Mounds View's Kayla Sawtelle, the Class AA champ at the 100m hurdles and the state's top returnee in the 300m hurdles, is the #3 seed in the Elite Meet 100m hurdles and the top seed at 300m.

Waseca high jump state champ Katie Guse will jump as the #3 seed tonight. Guse was the Elite Meet runner-up last year.

Elite Meet action gets underway at 5:30 p.m. tonight and resumes at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.

The heat sheets for tonight's Elite Meet events is HERE.

The heat sheets for Saturday's events are HERE.

Remember ... Join Down the Backstretch tonight for live coverage of the meet beginning at 5;30 p.m. We'll provide live-text results for all the events and upload race video upon completion of the session.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Round-Up: Corralling All the Track News

It's like a huge cattle-drive!

There's so much happening in the sport right now, we need a big ol' round-up to keep things under control. Here, then, is the latest from the sport in Minnesota.

Gearman, McGinnis 1-2 ... Former Golden Gopher jumps star Derek Gearman and the Gophers reigning Big Ten heptathlon champ R.J. McGinnis are currently in 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in the Drake Relays decathlon. Gearman, a Minnesota State - Mankato assistant coach, tallied 4086 first-day points; McGinnis scored 4010. Find more details HERE.

Rue vaults 13-5 1/2 at Hamline ... Gopher pole vault star Alicia Rue won the pole vault at the Hamline Twilight meet last night with a 13-5 1/4 clearance. Teammate Samantha Sonnenberg was second at 13-1 1/2. Find more info HERE.

john cena

Rue, Gopher heptathlete Liz Roehrig, and a handful of teammates will compete at the Sooner Invite this weekend, at the site of the NCAA Championships in June.

Gophers Head to Drake ... The Gopher men's and women's teams are expecting exciting things at the 100th Drake Relays this weekend. The Gopher men's and women's previews are HERE and HERE, respectively.

Gopher Women Now #18 ... The U of M women's team fell three spots to #18 in the NCAA Division I Track and Field poll this week. The Gopher men, ranked #23 in the previous poll, fell out of the top-25 this week. Find the full rankings HERE.

Team USA Minnesota to California ... Six Team USA Minnesota runners will compete this weekend at the loaded Brutus Hamilton Invitational at the University of California. They'll compete in the special NYRR Distance Carnival sponsored by the New York Road Runners.

Emily Brown and Carrie Tollefson will race 5000 meters; Katie McGregor and Meghan Armstrong will race in the women's 10,000m; and Matt Gabrielson and Josh Moen will compete the men's 10,000. Find more details HERE.

Goucher Named Athlete of the Week ... Kara Goucher was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week for her 3rd place finish at Monday's Boston Marathon.

Elite Meet Fields Set ... Startlists for the Friday night events at the Hamline Elite Meet have been posted HERE. We'll preview the meet tomorrow morning on DtB ... and then provide live coverage of Friday's action, beginning when the first starting pistol fires at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Track and field athletes from Minnesota are making their annual pilgrimage to Des Moines, Iowa this weekend for the running festival known as Drake Relays. Competitors in the College and University divisions as well as post-collegiate athletes will compete before a packed house for a prestigious Drake Relays Championship. Because there are so many great competitions involving Minnesota athletes, we've decided to bring back “Pick 10” for Drake Relays week.

A refresher on Pick 10 rules: You're asked to predict the finish place for each of 10 Minnesota athletes/teams in their respective division (University/College/Special) at Drake. You will score points for each athlete/team that scores at or above the finish place you predict for them, following the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system. If the athlete/team finishes below your predicted place, however, you receive zero points.

To play Pick Ten, cut and paste the list of names/events below into an e-mail and add your place predictions -- 1st, 2nd, 3rd... or 8th. Send your predictions to DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com by 9:00 A.M. CDT on Friday, April 24. Make sure your full name is in the e-mail. We'll announce the winner of this Pick Ten contest next week and update the running tally of Pick Ten scores from which we'll ultimately crown a grand champion.

Consult DtB Fantasy Corner for full results.

Pick 10 ... Drake Relays:

Ibrahim Kabia in the 100 Meters (University/College):
Aaron Studt in the Shot Put (University/College):
Jim Dilling in the High Jump (Special):
Laura Hermanson in the 800 Meters (University/College):
Liz Podominick in the Discus (Special):
Katelin Rains in the Pole Vault (University/College):
University of Minnesota Men in the 4 x 1600 (University/College):
St. Thomas Men in the 4 x 800 (College):
University of Minnesota Women in the Distance Medley Relay (University):
University of Minnesota, Mankato, Women in the 4 x 100 Meter Relay (College):

To Help You Make Your Picks ... Here is some information on the athletes/teams we've included in the competition:

Ibrahim Kabia is an All-American sprinter and defending Drake Relays 100 meter champion (10.44). Aaron Studt is also an All-American and the defending Drake Relays champion (shot put). Jim Dilling is a 7 -6 1/2 high jumper who was a 4 time Division II national champion at Minnesota State, Mankato. Laura Hermanson of NDSU, the middle distance specialist from Burnsville High School, ran 2:03.21 and 4:19.77 at Mt. SAC last week. Former Gopher Liz Podominick is the Minnesota high school record holder in the shot put and discus. Katelin Rains vaulted 14-5 1/4 indoors this year which remains the best collegiate vault of the year.

The University of Minnesota men’s 4 x 1600 meter squad features All-Americans Hassan Mead and Chris Rombough. St. Thomas has a stellar middle distance squad to choose from in the 4 x 800 meter relay. Leading the charge are current national qualifiers Mike Hutton (1:52.53) and Brian Sames (1:52.84). The Gopher women have incredible depth at 800 and 1500 meters and should excel at the Distance Medley Relay. The Gophers have national champion Heather Dorniden as well as 4 additional runners who have broken 2:10 this year. Minnesota State, Mankato’s women have a national qualifying team in the 4x100 led by All-American Brittany Henderson who has already run 11.70 this year.

Good luck!

Yes/No Update ... Last week’s question - Will Carrie Tollefson run 4:35.00 or faster in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile was answered "no" correctly by 16 contestants. Tollefson encountered a very windy day and still ran a very solid 4:45 in Boston.

Yes/No will return next week. Full results are posted HERE.

Get in Gear Sports Champion-Studded Fields

If you intend to win Saturday's Get in Gear 10K, be prepared to beat a former champion or two to do so.

Lining up for the 32nd running of the race that calls itself "Minnesota's Annual Rite of Spring" will be the past two women's champions, two of the last three men's titlists, and all three of the men's medalists last year.

Get in Gear pays $1000 to the men's and women's champs.

2008 men's champion Sammy Malakwen of Kenya returns to defend his title. He'll face 2005 Get in Gear champ Moses Waweru as well as last year's runner-up and third-placer William Serem and Richard Kandie, respectively, all of Kenya.

john cena

Team USA Minnesota's Antonio Vega and Chris Lundstrom are the top local contenders for a title not won by a native Minnesota since 1996 when Chaska High School and University of Minnesota alum Curt Kotsonas was champion.

Additional male contenders include the 2009 Human Race 8k champ Brad Lowery of Brookings, South Dakota, Jeremy Polson of Duluth, last weekend's Fitger's 5K winner, and Kenyans John Njoroge, Jacob Kenbagor, Japheth Ngojoy and Eric Chirchir. Chirchir recently won the All American City 10K in Texas in 29:12.

In women's competition 2008 champion Kim Magee of Bloomington, a University of Minnesota alum, and the 2007 champion Alemtsehay Misganaw of Ethiopia headline the field. Magee won last year's Get in Gear in 36:50. Misganaw won the year before in 32:58, just six seconds off Janis Klecker's 1992 course record.

Others who should contend include Jenna Boren of St. Paul, who won the Human Race 8k in March, Amy Lyons of Mounds View, who won the Fitger's 5K in Duluth last weekend, Kenyan Hellen Mugo, who sports a 34:38 PR, and Jennifer Houck of Duluth.

Top returning masters runners include John Mirth of Platteville, Wisconsin, who has been the first male master from 2005 through 2008 and Bonnie Sons of Shorewood, who has been the first female master's runner at the Get in Gear 10K for the same span. Sons ran the Boston Marathon on Monday in 3:15:21, however.

Team Circuit Resumes ... The Get in Gear 10K is the second stop on the 2009 USATF Minnesota Team Circuit and serves as the USATF Minnesota 10K Championship race. Defending men's and women's Team Circuit titlists Run N Fun will seek to avenge the opening race defeat they both suffered at the St. Patrick's Day Human Race 8K, where TC Running Company won both open division titles.

Get in Gear events begin at 8:00 a.m. with a 2K Fun Run and build to the start of the 10K and inaugural Half Marathon at 9:00 a.m. A 5K race follows at 9:20 a.m. Some 7,000 participants are expected for the Get in Gear races, including 4,000 for the 10K and 1000 in the sold-out Half Marathon race.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wrapping Up Goucher's Boston Race

See Updates Below ...

The day after the Boston Marathon has produced a bit more coverage of Kara Goucher's 3rd place finish at the storied event, so we've gathered the best of it below. We've also posted our own race story one post down, along with some links we gathered yesterday.

The Boston Herald's Recap

The Boston Globe's Race Story

Globe Columnist Bob Ryan's Take
john cena

The Star-Tribune published two stories on the race -- HERE and HERE -- each with a different poignant post-race photo.

Goucher Coming to Duluth ... Goucher will be in Duluth in two weeks. She'll attend Duluth's Mother's Day Walk & Run on Saturday, May 9, where she plans to give a talk and participate in the 2 mile walk event with family.

Goucher will also speak to Duluth Middle School students the day before as part of Duluth Fit-n-Fun Assembly. Fit-n-Fun is a partnership between Grandma’s Marathon and its Young Athletes Foundation, the Duluth Public School Systems, and Duluth Children’s, an affiliate of SMDC Health System, aimed at motivating children to lead healthier lifestyles.

But Going to London First? ... The Star-Tribune is running THIS Associated Press story reporting that Goucher is lobbying coach Alberto Salazar to let her race at this weekend's London Marathon.

The AP story says Boston, the pace of which was very slow early-on, felt like a jog followed by a fast 10K to Goucher.

No London After All ...
The AP has updated the Goucher/London story. Salazar apparently talked Goucher out of what would have been an historic double.

the final word.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kara Goucher 3rd at Boston Marathon

Kara Goucher made the race, but Salina Kosgei won it.

Kosgei edged defending champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia for the women's title at the 113th Boston Marathon today, in the closest women's finish in event history.

Goucher, a Duluth native, finished 3rd, after pushing the pace in the late-going and challenging for the win in the race's final mile.

Kosgei, a Kenyan, ran 2:32:16, Tune ran 2:32:17, Goucher ran 2:32:25.

After a dawdling early pace -- the leaders split 10K in 37:06 and crossed the half-way stripe at 1:18:12 -- Goucher led a hammering drive to the finish after cresting Heartbreak Hill in the race's 22nd mile. The University of Colorado alum's charge winnowed the lead pack to three, but Goucher couldn't match the fleet African pair in the homestretch.

"I'm proud of what I did," Goucher said holding back tears, according to a USA Track and Field media release.

Describing the support she received from family, friends, her coach, Alberto Salazar, and her sponsor, Nike, she said: "I wanted it so much for them. I'm proud of how I did, and I raced the best I could. I just wanted to be the one who won for everybody."

Goucher matched her finished place from last fall's New York City Marathon, where she debuted in 2:25:53.

"I don't enter a race I don't think I can win," Goucher said, according to the Running USA Wire. "No one expects more of me than I do. I felt better than I did in New York, but the other women were just better at the end."

Two-time Grandma's Marathon women's champ Mary Akor finished 13th in 2:41:09.

Deriba Merga of Ethiopia won the men's race in 2:08:42, American Ryan Hall was 3rd in 2:09:40.

Recommended Links ...

The Duluth News-Tribune has THIS Associated Press report on the race.

There's video of Goucher at the post-race media conference HERE.

Parker Morse, for the IAAF, has an in-depth story on both the men's and women's races HERE.

Photo by Victor Sailer/Photo Run.

Until the Boston Starting Gun Fires ...

Until the racing gets underway at the 113th Boston Marathon -- where, of course, Duluth's Kara Goucher this morning aims to become the first American women's winner since 1985 -- here are two feature stories we found to read in the meantime ...

Kevin Pates' feature on Goucher from the Duluth News-Tribune

Mark Craig's feature on Brian Robison in the Star-Tribune

Also, we've collected a lot of meet results from the weekend in the Short-Cut post below, if you've still got time left over.

Cold & Windy ... The weather report from Boston is cold and windy, with temperatures in the 40s during the race.

You can watch the Boston Marathon live via THIS web-cast by Universal Sports. The elite women start at 8:32 a.m. CDT.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Short-Cut: Results' Links for April 16-20

The Gophers are in California, Kansas, and a few spots closer to home ... some Team USA Minnesotans are at Mt. SAC ... a Minnesota Viking is throwing the shot at St. Thomas ... and Carrie Tollefson and Kara Goucher are racing in Boston.

But the results of all of that and more are right here:

Kansas Relays: Results
Update: Gophers' Schwecke wins decathlon with 6807 points.
Mt. SAC Relays: Results
Update: Gophers' Laskowske 5th with NCAA provisional 33:42.52.

john cena

Tomcat Twilight: Results
Update: Kabia doubles 10.54/21.83, Robison puts 60-11 1/2
Lakeville Mega Meet: Results
Report: Roesler runs 2:12.73 in girls 800m. (See video below)
The Phil Esten Challenge: Results
Update: Gophers' Adrienne Thomas wins 200/400 double.
Mt. SAC Relays: Results
Update: Armstrong runs PR 15:41; Moen PRs 13:35.73.

Bonus: Video of Laura Roesler's 2:12.73 800m at the Mega Meet (from Kevin Holubar.)

Fitger's 5K: Results
Update: Polson, Lyons win in 15:29 and 17:32, respectively.
Manitou Classic: Results
Update: Gusties' Broderius wins shot, disc in 45-3 3/4, 144-8
Carleton Relays: Results
Update: Bethel's Eric Rhode quarters 48.81.
UMD Invitational: Results
Update: Bemidji's Buerkle wins 100-200-400m; SCSU men's 4 x 100 carries 41.37

MDRA Mudball 4 Mile: Results
BAA Invitational Mile: Results
Update: Team USA Minnesota's Carrie Tollefson 5th in 4:45.0.

113th Boston Marathon: Results
Update: Goucher 3rd in 2:32:25.
Carrie Tollefson will compete in the inaugural B.A.A Invitational Mile in conjunction with the Boston Marathon this weekend. The race will be held the day before the marathon and features a top-notch elite field featuring Shalane Flanagan. The course is composed of three loops and concludes at the Boston Marathon finish line. For more information read the previews by DtB, Team USA Minnesota, and the B.A.A.

Yes/No: Will Carrie Tollefson run 4:35.00 or faster in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile on Sunday?

Note: Carrie Tollefson is well known by Minnesota distance running fans. A champion at every level, Carrie won 13 state high school championships, five NCAA championships and three USA championships and was an Olympian in 2004. She holds lifetime bests of 4:27 in the mile and 4:06 in the 1500. As reported earlier on DtB, Carrie is coming off 2 frustrating years fighting injuries but appears on the comeback trail in 2009.

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 9:00 a.m. CDT Sunday, April 19th. Please put your answer in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will continue to offer a bonus for participants making their debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for any first-time players.

My Answer: No

Last week's Yes/No question was decided by the slimmest of margins. Aaron Studt threw a mere one centimeter less than the Yes/No appointed distance and therefore the correct answer -- by an eyelash! -- was "No." Only 5 people answered correctly, but one of those was the leader of the contest - Kyle Serreyn - who is moving away from the pack slightly.

You can find the full leaderboard HERE.

Good luck and thanks for playing Yes/No on DtB!

Boston Marathon: The Kara Goucher Files

We haven't talked about it much this week, but on Monday, Minnesota's own Kara Goucher will attempt to become the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, the victor from 1985.

A victory on the road from Hopkinton to Boston would also make the Duluth native the first Minnesota champion since ... 1913, when Fritz Carlson won the race in 2:25:14.

Here's a round-up of recent stories on Goucher (pictured) as she -- and California's Ryan Hall -- hope to raise American flags at the Boston finish-line on Patriots' Day.

Universal Sports Video Interview

Boston Globe Article

Boston Globe Story

USA Today Story

IAAF Preview of the Race

Photo by Victor Sailer/Photo Run.

Vikings' Robison Putting Shot Again

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison will be putting the shot at tonight's Tomcat Twilight Meet at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

Robison has a 68-4 1/4 PR in the event from his days at the University of Texas, where he was the 2006 Big-12 champ, NCAA runner-up, and 4th-place finisher at the USA Championships.

KARE-11 ran a nice feature on Robison, HERE, last night.

Find a preview of the Tomcat Twilight, where Andrew Rock, Ibrahim Kabia, and Matt Fisher, among others, will compete, HERE.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In Unsettled Times, TCM Registration Opens;
Grandma's Still 1800 Runners Short of Full

Registration for October's Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon opens in the middle of the night tonight -- at a minute after midnight Friday morning, to be exact.

It also opens in the middle of what appears to be an unsettled time for big ticket road racing events in Minnesota.

Factors including the beleaguered economy, high entry fees, frustration over ancillary costs of destination races, and competition from start-up events appear to be stunting registration for June's Grandma's Marathon.

john cena

While Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. officials are confident they will fill their race in near-normal fashion, registration season for the 28th TCM offers more uncertainty than those of the recent past.

Grandma's Numbers Down

As the Duluth News-Tribune reported earlier this week, HERE, Grandma's Marathon is still 1800 runners short of filling the field for its June 20 race. The race. which has reached its capacity for 14-straight years, had filled to its 9500 runner field-size by this time last year.

In the News-Tribune story, Grandma's Marathon executive director Scott Keenan attributed the entrant fall-off to the dismal economy, adding that he thought competition from start-up marathons, including those in Minneapolis and Stillwater, the recently rescinded head-phone ban, and Duluth lodging rates were contributing factors.

The entrant shortfall costs the race dearly -- a 1500 runner short-fall would bring $127,000 fewer dollars into event coffers to support it $2.1 million budget. Grandma's did raise its entry fee to $85 this year, up from $75 last year.

Ryan Lamppa, a running industry researcher for the trade organization Running USA, however, told DtB that the economic downturn does not appear to have impacted major marathon registration beyond Grandma's.

"Across the country, thus far in 2009, road races including marathons have been reaching record levels despite the recession; in short, a record or sold-out field more typical than not," he said.

Lamppa listed a dozen 2009 marathons that posted sold-out or record-sized fields. He noted that the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta registered 45,000 entrants on-line in seven hours, while the Army 10 Miler in Washington, DC sold out in a record six-days.

If reader comments on the News-Tribune story and on the Star-Tribune's own short piece about the topic, HERE, are are indicative of wider sentiment, anger over the cost of lodging in Duluth on Grandma's weekend may have reached a tipping point for some out-of-town Grandma's participants.

Duluth hotels typically jack up rates and require multi-night stays the weekend of Grandma's. In belt-tightened times, enough may be enough for some cash-strapped runners.

Just how many runners may have chosen the Minneapolis Marathon and the Anytime Fitness Stillwater Marathon over Grandma's is unclear. Neither race responded to e-mail inquiries about registration figures.

TCM Remains Confident

Like Grandma's, the Twin Cities Marathon, while filling to capacity in each of the last 22 years, has seen the rate at which it fills slow in recent years. In 2006, TCM closed in 15 days, in 2007 it took 19 days, last year it closed in 33 days.

Twin Cities Marathon officials, who didn't raise the event's $95 entry fee this year, say they've budgeted conservatively for 2009, yet still expect strong numbers. The race caps its marathon field at 11,000 runners.

"Overall, what we're seeing out there is that people are running," TCM executive director Virginia Brophy Achman told DtB. "It's a sign of the times; you've got to get out and go for a run and get some stress relief. I think people are making a choice to invest in themselves, in their health and their wellness."

TCM's apparent advantages over Grandma's in the current climate include having the vast majority of its entrants reside in the Twin Cities metro area, taking lodging costs out of the equation for them. TCM also doesn't face competition from emerging local marathons as does Grandma's.

But, starting at 12:01 tomorrow morning, TCM officials will begin to learn exactly where their race stands in relation to the new economics and current realities that face Minnesota road racing in 2009.

Online registration information for the 2009 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon can be found HERE.

Gopher Field Eventers Earn Big Ten Awards

Two University of Minnesota field event stars earned Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors, the conference announced yesterday.

Junior Alicia Rue earned the honor -- the fourth of her career -- after winning the Sun Angel Classic pole vault last weekend. The Robbinsdale Armstrong alum cleared an outdoor season-best and NCAA regional qualifying height of 13-9 1/4 at the meet, currently the top mark in the Big Ten and the seventh-best in the NCAA this season.

Aaron Studt, also a junior, won his second Big Ten weekly award for placing third in the Sun Angel shot put competition, where he recorded an outdoor season-best and NCAA regional qualifying mark of 61-11 1/2 . Studt's throw currently tops the Big Ten and ranks #6 in the NCAA this young season.

NCAA Team Rankings ... The Gopher women fell to #15 in this week's NCAA Division I rankings. Texas A & M still tops the poll; Penn State (#7) and Michigan (#10) outpace the Gophers from the Big Ten. The Gophers were ranked #12 in the pre-season outdoor track poll.

The Gopher men entered the NCAA top-25 this week at #23. The Big Ten Indoor Champions are the only conference team in the top-25.

Find full NCAA rankings HERE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tollefson: "I want to focus on the future ... "

After two of frustrating years fighting and recovering from injuries, 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson will lace up her racing shoes again Sunday for the first competition of 2009 and what she hopes will be an entirely new chapter in her storied running career. The 13-time MSHSL and four-time NCAA champion competes in the Boston Invitational Mile, a road race held in conjunction with the 113th Boston Marathon.

We caught up with the 32-year-old Tollefson (pictured) this week to hear what she's thinking about heading into her season. (See our earlier preview of the Boston Mile HERE.)

john cena

DtB: We see you're opening your season this Sunday in Boston. Why did you choose the Boston Invitational Mile as your kick-off event?

Tollefson: Adidas sponsors the Boston Marathon and they have some of us athletes out every year to help with the kids races on Saturday and other promotional work while we are there. The mile is a new event and I thought it would work out well to use as a rust buster and help turn my legs over for the beginning of the track season. Normally, I race something shorter like a mile or 1500 before I race a 5k and I am racing a 5k on the 24th of April so it worked out well.

DtB: Tell us how your training has been going. Can you compare how you're doing now to this time last year?

Tollefson: Well one year ago this week I was flat on my back with a nasty case of bronchitis which later turned out to be pneumonia and some forced time off. I had to take a week of no running just to get well and then it took about 2 weeks to finally get back to being able to breathe right. So needless to say I am doing quite a bit better then I was at this time last year. I have had some major road blocks in the past couple of years but I am over those now and hoping to move on and run well again.

Every week things seem to be getting better and I am looking forward to more of a progressive season. I am going to try and play it smart this time around and be happy with baby steps rather then trying to set the world on fire in my first couple races. I can't worry about what everyone else is thinking or saying anymore, I know the plan and I am sticking to it and getting ready to execute it. I am hoping to be back and ready to make the World Team come June. You know, I am old enough now and at a time in my career where I can be analytical now and appreciate the way this whole sport works. Last year, I was trying to fake my way, and I think deep down, I knew I wasn't ready. I am a very passionate about this sport and love what I do so it is going to take a lot to keep me from wanting to get back to the front.

DtB: Your 2007 and 2008 seasons were no doubt frustrating. Did you ever consider hanging it up during those years?

Tollefson: I don't think I considered hanging it up until after I kept having the setbacks last year. It has been tough but that is life. That is what we as individuals have to deal with and it always makes us stronger! I am sick of being hurt but I feel like I have been on a good roll now and am done thinking about all the stuff that happened and I want to focus on the future and realize I am right where I want to be in life. Happy, healthy, and working as hard as I can to be the best professional athlete I can be on and off the track.

DtB: What's the focus for your 2009 season? Will you stress the mile or longer races?

Tollefson: I am focusing on the 5k this year. I love the 1500 but when I have run my best in the 15's, it was when I was training for the 5k, so hopefully later this spring and into the summer I will have my shot at a couple good 15's but for now, I am thinking 5k.

DtB: At the end of this year, what would you like to have accomplished competively?

Tollefson: My goal is to come home and host the Carrie Tollefson Training Camp July 9-12 and tell the the kids that I made the World Championship Team and will compete in Berlin in August. Last year, it was very hard to come home and tell close to 100 kids that I was not going to the Olympics. It will be a busy spring with racing almost every weekend but that is what I have been waiting for, I am ready to get back out there and run well again.

Photo courtesy of USA Track & Field.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

North Dakota Prep Star to Race in Lakeville

She's back!

North Dakota high school half-miling phenomenon Laura Roesler is expected compete this Friday at the Lakeville Mega-Meet, meet officials say.

Roesler competed in last summer's Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon where, as a high scholl sophomore, she advanced to the semi-finals of the 800 meters.

The Mega-Meet will also gather some of the state's top programs. 2008 MSHSL boys' champs Rosemount and 2008 girls' runners-up Mounds View will be among the teams competing in what is traditionally a powerhouse early-season contest.

Roesler (pictured), with a PR of 2:03.08 in her signature event and the winner last month of the Nike Indoor Nationals 800m in 2:08.80, is undoubtedly the meet's headliner.

The Fargo South High School junior holds records at the meet in the 100, 400, and 800 meters from earlier engagements. She clocked 12.99 for 100m as a freshman in 2007, 57.27 for 400m the same year, and 2:11.62 for 800m in 2006, when she was but an 8th-grader.

You can learn more about Roesler, HERE, in the feature Dyestat's Steve Underwood wrote about her ahead of the this year's Nike Indoor National meet.

You can watch Roesler's PR race, HERE, where, as a sophomore, she became the 8th-fastest prep half-miler in history.

Heat Sheets ... Look for links to Lakeville Mega Meet heat sheets on DtB first thing Thursday morning. We'll also post links to meet results on Saturday morning.

Photo by Gene Niemi.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dorniden Edged in Arizona 800m Thriller

Heather Dorniden, the Gophers' 2006 NCAA Indoor Champion and a seven-time 800m all-American, was nipped at the finish line by LSU's LaTavia Thomas, the 2008 NCAA Indoor Champ, in a scintillating half-mile duel at the Sun Angel Classic on Saturday in Tempe, Arizona.

Thomas stopped the clock at 2:04:48; Dorniden timed 2:04.51.

You can watch the race, above, thanks to the good men at Flotrack. They've also posted a post-race interview with Dorniden HERE. You can find all of their coverage of the Sun Angel Classic HERE.

Also ... The Gopher sports info folks have put together two nice recaps of the teams' weekend action, HERE (women) and HERE (men.)

The highlights include Megan Duwell breaking the late Rocky Racette's 29-year-old school 5000m record with 16:10.06. For men, Ben Blankenship won the Univeristy 1500m race with a PR 3:45.73 clocking. Adam Studt finished 3rd in the shot put with a 61-11 1/2 mark.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Short-Cut: Results' Links for April 9-12

Here's where to find Minnesotans competing this holiday weekend ...

Meet of Saints: Results

Mesa Classic: Results
Lee Krough Invitational: Heat Sheets * Results

Sun Angel Classic: Gopher Men's Preview * Women's Preview * Results
Blugold Invitational: Results
Emporia State Invite: Results

Sunday & Monday:
St. John's Multis: Results

Tollefson to Return to Action in Boston

Team USA Minnesota's Carrie Tollefson will open her 2009 racing campaign at the inaugural Boston Athletic Association Invitational Mile on April 19, BAA officials announced yesterday.

The race will be held in conjunction with the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, which takes place the next day.

Tollefson (pictured), a 2004 Olympian and the Olympic Trials champion at 1500m that year, will face a loaded field that includes Olympic 10,000m bronze-medalist Shalane Flanagan, 2008 steeplechase Olympian and reigning USA Indoor 1500m champ Anna Willard, 2008 1500m Olympian Erin Donohue, and 2006 USA Outdoor 1500m runner-up Lindsey Gallo.

Also competing will be Amy Mortimer, Michelle Sikes, and Marina Muncan.

Tollefson returns to action after two frustrating seasons of competition. After losing nearly all of her 2007 season to an abdominal injury, the Villanova alum had to scramble last spring for an Olympic Trials 1500m qualifying mark.

At the Trials, the 13-time MSHSL state champion and five-time NCAA champion did not advance beyond the semi-finals.

The Boston race will follow a three-loop course starting and finishing on Boylston street. The event includes a men's invitational race -- headlined by three-time U.S. Indoor 1500m champion Rob Myers, two-time Irish Olympian Alistair Cragg, and Adam Goucher -- as well as high school races open to top Boston area preps.

Photo by Victor Sailer/Photo Run.