Monday, January 18, 2010

Vega Wins USA Half Marathon, Smyth Runner-Up

Team USA Minnesota's Antonio Vega won an upset victory at Sunday's USA Half Marathon with a PR 1:01:54 clocking at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

In what was a banner morning for the Team USA program, teammate Patrick Smyth finished runner-up in 1:02:01, while Josh Moen was 6th in 1:02:53 and Matt Gabrielson was 9th in 1:03:44.

The win earned Vega (interviewed above by Flotrack), a Tartan High School and University of Minnesota alum, his first USA title and lowered his PR at the distance by more than a minute.

According to a USA Track and Field media release, after a 4:53 opening mile, Vega, Smyth, Moen, and Gabrielson pushed the pace to 4:38 in the second mile. Vega, Smyth and Moen continued to control the pace in a lead pack that included Tim Nelson, Stephan Shay, and Brent Vaughn.

By eight miles, Vega and Smyth were running side-by-side with Vaughn, a University of Colorado alum, trailing by five meters. Shortly after the eighth mile, Vega made his break and by 10 miles had a 20-meter lead, by which time Vaughn had rejoined Smyth.

Vega, who never won Big Ten or NCAA titles as a collegian, held on to win the championship by seven seconds over Smyth who out-kicked Vaughn in the homestretch for second.

Vega's performance bodes well for the main goal of his early 2010 racing -- a fast run at April's Boston Marathon. Vega, who ran 2:15:45 for 8th place at Twin Cities Marathon last fall, is eying a sub-2:12 at Boston.

The 1-2-6-9 finish for Team USA Minnesota at Houston echoed the program's strong finish at last fall's USA 10 Mile Championships, held in conjunction with the Medtronic TC 10 Mile. There, Moen finished a close second to three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, with Smyth third and teammate Jason Lehmkuhle fourth.

Shalane Flanagan won the women's USA Half Marathon title. Her 1:09:41 clocking broke the championship record of 1:10:00 set by Colleen DeReuck at the 2003 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth.

Team USA Minnesota's Meghan Armstrong finished 11th in the champioship.

Results of the USA Half Marathon can be found HERE.

Flotrack has highlight videos of the men's and women's races in Houston as well as additional pre- and post-race interviews HERE.

Read the Team USA Minnsota media release HERE.

1 comment:

Jeff Morris said...

Justin Grunewald, former gopher, also runs sub 1:05 and meets olympic trial qualifying standard.