Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gopher Harriers Ranked #2, #4 in Midwest

The University of Minnesota cross country teams will be underdogs in the NCAA Division I Midwest Region, if preseason rankings are valid.

The Gopher women, Midwest Regional champs in 2009, are ranked #2 at the start of the 2010 season, behind I-35 rivals Iowa State. The Cyclones finished third regionally last year.


Iowa and Nebraska are ranked #3 and #4 in the women's poll.

The Gopher men are looking up at three regional teams in their rankings: #1 Oklahoma State, #2 Oklahoma, and #3 Iowa State. The 2010 rankings reflect the order of finish at last year's Midwest Regional through the first four places.

The Gopher women open their 2010 season on Saturday when they host their intrasquad meet at Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights.

The Gopher men open on Satuday at the BYU Autumn Classic in Provo, Utah.

Griak to Enter Duluth Hall of Fame ... Former University of Minnesota men's cross country and tack coach Roy Griak will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on September 15.

The Duluth News-Tribune wrote a nice piece, HERE, about the 86-year-old Duluth native still serves as an administrative assistant to the Gopher program.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Macalester Mourns Coach, National Champion

Macalester College is mourning the recent death of assistant coach and former NCAA Division III javelin champion Janis Rider.

Rider (pictured) died unexpectedly on August 23 while swimming in Hawaii during a vacation with her niece and nephew.

In 1988, Rider won the NCAA Division III javelin title as a Macalester senior, the same year she placed fourth nationally in the shot put. She was a four-time track and field All-American for the Scots.

Rider also excelled in volleyball and basketball while at the St. Paul school.

Rider had been an assistant track and field coach at her alma mater since 1999. Her full time job was as an attorney for the Minnesota State Legislature, helping craft the language of proposed bills as an employee in the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.

Macalester College published an obituary for Rider HERE.

The Duluth News-Tribune's Kevin Pates has a short obituary remembering Rider's Duluth Denfeld days HERE.

The News-Tribune also published THIS story about the aftermath of Rider's death on her niece and nephew who were left in Hawaii without adult supervision.

Macalester College plans a memorial service in Rider's honor at 10:00 a.m. September 11 at the Macalester College Leonard Center.

Photo courtesy of Macalester College.

Defending Champs Top Class A Rankings

Defending Minnesota State High School League champions Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Waseca top the pre-season Class A Cross Country rankings released on Friday.

The Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys, who edged Perham by a slim two points at State last fall, lead the #2 Yellowjackets and #3 St. Cloud Cathedral in the rankings.


Among small school girls' teams, 2009 Class A champs Waseca hold the top spot in the rankings over #2 Adrian and #3 Annandale.

In the individual rankings, 2009 Class A boys champ Mubarik Musa, a junior from Worthington, is ranked #1, followed by Mason Ferlic of Mounds Park Academy and Aaron Haley of Plainview-Elgin-Millville.

2009 Class A girls' runner-up Kayla Woltz, a Chatfield sophomore, is ranked #1, above Clare Flanagan of Blake and Lauren Friese of Fairmont.

Find complete rankings below ...


1. Plainview-Elgin-Millville
2. Perham
3. St. Cloud Cathedral
4. Holy Family Academy
5. Eveleth-Gilbert
6. Jackson County Area
7. Waseca
8. Esko
9. Mora
10. Winona Cotter
11. Fairmont
12. Mesabi East

1. Mubarik Musa, Worthington
2. Mason Ferlic, Mounds Park Academy
3. Aaron Haley, Plainview-E-M
4. Oj Ojulla, Worthington
5. Grant Wintheiser, St. Cloud Cath.
6. Troy Koivisto, Dassel-Cokato
7. Grant Timm, Plainview-E-M
8. Andrew Gerdts, Le Sueur-Henderson
9. Byron Schuldt, Nevis
10. Brendan Skime Thief River Falls
11. Andrew Thies Sibley East
12. Keith Schornack Perham


1. Waseca
2. Adrian
3. Annandale
4. Perham
5. LaCrescent
6. Park Rapids Area
7. Esko
8. St. Cloud Cathedral
9. Albany
10. Blake
11. Chatfield
12. New London Spicer

1. Kayla Woltz, Chatfield
2. Clare Flanagan, Blake
3. Lauren Friese, Fairmont
4. Courtney Alama, Annandale
5. Kaia Bierman, Cannon Falls
6. Elena Danielson, St. Cloud Cathedral
7. Jordin Kopplow, Adrian
8. Victoria Alexander, Lake of the Woods
9. Emi Trost, Cannon Falls
10. Taylor Alama, Annandale
11. Morgan Larson, Waseca
12. Megan Sauer, Adrian

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vega Runner-Up at 10 Mile Championships

Team USA Minnesota's Antonio Vega took second place in this morning's USA Men's 10 Mile Championships held at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint, Michigan.


Fasil Bizuneh won the race with a time of 47:29. Vega clocked 47:43. Justin Young was third in 47:49.

2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champion Fernando Cabada finished fourth in 48:30.

A video replay of the race is available HERE.

Watch the finish of the race HERE.

There's a post-race interview with Vega HERE.

Official results can be found HERE.

More details to come ...

Former Moorhead Coach Shocky Strand Dies

Former Moorhead High School track and field coach Hartvick "Shocky" Strand died Wednesday at age 87.

Strand, a Concordia Moorhead alumnus and member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, coached and taught at Moorhead High School from 1949 until 1968. His squads, which amassed 17-straight district titles during his tenure, won consecutive MSHSL boys track and field titles in 1967 and 1968.

Strand was a 2004 inductee to the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association's Hall of Fame.

The Fargo Forum published two obituaries for Strand -- one HERE and another HERE.

Visitation hours for Strand are today from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., with a prayer service at 4:00 p.m., at Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead.

Strand's funeral is Sunday at 1:30 p.m., with visitation one hour before, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Moorhead.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yes/No: Vega in Top Two at the USA 10 Mile?

In 2009, Minnesota running fans were given a treat: The USA 10 Mile Championship was hosted by the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon/TC 10 Mile. Spectators were able to watch Josh Moen give Abdi Abdirahman everything he could handle down Summit Avenue while eventually finishing second in 46:38.


A strong field has assembled for the 2010 USA 10 Mile Championship, but unfortunately we will have to travel to Flint, Michigan to watch this version. The race is hosted by the Crim Festival of Races on Saturday.

Moen won't be racing, but his teammate Antonio Vega will be on hand to try to extend his lead in the 2010 USARC Standings. Let us know how he will fare by answering this question...

Y/N: Will Antonio Vega finish in the top two at the USA Men's 10 Mile Championship on Saturday?

Antonio Vega has been on a roll in 2010. To this point, he has been the best American male road racer, at least as defined by the USA Running Circuit Standings. Vega is the 2010 USA Half Marathon Champ. He also finished third at the USA 15 Championships and fourth at the USA 7 mile Championships. Vega ran 2:13:47 at the Boston Marathon in 2010 as well.

You can find the entry list for the USA 10 Mile HERE. Favorites include 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champ Fernando Cabada, Scott Bauhs, Fasil Bizuneh, and Ryan Sheehan.

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 7:00 A.M. CST, Saturday, August 28th. 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

The fantasy contest question from last week was: Will five or more runners break 20:00 in the Buttered Corn Day 5K?
The answer was yes. Six runners broke 20:00 in a race won by Joe Goettl (17:05). Only eight contestants answered correctly last week. Gregg Robertson moved up one spot and is now tied for first with twenty-one points.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gopher Harriers Reporting to Camp

The University of Minneesota cross country teams begin their preparations for the 2010 season this week. The Gopher men returned to campus on Tuesday, while the U of M women gather today.


The Minnesota sports media folks are producing a series of videos to kick off the season ...

Hear men's coach Steve Plasencia talk about the start of camp HERE.

See scenes from the Gopher men's first day on campus HERE.

Hear Gopher women's associate head coach Sarah Hesser talk about the start of the season HERE.

The Gophers kick off their racing season on September 4 at the BYU Autumn Classic in Provo, Utah. The Gopher women open on the same day with their Alumni-Intrasquad Meet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

St. Olaf Men Ranked #1 in D3 Central Region

The St. Olaf men's cross country team will open the 2010 cross country season ranked #1 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III Central Regional rankings released yesterday.


The Oles, who finished runner-up in the MIAC last fall and third in the Central Region, lead #2 Grinnell College of Iowa and #3 Hamline, the 2009 MIAC champs and the 4th-place team at regionals, in the rankings.

Other MIAC men's teams earning regional notice are #6 St. Thomas, regional co-champions in 2009, and #8 St. John's.

In D3 Central Region women's rankings, Carleton, the region champs last year, rank #2 behind Nebraska Wesleyan.

Other MIAC squads in the Central Regional top-10 are #3 St. Thomas, #5 St. Olaf, #6 Gustavus Adolphus, #8 St. Benedict, #9 Concordia-Moorhead, and #10 Bethel.

Complete D3 regional rankings can be found HERE.

Division II ... The University of Minnesota -Duluth women will open the 2010 season ranked #2 in the USTFCCA Division II Central Regional rankings. The 2009 NSIC runner-up Bulldogs finished 6th in the regional meet last year.

Adams State of Colorado tops the Central Region rankings. Winona State is ranked #9, while Minnesota State, Mankato is ranked #10.

In the D2 men's poll, Minnesota State, Mankato is ranked #7 in the region. St. Cloud State is ranked #9.

Find full D2 regional rankings HERE.

Update ... The University of Minnesota - Duluth women are ranked #6 in the USTFCCCA national poll released on Wednesday. Central Region power Adams State tops the national rankings for both women and men.

The UMD women are the sole Minnesota program ranked nationally in the D2 women's and men's polls.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Januszewski on Her First Year as a Pro

The 800 meters has always been considered more of a sprint than a distance race and this year it certainly looked like a sprint in most of the women's races. One small mistake could be the difference between finishing first or seventh. It was a great training lab for someone like Laura Januszewski, who was making the transition from college to the professional circuit. She had some nice wins and a few disappointments, but in all it was a year of learning that she hopes will pay off in 2012 in the run up to the London Olympics.


DtB contributor Jim Ferstle talked to the Burnsville High School alumnus recently.

Down the Backstretch: This has been the year of close races where in the 800 it seems like a crowd of people is finishing within seconds of one another. You said in a FloTrack interview after the USATF 800 that you thought you were in good position and had a shot at winning, but it didn’t work out that way. What’s it like to be involved in an event where it often comes down to fractions of a second?

Laura Januszewski: You know, in some regards it’s exciting because one right move just might put you into the right spot. In most cases, I have been pretty lucky not getting boxed in and having that cost me the race. At USAs, it just came down to me getting a little too excited at the 500 mark and using too much energy to try and get position too early in the race. It ended up costing me a better result, but I’d rather learn these things now than in two years at the trials.

DtB: This is your first year on the “pro circuit,” how has that been? What sort of adjustments have you had to make?
LJ: Instead of trying to balance school and training, I have been trying to juggle my schedule between working full-time, training, and being a wife. My husband finished Physical Therapy school this spring, but we spent the fall semester in Grand Forks. I commuted every day to Fargo to work and train. My days were pretty long – If I had a morning run, I’d wake up at 6:45 so I could be on the road by eight and wouldn’t get home until 8:30 at night. Luckily, I had dinner waiting on the table for me every night!

In the spring, Jake (my husband) finished his clinical rotations in the Twin Cities, and I moved to Fargo. It was a much better situation for training, but living by myself was tough again. I am fortunate that I have a job that allows me to travel whenever I need to, but it still an adjustment to have to make sure that the checking account has money in it. At NDSU, we would get our schedule, jump on the bus or the plane and have all of our travel plans laid out for us. This year, I was scheduling my own flights, renting a car, and booking hotel rooms. Little bit of a role change, but Ryun (my coach) has been a great coach and friend in helping me make travel arrangements.

Other than lifestyle changes, training went pretty well. I decided to stay with Ryun Godfrey, my college coach. Things went really well while I was at NDSU, and Ryun was willing to continue to coach me, so to me, it was a no-brainer decision. I will never complain about my situation, I fully believe you are given what you can handle. I still managed to have a great season, where I consistently ran 2:01 at the end of the season and had great results - time and place wise.

DtB: How do you choose when and where you’re going to race? How hard is it to get into meets here in the US, in Europe? Especially with the event so full of talented runners, it’s almost like the sprinters who have to fight to get a lane at major meets, I would assume.
LJ: A few races, luckily, fell into my lap this year. I was able to get out to Occidental College (Pasadena, CA) and NYC for a couple of great meets. Oxy was a small meet, just 800s and 1500s, but a great chance to get a fast race in. The race in NYC was part of the Adidas Grand Prix and just a great atmosphere and tune-up race for USAs.

I also traveled with the NDSU team to Arizona State and Mt. SAC for some time to train and race … felt like I was back at home with my team.

Europe … Europe is a different world that we (Ryun and I) are still learning. I had a short tour last year (nine days/three races) between USAs and getting married, but this year I was there for three weeks and learned a lot. We plan to base out of the Netherlands next year and get into the fast races in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. It’s trial and error, and Ryun was able to make some great contacts this year, so hopefully, next year will only get better. One thing is for sure, the less we fly, the better.

DtB: You’ve stated that one of the goals is the two-minute barrier in the 800. You’re getting close, but aren’t there yet. You’ve won at NY and in Europe. How important is the time goal as opposed to placing well, establishing yourself as one of the top 800 runners?

LJ: They obviously are both very important, in two years at the trials it will be about placing in the top three to make the Olympic team. The experience and confidence I can gain from racing and placing well in loaded fields now will only help my chances in the future. However, we all know that track is a sport of racing well on the day it matters most. The time you ran yesterday doesn’t guarantee you a win today.

Right now for me, I am chasing that Olympic “A” standard. Chasing pretty hard. This year, I let that 2:00 mark loom over my head a little too much. I went into races worrying too much about time rather than just getting out and racing. Getting into the right races is key and when you get in the mix with good competition, the times usually follow. I just need to remember that.

DtB: You’ve also noted that your coach likes to mix it up a bit in workouts, try new things. Is this just something he believes is necessary? Is it to fit your personality? What do you learn from doing it this way as opposed to the more traditional approach of following a fairly uniform formula and modifying it when it doesn’t appear to be working?

LJ: We tried this fall to incorporate doing striders during some of my easy runs. Just something to change up the run a little bit. We don’t have ANY hills in Fargo or Grand Forks, so it was a nice way to get the body working differently throughout the run.

But, for the most part, my training doesn’t drastically change from year to year. Volume continues to increase. I plan to continue to increase my mileage this fall and hit some 70-mile weeks. For the most part though, I put full faith in Ryun. I’m sure he sits at home thinking of ways to change my training (and put me through more pain, just kidding). He takes care of on-the-track things, I do my part off-the-track. Eat right, sleep enough, rest enough.

DtB: What are your plans for the rest of this year and next year?

LJ: I have hung it up for this year. I left Europe feeling like I still had a fast race left in me, but the opportunities just weren't there. I left Europe July 19, but finished racing on the 15th. I was on the waiting list to race in Lignano, Italy, but didn't make the final cut. It was pretty frustrating after I saw that I had a faster PB and faster 2010 mark than other runners, but I learned this year that track is just as political as the next sport. Sometimes it’s who you know. We didn’t know the right people this time.

2011 will be very exciting. I will be training in Fargo again with Ryun and I hope to continue to build my base this fall and get ready for 2011. Ryun and I were already talking on the plane home from Europe about getting into some more 1500s earlier in the season. My PB is 4:15 right now, and just doesn’t reflect what I am capable of, so I’d like to get some more chances to bring that time down.

DtB: Was racing in Europe to try and find good conditions for a sub-two time, get experience on the international arena, a bit of both?

LJ: I went to Europe last year for nine days after USAs and before Jake and I got married in July. It was a quick trip, but something that definitely helped calm the nerves a little bit for this year.

This year, my tour lasted a little bit longer – I was there for about three weeks. I left the Monday after USAs and raced on Wednesday; not the ideal situation and needless to say, I was a bit jet-lagged and tired. I raced five times during those three weeks. Better schedule than last year, but still not ideal.

Going over to Europe, for me, is a chance to get into fast races and let the times drop. It offers great racing atmospheres and pacers that help keep the paces honest and fast. Ryun and I just keep learning where the best races truly are. We’re still newbies.

Photo of Januszewski at USA Outdoor Championships by Gene Niemi.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Duwell Signs with Adidas-McMillan Elite

Former University of Minnesota All-American Megan Duwell will begin her professional running career as a member of the Flagstaff, Arizona-based Adidas-McMillan Elite program, the training group announced late last week.

Duwell (pictured), a West Bend, Wisconsin native, finished 7th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall and finished 12th in the 10,000-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this spring.


The Adidas-McMillan Elite program, founded by Greg McMillan, is entering its 4th year of existence.

Photo courtesy of the U of M.

Remembering Lloyd "Forever" Young

When DtB learned the sad news last week that 87-year-old masters distance running legend Lloyd Young had died, we asked Dan Carlson, who got to know Young over the years, to share some of his memories of the man known to many as Lloyd "Forever" Young.

Carlson, a fellow masters runner (albeit one from a different generation than Young), attended last week's funeral and offered the following thoughts on the man he came to know and admire.

I met Lloyd for the first time after Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in 1995 ... I remember because I was beaten (3rd) that day after having won the previous three, and he had a marvelous race (I think sub-1:35...for a guy past 70!!).

We both raced quite a bit back then so it was common to end up at the same races, and I think that the spirit of a man who might best be described as "elfin" was infectious not only for me but I'd be willing to guess many others ...

As many know, Lloyd's personal license plate on that dark blue 1992 Ford Escort read "FOREVER". The plates were displayed in a flower arrangement yesterday, and I feel they summed up his life at more than one level.

Obviously the optimism that being "forever young" is something that all of us may dream of, but I think that through his running, his writing, the relationship he found with Christ, and the work he put into improving himself as a person after some earlier-in-life laments/regrets that he truly needed to be around a long time to accomplish all the plans he had in store for his life. We all fall short at times, and it's only through some level of atonement that we make things right ...

Lloyd's last race was Mora 5K ... August 15, 2009. I had ended my racing season a few weeks before, after Lumberjack 10-mile as my body (hamstring) gave out yet again, but I was heading through Mora en route to the Snake River to fish and wanted to wish him well, since he hadn't been able to race in quite some time. (He was battling a dry, scratchy throat that sometimes embarrassed him when speaking, and which was the harbinger of something far worse, something that would end his life.)

He did bounce back enough to get to Mora for one last shot at a single-age MN record, however. (Duly noted, mission accomplished). It took me longer than usual to find him because he wasn't in any of the parking spots closest to the start, and anyone who knew the man who got to races VERY early would likely find him there.

I didn't bother him too long because I know a bit about race day a half hour before showtime, and perhaps the extra angst he felt having been away from racing for awhile. Did he maybe sense also that this could be his last race? I'll always wonder about that. He even wrote a poem about Mora ...

Last fall, shuttling between home and the VA Hospital, he was still filled with plans, and his writing continued to flourish. I think as running got away from him he used the power in his writing to fuel the sense of accomplishment he got from running, even as the illness welling up within him began to take away his strength.

We exchanged Christmas cards, and a few days later I got the letter from him I knew would come someday, but to get this from the man dubbed "FOREVER" ripped at me. The problem with his throat had a name ... cancer. He said as he went to see the doctors he knew it was bad just by the feeling he got entering the room.

Options? Do nothing and fade away, or we can take your larynx out, you'll never speak again, and we may be able to keep you around. Bitter medicine to take for a fiercely-independent man, who was shaken by this turn of events.

I remember the trouble he had with speaking at times before he really knew why, and the great comeback line he had for it when a comely woman was around as he spoke....something to the effect of "...this always happens when I talk to a pretty girl..."

He may have been getting "old", but only as a number.

Along with his memories of Young, Carlson shared these poems written Young ...

Masters of the Distance
Every marathon has its beginning, but at the end, some pain
and every runner runs for winning, if not, he'll try again;
and somewhere in the final miles legs may find some strife,
an older runner, in wisdom smiles, how a marathon is life.

A Living Legend
See the greybeard on faltered pace
his slender legs no longer strong,
his pride won't let him quit the race,
he struggles on, struggles long
Hard and seasoned, tough as nails,
he makes the most of what remains,
runs on experience when all else fails,
runs on empty and runs on pain.
In the glory days, in his prime,
he was the very best of another time.

For the Laurels

(Printed in the memorial service pamphlet)
In life we race to reach our end,
with little time to smell the roses.
To find our future we flee the past
and deny the present that holds us back...
so near the finish, our eyes on the prize,
laurels, the reward for the many hard miles.
But in midst of glory,
goals of life's quest
I pray the last mile will be my best.

Good Old Whatsizname
Good old Mister Whatsizname,
a man to our memory so dear,
I think he's from whatsitsname,
a town up north from here.
If we can't recall a name well-known just yesterday,
who's going to remember me after I've passed away?
So, when I'm lowered to my grave
my fame, to the world I'll give,
I ask that on my stone engrave
a name that will forever live:
Here lies Good Old Whatsizname, "Good Old Mister Whatsizname"

Photo courtesy of Dan Carlson.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yes/No: The Buttered Corn Day Challenge!

Looking for a new road race to run? Sick of fighting the masses in metropolitan mega-races? Have a hankering for free buttered sweet corn?

Have we got the race for you!


The Buttered Corn Day Run and Fitness Walk will occur in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota on Saturday morning. There will 5K, 10K and 20K races starting at 7:00 A.M. The race is one of a summer full of little events that accompany small-town festivals.

So, we ask ...

Y/N: Will five or more runners break 20:00 in the Buttered Corn Day 5K?

In 2009, 427 runners, walkers or bikers turned out for the Buttered Corn Day events. The 20k offers a $100 prize for the male and female winners while the 5k/10k hands out plaques for age-group winners.

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. CST, Saturday, August 21th. 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

The fantasy contest question from last week was: Will Barbora Špotáková win the javelin at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Friday? The answer was yes. The best female javelin thrower in the world proved it by winning the meet with only one throw. Lori Anne Peterson remains in first place with 21 points, followed by Gregg Robertson and Toby Hatlevig with 20.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Masters Star Lloyd "Forever" Young Dies

Minnesota masters long distance running legend Lloyd Young died on Tuesday at age 87.

Young (pictured), who was widely known to the Minnesota distance running community as Lloyd "Forever" Young, made his mark on the Minnesota long distance running scene by setting countless age-group and single-age masters records during the twilight years of his full life.

The elfin octogenarian was also well known across the running community for his friendly demeanor and for the joy he obviously took from his sport. Aside from being a remarkable masters athlete, Young wrote poems and creative prose about his distance running.

Memorial services for Young will take place today at 2:00 p.m at the Pine City Evangelical Free Church Lighthouse, 1025 Main St. S. with memorial visitation one hour prior to service. Interment with military honors will take place at Hilltop Cemetery in Pine City.

Young was born on July 18, 1923. According to his Pioneer Press obituary, HERE, Young spent his early life in St. Paul, often under the care of aunts. After Military service with the US Navy and Army, Young married Daisy Rosendahl of Sandstone.

Young's wholesale revision of the Minnesota masters record books began in earnest in the early 1990's when Young, then in his early 70s kicked off a decade and a half run as the dominant 70+ distance runner in the state.

His long list of state single-age records, which can be found HERE, includes a 20:27 5K at age 70, a 35:27 8K at age 73, a 1:21:32 10 Mile at age 81, and, in one of his final races, a 5:00:35 marathon at age 85, at the 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Young was twice named US Masters Runner of the Year in his age-group and was year-in and year-out the Minnesota Runner of the Year among his peers.

A 2003 poem of Young's captures his youthful spirit ...

The soul of a runner
is not found on a shoe
but deep within
lives the other you
where desire is akin
and motivation is true.

Photo by Bob Higashi courtesy of Chad Austin.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gelle Replaces Daymont at St. Olaf

Andrea Gelle, a 2007 graduate of St. Olaf College, has been named the school's new head women's track and field coach, replacing Chris Daymont who coached the Ole women from 1976 to 1981 and from 1986 until this year.

Gelle (pictured above) returns to the Northfield school after two years at Apple Valley High School where she was the head girls' cross country coach, a track and field assistant, and a social studies teacher.


As an Ole athlete, Gelle was an eight-time letter-winner, earning four each in cross country and track and field. She earned NCAA Division III All-America honors in the 1,500-meters and was a national qualifier in the 800m in her final season.

Daymont (pictured below), who coached 29 Ole athletes to a combined total of 70 All-America finishes, including national champions, Leslie Seymour and Jayna Mathieu Paquin, will continue in her role as head women's cross country coach at St. Olaf.

"Chris Daymont has given her professional life for the betterment of St. Olaf student-athletes," St. Olaf athletic director Matt McDonald said recently. "Her impact on the track and field program at St. Olaf cannot be measured."

Read a retrospective of Daymont's track and field coaching career, HERE.

Kara Goucher Interview

Kara Goucher talks about the sport, babies, and the future HERE.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Barbora Spotakova to Hold Webchat

The IAAF announced on its website that a webchat with Barbora Spotáková, the Czech javelin world record-holder who once attended the University of Minnesota, will take place in Zürich at 1700hrs CET /1500hrs GMT on Wednesday August 18.

The story giving details of how to join the chat is HERE.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vega 8th at Cigna Falmouth Road Race

Team USA Minnesota's Antonio Vega finished 8th at the storied Cigna Falmouth Road Race on Sunday. Vega clocked a PR 32:53 over the 7-mile Cape Cod course.

Ethiopia's Gebre Gebremariam edged Kenya's Wilson Kwambai Chebet for a one-second win in 32:20

Vega finished as the second-best American in the race. Ed Moran, who set the race's early pace, finished 5th overall in 32:40.

Vega earned $3000 for his results in the American field, in addition to the $600 he earned for finishing 8th overall.

Next up for U of M alum will be the USA Men's 10 Mile Championship to be held in Flint, Michigan on August 28 as part of the Crim Festival of Races.

Anderson in the Mile ... In other Team USA Minnesota news, Gabriele Anderson finished second in the Falmouth Mile, an elite track miling competition held in conjunction with the Falmouth Road Race.

Competing in a two-woman race that was depleted by late cancellations, Anderson ran 4:46.27. Winner Nicole Edwards clocked 4:32.45.

Anderson will race again on September 19 when she heads for Duluth to compete in the Minnesota Mile hosted by Grandma's Marathon.

Dorniden Back from Europe ... Anderson's teammate Heather Dorniden is back from Europe, after competing in meets in Switzerland and Belgium.

On August 8 she finished third in her 800m section in Lucerne with a time of 2:03.89. On August 14, she was seventh in the Flanders Cup 800m, held in Leuven, in 2:03.42.

Dorniden's best time during the outdoor season was 2:01.75 which she posted at a meet in Liege, Belgium, in July.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Elk River Girls Top Class AA Rankings

Defending Class AA girls' cross country champion Elk River tops the just-released 2010 Minnesota preseason large school high school poll.

The Elks look to face the strongest challenge from #2-ranked Monticello and #3 Eden Prairie, the 2008 Class AA champs.


Defending Class AA individual champ Maria Hauger of Shakopee tops the individual rankings among girls' big school runners.

Jamie Piepenburg of Alexandria, 3rd in Class AA last year, is ranked #2; Megan Platner of Eden Prairie is ranked #3.

Find the complete rankings below, along with team-by-team descriptions, authored by Class AA girls' ranker Dave Emmans, the Wayzata girls' coach.


1. Elk River – Although the defending state champs lost their number one runner, Emma Bates, second over-all finisher, they return a host of talent. Abbi Aspengen, 12, ranked 6th individually (see below) leads the way.

2. Monticello – Finishing 5th last season, Monticello is led by the dynamic Seidenkrantz sisters. Erica, 11, is ranked fifth, and Amber, 9, is ranked 8th individually. Both were all-state runners a year ago finishing 6th and 10th respectively.

3. Eden Prairie – For the first time EP finds themselves not on top of the hill, but don’t count the Eagles out. They return Megan Platner, 12, ranked 3rd and finishing 5th a year ago and Laura Lawton, 12, who finished 18th. The Jeff Lindlief led Eagles are always a pre-season favorite.

4. Roseville – Roseville returns all state runners Allison Cordes, 10, and Becca Dyson, 12. Both are 12th and 13th respectively in the preseason poll.

5. Lakeville North - North looks to improve on their 9th place finish a year ago. Taylor Perkins, 10, and Emma Johnson, 11, finished 33rd and 30th respectively at the state meet.

6. Minnetonka – The Skippers look to rebound from an uncharacteristic 14th place finish at last years state meet. All-state runner Megan Bailey, 12, finished 11th last year and is rated 9th. Maggie Carruth, 9, is a runner to watch this fall. She defeated two-time defending state champion Haylie Zenner in the 800 last spring with a sizzling time of 2:12.14.

7. Prior Lake – The Lakers slip to 7th after a 2nd place finish to Elk River a year ago. They lost all-state runner Paige Foster, but still return their next six.

8. Wayzata – Although the Trojans lost 3 of their top 7, there is enough to rebuild. The question is if they can get someone to run with Minnetonka and Eden Prairie’s big guns in 6AA.

9. Moorhead - Moorhead lost 3 of their top 4 but always do a great job in restocking the shelves. All-state runner Tayler Janssen, 10, twentieth place finisher a year ago leads the way.

10. Lakeville South – Finishing 4th a year ago, South falls to 10th losing 2 of their top 4. They do return all-state runner Erin Kilbride, 9, and always have an abundance of young talent.

11. Mounds View – The Mustangs make an appearance in the top 12th with no superstars, but tight pack running. They finished 13th a year ago.

12. Hopkins – The Royals lose all-state runner Hannah Jocelyn, but return a solid group of seniors.

13. Andover – This squad spent much of last year near the top of the rankings, but finished a disappointing 5th at Sections. They ave the talent to make an impact

14. Alexandria – Jamie Piepenburg, 11, ranked 2nd, finished 3rd a year ago.

15. St Michael-Albertville

16. Anoka

17. Coon Rapids

18. Shakopee

19. Rosemount

20. Chanhassen


1. Maria Hauger, 10, Shakopee ... State Champ in 2009
2. Jamie Piepenburg, 11, Alexandria ... 3rd
3. Megan Platner, 12, Eden Prairie ... 5th
4. Erica Seidenkranz, 11, Monticello ... 6th
5. Nicole Heitzman, 10, Andover ... 7th
6. Abbi Aspengren, 12, Elk River ... 8th
7. Cassidy Soli, 10, Champlin Park ... 9th
8. Amber Seidenkranz, 9, Monticello ... 10th
9. Megan Bailey, 12, Minnetonka ... 11th
10. Chrissy Monson, 10, Albert Lea ... 12th
11. Manon Gammon-Deering, 12, Little Falls ... 13th
12. Allison Cordes, 10, Roseville ... 14th
13. Becca Dyson, 12, Roseville ... 17th
14. Laura Lawton, 12, Eden Prairie ... 18th
15. Erin Baker, 9, Grand Rapids ... 19th

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yes/No: Will Špotáková Win at London?

The prestigious Diamond League continues its 2010 tour with a stop at London this weekend. The Aviva London Grand Prix will attract most of the best track and field athletes in the world to Crystal Palace on Friday and Saturday. Usain Bolt will not compete, but the meet will feature a marquee 100 meter battle nonetheless: Asafa Powell head-to-head with Tyson Gay.

If you are not a frequent Down the Backstretch reader, you may not know that the best female javelin thrower in the world is a former athlete at the University of Minnesota. Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic has battled some injuries this year but remains the one to beat in a big meet like London.

Let us know how the former Gopher will fare...

Y/N: Will Barbora Špotáková win the javelin at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Friday?

Barbora Špotáková attended the University of Minnesota and was an All-American in 2002. Špotáková won gold at the World Championships in Osaka in 2007 and an Olympic gold medal in 2008. She is the world record holder and finished second a the World Championships in Berlin in 2009.

This year, Špotáková has three of the best five throws in the world (the other two belong to Maria Abakumova of Russia who is not in the field at London). Špotáková is coming off a bronze medal at the European Championships where she battled elbow pain from an injury earlier in the summer.

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 11:00 A.M. CST, Friday, August 13th. 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

The fantasy contest question from last week was: Will Heather Dorniden break 2:01.70 at Lucerne on Sunday? The answer was no. Dorniden ran 2:03.89 to place third in her heat. Only ten contestants answered correctly this week and there is a new solo leader. Lori Anne Peterson now has twenty points, she is one ahead of three others.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Team USA Minn. Sends Two to Falmouth

Two Team USA Minnesota athletes will travel to Falmouth, Massachusetts this weekend to compete in one of the country's best known road racing events.

Former Golden Gopher star Gabriele Anderson will run the CIGNA Falmouth Mile on Saturday, while fellow ex-Gopher Antonio Vega will compete in the CIGNA Falmouth Road Race on Sunday.

The Falmouth Mile is an invitation-only race held on the Falmouth High School track on Saturday evening. The women's elite mile starts at 6:15 p.m. Anderson, in her first summer as a professional athlete after completing her eligibility at the University of Minnesota, placed seventh in the 1500 meters at the USA Outdoor Championships and posted a personal best of 4:12.06 in the 1500 at a meet in Belgium this summer.

Vega will take his place at the starting line of the 38th Falmouth Road Race, a 7-mile race which starts at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday and is held on a scenic course along the Atlantic Coast. The race attracts a deep field of international and American competitors along with some 10,000 citizen runners. The prize purse for the event is $90,300 with an additional $29,600 going to top U.S. runners.

Most recently, Vega finished fourth at the USA 7 Mile Championship in July with a personal best time of 33:08. In addition, this year he won the USA Half Marathon Championship in a personal best of 1:01:54, was third at the USA 15K Championship in a best of 43:55, and ran a personal best 2:13:47 at the Boston Marathon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wayzata Boys Ranked #15 in Harrier Poll

The Wayzata boys' cross country team is ranked #15 in the nation in the recently released Harrier magazine preseason high school cross county rankings.

The 2009 MSHSL Class AA runners-up are the top-ranked Minnesota squad in the poll.

Eden Prairie, the Class AA state champion last year, is ranked #20.

Indiana's Columbus North High School is ranked #1 in national poll.

No Minnesota girls' teams are currently ranked. Four-time NXN champions Fayetteville-Manlius High School of New York is the #1-ranked girls' team.

The Wayzata and Eden Prairie boys are ranked #1 and #2, respectively, in the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Region rankings.

Last year, the Eden Prairie boys ended the season ranked #14 in the Harrier national rankings; Wayzata finished #16.

The Elk River girls' team was the #25 team nationally at the end of 2009.

Find the full rankings HERE on the Run Blog Run web-site.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Team USA Minnesota Tenth Anniversary Interview-Jason Lehmkuhle

Jason Lehmkuhle is aging gracefully as he hopes to keep his body together for one more Olympic cycle, one more marathon trials, and one more chance to improve on his fifth place finish at the 2008 Trials.

Down the Backstretch: Ten years ago the Team USA concept was just an idea waiting to happen. What were your thoughts when it started? Why did you get involved? What did you hope to get from the experiment?

Jason Lehmkuhle: When I applied to be part of Team USA Minnesota, post-collegiate training centers were a novelty, and not really something available to athletes who weren't already international class. I was an above average college runner, but not a national champion or perennial All-American.

Really, I didn't expect to be accepted, and I jumped at the opportunity when I found out they'd have me. At the time I was already committed to putting my life on hold while I gave post-collegiate running an honest go. I had quit a full-time job at ad agency and I was dedicating more of my time to training while working a couple of part-time jobs to pay the rent. It was a bit of a struggle, and I knew with a little more structure I could be doing a lot better.

DtB: Did you have any idea then that ten years later you would still be involved? Was there a plan or commitment you had in mind when you first signed up?

JL: Before moving to Minneapolis, I figured I'd give running a couple of years. At most, I thought I'd make it through one more Olympic cycle (2004). I just wanted to be able to look back when I was older without regret, knowing that I had given it a shot. I also didn't know if the training center model was sustainable. The running community in Minnesota has really gotten behind the Team USA concept, and somehow I've continued to make incremental improvements every year. It's really amazing that I'm here still training ten years later and talking about it.

You really can't understate the impact that Team USA MN and a couple of other training groups that got organized around 2000 have had on US distance running. Every year more and more of our good college runners are deciding to continue to pursue the sport, the domestic races are light years better that they were in the mid 1990's and we're infinitely more competitive internationally.

DtB: What has been the highlight or ighlights of those ten years?

JL: There's been a handful of races where I surprised even myself with what I was capable of. The most satisfying though was my fifth place finish at the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and a several year struggle learning the marathon distance.

DtB: What have been the greatest challenges?

JL: I've always been injury prone, and I've continued to miss some training time throughout the years here. If it wasn't for the support of the group, I'm sure I would have "retired" a few times already.

DtB: What has surprised you or was unexpected about the project?

JL: Every couple of years one of our guys or girls make a big jump competitively and it catches you off guard. I remember doing a triple take when my college teammate and former 14:20 5K guy, Matt (Gabrielson), ran 28:44 and finished third in the US road 10K championship in 2002.

I sat in the stands with my mouth agape when Carrie (Tollefson) won the Olympic Trials 1500. When Josh (Moen) ran Abdi to the line in the TC 10 and when Antonio (Vega) won the US Half Champs this year, it was stunning. Races like these shouldn't surprise me at this point. There's 20 more examples like the ones I noted, and in almost every case I'd seen what they were capable of in training before it happened in a race.

Ultimately, the great performances are really a testament to group training. The success feeds on itself. When you see your training partners do something great, you know you can too.... but I still can't help saying "holy &*^$" every once in a while when someone breaks through.

DtB: What are your plans for the future?

JL: My competitive years of running are limited at this point. I know I have a few more very good marathons in my legs, and I want to make it through one more Olympic Trials cycle. Beyond 2012 though, the picture is less clear... I find myself too often saying, "I'm too old for this $#%@" after particularly hard workouts. There's just no room in the group for a mid-30-something guy who is constantly complaining about his achy back. Before I completely become that guy, I'll get out of the way so someone else has an opportunity.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Antonio Vega Aims to Make a His Mark on US Resurgence

Antonio Vega has emerged this year as a contender in any race he enters. He has improved at all distances and set his sites on the marathon as the event where he wants to make his mark. Next weekend he will be running the Falmouth Road Race and after that the US 10-mile road race championship on August 28. Here he provides some insights on his past and his future.

Down the Backstretch: Pat Goodwin has said that they had to “sell” you on the idea of joining Team USA Minnesota. That your plan had been to go to graduate school,finish your education, and get a job. Can you talk a bit about that time? What your thoughts were. How they approached you. What influenced your decision to give the sport a go with Team USA MN?

Antonio Vega: The summer after I graduated from the University of Minnesota, I decided to forego getting a summer job and try making a little cash running various road races around the Twin Cities. I was accepted to graduate school and my plan was to begin in the fall and stop training. However, that summer of racing went really well and I was ran times that were pretty close to my track PRs. It occurred to me that maybe there was something more in me, maybe I had not fully developed as a distance runner and that made me question my quick decision to just give up competitive running.

I applied to a couple of different groups around the country just to see what would happen, if anyone would be interested in taking me on as a athlete. I was very hesitant to apply to Team USA Minnesota, as I did not feel that I had the credentials to be an athlete on that caliber of a team. When Pat and Dennis said the group was interested in taking me on, I was ecstatic and agreed without hesitation.

DtB: You have one of those varied backgrounds in sports. You played soccer, were a kicker on the football team, and ran. How did this prepare you for college and post collegiate sport? What influence did it have on the role of sport in your life?

AV:I think growing up playing so many different sports helped a lot going into college and post collegiate running. Since I took up running late in my high school career everything was new. I never felt burned out from the sport. Every morning I wake up and I am excited to get out the door for my first run of the day. If there were an Olympic event combining running a marathon, juggling a soccer ball and kicking a field goal, I am confident that I would have a good shot at an Olympic medal.

DtB: The picture that is “painted” of you is that of a “late bloomer.” Somebody who is now beginning to blossom as an athlete. Does that correspond with your view of yourself, your development?

AV: I don’t consider myself a late bloomer. I think I just finally started to figure out how to get the best out of myself physically and mentally when racing. Running is hard and it’s not something you can have instant success at. It takes a lot of time and patience before you start to see the kind of results that you know you’re capable of producing. I would say a more accurate picture of me is that I am stubborn and unwilling to give up.

DtB: You’ve now won a national championship, run 2:13 for the marathon and get invites to the big races. What have these accomplishments done for your self confidence, your assessment of what you can do in the sport, your future goals?

AV: I am not sure if I have more confidence going into races now or just a change of perception about what I can do. I have stopped putting a ceiling on what I think I can accomplish or preconceived idea of where I should finish. When I stopped worrying about failing I started to excel.
Over the next couple of years I believe I can have a big breakthrough in the marathon. At Boston this year things were going great until the last 5k. After the race Dennis told me that I am only 5k away from being a 2:11 marathoner. I truly believe that. My current PR, 2:13, is only the tip of the iceberg and improvement will come. Future goals include winning national championships, to finish in the top ten at a major world competition, and ultimately to be on the 2012 Olympic team in the marathon.

DtB: You used a front running strategy at Bix, basically throwing down the challenge for the others to come get you. You’ve said that you like to run from the front, rather than run conservatively. So, was Bix a measure of increased self confidence and/or merely what you felt would work best in that situation?

AV:Bix was definitely an example of increased confidence. I didn’t have much of a race plan going into the race. I just knew that I wanted to give myself a real shot at winning, and it’s hard to win if you never take the lead.

DtB: What are your long-term goals? What do you see yourself doing a year from now, two years from now…?

AV: My long-term goals are to keep improving as a runner. The marathon will be my primary focus for the next couple of years. I want to run under 2:10 for the distance. The marathon tends to be a war of attrition and takes a couple of tries before everything goes right. Hopefully as I gain experience at the distance I will see some big improvements and be able to compete with some of the world’s best marathoners. Finishing in the top ten at a major world marathon would be something I would like to accomplish before my career is over.

I have earned one spot on a US national team, and I would like to have the opportunity to represent the US on a few more occasions. It is always a great experience going against some of the world’s best athletes and seeing where you stack up.

Right now I think it is great to be a part of the resurgence of American distance running. When my career is all said and done, and I want to be able to look back and say that I played a small role in bringing American distance running back to it former glory. That would be the biggest accomplishment of all.

Dorniden Third in Lucerne

Team USA Minnesota's Heather Dorniden finished third in her heat of the 800 at the International meet in Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday. Dorniden's time was 2:03.89. Eunice Sum of Kenya won the heat in 2:01.09

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Hershey's North American Championships/Minnesota Results

Chris Dallager reports: The Hershey Track and Field Program, sponsored by the Hershey Corporation, provides age group track and field at the grass roots level throughout the United States and Canada. Many of the competitions are hosted by Parks and Recreation programs. Athletes advance to a state meet and champions are eligible to be selected to represent their states or provinces at the North American Championships held in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The event began on Thursday with the opening ceremonies, followed on Friday by workouts, and tours of the various Hershey facilities, including the Hershey's Chocolate Factory(side note: 1972 Olympic 800 meter champion Dave Wottle had a superstition that started in high school of eating a Hershey's bar shortly before the race. He won the first race he did following this ritual and continued it all the way through high school where he won the mile at the Ohio state championship track meet--Ed.)

The Minnesota contingent is listed below with results from the August 7 meet: Shane Streich(Janesville) came in 4th place in the Boys ages 13-14 1600 meter run in 4:43.12. He was honored to be selected to present the Minnesota flag in the parade of athletes from throughout North America attending the Hershey meet.

Michael Suda (Pipestone)finished 3rd in the Boys ages 9-10 Softball Throw with a best throw of 146' 4".
Kayla Huhnerkoch(Redwood Falls) finished 3rd in the Girls ages 13-14 800 meter run in a time of 2:25.82.
Alyssa Griepentrog(Pipestone) finished 7th in the Girls ages 11-12 Softball Throw with a best throw of 131' 9.25".
Ben Gault(Sartell) finished 8th in the Boys ages 11-12 Softball Throw with a best throw of 159' 8.5".

Saturday's Results from the AAU JO Championships

Chris Dallager reports that J'ianna Cager(ICAA/MN Breeze) won the Sub-Bantam Girls 200 meter dash at the AAU Junior Olympic Championships in Norfolk, Virginia in a time of 28.90 running into the wind. She was unable to sweep the sprint events as she did last year, coming in second in the 100 meter dash in 14.35. Cager now has five AAU national titles in two years.

Calvin Clark finished in 3rd in the Young Men's 400 meter dash in 48.07.

More results
Youth Girl Kendall Bond(Corcoran) finished 33rd of 38 athletes in the Javelin Throw with a distance of 12.34m (40' 6"). Youth Boy Hunter Downey(Minneapolis) threw the javelin 30.27m (99' 4") for 13th place of 43 athletes.

Midget Girl Cameron Downey(Minneapolis) finished the shot put with a mark of 9.45m (31' 0.25"), good enough for 15th of 66 athletes.

Thomas Schiltz(Hartland), competing in the Youth Boys 3000 meters, ran 11:17.49 finishing 36th of 43 athletes.

Results from Friday at the AAU JO Meet

Chris Dallager lists the results from Friday's competition at the AAU Junior Olympic Championships in Norfolk, Virginia.

Calvin Clark, a St. Paul Humboldt High School senior who swept the 100, 200 and 400 championships at the MSHSL Class A Championships this year, has qualified for the finals in the Young Men's division 400 meter dash with a time of 47.78, the second fastest time of 68 athletes. Clark's time at the AAU meet is over one second faster than his Minnesota Class A winning time. Clark won the Intermediate Boys 400 at the AAU National meet in 2008.

More results
The Midget Girls 4 x 100 relay from Track Minnesota finished 17th of 55 teams in a time of 53.88 by Kailynn Blanchard, Feyisayo Ayobanidele, Cori Bond and Candise Fountain.

Midget Girls Discus Thrower Cameron Downey (Minneapolis) placed 10th of 64 athletes with a throw of 23.16m (76' 0").

Sub-Youth Girl Maddie Gourley(Real Track and Field/Eagan) completed the 400 meter dash in 1:02.40 to finish 42nd of 82 athletes, a little over one week after suffering a leg injury.

In the Youth Girls Shot Put, Kendall Bond (Corcoran) managed a distance of 8.53m (28' 0") for 50th of 58 athletes.

Intermediate Girl Natasha Moore (St. Paul) ran the 400 in a time of 1:00.98 to finish 45th of 70 athletes. Moore ran in the MSHSL meet for St. Paul Johnson in the 100 meter dash this past season.

The Primary Boys group from Track Minnesota placed 27th of 47 teams in the 4 x 100 relay in a time of 1:04.18 by Ries Hill, Malaki Jackson, William Klein and Amir Madyum.

In the Bantam Boys Long Jump, Mica Madyun(Ramsey) jumped 3.64m (11' 11.50") for 53rd of 69 athletes.

Sub-Youth Boy Jakobi Jackson(St. Paul) ran 1:05.57 and finished the 400 meters in 68th place overall.

In the Sub-Youth Boys Triple Jump, Alexander Klein(Stillwater) jumped 8.48m (27' 10") to finish 34th of 37 athletes.

In the Youth Boys Shot Put, Hunter Downey(Minneapolis) placed 38th of 54 athletes with a distance of 10.26m (33' 8").

Intermediate BoysPole Vaulter Grant Krieger(Orono) of Blake High School cleared 3.81m (12' 6"), good enough for 13th of 33 athletes.

Team USA Minnesota Tenth Anniversary Interview-Kristen Nicolini

Though troubled by injuries, Kristen Nicolini has accomplished quite a bit in her time with USA MN. She captured more than PRs and individual honors, she also met and married her husband, fellow Team USA MN marathoner, Jason Lehmkuhle. Here she tells us about the journey.

Down the Backstretch: Ten years ago the Team USA concept was just an idea waiting to happen. What were your thoughts when it started? Why did you get involved? What did you hope to get from the experiment?

Kristen Nicolini: I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I applied to the group. I had never even stepped foot in Minnesota. However, I was struggling back in Villanova trying to train as a post collegiate runner. I decided that making the move to Minnesota and joining Team USA was the best option for me.

I got involved with the group for several reasons. Team USA provides coaching, medical support, and great training facilities. When I first joined the group the ultimate goal was to make an Olympic team and set a lot of PR's along the way. Obviously, I have not reached every goal but I still think my best running is yet to come.

DtB: Did you have any idea then that ten years later you would still be involved? Was there a plan or commitment you had in mind when you first signed up?

KN: I can't believe I have been involved with the group for ten years. It has gone really fast! I feel lucky to have been one of the original members. I did not set a time limit on my running career when I first
accepted a spot on the team.

After making the final in the 5K of the 2004 Olympic trials and setting a PR, I definitely wanted more. In 2008 I felt like I was in the best shape of my life but wound up injured and unable to compete in the trials. This injury was even more motivating and left me eager to give the 2012 marathon and track trials a shot. Fortunately, despite some of my injuries the group has remained supportive of me in one way or another and I hope to be at my best come 2012.

DtB: What has been the highlight or highlights of those ten years?

KN: I feel like my earlier years with Team USA were plagued with injury. Therefore, most of my better races have been in the last three years. Two of my biggest accomplishments have been, running my first half marathon in under 1:13, earning a spot on the World Championship team, and running my first marathon in 2:35. When I first moved here I had never raced further than a 3K except for cross country in college.

Needless to say, I have come a long way aerobically under Dennis's coaching.

DtB: What have been the greatest challenges?

KN: My greatest challenges have been overcoming injury. There were some injuries that knocked me out for over a year and I worried that they might sideline me forever. Fortunately, I have always been able to come back stronger and faster.

Another one of my greatest challenges is holding myself back. As distance runners it is in our nature to be work horses. However, I do think it is possible to work too hard leaving yourself over trained and unable to race at your best.

I also strive to keep some sort of balance in my life and I get this balance by working as well as training. I have worked pretty close to full-time at Marathon Sports for a little over three years. I wouldn't be able to hold these hours and train if it weren't for the flexibility that I am given. I am very grateful to have this opportunity.

DtB: What were the primary objectives you hoped to achieve?

KN: There are still a lot things I have not accomplished with my running career. However, my primary objectives were to set as many PR's as possible and compete to the best of my ability every time I stepped on the line. Who doesn't want to make Olympic teams and win as many national championships as possible? I have done neither, but I continue to put my best foot forward in everything I do. In these next couple of years I want to get the most out of myself as an athlete and see what I can accomplish.

DtB: What would you still like to accomplish, see happen with the program?

KN: I would still like to take a stab at making an Olympic team in 2012. It might be a long shot, but you never know what the future holds. I hope to make the most out of my racing in the next couple of years. I know if I compete as best I can, faster times will come.

Hopefully, the program will continue to attract some of the best post collegiate runners in the country and ultimately be the top distance training camp. Those of us who have been around for ten years have really seen this program grow. There is a lot more support on both the medical and financial side than there was when I first joined the team. The group now has access to facilities such as ACCUA and their underwater treadmill. This has been huge for someone like myself with an injury history. I feel very blessed to have resources like this available to me. It would be great if the group could continue to add
the latest and greatest training devices to help the next generation compete to the best of their ability.

DtB: What has surprised you or was unexpected about the project?

KN: The support of the local running community has always amazed me. I have met some of the greatest people in Minnesota through running and I can't thank them enough. I have also been pleasantly surprised with all of the great running trails throughout the city. When I first packed my car and made the 20 hour drive from Philadelphia I had no idea what to expect. Ten years later I can honestly say that Minneapolis is my favorite place to train. The winters are challenging but manageable.

On a side note, I also did not expect to meet my future husband through Team USA Minnesota. I never thought I would end up married and settled in the land of ten thousand lakes.

DtB: What are your plans for the future?

KN: Everything from here on out is in preparation for the 2012 marathon and track trials. I will do a fall marathon this year and then hit the track for both and indoor and outdoor season. I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business on the track.