Sunday, July 31, 2011

USATF-Minnesota Youth Athletics Chairman Chris Dallager recaps the Day 5 action for Minnesotans at the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships in Wichita, Kansas.

National Medalists
3000 Meter Run: Maria Hauger (unattached, Shakopee) is the national champion in the Young Women's division after a convincing victory in 10:09.96, 30 seconds ahead of the runner-up. McKenzie Holt (unattached, St. Cloud Christian School) finished in 10:39.56 to take the 3rd place medal in the Intermediate Girls age group. Benjamin Olson (unattached, Coon Rapids) earned 5th place in the Midget Boys group with his 10:34.94 effort.

800 Meter Run: Tessa Laska (unattached, South St. Paul) ran the best ever 800 meter time for a Bantam girl from Minnesota (just bettering Danielle Berndt's effort from the 2000 National Junior Olympics in Buffalo, NY) by running 2:37.70 to cross the line in 6th place.

200 Meter Dash: J'ianna Cager (ICAA Breeze) placed 2nd in the Bantam Girls division in a time of 27.74.

In the Intermediate Girls group, Wensia Johnson (unattached, Alexandria) placed 5th with a time of 24.53 and Maddie Gourley (unattached, Eagan) crossed the line in a time of 24.95 to earn 7th place.

Pole Vault: Lee Bares (Fuzion Athletics, Lakeville South) cleared 4.20 meters (13' 9.25") for 4th place in the Intermediate Boys category.


80 Meter Hurdles: Team Woodbury athletes Maria Versaguis and Evan El-Halawani advance to finals of Midget 80 Meter Hurdles. Versaguis' time of 13.55 is the 5th fastest among the girls and El-Halawani sits in 2nd position for the boys.

100 Meter Dash: In a late posted result from Friday, J'ianna Cager maintained the 2nd best time during the Bantam Girls' semifinal in 13.54 and advances to Sunday's final.

The rest of the action:

High Jump: Matt Anderson (unattached, Eagan) cleared 1.80 meters (5' 10.75") for 20th place for Young Men.

Pole Vault: Mitchell Valli (Zero Gravity, Buffalo) earned 17th place after clearing 3.90 meters (12' 9.5").

100 Meter Hurdles: Shaina Burns (Real Track & Field, Lakeville South) ran 15.60 for 20th place in the Intermediate Girls group. Shakeela Wells-Johnson (ICAA Breeze, St. Paul Harding) ran 16.59 for 31st place and Alanna Lopez (Real Track & Field, Eagan) finished in 19.66 for 44th place.

110 Meter Hurdles: Intermediate Boy James Kruse (Team Woodbury, Irondale) was timed in 16.46 for 35th place.

400 Meter Run: Young Man Calvin Clark (ICAA Breeze, St. Paul Humboldt) ran 49.06 in the semi-final finishing 14th.

3000 Meter Run: Youth Girl Lauren Smith (Team Woodbury, Woodbury) ran 11:06.15 for 10th place. Youth Boy Nick Wareham (Team Woodbury, Woodbury) finished in 27th place in a time of 10:30.78. Midget Boy Willem Gokemeijer (unattached, Edina) earned 19th place with his time of 11:36.28.

4 x 100 Meter Relay: In a late result posting, the Park Flyers (St. Louis Park) Bantam Girls foursome of Grace Robinson, Madison McIntosh, Grace Snyders and Tea Turner ran 1:05.51 for 23rd place.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Smock Wins, Short of Qualifying Mark

Amanda Smock won the triple jump at the Flanders Cup Gentse Feesten Meet in Gent, Belgium. Her longest jump was her second when she landed 13.84 meters/45'4.8". Smock still has until August 15 to reach the WC B qualifying standard of 46'3".

Jim Dilling won the men's high jump with a clearence of 2.20m/7'2.6". Team USA MN's Gabriele Anderson won the second heat of the women's 800 in 2:03.03. She had the eighth fastest time of the day as the first heat was won the the US's Latavia Thomas in 2:01.52. Garrett Heath was seventh in the 1,500 in 4:43.74, and Laura Januszewski was tenth in the women's 1,500 in 4:15:13.

Fast on His Feet: Afton's John Storkamp

30 hours before the 2011 Afton Trail Run, the race venue closed due to the Minnesota state government shutdown. Veteran Afton Race Director John Storkamp moved the entire race – in one day.

Freelance writer Alex Kurt tells the story.

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Fast on His Feet

By Alex Kurt

John Storkamp knows well the challenges that face any race director. The four-time director of Minnesota’s Afton Trail Run spends many months each year finalizing the course, overseeing vendor arrangements, and even designing the t-shirts and hand-crafting finisher’s medals, enlisting the help of many family members and volunteers along the way.

“Putting on a trail race, big or small, is a huge time commitment for the race director, and typically the race director’s significant other,” Storkamp said. “Throughout the year I am continually working on the race even though it culminates into just one day of racing.”

Afton includes a 25k and a 50k and is held annually outside the Twin Cities. The 25k serves as the USATF Minnesota Trail Championship.

But this year, as the July 2 race date drew near and the final logistics began piling up, Storkamp found himself faced with a challenge unique even among RDs: due to a budget impasse between Minnesota’s Governor and legislature, the state government was set to shut down July 1. Along with the Capitol doors, Minnesota’s state parks – including Afton State Park, where the Afton Trail Run had been held all 17 of its previous runnings – would be closed.

Storkamp said he first caught word of the budget dispute and potential shutdown six weeks ahead of time. “Even though I was holding out hope, about a month prior, I started brainstorming…and quickly came to the realization that moving 500 runners and 85 volunteers to a new venue would be a challenge,” he said. “In 2005 there was the threat of a state government shutdown as well, but it never happened and we never had to plan a backup.” This year, however, the signs were more ominous and the rhetoric was more heated. Storkamp began to prepare for the worst.

“I never considered canceling the event,” he emphasized. “Trail running and ultrarunning is not for quitters. We would have had it on a track, in a parking lot, or in my backyard if we had no other choice.”

It didn’t quite come to that. Storkamp contacted Jon Reents, a manager at Afton Alps ski area – located next to Afton State Park – and essentially began planning a second race at that venue. As the gridlock in St. Paul showed no signs of progressing, Storkamp balanced the likelihood that the race could be held at either location, meticulously plotting a new course in the weeks leading up to race day and keeping runners and volunteers up-to-date with current developments. In a series of e-mails and posts on the event’s facebook page, he assured everyone that they would know the location when he did, even if it wasn’t until the last minute.

As it happened, the last minute was precisely when word came in. “The race was Saturday, the state legislature’s deadline was midnight Friday, and we got the preliminary word midnight Thursday that the parks were ordered to close,” he said. “As a result we could not give Afton Alps a definite answer, even though they would have preferred one. I listened to the radio Friday morning and still no changes, so we showed up to Afton Alps with our crew and trailers on Friday at noon.”

Luckily for Storkamp, Reents and the staff of Afton Alps took it in stride.

“I saw Reents [on Friday] and said ‘John, by the way, we are going to hold our race here if you don’t mind,’” he continued. “He laughed and said ‘Great, glad to have you.’”

Yet the work was far from done. There was a race to be run, and the new course had its own set of challenges. As its name suggests, Afton Alps provided for plenty of hills; 50k runners covered over 8700 feet of elevation change. And the heat – which had relented since nearing 100 degrees while Storkamp was marking the course – still hit a humid 85 degrees during the race. Storkamp noted that many of this year’s times were slower than those on the original course, and that many accomplished runners dropped out of the race early on.

“The course was extremely tough,” Ben Kampf, who holds the 25k course record at the old site, said. “There was hardly any flat, a lot of up and down switch-back hills…and plenty of mountain bike trails to maneuver.”

That didn’t stop Kampf from charging to his third-straight Afton 25k title in 1:46:44. 50k overall winner Patrick Russell led the entire way, despite slowing considerably in the second half, to win in 4:30:18. Storkamp noted that the 97 50k finishers, compared to 164 entrants, was a higher finishing rate than normal. “It looks like a few people did not show up because of the change in course, most notably in the 50k” Storkamp said. “Out of those who chose to run, they were prepared.” Of 329 entered in the 25k, 235 finished.

The theme of the day for Storkamp and the runners who finished was perseverance. Kampf, for one, didn’t mind the switch. “I enjoyed the challenge of a much tougher course and tried to…stay positive knowing everyone else out there was running the same thing I was,” he said.

As for Storkamp, it was a reminder that though running is usually void of the division and sourness that accompany politics, we run in a world governed by political circumstance. Occasionally, sport and politics are inextricable, but he emphasized that running, by its better nature, prevailed.

“[The shutdown] did sour things for people…but overall, people made the best of it,” Storkamp said. “It made things a little inconvenient but we still ran and had fun. Trail running and ultrarunning is all about perseverance through difficult conditions, and that’s what we did.”

Moreover, Storkamp continued, the sport offered a solution in and of itself. “I think everyone is frustrated with the political situation here,” he said. “Running is typically an apolitical activity, and in times of great stress, we need it more than ever to stay sane and maintain balance in our lives.”

Though he defers credit, Storkamp himself is much of the reason the event was pulled off. Compliments from runners have since flooded the event’s facebook page.

“I was blown away at how great this event [was] set up,” Kampf said.

Next year, Storkamp said, he hopes to be back home at Afton State Park, for which the Afton Trail Run has raised nearly $30,000 in its 18 years. The lesson will stick, though. “If a situation like this ever arises in the future, we will roll with the punches and get through it,” he said.

Find Zach Pierce's photo gallery form the event HERE.

Alex Kurt is a freelance writer in the Twin Cities and a 2009 graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Minnesotans Continue to Shine at JOs

USATF-Minnesota Youth Athletics Chairman Chris Dallager recaps the Day 4 action for Minnesotans at the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships in Wichita, Kansas.


100 Meter Dash: Bantam Girl J'ianna Cager (ICAA Breeze) 13.45, 2nd fastest time; Midget Girl Jia Lewis (Eagles Wings) 13.07, tied for 5th fastest time; Wensia Johnson (unattached, Alexandria) 12.15, tied for fastest time.

400 Meter Dash: Bantam Girl J'ianna Cager (ICAA Breeze) 1:07.51, 7th fastest time; Bantam Boy Tylan Brooks (ICAA Breeze) 1:01.60, 4th fastest time; Youth Boy Jakobi Jackson (ICAA Breeze) 52.39, 3rd fastest time; Young Man Calvin Clark (ICAA Breeze, St. Paul Humboldt) 48.97, tied for 8th.

800 Meter Run: Bantam Girl Tessa Laska (unattached, South St. Paul) 2:39.73, 8th fastest time.

1500 Meter Run: Youth Girl Jenna Truedson (unattached, Bemidji) 4:52.25, 4th fastest time; Intermediate Girl Samantha Nielsen (ICAA Breeze, Roseville) 4:53.04, 3rd fastest time; Intermediate Boy Shane Streich (unattached, Waseca) 4:14.26, 4th fastest time; Young Woman Maria Hauger (unattached, Shakopee) 4:47.81, 3rd fastest time.

Other Track Results

100 Meter Dash: Sub-Bantam Girl Trinity Belmares (ICAA Breeze) 17.09, 37th place; Bantam Boy Tylan Brooks (ICAA Breeze) 13.84, 13th place; Midget Girl Jada Lewis (Eagles Wings) 13.26, 14th place; Midget Boy Dominik London (Team Woodbury) 12.67, 11th place; Youth Girl Maddie Gourley (unattached, Eagan) 12.69, 15th place; Youth Boy Jakobi Jackson (ICAA Breeze) 11.71, 12th place; Tucker Trettel (unattached) 11.76, 13th place; Intermediate Girl Aimee Rice-Strand (Team Woodbury, Osceola, WI) 12.77, 34th place; Intermediate Boy Jake Gourley (unattached, Eagan) 11.64, 38th; Young Man Darkabolu Gbarbea (Eagles Wings, Champlin Park) 10.98, 29th place; Calvin Clark (ICAA Breeze, St. Paul Humboldt) 11.08, 35th place; Herschel Brazell (Fuzion Athletics, Apple Valley) 11.28, 46th place.

400 Meter Dash: Sub-Bantam Girl Trinity Belmares (ICAA Breeze) 1:19.05, 15th place; Midget Boy Dominik London (Team Woodbury) 59.33, 14th place; Keylan Jackson (ICAA Breeze) 1:00.17, 17th place; Youth Girl Maddie Gourley (unattached, Eagan) 59.00, 11th place; Gina Versaguis (Team Woodbury) 1:03.26, 33rd place; Intermediate Girl Megan Linder (unattached, Cretin Derham Hall) 57.81, 14th place.

1500 Meter Run: Youth Girl Lauren Smith (Team Woodbury, Woodbury) 5:08.50, 17th place; Intermediate Girl McKenzie Holt (unattached, St. Cloud Christian School) 4:58.77, 13th place.

4 x 100 Meter Relay: Young Men Eagles Wings (Emmanuel Dixon, Darkabolu Gbarbea, Arrnytt Jacox-Mann, Prince Miamen) 47.16, 35th place.

Other Field Results

Triple Jump: Young Woman Julia Stedman (unattached, North St. Paul) 10.47 meters (34' 4.25"), 35th place.

Shot Put: Intermediate Boy Jonathan Sutton (Eagles Wings, Benilde St. Margaret's) 11.11 meters (36' 5.5"), 28th place.

Discus Throw: Young Man Tom Anderson (unattached, Andover) 47.18 meters (154' 9"), 15th place.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lawrence Earns JO Bronze Medal

USATF-Minnesota Youth Athletics Chairman Chris Dallager recaps the Day 3 action for Minnesotans at the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships in Wichita, Kansas ... including Charlie Lawrence's bronze medal in the 3000-meter.

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National Medalists

In the Intermediate Boys 3000 meter run, Minnesota was well represented with Charlie Lawrence of Foley in 3rd place and Shane Streich of Waseca in 6th place. Each ran 5 second personal bests with Lawrence posting a time of 9:04.37 and Streich finishing in 9:13.66.

In the Young Men's Shot Put, Tom Anderson of Andover earned the 4th place medal with a mark of 18.97 meters (62' 3").


In the 200 meter Dash, J'ianna Cager (ICAA Breeze) moves on to the Bantam Girls final with the second fastest time of 27.88. Wensia Johnson (unattached; Alexandria) and Maddie Gourley (unattached; Eagan) advance to the Youth Girls final. Johnson posted the 4th fastest time in 24.75 and Gourley had the 8th fastest time in 25.45. Intermediate Girl Aimee Rice-Strand (Team Woodbury; Osceola, WI), although not a Minnesotan, has approval to compete with Team Woodbury. Rice-Strand advanced to the semifinal with a time of 25.69. In the semifinal later in the day, her time of 26.55 left her in 22nd place overall, failing to advance to the final.

In the 800 meter run, Tessa Laska (Unattached; South St. Paul) posted a 2:42.15 to advance to the Bantam Girls semi-final. Jenna Truedson (unattached; Bemidji) advanced to the Youth Girls final, sitting in 7th place. Intermediate Girl Samantha Nielsen (ICAA Breeze; Roseville H.S.) advanced to the final with the second fastest time of 2:18.92.

The Rest of the Action

In the 200 meter dash, Sub-Bantam Girl Trinity Belmares (ICAA Breeze) finished with a time of 34.38 and 24th place. Bantam Boy Tylan Brooks (ICAA Breeze) narrowly missed qualifying with an 11th place 28.00. Janier Harris (Park Flyers) ran 29.93 for 31st place. An even closer call was in the Midget Girls division with Jada Lewis (Eagles Wings) finishing with the 9th place time of 27.02 and sister Jia Lewis in 12th place in a time of 27.09. Midget Boy Dominik London (Team Woodbury) was also left one spot shy of the finals with a 25.57 time and 9th place. Youth Boy Tucker Trettel (unattached) ran 24.19 and was in 25th place. Intermediate Girl Megan Linder (unattached; Cretin Derham Hall HS) finished in 47th place with a time of 26.92. Intermediate Boy James Kruse (Team Woodbury; Irondale HS) ran 22.99, good enough for 32nd place. Jake Gourley (unattached; Eagan HS) finished in 40th place with a time of 23.41.

In the 800 meter run, Bantam Boy Dakari Saunders (ICAA Breeze) ran 2:59.20 for 41st place. Midget Boy Jackson Sokolowski (Park Flyers) was one place shy of qualifying for the final with a 9th place time of 2:23.85. Youth Boy Trayton Brooks (ICAA Breeze) finished in 41st place in 2:27.23. Intermediate Girl Julia Voss (Team Woodbury) ran 2:28.99 for 26th place. Intermediate Boy Matthew Rosen (unattached; Bloomington Jefferson HS), national champion last year as a Youth Boy, finished in 22nd place in a time of 2:05.44.

In the 400 meter Hurdles, Intermediate Girl Shaina Burns (Real Track & Field; Lakeville South HS) finished in 18th place with a time of 1:08.31. In the Young Men's division, Isaac Bimberg (unattached; Fairbault HS) managed a 38th place with a time of 1:02.24.

In the 4 x 400 meter Relay, the Team Woodbury Midget Girls team of Cassandra Colbjornsen, Ali Grinde, Molly Smith and Maria Versaguis ran 4:48.66 for 25th place. Park Flyers Midget Boys Brett Duncan, Mckein Keys, Jackson Sokolowski and Brendon Snyders ran 4:49.50 for 20th place. Team Woodbury Youth Girls Cat Henning, Johnna Patterson, Lauren Smith and Gina Versaguis finished in 15th place in 4:18.18. Eagles Wings Youth Girls Mariana Cress, Siona Fitzhugh, Judaisha Jackson and Chanelle Waters finished in 26th place in a time of 4:43.67. The Young Men of Emmanuel Dixon, Darkabolu Gbarbea, Arrnytt Jacox-Mann and Prince Miamen from Eagles Wings finished in 11th place in 3:22.91.

In field events, Jonathan Sutton (Eagles Wings; Benilde-St. Margaret's HS) managed 23rd place in the Intermediate Boys Discus Throw with a mark of 35.51 meters (116' 6"). Sub-Bantam Girl Zaria Smith (Eagles Wings) placed 19th in the Javelin Throw with a distance of 7.04 meters (23' 1"). In the Young Women's Shot Put, Hanna Steele (Southwest Minnesota Throws; Windom Area HS) placed 11th with a put of 11.84 meters (38' 10.25") while Desiree Richardson (Eagles Wings; Minneapolis Roosevelt HS) finished 15th with a mark of 11.64 meters (38' 2.25"). In the Bantam Girls High Jump, Arianna Passerri (Real Track & Field; Rosemount) finished in a tie for 10th place with a jump of 1.15 meters (3' 9.25").

Find complete USATF Junior Olympic Results HERE.

Maxwell, Sagedahl Winners at USA Masters

While the future of Minnesota track and field is competing in Wichita at the Junior Olympics, the veterans of the sport have gotten underway in Berea, Ohio at the USA Masters Outdoor Championships.

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USATF- Minnesota masters track and field chairman Tom Langenfeld generously sent DtB his roster of Minnesota entrants and offered a update on those who competed yesterday, including USA titlists Sherwood Sagedahl and Ralph Maxwell.

Sherwood Sagedahl, Fairmont, ran away with the M70 pentathlon , scoring 3581 points, just 79 points short of the American record. He beat the runner-up by 1,126 points competing in the long jump, javelin, 200m, discus and 1500m. His 29.93 in the 200m is a shade better than his listed Minnesota age group record.

He’s is also entered in the open 100m, 400m and javelin.

Ralph Maxwell, Richville, opened with the shot put, unopposed, in M90 competition -- 6.36m (20-10 1/2) -- better than he did in the World meet decathlon, but short of his PR. He’s also entered in the 100m, 200m, short hurdles, high jump, pole vault, long jump, discus and javelin – and will have some competition in the running events, at least.

Thom Weddle, Burnsville, was second in the M70 5000m in 22:11.36. He’s also entered in the 800m, 1500m, and 10000m, though I’m not sure he’ll attempt all three.

Jim Sheehan, Ham Lake, qualified for the finals in the M60 800m with 2:30.77 in his heat. He’s on the mend from injuries and surgery, but will also run in the 1500m.

Robert Jones, White Bear Lake, finished fifth in the MJ45 shot put with 11.18m/36-8 1/4. He’s also entered in the discus, hammer and weight throw.

Other Minnesotans entered:

Susan Loyd, Edina – 100m, 200m

Kathy Haubich, Shakopee – 200m, 400m, 800m

Marie French, Chatfield – 400m, 800m

Tom Langenfeld, Edina – high jump

Rick Kleyman, Plymouth – 1500m

Michael Burns, Milan – 100m, short hurdles, long hurdles

John Lund, Stillwater – pole vault

Michael Soule
, Wyoming –pole vault primarily, but also high jump, long jump and triple jump According to Ken Stone's Master's Track blog, HERE, Soule also plans a musical performance at nationals.

Peter Haack, La Crescent – 200m, 400m

David Lindenberg, Minneapolis – pole vault

Yes/No: Will Smock Jump "B" Standard in Gent?

Track and field can be a cruel sport of numbers. Athletes seem to be competing against the watch or tape measure as often as against other competitors. Amanda Smock has the competition part down - she is the reigning USA Triple Jump Outdoor Track champion. But she has not conquered the tape measure... yet.

Smock won the USA Outdoor Championships with a leap of 46-2. To compete in the World Championships, she needs to jump 46-3 1/4 by August 15th. This weekend she will attempt to master the numbers game and gain a qualifier in Gent, Belgium. (Other Minnesotans competing in Gent include Gabriele Anderson [800m], Garrett Heath [1500], and Jim Dilling [high jump]).

Is she a match for the unyielding measuring tape?

Yes/No: Will Amanda Smock obtain the World Championships "B" standard by triple jumping 46-3 1/4 or further in Belgium on Saturday?

Prior to this season, Amanda Smock's personal record in the triple jump was 45-5. She has reached new heights this year, capped by her personal record 46-2 at the Outdoor Championships. Smock jumped at Melrose High School and North Dakota State University.

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 8:30 A.M. CDT, Saturday, July 30rd. Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will offer our usual bonus for participants making their 2011 debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for anyone who has not played yet this year.

My answer: No

Last week's question was: Will more than four women break 35:00 at the Heart of Summer 10k on Saturday morning? The correct answer was no. The top four runners all finished in the 34s: Katie McGregor, Emily Brown, Stephanie Herbst-Lucke and Emily Harrison. The near misses included Ladia Albertson-Junkans, fifth in 35:05 and Michelle Frey, sixth in 35:12.

It was tough question -- only eleven players answered it correctly. Two of them were Jim Glazer and Jesse Schoen who both moved into a tie for seventh place with sixteen points. The leaders are still Lori Anne Peterson and Mike Henderson.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Minnesotans in Action at Junior Olympics

The 45th edition of USATF's National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships is underway Wichita, Kansas. More than a hundred athletes from the North Star State are making the trip south for the meet that concludes on Sunday.

USATF-Minnesota Youth Athletics Chairman Chris Dallager has graciously offered to report on the Minnesota exploits at the meet. Below are his reports from the opening day of action on Tuesday and for yesterday's performances.

Tuesday Action ... Shaina Burns (Real Track & Field; Lakeville South HS) is in 3rd after the first day of the Intermediate Girls Heptathlon. She had a solid showing and is only 63 points off of her region points.

James Kruse (Team Woodbury; Irondale HS) is sitting 14th in the middle of a very large pack in the Intermediate Boys Decathlon after day one with 2915 points. His Day 1 points were only 35 points off of his region pace. While stronger in Day 1 events typically, Kruse will look to a strong 110 Hurdle race to start Day 2 off well.

Randy Juell (unattached; Redwood Valley HS) is in 17th place after the first day in the Young Men's Decathlon with 2832 points. 76 points shy of his region points after five events. Juell can look to the Javelin and Discus Throws as strong events on Day 2 to gain ground.

Hannah Steele (Southwest Minnesota Throws Club; Windom Area HS) finished 12th in the Young Women's Hammer Throw with a mark of 35.50 meters (116-6).

Wednesday Action ... In the Intermediate (ages 15-16) Girls Heptathlon, Shaina Burns had an off day at the long jump, pulling her out of contention for 2nd or 3rd place. Her strong finish in the 800 meters in 2:26 secured a 4th place finish for her with a total of 4089 points.

In the Intermediate (ages 15-16) Boys Decathlon, James Kruse finished in 15th place with a total of 5133 points.

In the Young (ages 17-18) Mens Decathlon, Randy Juell finished in 17th with 5116 points.

Natalie Windels (Real Track & Field; Eagan) earned a 6th place national medal in the Midget (ages 11-12) Girls Pentathlon after beating all competitors in the 800 meter final event in a time of 2:34, pushing her from 10th to 6th and a total of 2205 points.

Arianna Passerri (Real Track & Field; Rosemount) performed well in the Bantam (ages 9-10) Girls Triathlon. Unlike the triathlon with bike riding and swimming, this triathlon combines the shot put, high jump and 200 meter dash for girls (400 meter for boys) and scores points for finishes in each event.

Passerri's total of 842 points was 5 points more than her region championship total and she finished in the top third of athletes with a 10th place finish.

Find complete USATF Junior Olympic results HERE.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Smock, Yedoni Honored by USATF-Minnesota

USA Track & Field Minnesota has announced that Amanda Smock and Trevor Yedoni are its Athletes of the Month for July 2011.

Smock, a Melrose native, is recognized for winning the triple jump at the USA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon last month. The North Dakota State University alumnus marked a personal-best jump of 46-2 to win her first national title.

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Yedoni, a senior at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School, is honored for his double victory at the MSHSL Class AA State Track Meet last month. Yedoni won the long jump with a leap of 23-0 and defended his high jump title with a clearance of 6-10.

USATF-Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smock Still Seeking Worlds Qualifier

USA triple jump champion Amanda Smock continues to seek a qualifying mark for this summer's IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

On Sunday, the Melrose native jumped 45-5 for second place at the Savo Games in Lapinlahti, Finland, short of the 46-3 1/4 World Championships "B" standard she needs.

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After opening the Finnish competition with back-to-back fouls, Smock's best jump of the day came on her third attempt of the competition.

Columbia's Catherine Ibarquen won the competition with a mark of 47-10 1/2. Find results of the competition HERE.

Smock has until August 15 to qualify for the World Championships.

Smock missed the "B" standard by a scant inch and a quarter when she won her first national title in Eugene, Oregon earlier this summer with a personal best of 46-2.

Monday, July 25, 2011

McGregor Wins Third Heart of Summer 10K

Team USA Minnesota's Katie McGregor won the Boston Scientific Heart of the Summer 10K for he third time in here in her stellar career, with a 34:22 win over teammate Emily Brown who ran 34:29.

Chaska High School alumnus Stephanie Herbst-Lucke continued her remarkable second career as a masters runner, finishing third in 34:38. Emily Harrison of Flagstaff, Arizona was fourth in 34:51.

McGregor also won the race in 2005 and 2006, establishing the course and Minnesota state record with her 32:17 clocking in 2005. In 2008, she was the runner-up.

Complete results of the race can be found HERE.

St. John's University alumnus Chris Erichsen won the event's men's race in 30:51. Erichsen won $1000 for his effort; McGregor won $2000 for her title.

Photo by Gene Niemi. From left: Brown, McGregor, Herbst-Lucke, and Harrison.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blankenship Edges Leer in Lucerne 3000m

The University of Minnesota's Ben Blankenship ran a 7:49.70 3000-meters yesterday in Lucerne, Switzerland to finish runner-up in the race and edge fellow Minnesotan Will Leer, who was third in 7:50.54.

Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico won the race in 7:42.82.

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Winona native Garrett Heath finished 7th in the event in 7:58.58.

Former Minnesota State, Mankato high jumper Jim Dilling finished 3rd in the meet's high jump competition at 7-2 1/2.

Find complete results from the meet HERE.

Yes/No: More Than Four Under 35:00 at "Heart?"

The Boston Scientific Heart of Summer 10k has gathered a strong group of elite women to run circles around Lake Nokomis on Saturday morning. The pack will include many Minnesota-based runners but also some elite females from all over the United States.

The top names this year include 2009 winner Emily Brown, 2005 and 2006 victor Katie McGregor, and ex-Minnesota resident and current masters champion Stephanie Herbst-Lucke. Going for the quality AND quantity prize for the 2011 season is Jennifer Houck who has already placed among the leaders in USA championships at half marathon, 15k, and 25k as well as the Boston Marathon and Grandma's Marathon.

The women will compete against the elements as well as each other, although (thankfully) the summer heat wave has abated slightly. With that in mind, here is this week's question...

Yes/No: Will more than four women break 35:00 at the Heart of Summer 10k on Saturday morning?

Along with the aforementioned McGregor, Brown, Herbst-Lucke and Houck, here are some other top names in the race:
Atalelch Asfaw - 10k PR - 32:45
Wendy Thomas - 11th at USA 10k Champs in 2010
Pasca Cheruyiot - 2-Time All-American at Florida State
Emily Harrison - 10k PR - 33:40
Jamie Cheever - 5th at Heart of Summer in 2010
Jenna Boren - 35:19 at Get In Gear 2011

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 7:30 A.M. CDT, Saturday, July 23rd. Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will offer our usual bonus for participants making their 2011 debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for anyone who has not played yet this year.

My answer: Yes

Last week's question was: Will Ben Blankenship run sub-3:38:00 at Heusden on Saturday? The answer was yes - Blankenship continued his great running, winning his heat and just sneaking under 3:38. Twenty five players answered correctly this week.

Mike Henderson and Lori Anne Peterson now occupy the top spot with 18 points. Four players are just behind with seventeen points: Chris Rivers, Daniel Gerber, Patrick Eastman and Rachel Karel.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gophers Ink Thrower Luke Johnson

The University of Minnesota men's track and field team just got a little bigger and stronger.

The team recently announced the signing of Red Wing's Luke Johnson, the reigning MSHSL Class AA discus champion. Johnson was also the runner-up in the Class AA shot put this season. In 2011, Johnson marked a 190-3 discus throw and a 64-2 shot put.

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“We're very excited to add Luke Johnson to an already strong recruiting class,” said Minnesota assistant coach Lyden Reder, the team's throwing coach.

“We certainly believe Luke is capable of following in the strong tradition we've had here at Minnesota of developing our in-state talent into Big Ten and NCAA caliber throwers,” said Reder. “We're glad he's a Gopher.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Torchlight 5K Postponed

Tonight's Life Time Fitness Torchlight 5k, which is serving as the 2011 USATF Minnesota 5K Championship race, has been postponed due to the extreme weather conditions. More information will be available on the event website.

Kampf Runs Personal Best 2:00.41 in Lignano

Heather Kampf ran a personal best 2:00.41 for 800 meters at yesterday's Meeting Internazionale di Atletica Leggera, finishing 6th in the race won by USA 1500m champion Morgan Uceny in 1:58.37.

You can watch the race (above) thanks to Flotrack. With the effort, Kampf erased her previous PR of 2:01.05 set back in 2007 when she was a University of Minnesota sophomore.

Burnsville High School alumnus Laura Januszewski finished 9th in the same race, establishing a new PR of her own at 2:01.05.

Kampf's Team USA Minnesota teammate Gabriele Anderson finished 5th in the 5000m in a PR 15:45.99.

Winona native Garrett Heath ran 3:39.03 for 6th in the men's 1500m.

Find additional Flotrack race videos from the meet HERE.

Find complete results HERE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Minnesota Stars to Race in Italy Today

Team USA Minnesota stars Gabriele Anderson and Heather Kampf, Winona native Garrett Heath, and Burnsville High School alumnus Laura Januszewski are scheduled to compete in Lignano, Italy tonight in the Meeting Internazionale Di Atletica Leggera.

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Anderson and Kampf are fresh off personal bests for 1500-meters set at the Citta de Padova meet. Anderson clocked 4:10.15 in the Padua, Italy race; Kampf ran 4:12.09. In Lignano, Anderson plans to race 5000m, while Kampf will compete in the 800m.

Januszewski will also compete in the Lignano 800m, while Heath will run the 1500m at the meet. Janusezewski ran a pair of 800s in Europe last week -- clocking 2:03.72 in Nuoro, Italy early in the week (in a race that Kampf won in 2:01.96) and then running 2:02.83 in Padua.

Heath ran a 7:52.91 3000m last week and followed up that PR with a 3:41.06 1500m a few days later. Both races took place in Belgium.

Find Lignano startlists HERE. Later in the day, look for Lignano results HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How the Minnesotans Did at the Masters WC

Tom Langenfeld reports on the results from the World Masters Athletics Championships held over the last two weeks in Sacramento, CA. (He modestly doesn't mention the fact that he won a silver medal in the M75 high jump with a leap of 4-6 1/4 (1.38 meters).

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Quite a few DNSs (Did Not Starts) among the Minnesotans listed on the preliminary start list HERE. Jim Schoffman made up for some of that by running six races—heat, semi and final in the M55 800; heat, semi and final in the 400.

In the 800, he won his heat, took second in his semi and finished eighth in the final in 2:15.34. In the 400, he won his heat, broke his own Minnesota age group record with 56.40 finishing second in his semi, and took fourth in the finals in 57.70. He also was a member of the US M55 4x400 relay team that won gold in 3:49.28.

Susan Loyd made the semi-finals in the W50 100, running 15.29 in the trials and 15.30 in the semi, both better than the Minnesota age group record.

Phil Rogosheske finished tenth in the M65 5000m race walk – big field – and DNS in the road walk.

Kathy Haubrich was seventh in her heat of the W50 400 in 72.14.

Dick Mulkern, a former Minnesotan, took second in the M85 discus with a toss of 73'5" (22.39 meters).

Lance Elliott, one of the favorites in both the M40 800m and 1500m, had to scratch because of a last-minute business conflict. As nearly as I could tell, the other four Minnesota entrants were also DNS – Tweety Wolf, Jim Sheehan, Michael Burns and Thom Weddle.

Ralph Maxwell’s World Record performance in the M90 decathlon was, of course, the meet’s first major story.

There’s nothing quite like the international flavor of this competition. I think there were ten countries represented by the entrants in my event alone.

Hartmark Does Rare Double

Park Point 5-mile champion, Eric Hartmark seems to have used Friday's race as a "warm-up" for longer stuff. Instead of cheering on a friend as planned, Hartmark decided to run the Half-Voyageur Trail Marathon on Sunday. He won.

“I was going to run a long run this weekend and these trails (through Spirit Mountain and Jay Cooke State Park) have always intrigued me, but this was really a last-minute decision,” Hartmark, told the Duluth News Tribune. “There were some stretches I was really concentrating on the footing and just hoped I didn’t miss any (pink) ribbons (indicating the path of the course). I was glad I didn’t get lost.”

You can read more about Hartmark HERE.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blankenship Wins Again in Huesden; Anderson, Kampf PR in Padova

Ben Blankenship won the "B" race at the KBC Nacht Athletics meeting in Huesden, Belgium on Saturday. The Gopher miler beat fellow American, AJ Acosta with a time of 3:37.76. Acosta's time was 3:38.77. John Jefferson of the US was third in 3:39.39, and former Winona and Stanford standout, Garrett Heath was seventh in 3:41.06. In the 1,500 "A" race Will Leer finished third in 3:37.42. Kenyan William Tanui Biwott won in 3:35.93.

Gabriele Anderson and Heather Kampf both ran PRs in the 1,500 at the Citta de Padova meet in Italy. Anderson ran 4:10.15 to finish fourth. Kampf ran 4:12.09 in eighth. The US's Alice Schmidt won in a PR of 4:08.09. In the 800 Laura Januszewski finished tenth in 2:02.83. The 800 was won by Cuba's Santiusty Yuneisy in a PR of 1:58.91.

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Jennifer Houck to Run for US in Pan Am Games

Jennifer Houck will represent the US in the women's marathon at the XVI Pan American Games in October in Guadalajara, Mexico. The women's marathon race is on the final day of the Games, October 30. More on Houck HERE.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hartmark Defends Title, Sullivan Wins Women's Race In Park Point 5-Miler

Eric Hartmark, 33, of Duluth successfully defending his title in the 40th running of the Park Point 5-Miler with a time of 24:53. Hibbing’s Serena Sullivan, 30, claimed the women's crown in 31:15.

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It was a Duluth sweep in the men's race with locals Scott Behling, 21, finishing second in 25:36, and Jeremy Polson, a five-time champion, third in 25:37. Hartmark's win was his third at the event, the others coming in 2007(25:17) and 2010(25:16).
The women's runner up was Ariel Heitzman, 26, of Superior, WI, in 31:30, followed by Duluth’s Sarah Bryan, 20, in 31:45.

516 runners and 47 walkers registered for the event ― northern Minnesota’s oldest road race. Youth races for children 14 and under accompanied the five-mile run and two-mile walk.

Net proceeds from the Park Point 5-Miler benefit the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF), a Grandma’s Marathon program focused on the promotion and development of youth athletics.


Top 10
MEN – Open Division

1. – Eric Hartmark, 33, Duluth, MN – 24:53

2. – Scott Behling, 21, Duluth, MN – 25:36

3. – Jeremy Polson, 33, Duluth, MN – 25:37

4. – Nick Mangan, 23, Baxter, MN – 25:38

5. – Kelly Mortenson, 40, St. Paul, MN – 26:22

6. – Kyle Larson, 21, Duluth, MN – 26:49

7. – Adam Swank, 35, Duluth, MN – 27:06

8. – Craig Hertz, 25, Duluth, MN – 27:23

9. – Adam Stainiger, 21, Chisholm, MN – 27:38

10. – John Vandanacker, 48, Greenfield, MN – 27:51

WOMEN – Open Division

1. – Serena Sullivan, 30, Hibbing, MN – 31:14

2. – Ariel Heitman, 26, Superior, WI – 31:30

3. – Sarah Bryan, 20, Duluth, MN – 31:45

4. – Rochelle Wirth, 49, Duluth, MN – 31:59

5. – Gabrielle Cyr, 25, Highbridge, WI – 32:09

6. – Connie Lutkevich, 43, Duluth, MN – 32:36

7. – Emily Bradshaw, 20, Duluth, MN – 34:01

8. – Jody Zeleznikar, 38, Esko, MN – 33:20

9. – Molly Pennings, 36, Culver, MN – 33:23

10. – Jesse Fark, 23, Superior, WI – 33:55


Top 3

MEN – Open Division
1. – Steven Skamser, 64, Superior, WI – 22:04

2. – Chris Rohrer, 61, Duluth, MN – 22:44

3. – John Stark, 67, Duluth, MN – 23:12

WOMEN – Open Division

1. – Jill Bianchet, 54, Duluth, MN - 24:05

2. – Angela Zavodnik, 28, Hibbing, MN - 24:41

3. – Jane Gilbert-Howard, 61, Duluth, MN - 25:27

Friday, July 15, 2011

Steve Plasencia Talks Track, Part II

University of Minnesota head men's track and cross country coach Steve Plasencia has built an impressive resume winning five of six Big Ten track championships(three indoor, two outdoor) in the last three seasons. The only loss came this year by a scant two and a half points to host Iowa at the outdoor championships.

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"I told the guys we win as a team, we lose as a team," said Plasencia. "As you probably know, I score out the meets(predict the point totals prior to and during the event). I didn't have any illusions about Iowa. I had them beating us by much more than they did."

Plasencia knew the Gophers would score big on the first day and the key would be to amass as many points as possible going into the final day, when Iowa's strengths would help them. As with any close win or loss, it's easy to where the team could have scored points that might have made a difference, but races aren't run on paper and the team will have to absorb the lessons learned and use the loss as an incentive for the 2012 Championships.

"We had a pretty average day on the last day," Plasencia said. "Nobody stepped up(and had an unexpectedly good performance). I feel good that we competed well, but I'll use (the loss) as motivation."

The balanced team approach at Minnesota has had its benefits. Plasencia said that they scored points in nearly all the events at the conference meet, and that sort of depth and variety can breed consistency as one isn't dependent upon one segment of the team or single performances, but rather a group effort. And the success of that group has begun to also have benefits.

"We've got a kid coming in, a half miler. who's a state champ from Illinois," said Plasencia. "People there(in other states) are aware of our program. We've been able to expand (the program's stature into other states). They've heard of us. They've seen what we've done. The Big Ten Network(TV channel that broadcasts Big Ten championship events) being there has helped with that."

Most schools recruit primarily from their state, their surrounding area, Plasencia noted, thus "You're dependent on the talent that comes out in your area. You've got to adapt to your environment."

One adaptation that hasn't been successfully bridged as yet is being able to get the talent necessary to win conference titles in track and cross country. "In the world of 12.6 scholarships, it's hard to have a formula that works for all programs," Plasencia said, noting the fact that attracting top talent often requires rewarding that talent.

Track and cross country have a total of just over 12 scholarships to "fund" the top athletes with scholarship money. Some programs will load their program's scholarships into one discipline, says sprints, or field events, or distance. With Minnesota's emphasis on a "balanced" team, attracting top talent in each of the disciplines, that scholarship money is spread thin. "Would you give up a track title to win cross country?" says Plasencia.

Since cross country team totals are determined by the placing of the top five runners, the teams that win championships have to have at the very least five very talented distance runners. Depth wins championships. "To be in the upper results of the Conference meets, you really have to have five guys who (are talented enough) to go to the national meet," Plasencia said. And not go just as members of a team, which Minnesota has done consistently for nearly the last two decades, but also have the ability to place well there as individuals.

If they were a professional sports team, last year's Gopher cross country squad could have been characterized as going through a "rebuilding year," with the depth of the team dependent on underclassmen. Those runners will be a year stronger and wiser this year. Hassan Mead will be back at the front of the pack with a strong supporting cast.

"I'm always excited at the beginning of each season," said Plasencia, "Just to see what can be accomplished."

Yes/No: Blankenship sub-3:38 at Heusden?

Last week's Yes/No question was about a former University of Minnesota Gopher athlete who is now competing on the track and field circuit in Europe. In keeping with that theme for another week, we will check out Ben Blankenship at KBC Night of Athletics meet in Heusden. Blankenship may not be a world record holder and world champion like Barbora Špotáková, but he is a Gopher attempting to conquer the international scene.

Blankenship has been on a roll. Can he keep it up in the Netherlands?

Yes/No: Will Ben Blankenship run sub-3:38:00 at Heusden on Saturday?

Ben Blankenship has had a great 2011. His top races have included a 3:39 victory in the 1500 at the Stanford Payton Jordan invite in May. In June he topped that with a 3:54.10 mile at the Prefontaine Classic. This week, Blankenship raced to a personal record 3:37.23 at Kortrijk Guldensporenmeeting in Belgium.

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 A.M. CDT, Saturday, July 16th. Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will offer our usual bonus for participants making their 2011 debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for anyone who has not played yet this year.

My answer: Yes

Last week's question was: Will Barbora Špotáková finish in the top two in the javelin at the Paris Diamond League meet on Friday? The answer was yes - Špotáková finished second at the meet. Twenty six players answered correctly this week.

Big changes in the overall standings as both the overall leader, Lori Anne Peterson and the always-correct Chris Rivers answered incorrectly. There is now a logjam at the top with four players in first place: Lori Anne Peterson, Mike Henderson, Patrick Eastman and Rachel Karel. Chris Rivers and Daniel Gerber lurk one point back.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MN Coach Steve Plasencia Talks Track, Part One

While the weather outside certainly doesn't indicate it, cross country season is right around the corner. University of Minnesota head men's track and cross country coach Steve Plasencia is already preparing for the annual pre-season camp for XC coming up in August.

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He's also making recruiting calls, arranging for meets in Europe for athletes like Ben Blankenship , and generally getting ready for the year ahead. DtB took the opportunity to chat with Plasencia a bit about the past season and what's ahead for the upcoming Olympic year. While he won't be in the lineup for the Gopher cross country team as he's used up his eligibilty there, Blankenship will be running his final track season for the Gophers in 2012.

Plasencia calls Ben the "cream of the crop in the mile in the Big Ten." While there had been talk of possibly "red shirting" Ben in cross country last year so he'd have a full year of eligibility for both cross country and track this year, Hassan Mead's collapsed lung changed that. With Mead out, the young team needed a leader and Blankenship stepped into that role. Both Blankenship and the team finished third in the Big Ten meet and the team qualified for NCAAs with a third place finish in the NCAA Regional Meet.

"(Before the) indoor track (season) Ben and I had a conversation," said Plasencia. "He was thinking that he'd like to move on. But he said he would come back for an indoor and outdoor."

So, instead of finishing up in 2011, the decision was made to redshirt the year in track and use his remaining eligibilty for next year. This didn't mean that Blankenship was just going to be idle until early 2012 though. Plasencia was able to get Ben a spot in the mile race at the Prefontaine meet in Eugene and Ben's performance there, along with a win in the 1,500(3:39:49) at the Payton Jordan Classic at Stanford in May, boosted Blankenship's "stock" as not only a Big Ten standout, but a candidate for national honors.

Unfortunately for Blankenship, the heat set up at the USATF championships, also at Hayward Field in Eugene, stuck Ben in a loaded heat with a slow pace. It came down to a kick and though Ben ran 1:36 for his last 700 and 54.1 for the last quarter, he didn't make the final, said Plasencia. Despite that setback, it has been a successful season for Blankenship and the lessons learned from nationals may help him avoid a similar fate in the Olympic year.

Mead had similar issues in the NCAA track regionals, said Plasencia, as the West Region was loaded with talent, compared to the East, and the qualifying races came down to a kick, not Mead's strength, even though he was able to finish well it was not well enough to get him a ticket to NCAAs. In retrospect, Plasencia said, Mead might have been better off taking the pace early and gambling that he wouldn't use too much energy, but burn off enough of the competition so that it wasn't decided by a sprint.

Still Mead's comeback year from first an Achilles injury from the 2010 track season, then the collapsed lung was a success. Having part of his lung taken out and having been away from the sport for a year, Mead still won a Big Ten title(10K) and ran 13:45 for 5K. "Hasan is a very grounded individual," said Plasencia. His family and things outside of the sport keep him that way and probably were a great help in getting Mead through the trials of the injury and health setbacks, Plasencia said.

Both Mead and Blankenship have caught the attention of people in the sport and will have the option to continue on their running careers with significant support, said Plasencia. But they have one more track season together, and Mead will lead this year's cross country team. "Hassan had the chance to go away and train at altitude, but he chose to stay in the city," Plasencia said. "Right now he's putting in some good background work. While nothing is guaranteed, I'm optimistic about next season."
More on the team goals in Part II on Friday.

Meghan Peyton, Megan Hogan Named RRCA Roads Scholars: Euro Track Update

Team USA Minnesota’s Meghan Peyton and Megan Hogan have been selected to receive Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Roads Scholar grants for 2011. They were among six US athletes named with the grants going directly to the athletes to help support their goals of becoming world-class distance runners.

The Roads Scholar program assists American post collegiate runners who show great promise to develop into national and world-class road running athletes. Since 1996, RRCA has awarded grants totaling over $360,000 through the Roads Scholar program. Previous Team USA Minnesota recipients include Matt Gabrielson, Josh Moen, and Antonio Vega.

“I want to extend a most heart-felt thank you to the RRCA," said Peyton (formerly Armstrong) who joined Team USA Minnesota in 2008. “To know that there are people and groups like the RRCA out there to support me and other athletes like myself is truly amazing. This grant will help me continue to strive to reach my dream of being one of our nation’s best athletes. This support will also allow me to give back to the running community by being my best every time I toe the line, which will in turn, I hope, allow our entire sport to advance.”

In 2010, Peyton won the ING Miami Half Marathon, placed fourth at both the USA 5k and 10 Mile Championships, and was a member of the Chiba Ekiden team. In 2011, she was fifth in the USA 15k Championships and seventh at the USA 1 Mile Championships.

Hogan joined Team USA Minnesota in February 2011 after completing her collegiate eligibility at George Washington University in December. This year she was third at the USA 15k Championships and was fifth at the Freihofer’s Run for Women. “I am very excited and honored to have received the Roads Scholar’s grant and I look forward to successful performances in upcoming road races,” said Hogan.

European Track Races
Heather Kampf won her second 800 meter races in Europe during her summer outdoor track campaign following up on her win in Belgium on July 9 with another victory in a meet in Nuoro, Italy, on July 13 with a time of 2:01.96.

Also competing in Europe is Gabriele Anderson who ran 4:14.57 for seventh at the Liege, Belgium, International Athletics Meeting on July 13.

Next up for both athletes will be a track meet in Padova, Italy, on July 16, and then a final European competition in Lignano, Italy, on July 19.

Park Point 5-Miler On Friday in Duluth

Northern Minnesota’s oldest road race, the Park Point 5-Miler is set for its 40th running Friday, July 15.

Online pre-registration is available today at or Those choosing to sign up on race day should visit the pavilion at the end of Park Point between 3 PM and 5 PM. The entry fee for the run or the two-mile walk is $25, while the youth races are free.

The event begins at 5:30 PM with youth races for children 14 and under, followed by a two-mile walk at 6:15 PM, and the five-mile at 6:30 PM.

Five-time race champion Jeremy Polson is registered, as is 2010 and 2011 William A. Irvin 5K champion Scott Behling. Among the top females entered is 2011 Fitger’s 5K winner Gabrielle Cyr.

All finishers in the run and walk will receive a commemorative T-shirt and awards will be presented to the top participants at an award ceremony following the five-mile run. Ribbons will be awarded to youth race participants upon completion of their event.

Participants are encouraged to plan extra time get to Park Point to ensure they arrive on time for their event. For the safety of race participants, Minnesota Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from approximately 6:15 PM to 7:30 PM.

Net proceeds from the Park Point 5-Miler benefit the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF), a Grandma’s Marathon program focused on the promotion and development of youth athletics.

For more information about the Park Point 5-Miler or the YAF call (218) 727-0947 or visit

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blankenship Wins in Belgium

Apologies and congrats to Ben Blankenship, who ran in Kortrijk Guldensporenmeeting on Saturday, the same meet as former Gopher women runners Heather Kampf and Gabriele Anderson, and was first in the 1,500 with a personal best of 3:37.23. Blankenship also ran 3:41.5 for 1,500 in Cork prior to the Belgian meet.

University of Minnesota's men's head track and cross country coach Steve Plasencia helped arrange entry and the schedule of meets Ben will run in Europe. Next up is a 1,500 at the KBC Night of Athletics meet in Huesden on July 16, followed possibly by a 3,000 meter race in Lucerne on July 21st.
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The Hammond Trio

At the risk of being accused of shameless self promotion, I'm posting the link to an article I wrote for the current Running Times HERE. It doesn't involve Minnesotans, but the experience of these three then high school kids and their coach says a lot about achievement, the sport, and what three kids and their coach were able to accomplish.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Antonio Vega Is On The Cover of RRCA's Club Running

Team USA's Antonio Vega is on the cover of the current issue of the RRCA's Club Running. He was selected as the RRCA's male athlete of the year for 2010. Chaska high school standout, Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, who now lives in Atlanta Georgia, was selected as the RRCA's female master athlete of the year(short profiles of each are on pages 26-27 of the online publication HERE.

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Vega had an operation to repair a hernia and has been recovering from a broken pelvis. Hopes are that he will be able to return to racing this fall and be ready for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials in January of 2012.

Team USA MN Hosts First RunPro Camp

A first of its kind primer for a professional running career, the RunPro Camp will be held Friday and Saturday in Bloomington. 21 recent graduates of colleges and universities will get advice from elite athletes, sports administrators, PR professionals, race organizers, elite atlete recruiters and agents, shoe company reps, and medical and tax experts during the two days of presentations.

While sprinters or other track athletes have had similar preparation clinics for entry into the world of professional sport, this is the first such attempt to educate and inform US distance runners, says Pat Goodwin, one of the speakers, a founder of Team USA MN, and organizer of the camp. Funding for the camp came from a grant from USATF and was also made possible by some who came to present at the camp at their own expense, said Goodwin.

The grant provided funding for the expenses for 20 athletes, said Goodwin. The Hilton Hotel in Bloomington gave special rates for the participants and as one of the athletes chosen to attend lives in MN, 21 athletes were able to attend. The 21 are men and women from all over the US. Some are All Americans, others conference champions. A listing of their names, their schools, and their accomplishments are:

Alison Parris
,James Madison University; NCAA Qualifier, 1500m: 4:29, 3K: 9:35, 5K 16:27
Amy Vanalstine,University of Richmond; NCAA Qualifier, 1500m: 4:19, 3K: 9:29, 5K: 16:09
Andrew Benford,University of Richmond; Steeplechase: 8:46, 5K: 13:55
Christian Gonzalez, Rider University, MAAC Champion (cross country and track)800m: 1:49, 1500m: 3:42, mile: 4:00, 3K: 8:23, 5K: 14:26
Colton Tully-Doyle,University of Washington; NCAA Qualifier, 1500m: 3:46, Mile: 4:05, 3K: 7:53, 5K: 13:47
Darryll Oliver, University of Pennsylvania; NCAA Qualifier, 800m: 1:48, 1500m: 3:53
David Adams, University of Nebraska; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 3K: 7:58, Steeplechase: 8:43, 5K: 13:48
Devotia Moore, Duke University; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 800m school record holder, 800m: 2:04
Elizabeth Yetzer, University of Minnesota; NCAA Qualifier, 1500m: 4:18, Mile: 4:41, 3K:9:31
Emily Anderson, William and Mary; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 1500m: 4:14, mile: 4:43, 3K: 9:26, 5K 16:03
Jonathan Grey, William and Mary; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 3K: 8:07, 5K: 13:46, 10K: 28:40
Jonathan Sees, University of California Davis; 800m: 1:51, 1500m: 3:44
Kaitlin Gregg, University of California Davis; 5K: 16:21, 10K: 34:01
Kate Van Buskirk, Duke University; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, placed 3rd in 1500m at 2011 Championships, 800m: 2:06, 1500m: 4:15,mile: 4:33
Kristen McGlynn, Adams State College; DII NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 5K: 16:12, 10K: 34:03
Lisa Baumert, Princeton University; NCAA Qualifier, 5K: 16:25, 10K: 33:53
Mary Cate Quiett, DePaul University; NCAA Qualifier, 800m: 2:05, 1500m: 4:35
Matthew Llano, University of Richmond; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 3K: 8:11, 5K: 14:00, 10K: 28:43
Matti (Bridgmon) Suver, University of Oregon; NCAA Qualifier and All-American, 1500m: 4:25, 3K: 9:17, 5K: 16:02, 10K: 33:37
Michael Crouch, Queens University; DII NCAA Qualifier and All-American 1500m:3:45, mile: 4:04, 3K: 7:57, 5K: 13:40, 10K: 28:58
Sarah Porter, Western Washington University; DII NCAA Qualifier and All-American, Placed 9th at 2011 USATF National Championships, 5K: 15:57, 10K: 32:57

More infromation on RunPro and the camp are available HERE.

A New Event for MN Track Meets?

A new event for Minnesota track meets? The roller ski mile at this year's Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway HERE.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Smock Wins, Špotáková Second

USATF champion triple jumper Amanda Smock took another title Friday winning the event in the National Club Championships in New York City. Smock jumped 45'3" to win. The jump was a foot short of the IAAF World Championships B standard, and a foot and eight inches from the A.

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In the IAAF Diamond League Meet in Paris, Barbora Špotáková finished second in the javelin throw with a toss of 221'8.23."

Kampf Wins 800; Anderson Third in 1,500 in Belgian Meet

Team USA MN's Heather Kampf won the 800 in 2:03.49, edging Erin Donohoe of the US,who ran 2:03.92, at the Kortrijk Guldensporenmeeting in Belgium on Saturday. Kampf's teammate, Gabriele Anderson, was third in the 1,500 in 4:14.54. The US's Elizabeth Maloy won the race in 4:13.76.

Finish camera photo of the 800 is HERE. For full results of the meet and more finish line photos go HERE.

Liz Podominick Provides An Update

Former Gopher star Liz Podominick threw herelf into contention for a spot on the 2012 US Olympic team with a sixth place finish in the discus at the USATF Championships in Eugene. Below the US team manager for the US Figure Skating team tells how she got that job and how her spins resulted in a new personal best at the USATF meet.

Down the Backstretch: How do you feel about the results at the USATF Championships? You got a big one on the first throw, then couldn’t catch another one. Where you trying for a really big throw on the final throws?

Liz Podominick: My goal this year was to qualify for USA's and make the finals--top eight. Considering that I was ranked thirteenth going into the competition and placed sixth, I am very happy with the results and surprised a lot of people.

I found out when I checked in for the event that they had split the prelims into two flights, originally posted as one flight of 16, and I was the first thrower in the first flight. I used that as an opportunity to put a mark out that others in my flight would have to chase.

My first throw was very relaxed and then I really went after it on my next throws. I had a throw that looked farther in the finals, but I my toe barely landed on the rim while I was reversing, so it was a scratch. I am very proud of how I competed and handled the pressure. While my marks were not consistent, some slight adjustments could have produced some even bigger throws.

DtB: While there are post-graduate programs in Minnesota for middle and distance runners, there is not a lot for the throwers. How do you keep it going now that you don’t have the regular competition and other benefits of the university system? Do you get a chance to train outside of MN? Have thoughts of doing something like that in the build up to 2012?

LP: I received some great advice from Kris Kuehl when I was making my decision to continue competing. After college I felt like I had not reached anywhere near my potential. Therefore, every year I ask myself three questions that Kris recommended:
1. Do I feel like I can get better?
2. Do I still feel healthy enough to throw?
3. Do I still have fun throwing? (the most important question:)

If I can answer yes to all three, then I say why not keep training? I will not be able to compete at this level later in life, so I want to take advantage of this gift.

I have to be very proactive in my training and competition schedule. I make sure to check all the local college/universities' websites in Colorado--where I am currently training--for meets and have to travel out of the state more often. It is a bigger investment and since I have to spend my own money, I am dilligent on making every practice and competition count. I have developed a great support network out here in Colorado, and the local coaches look out for me by letting me compete at their meets.

DtB: Hasn’t been much written about you since 2008. You went to graduate school. What else have you been doing? Fill us in a bit on what the last few years have been like?

LP: I definitely laid low for a while. When I was finishing up my classes for my masters in December 2008, my younger brother, age 21, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. That was something that my family and I never expected to go through and we went through a period of healing.

I dropped a lot of weight, almost 30 pounds, because I was not training and just needed time to spend with my family. My family was close, but it was taken to another level after my brother's death. I learned a lot about myself and the inner strength God provides.

That spring, I worked a part-time job while coaching and training with my high school coach, Rick Ringeisen. Coaching really helped me remember my love for throwing and lit that spark inside to throw again.

I competed in some local meets and just got back into throwing, without any expectations. After some time I also realized that I needed to make a change, so I interned for US Figure Skating in Colorado Springs through the USOC intern program and was hired by US Figure Skating last June.

I was home in Minnesota briefy for the spring last year before being hired, and barely missed qualifying for USA's. It was a huge disappointment, but ulitmately the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me more serious about my training and pushed me to make a change.

I started training with the Air Force throws coach, Scott Irving, last summer after I convinced him I was serious about throwing, and throughout the past year I have discovered an amazing network of throwers training in Colorado. Dana Pounds-Lyon (also trains with Scott Irving in the javelin) has been a great training partner and motivator, and I also drive up to Fort Collins to throw with Casey Malone, Brian Trainor, Drew Loftin, and Loree Smith whenever I can.

My job gives me access to the the OTC(Olympic Training Center) weight room, and I am the strongest I have ever been. Still working on getting stronger while also being lighter and quicker than in college. Scott had done a wonderful job of helping me believe in my abilities, and I feel so blessed to be out here in Colorado Springs. It's funny how God's timing works out, and I know my brother is watching and still my biggest cheerleader.

DtB: You’re close to the Olympic B qualifying standard in the disc. What are your thoughts on 2012, Olympic Trials and beyond?

LP: I feel like I have so much left in me to go somewhere with throwing. My next goal is to get the A standard, which is definitely in my reach.

I was not on anyone's radar before this year and I know I turned a lot of heads at USA's. There is so much I can improve on technically while also increasing my strength levels, and time will be my best friend.

There is so much that I can do in a year, and I want to do everything in my control to give myself a shot. I am in the process of determining how I am going to get those extra six meters to give myself a chance to make the Olympic Team, but I know it is in my reach.

It's not easy working full time and training at this level, so I will have to make some changes very soon to really focus on my training leading up to the Trials.

DtB: Stephanie Brown-Trafton surprised a lot of people by winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. Was that inspirational for you? Did it provide some motivation?

LP: Of course! I actually met Stephanie at a meet this year and she was so humble and nice. When I went to a meet in Tucson this spring, I had the opportunity to work an hour with Mac Wilkins on some discus drills (thanks for Stephanie's urging).

She did a few of the drills, but was mostly there to provide some imput, and she acutally ended up sweeping the floors so that we could do the drills. Mac kept joking that this is what a gold medal gets you--the opportunity to sweep the floors for developing discuss throwers.

There is a reason that the competition happens. It does not matter what other people have thrown in the past, it only matters what you can do that day against your competition. Stephanie proved that in 2008, and shows that faith can accomplish anything.

DtB: Emily Brown talks about how she really wanted to be a basketball player, but her skills were in running. Any thoughts on basketball in the future for you?

LP: I am chuckling a bit here. I gave up playing basketball for a reason! I still enjoy playing for fun with the USOC employees during lunch, but that chapter of my life is over, and I'll stick with the disc. Plus, I don't think my body could not handle it anymore--I am getting old!

Photo by Becky Miller.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Maxwell Obliterates M90 Decathlon Record

Ralph Maxwell, a part-time resident of Richville, Minnesota, doubled the previous world record in the M90 decathlon with his winning score of 7069 on the second day of competition at the World Masters Track & Field Field Championships in Sacramento, California.

After day one, Maxwell's score of 3,956 had already eclipsed the world record of 3190 points set by Australia's Vic Younger in 2003.

13.1 Mpls

Maxwell, the lone competitor in his age group for the decathlon, opened up the first day with a 19.69 in the 100m, a long jump of 8-7 1/2, a 20-3 throw in the shot put, a clearance of 3-4 1/2 in the high jump, and a time of 1:49.24 in the 400m.

On day two, Maxwell ran a 21.62 in the 80m hurdles, threw the discus 45-10, pole vaulted 4-7, marked a javelin throw of 60-0, and finished the event with an 11:30.51 in the 1500m.

Follow the competition a the World Masters Championships HERE.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yes/No: Špotáková First or Second in Paris?

The domestic track and field season is over, by and large, but many top American athletes will head to Europe to chase big marks. One athlete with Minnesota ties never leaves the European circuit, however. Former University of Minnesota Gopher, Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic, is still regarded as the top javelin thrower in the world, although the rest of the world has certainly closed the gap in recent years.

DtB will take its annual look at Špotáková with this question...

Yes/No: Will Barbora Špotáková finish in the top two in the javelin at the Paris Diamond League meet on Friday?

Where to start with Barbora Špotáková's accolades and honors? She has been ranked #1 in the world in her event by Track and Field News for each of the last four years. She is an Olympic and World Champion. And, she holds the world record.

Špotáková will certainly face stiff competition at the Diamond League meet in Paris. Three of the top four throwers (by distance) will be competing at the meet. In addition to Špotáková, Mariya Abakumova of Russia and Christina Obergfoll of Germany are scheduled to throw. All three women have thrown over 70 meters in their careers and over 65 meters in 2011.

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 A.M. CDT, Friday, July 8th. Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will offer our usual bonus for participants making their 2011 debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for anyone who has not played yet this year.

My answer: No.

Last week's question was: Will Andrew Carlson or Josh Moen finish in the top six at the USA 10k Championships at the AJC Peachtree Road Race? The answer was no - Josh Moen was eleventh and Andrew Carlson finished twenty-first. Fifteen players answered correctly this week.

In the overall standings, the top group tightened up a bit. Lori Anne Peterson remains in first with seventeen points. But there is now a group of four one point back: Chris Rivers, Rachel Karel, Patrick Eastman, and Mike Henderson.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.