Thursday, June 28, 2012

Heath 7th, Mead 8th in Olympic Trials 5000

Elliott Heath
(Photo by Becky Miller.)

Hassan Mead
(Photo by Becky Miller.)

They’ve raced one another across the fields of St. Olaf College, chasing State Meet cross country titles.  They’ve tangled on the red oval at Hamline at the State Track Meet.  As collegians, they've met indoors and out.

On Thursday night, in the biggest meet of either of their budding careers, Winona native Elliott Heath and Minneapolis South alumnus Hassan Mead faced one-another again, this time in the 5000-meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

In front of loud “Tracktown USA” crowd, in yet another close contest between two of the state's most decorated distance runners, Heath edged Mead, running 13:28.20 for seventh place in the race won by Galen Rupp in 13:22.67.   

Mead was one place and two seconds behind Heath in 13:30.21.

Heath, representing Stanford University, closed the race with a final 400m in 56.79; Mead, running his final race in the maroon and gold of the University of Minnesota, raced home with a 58.10.

The rivals were Minnesota’s only finalists on the night the Olympic Trials restarted after a two-day hiatus.  The meet concludes on Sunday.

Find results of the men’s 5,000-meters HERE.

1500m Qualifying … The milers – and Minnesota has a lot of them in Eugene – took the track for the first time in the meet on Thursday, in 1500-meter qualifying.

Gabriele Anderson.
(Photo by Becky Miller.) 

In women’s action, former Golden Gopher stars Gabriele Anderson and Heather Kampf advanced to the semi-final round of competition tomorrow with automatic qualifying performances.  Anderson was the runner-up in her heat in 4:14.23, while Kampf, come-backing from 800-meter competition which ended on Monday, finished 6th in hers in 4:17.29.

The top six runners in each heat, plus the next six fastest times advanced for women and men.

Veteran racers Will Leer and Garrett Heath -- brother of Elliott -- both advanced to the men's semis running 3:40.79 and 3:41.02, respectively.  Both competed in the second heat, where Minnetonka native Leer was the winner and Heath finished 3rd.

“I felt good and relaxed running from the front," Leer told US Track and Field's media team afterward.  “Today I am feeling very good, tomorrow I am going to leave it all on the track.”

Garret Heath (c) and Will Leer (with mustache).
(Photo by Becky Miller.) 
Burnsville native Rob Finnerty, competing for the University of Wisconsin, did not advance from the third qualifying heat.  Minnesota’s fastest high school miler of all time ran 3:43.89.

Find complete Thursday results HERE.

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