Friday, June 22, 2012

Mead Runs Sub-28 in Olympic Trials 10,000

Hassan Mead races to sub-28:00.
(Photo by Becky Miller.)

In what may have been his final race in a University of Minnesota uniform, Hassan Mead set a personal best and broke 28-minutes in the Olympic Trials 10,000-meter run in Eugene, Oregon on Friday night.

The Minneapolis South alum ran 27:59.04 to finish 11th.  American record holder Galen Rupp won the race in an Olympic Trials record 27:25.33.  Matt Tegenkamp was second; Dathan Rtizenhein was third.

Racing in steady rain that frustrated runners, if not exactly slowing them down, Mead rolled along in the main pack, only falling behind when Rupp and teammate Ritzenhein forced the pace in the late-going.  Ritzenhein needed to run the Olympic A standard in the race in order to qualify for the Games, which he did.

“It was a good race,” Mead said.  “I was hoping to shoot under 28, so I’d say it’s a success.  I was hoping to finish a little higher – I was hoping to finish in the top 10 – but I think I was just outside of that.”

Mead sealed his sub-28 run with 62.92 final 400m.  Earlier this season he broke Garry Bjorklund's 1974  of M 10,000m record, running 28:12.74 at the Payton Jordan Invitational.

The race was a fitting capstone to Mead’s collegiate career, during which he earned All-American honors seven times and fought back from injury and a collapsed lung.  Mead is entered in the 5000-meters at the Trials, so could don the maroon and gold again before the meet is over.

“It’s been exciting,” Mead said of his Gopher years.  “I have a great memory with this uniform, the gold and maroon.”

Here all of DtB's exclusive interview with Mead here ...

The women’s 10,000-meter, which followed on the heels of Mead’s race, won’t likely be one of the great memories in Katie McGregor’s storied career.  McGregor finished 18th in 33:11.92.

The Team USA Minnesota star, who had finished 4th in the last two Olympic Trials 10,000s, faced the tall challenge of needing to run the Olympic A standard of 31:45 and finish in the top-three on Friday to make her first Olympic team. 

McGregor was content to run in the pack early in the race, despite an early pace that projected a 32:20 finish time.  Shortly after the half-way mark, the University of Michigan alumnus lost contact with the main pack, slowing from 400s in the mid-70s to turning them in 81 to 83 seconds.

Find men’s 10,000 results HERE.  Women’s results are HERE.

Podomonick Advances with #3 Mark … Lakeville native and University of Minnesota alumnus Liz Podomonick qualified for Sunday's finals of the women’s discus throw with a mark of 196-7 in today’s prelims.  The toss, from a wet circle and through a steady drizzle, was the 3rd-longest throw of the competition, which two-time Olympic bronze medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton led with 206-1

 Erhard native Rachel Longfors finished a non-qualifying  16th overall with 172-7.

“I really can’t ask for more in the rainy weather,” Podomonick said afterward.  “I just kept approaching it that we were all throwing in the rain, we’re all dealing with it.  So I just kept focusing on what I’ve been working on in practice.”

Podomonick, who has the 5th-longest throw by an American in 2012 but who lacks an Olympic A qualifier, needs to throw 203-5 and finish in the top three in Sunday’s final make the Olympic team.

“My first throw, I was just trying to have a good rhythm,” she recounted.  “I kind of popped up a little bit, so the next throw I kind of worked on driving out a little more and it went out of bounds, clearly.  The last throw was to put it all together, and I was really happy with that.  I wish I had one more throw.  That was throw I wanted to build off of.”

Instead, Podomonick, who still holds Minnesota’s high school all-time in the shot put, will need to hold onto the memory of her final throw until Sunday.

“I’ll do some recovery stuff tonight, do a really light practice tomorrow, and mentally prepare,” she said of her next 48 hours.

Heather Kampf advancing to the semis.
(Photo by Becky Miller.)
Pachuta, Kampf Advance in 800-meter … The University of Minnesota’s David Pachuta and Team USA Minnesota’s Heather Kampf advanced in 800-meter competition.

Pachuta clocked 1:47.14 to finish second in his heat, behind Nick Symmonds.  Kampf clocked 2:0.54 for fourth in her heat.  She was the fastest non-automatic qualifier and the #4 advancer overall.

Pachuta’s Gopher teammate Harun Abda and Burnsville native Laura Januszewski were eliminated in their heats.  Abda, the second fastest non-advancer, ran 1:48.26.  Januszewski struggled to keep up with the pack from the outset and finished with 2:07.50.

“I was really happy with my time,” Kampf said.  “It's actually my best of the season, and I felt good about it -- relaxed, like a prelim should feel.  I feel like I’m in the right place.”

Pachuta led his prelim coming into the homestretch.  “I knew Symmonds would be coming, but I managed to hold on,” he said.  “I was running scared the whole time.”

Kampf and Pachuta will race in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Find complete Day 1 results HERE.

David Pachuta "running scared.".
(Photo by Becky Miller.) 
Saturday's Olympic Trials Links

In anticipation of tomorrow’s triple jump prelims featuring Minnesota’s Amanda Smock, we recommend THIS feature story on 2008 Olympic triple jumper Erica McLain, who is recovering from a wicked 2011 ankle injury.  McLain has jumped 45-9 ¾ this year; Smock has jumped 45-7 ¼.

Also,  GopherSports has wrapped up its interview series with University of Minnesota women’s track and field alums.  Find Q/As with Gabriele Anderson, HERE, and Jamie Cheever, HERE.  Cheever  competes Monday; Anderson competes next Friday.

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