Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stillwater Boys Ranked #7 Nationally

Defending MSHSL Class AA state champion Stillwater Area High School boys cross country team is ranked #7 in Marc Bloom's XC Super 25 High School Team Cross Country Pre-Season Rankings, released yesterday.

Bloom said of Scott Christensen's squad: "The Ponies, 10th at [Nike Cross Nationals] last year, have their best team since being ranked Harrier national #1 in 1997 with 4 of their top 5 back after an excellent track season."

Christian Brothers Academy of Lincroft, New Jersey, the defending NXN champion, tops the boys' rankings.

Joining Stillwater in the Heartland Regional rankings -- which comprises Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota -- are 2011 Class AA runners-up Burnsville, 2011 Class AA 3rd-placers, Edina, and 2010 Class AA champions Wayzata.

No Minnesota girls' teams appear in the national rankings, which are topped by Fayetteville-Manlius (New York) High School.

Five squads did earn regional distinction: defending Class AA champions Monticello, 2011 Class AA runners-up Lakeville South, 2011 Class AA 3rd-placers Wayzata, Maria Hauger-led Shakopee, and 2010 Class AA champs Eden Prairie.

Find complete rankings HERE.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Streich, Braun Win Junior Olympic Titles

After winning a silver medal in the Intermediate Boys' 3000-meters on Friday, Waseca's Shane Streich struck gold at 1500-meters at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in Baltimore.

A day earlier, Mark Braun won the Boys' Wheelchair 800-meters title at the meet.

Streich (pictured, left), the MSHSL Class A runner-up in both the 800 and 1600-meters as a 9th-grader last spring, edged Michael Brannigan by 13 one-hundreths of a second for his title, clocking 3:59.17.

Bloomington Jefferson's Matt Rosen (pictured, right) finished seventh in the race in 4:06.87.

Braun won his event by a whopping 16 seconds, establishing a meet record with his 1:56.94.

At the MSHSL Class AA State Meet, Braun swept the wheelchair events, winning the 800 and 1600-meters as well as the shot put and discus throw.

Below, find a recent WCCO-TV feature on Braun.

Weekend Results ... Here's USATF Minnesota Youth Chair Chris Dallager's review of the rest of the Junior Olympic action from Saturday and Sunday:

National Medalists
Pole Vault
Young Man Tyler Tappe (Flight Deck Athletics/Brainerd HS) 8th place 4.70m (15’ 5”)

400 meter Hurdles
Intermediate Girl Shaina Burns (Lakeville South HS) 5th place 1:03.91

800 meter Run
Midget Boy Montrea Talabi (Eagles Wings Track Club) 8th place 2:21.78
Intermediate Boy Matthew Rosen (Bloomington Jefferson HS) 8th place 2:01.72

The Rest of the Action
200 meter Hurdles Semi-Final
Youth Boy Clayton Johnson (Team Woodbury) 14th place 27.20

800 meter Run
Sub-Bantam Girl Aleah Miller (Alexandria) 33rd place 3:16.33
Midget Girl Emily Covert (Eagles Wings Track Club) 27th place 5:24.05
1500 meter Run
Sub-Bantam Girl Jaelyn Miller (Alexandria) 32nd place 7:38.41

3000 meter Run
Midget Girl Emily Covert (Eagles Wings Track Club) 10th place 11:21.74
Midget Boy Willem Gokemeijer (Edina) 21st place 11:10.61
Youth Boy Cole Streich (Waseca) 31st place 10:22.67

Pole Vault
Young Man Lee Bares (Lakeville HS) 9th place 4.70m (15’ 5”)
Young Man Mitchell Valli (Fuzion Athletics/Buffalo HS) 16th place 4.55m (14’ 11”)
Young Man Grant Krieger (Blake HS) no height

High Jump
Intermediate Boy Jacob Buller (Fuzion Athletics/St. Croix Luteran HS)
24th place 1.75m (5’ 8.75”)
Young Man Denzell Oats (Park Flyers Track Club/St. Louis Park HS)
28th place 1.90m (6’ 2.75”)

Long Jump
Sub-Bantam Boy Justin Gleason (Owatonna) 14th place 3.38m (11’ 1.25”)
Bantam Girl Grace Robinson (St. Louis Park) 13th place 3.73m (12’ 3”)

Shot Put
Bantam Girl Calista Johnson-Snyders (Park Flyers Track Club/St. Louis Park)
35th place 5.05m (16’ 7”)

Javelin Throw
Young Man Melvyn Curry (Park Flyers Track Club) 22nd place 47.08m (154’ 5”)
Young Man Jonathan Sutton (Eagles Wings Track Club) 40th place 37.25m (122’ 2”)

Find complete USATF Junior Olympic results HERE.

Photo courtesy of Delores Streich.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Waseca's Streich Runner-Up in JO 3000m

Waseca High School's young star Shane Streich finished runner-up in yesterday's Intermediate Boys' 3000-meter run at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Baltimore.

Streich, who was the MSHSL Class A runner-up in both the 800 and 1600-meters as a 9th-grader last spring, clocked 8:57.12.

Streich was the lone Minnesota medalist in yesterday's competition.

Find complete Junior Olympic results HERE.

Also in Action ... Here's a run-down of the rest of the day's action, from USATF Minnesota Youth Chair Chris Dallager:

100 meter Dash Semi-Final
Youth Girl Jia Lewis (Eagle Wings Track Club) 23rd place 12.63
Intermediate Boy Jake Gourley (Track Minnesota Elite/Eagan HS) 14th place 11.07

400 meter Dash Semi-Final
Midget Boy Montrea Talabi (Eagles Wings Track Club) 24th place 1:01.92

800 meter Run Semi-Final
Midget Boy Montrea Talabi (Eagles Wings Track Club) qualified to finals 8th fastest time 2:18.69

100 meter Hurdles Semi-Final
Youth Boy Clayton Johnson (Team Woodbury) 16th place 14.76
Intermediate Girl Shaina Burns (Prior Lake/Lakeville South HS) 13th place 15.12

4 x 400 Meter Relay Preliminary
Midget Boys Eagles Wings Track Club (Eugene Dixon, Markeis Frazier, Montell Talabi, Montrea Talabi) 15th place 4:23.21
Youth Girls Eagles Wings Track Club (Chauntel Fleming, Jada Lewis, Chanelle Waters, Jia Lewis) 36th place 4:35.95

Shot Put
Sub-Bantam Girl Zaria Smith (Eagles Wings) 26th place 3.85m (12’ 7.75”)
Midget Boy Brittan Burns (Prior Lake) 32nd place 8.52m (27’ 11.5”)

Triple Jump
Young Woman Jaryn Pipkins (Real Track & Field/Apple Valley HS)
41st place 10.47m (34’ 4.25”)
Young Man Jordan Charles (Real Track & Field/Apple Valley HS)
16th place 13.57m (44’ 6.25”)

Long Jump
Youth Girl Sydney Jones (Eden Prairie) 42nd place 4.24m (13’ 11”)
Youth Boy Jaran Roste (Alexandria) 40th place 4.85m (15’ 11”)

High Jump
Midget Boy Brittan Burns (Prior Lake) 32nd place 1.25m (4’ 1.25”)
Intermediate Girl Shaina Burns (Lakeville South HS) 19th place 1.55m (5’ 1”)

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Hard Rain Falls on the Voyageur

The Voyageur 50 Mile ultramarathon, one of Minnesota’s most famed running events, kicks off Saturday morning. But, after the flooding in Duluth in June, it almost didn’t happen. Here’s DtB Ultra Contributor Alex Kurt's story of how race organizers made sure the event would go off as planned 

Andy Holak remembers when the rain started falling in Duluth on the night of June 19.

“Of course we thought it would be a hard rain, and then it would taper off and end,” said Holak, who directs the Voyageur 50 Mile ultramarathon in Carlton. “However, it rained hard and never let up all night.  I'm talking hard rain, the kind you think will end after a few minutes and then it will rain lightly or drizzle.”

“It just never let up,” he said.

The torrent of raindrops would coalesce into one of the worst floods in the state’s history. It would ultimately cause an estimated $100 million in damage to public infrastructure, and President Barack Obama would sign a Federal Emergency Declaration for 13 northeastern Minnesota counties. But beyond the numbers, residents of Duluth and the surrounding area were awash with indelible images of homes, livelihoods, and the makings of lifelong memories swept away. The internet filled with pictures of cars stuck in sinkholes, and seals – escaped from the local zoo – swimming down the street.

“By morning we knew we were in trouble,” Holak said. “Everything was flooding and it was still raining hard.”

But for him, the damage was also a serious impediment to the Voyageur race, which runs near the north shore and was scheduled for July 28. 

“I didn't really think the Voyageur would be in trouble until I saw photos coming in over the internet and Facebook of the swinging bridge being washed away and huge sections of the paved Willard Munger Trail being washed out,” Holak said. “At that point we started thinking about ways to re-route the course.”

That wasn’t his first priority, though.

“It was clear that the course would be significantly affected by the afternoon of June 20,” he said.  “However, the real concern was still for the safety of friends and neighbors.  Towns were flooded, houses were severely damaged, livelihoods were lost.  That was the real concern initially.”

Once the waters had settled, Holak was tasked with figuring out whether the race could be run as planned – and if so, how he and the race organizers were going to pull it off, given the extent of the damage on the course. It would be one more task in the already sleepless life of a race director. But Holak and his team were not willing to cancel if they didn’t have to – in addition to being famous as Proctor native and Western States 100 legend Scott Jurek’s first ultramarathon, it is the oldest ultramarathon in the state and is considered a marquee running event in Minnesota each year.

Remarkably, thanks to some around-the-clock work by the race team, the Voyageur will be run as scheduled this Saturday. We asked Holak about the effect the flood had on the race planning, the work of rerouting it, and what changes runners can expect to see.

How long did it take to get a full assessment of the damage to the race course?

The extent of the damage to the course wasn't known until co-race director Kris Glesener and a group of trail runners got out on the course.  What they saw wasn't pretty.  The trails on the west end of the route were severely impacted.   Access roads were literally gone.  Huge chasms appeared where roads used to be.  The damage was worse than we thought it would be, especially to many access roads along the course.  The other shocking thing were the extent of the mudslides along the course and all over the Duluth area.  Whole hillsides sliding down into raging torrents that used to small trickles of a creek.  The mudslides probably caused the most damage to the course.

All in all, what’s the damage to the course and elsewhere?

Conservatively, I would say about 25% of the course was severely impacted by the flooding with several sections completely destroyed.  It's likely that there are trails we will never use again for the race.  Beautiful sections like Gill Creek and Mission Creek were destroyed by mudslides, the iconic Swinging Bridge was washed away and many other section were obliterated by flood waters.  Some of these sections are unrunnable, however, trail and ultrarunners essentially could and would run the sections most people would consider unrunnable, so to call them unrunnable wouldn't be entirely accurate.  The sections of the trail in Jay Cooke State Park are unrunnable because the park is closed until October 31, 2012 due to the severe damage to roads and trails there.

Given the damage, was your initial reaction to re-route the course or to consider cancelling the race?

On the day of the flood, June 20, initial reports and photos led me to believe we could probably re-route the course and make it work.  After seeing the damage a couple days later, my initial reaction was no way, we'll have to cancel.  My biggest concerns were the access roads and whether emergency vehicles could get access to the course and we could get aid stations set up for runners.  Runner safety was my main concern and it didn't look good.  The damage to the trails from a runner standpoint didn't concern me as much.  I knew trail runners would run over and through anything!  It would simply add to the challenge, and they would love it.  Runner safety though was our responsibility.

What was the process of finding a new route?

Co-race director Kris Glesener really has to be credited with finding the alternate route.  Only a couple days after the flood, Kris was out there with a crew assessing the damage and starting to look for alternate routes.  It was probably just a little over a week after the flood that Kris had an alternate route identified.  We went out together and looked at some sections of trail to add to try to create some loops and I put some maps together shortly thereafter.  Once we were confident we could get emergency vehicle access and sufficient aid stations in, we were good to go.

What will the new course look like?

The cool thing about the alternate route is that it does use some cool portions of the traditional Voyageur course - the powerlines, across Spirit Mtn., 7 Bridges Road, and the zoo, but it also adds some really cool trails that nobody that runs the race will probably know about.  There are some cool new segments of singletrack added, a couple additional creek crossings, climbing straight up the ski hill, some beautiful pine and cedar stands.

Even though you were planning a re-route, the possibility that it might have to be cancelled was surely kept as a contingency. But at what point were you positive the race could go forward?

We were confident the race would go ahead as planned when we knew access was going to work and we could put together a race that felt like the Voyageur.  It will still have the feel of the Voyageur I think, which is what I wanted if we were going to go ahead with the race.  If we were going to call it the 31st Annual Minnesota Voyageur 50, it had to feel like the Voyageur and it still does.  We wouldn't have gone ahead with the race if we weren't confident people would know they were running the Voyageur.  Plus, it will showcase the amazing amount of hidden trails in Duluth and some of the unbelievable damage and power of Mother Nature.

The Voyageur has a special, historical place in Minnesota ultrarunning, dating even to before Scott Jurek made it famous. What does it mean to you that the spirit of the race has prevailed, so to speak, against outside elements?

I think it means a lot to people who have run the Voyageur before.  It's one of the oldest trail ultramarathons in the country and people have appreciated the work that went into pulling the race off this year.  We're following in the footsteps of some amazing people who put this race together, and we think it will live up to the Voyageur name.  The probably would not have happened without the work of Kris Glesener.  He has been instrumental in putting the course together, gathering volunteers, clearing the course and cutting and mowing.  Without his efforts, this race would not have happened.  A huge thank you goes out to all of the volunteers who have made this happen as well.  It's truly a community effort.

Minnesotans Still Contending at JOs

Action at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in Baltimore continues with youthful Minnesotans shining in national age-group competition.

USATF Minnesota Youth Chair Chris Dallager was kind enough to provide DtB with the updates below. 

Wednesday's Action: 

National Medalists:
Triple Jump:
Youth Boy Jaran Roste (Alexandria) 6th place 11.68m (38’ 4”)

Long Jump:
Intermediate Girl Mia Barron (Park Flyers Track Club/Minnetonka HS)
5th place 5.44m (17’ 10.25”)

The Rest of the Action for Day 3
400 meter Hurdles:
Intermediate Boy Jon Tollefson (St. Croix Lutheran HS) 26th place 1:00.73

400m Hurdles:
Young Man Angus Stoudt (Park Flyers Track Club/Minnetonka HS) 26th place 57.24

400 meter Hurdles:
Intermediate Girl Shaina Burns (Prior Lake/Lakeville South HS)
Qualified to finals with fastest preliminary time of 1:03.95
Intermediate Girl Carolyn Nye (Blake HS) 24th place 1:09.92

200 meter Hurdles:
Youth Boy Clayton Johnson (Team Woodbury Track Club) 25th place 27.16
Youth Boy Emmanual Phoulom-Smith (Park Flyers Track Club) did not finish

100 meter Dash:
Sub-Bantam Girl Desiree Ware (Eagles Wings Track Club) 33rd place 16.22
Sub-Bantam Boy Justin Gleason (Owatonna) 35th place 15.81
Midget Girl Faith Robinson (St. Louis Park) 31st place 13.55
Youth Girl Jia Lewis (Eagles Wings Track Club)
qualified to semi-finals 24th fastest time 12.56
Intermediate Boy Jake Gourley (Track Minnesota Elite/Eagan HS)
qualified to semi-finals 7th fastest time 11.16
Young Woman Jaryn Pipkins (Real Track & Field/Apple Valley HS) 45th place 12.87

200 meter Dash:
Sub-Bantam Girl Desiree Ware (Eagles Wings Track Club) 34th place 33.96
Sub-Bantam Boy Justin Gleason (Owatonna) 29th place 32.26
Midget Boy Eugene Dixon (Eagles Wings) 48th place 28.60
Youth Girl Jia Lewis (Eagles Wings Track Club)
qualified to semi-finals 21st fastest time 25.81
Intermediate Boy Jake Gourley (Track Minnesota Elite/Eagan HS)
qalified to semi-finals 14th fastest time 22.55
Young Man Jordan Charles (Real Track & Field/Apple Valley HS)
Young Man James Kruse (Team Woodbury/Irondale HS) 46th place 22.96

Yesterday's Action:

Day 4 2012 USATF National JO Results

200 meter Dash Semi-Final:
Youth Girl Jia Lewis (Eagle Wings Track Club) 21st place 26.11
Intermediate Boy Jake Gourley (Track Minnesota Elite/Eagan HS) 14th place 22.62

400 meter Dash Preliminary:
Midget Boy Montrea Talabi (Eagles Wings Track Club)
qualified to semi-finals 14th fastest time 59.27
Youth Girl Tianna DuCloux-Potter (St. Paul) 35th place 1:02.43

1500 meter Run Preliminary:
Intermediate Boy Shane Streich (Waseca HS) qualified to finals 3rd fastest time 4:08.09
Intermediate Boy Matthew Rosen (Bloomington Jefferson HS) qualified to finals 7th fastest time 4:10.96

2000 meter Steeplechase:
Young Man Kieran Kelly (Chanhassen HS) Did not finish

4 x 100 meter Relay:
Youth Girls Eagles Wings (Chauntel Fleming, Jada Lewis, Chanelle Waters, Jia Lewis) 23rd place 51.62

4 x 800 meter Relay:
Midget Boys Eagles Wings (Eugene Dixon, Montell Talabi, Markeis Frazier, Josiah Sutton) 21st place 11:51.82

Long Jump:
Intermediate Boy Andrew Ajaluwa (Eagles Wings Track Club) 23rd place 6.02m (19’ 9”)

Triple Jump:
Youth Girl JeAnna Miller (Alexandria) 34th place 9.03m (29’ 7.5”)
Intermediate Girl Mia Barron (Park Flyers Track Club/Minnetonka HS) 9th place 11.31m (37’ 1.25”)

High Jump:
Bantam Boy Alec Burns (Prior Lake) 19th place 1.15m (3’ 9.25”)
Youth Boy Jaran Roste (Alexandria) 27th place 1.55m (5’ 1”)

Shot Put:
Young Man Jonathan Sutton (Eagles Wings Track Club) 42nd place 12.54m (41’ 1.75”)

Discus Throw
Youth Boy Kieran McKeag (Apple Valley) 16th place 40.04m (131’ 4”)

Javelin Throw:
Midget Girl Linda Senaphanh (Eagles Wings Track Club) 35th place 16.42m (53’ 10”)
Midget Boy Josiah Sutton (Eagles Wings Track Club) 39th place 19.70m (64’ 7”)

Pole Vault:
Intermediate Girl Carolyn Nye (Blake HS) 12th place 3.30m (10’ 10”)

Yes/No: Kampf Victorious at Ryan Shay Mile?

Heather Kampf will continue her summer racing season with a road mile this weekend, after running the 800 and 1500 at the Olympic Trials in late June.  Kampf finished seventh in the 800m at the Trials and was a semi-finalist in the 1500m.

The fifth annual Ryan Shay Mile will be run Saturday morning in Michigan.  This invite-only field will compete for a prize money purse that includes a $1000 award for first place.  The race commemorates the life of the USA Marathon champion who died at the Olympic Trials Marathon in 2007.

We will check in with Kampf, a former Rosemount and University of Minnesota standout, with this question...

Yes/No: Will Heather Kampf win the Ryan Shay Mile on Saturday?

Heather Kampf is coming off a recent road mile victory in the Medtronic TC 1 Mile race.  She ran 4:36 to win that race by almost three seconds in May.  Kampf has a 1500 personal best of 4:12 and has run 4:30 for the mile.

There are two major threats to Kampf in this race.  The first is Ashley Higginson who also has run the 1500 in 4:12.  Higginson is coming off a fourth place finish in the Olympic Trials Steeplechase, where she ran 9:38, just off her personal record of 9:34.

The second top contender in the Ryan Shay Mile is Ashley Miller, a recent graduate from the University of Nebraska.  Miller is a Big 12 and Big 10 1500 champ as well as an All-American and boasts a best 1500 time of 4:11.

A press release on the Ryan Shay Mile including entries is HERE.

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 9:30 A.M. CDT, Saturday, July 28th.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My Answer:  Yes

The Yes/No question last week was:  Will Jamie Cheever break 4:20.00 in the 1500 in Ninove, Belgium on Saturday?   The answer was  yes - Cheever ran 4:17 in a big personal record.  Twenty-one players answered correctly this week.  Mike Mason is now the sole leader with nineteen points.  There are three with eighteen points points (Ryan Aylesworth, Gloria Jansen and Rich Cowles).

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Will Leer Wins Morton Mile in 3:56.39

Minnetonka native Will Leer won yesterday's Morton Mile in Dublin, Ireland running 3:56.39 to edge three-time Medtronic TC 1 Mile champ David Torrence by one-one-hundredth of a second.

Winona native Garrett Heath finished seventh in 3.57.18 in a race that saw ten runners break four minutes.

Leer's win was gained him his second Morton Mile title, his first coming in 2010. Intially, Torrence was announced as the winner of the race, before results were corrected in Leer's favor.

You can watch the race HERE.

The historic Morton Pre Games gathered most of the Minnesota elite athletes currently touring Europe, and capped the pre-Olympic segment of the European track and field season.

Elliott Heath finished runner-up in the 3000-meters clocking a personal (and Heath family) best of 7:45.26.  Ben True won the event in 7:44.40.  Elliott's brother Garrett ran a PR 7:51.34 for the event in Poland on Saturday.

Team USA Minnesota's Gabriele Anderson, who has been on fire since crossing the Atlantic earlier this month, won the women's 800-meters in 2:02.99.  Teammate Jamie Cheever was 10th in the women's mile in 4:42.44.

Find complete results of the Morton Games HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shaina Burns Wins Junior Olympic Heptathlon

Shaina Burns of Lakeville South High School won the Intermediate Girls' heptathlon competition at USA Track & Field Junior Olympics at Morgan State University in Baltimore yesterday, tallying 4704 points in the two-day competition.

In the first day of action, Burns ran the 100m hurdles in 15.86, high jumped 5-1, put the shot 38-7 and ran the 200m in 26.83. On Day 2, Burns long jumped 16-4 1/2, threw the javelin 117-5, and ran the 800m in 2:23.34.

The victory culminates a busy and successful summer on multi-eventing for the soon-to-be high school junior.  In mid-June, Burns finished third at the New Balance High School Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina with 4706 points.

In late June, she won the USA Track & Field Youth National Championships in Arlington, Texas with 4486 points.

Find full results of the Intermediate Girls' heptathlon HERE.

Also at Junior Olympics ... Spencer Howe of Coon Rapids finished 15th in the Youth Boys' pentathlon with 1895 points.

James Kruse of Team Woodbury and Irondale HS, placed 15th in the Young Men's Decathlon with 5554 points.

Grace Robinson of St. Louis Park finished in 10th  in the Bantam Girls' triathlon with 920 points.

The USATF Junior Olympis run through Sunday.  Find complete results HERE.

Special thanks go USATF Minnesota Youth Chair Chris Dallager for his help with this report.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Minnesota Summer League Resumes Tonight

Europe isn't the only place hosting track meets these days.

The fourth of five USA Track & Field Minnesota Summer League track meets will take place tonight at St. Louis Park High School.

Registration runs from 5:30 p.m. until 6:15 p.m.  The opening field event commences at 6:15 p.m., with running events going at 6:30 p.m..

Find a schedule of events HERE.

The Summer League has witnessed a flood of participants this year -- nearly 50 athletes, aged 4 to 54,  competed in the 100-meter at the second Summer League event!

Officials and volunteers who are interested in helping out at tonight's meet -- or at the final Summer League event on August 7 -- should contact USATF Minnesota Managing Director Craig Yotter at 651-686-8447 or office [AT] usatfmn [DOT] org.

Monday, July 23, 2012

European Round-Up: Smock 4th in Poland

Melrose native Amanda Smock continued her preparations for the London Olympic Games with a 4th-place, 45-7 1/4 performance in the triple jump at the Janusz Kusocinski Memorial meet in Szczecin, Poland on Saturday.

Olesya Zabara of Russian won the competition at 47-6 1 /4.  Four of Smock's six jumps landed beyond 44-9.

A week from Friday, Smock will compete as the lone American in the prelims of the women's triple jump on the opening day of track and field competition at the London Games.

There's a recent feature story on Smock HERE.

Running on the track in Szczecin, Winona native Garrett Heath established a new personal best for 3000-meters clocking 7:51.34 for 3rd-place.

Gideon Gathimba of Kenya won the event in 7:50.34.

Find complete results from Szczecin HERE.

In Other Euro Action ... Team USA Minnesota's Jamie Cheever set a new personal record for 1500-meter with a 4:17.73, 9th-place finish at the Memorial Rasschaert meet in Ninove, Belgium on Saturday.

Elizabeth Maloy of the United States won the event in 4:09.98.

In men's competition, Elliott Heath won his section of the men's 1500-meters in 3:40.17.

Find complete Ninove results HERE.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Anderson Runs 8:43.52 3000m in Monaco

Team USA Minnesota's Gabriele Anderson ran a PR 8:43.52 in the 3000-meters at the Monaco Diamond League meet today.

The Perham native finished 8th in the race, which was won by Kenya's Mercy Cherono in 8:38.51.

With the performance, Anderson become the second-fastest women's 3000-meter runner in Minnesota history.  Only Duluth native Kara Goucher, at 8:34.99, has run faster.

Watch a post-race interview with Anderson here ...

Find full results of the Monaco 3000m HERE.

Smock, Mead Named Athletes of the Month

Minnesota Olympic Trials stars Amanda Smock and Hassan Mead were named Athletes of the Month recently by USA Track & Field Minnesota, the organization announced recently.

Smock, a Melrose native who competed for North Dakota State University, was honored for winning the triple jump title at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials held in Eugene, Oregon. last month. Smock marked a jump of 45 feet, 9 inches for the victory, which earned her a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Mead, a senior last spring at the University of Minnesota, was also recognized for his exploits at the Trials. Mead placed 11th in the 10,000-meters at the meet, running a school record and personal best of 27 minutes, 59.04 seconds. Mead later finished 8th in the Olympic Trails 5,000-meters, running 13:30.21.

USA Track and Field Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota.  USA Track & Field is the governing body of the sport in the United States and the Minnesota Association of USATF sanctions and sponsors track and field, cross country, road racing, and racewalking events for athletes of all ages in the state. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yes/No: Cheever Sub-4:20 in Ninove, Belgium?

Team USA Minnesota teammates Gabriele Anderson and Jamie Cheever are spending their summer chasing fast times and great competition in Europe.  Anderson has been rewarded with an all-time best by a Minnesota woman in the 1500, running 4:04 in Italy.  She will try to continue her great season by competing in the 3000 meters in Monaco at the Diamond League track meet tomorrow.

Cheever just finished running the 3000 meter Steeplechase in Gent on Wednesday, where she placed second in 9:57.51.  Cheever will continue on to Ninove for a 1500 meter race on Saturday.

And Yes/No will follow Cheever to Ninove with this question...

Yes/No: Will Jamie Cheever break 4:20.00 in the 1500 in Ninove, Belgium on Saturday?

Jamie Cheever has a personal best of 4:19.39 in the 1500.  She just ran 4:25.64 in Kortrijk, Belgium last weekend, and previously had run a 9:51 personal record in the steeplechase to qualify for the finals at the USA Championships in June.

The entry list for the 1500 at Ninove is listed HERE.

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 1:00 P.M. CDT, Saturday, July 21st.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My Answer:  Yes

The Yes/No question last week was: Will Barbora Špotáková win the javelin throw at the Diamond League meet in London on Saturday?  The answer was  no - Špotáková finished second.  Twenty players answered correctly this week.  Gloria Jansen was joined by Mike Mason in first place with eighteen points.  There are three with sixteen points (Ryan Aylesworth, Heather Jelen and Rich Cowles).

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Minnesota's Fastest: Anderson Wins in 4:04.84

Team USA Minnesota's Gabriele Anderson ran herself to the top of the Minnesota all-time women's 1500-meter list with a 4:04.84 victory at the Meeting Internazionale di Atletica Leggera in Lignano, Italy on Tuesday.

Anderson (pictured) beat Great Britain's Lisa Dobriskey (4:05.27) and Serbia Marina Muncan (4:06.48) for the win.

Anderson foreshadowed the breakthrough when she clocked a 2:02.83 800m PR in Belgium on Saturday.

“I felt really good during this race,” Anderson said in a Team USA Minnesota media release.  “I’ve been in so many situations this year where I was trying to run a sub-4:06 race, and in each of those races, I hadn’t felt quite as in control as I did last night.  Getting a PR in the 800 a few days ago helped build my confidence going into this 1500."

With her Italian triumph, the Perham native and University of Minnesota graduate moved ahead of two Olympians and a Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Famer to become the state's fleetest metric miler of all time.

Anderson, a cancer survivor whose PR was 4:06.46 when she toed the starting line yesterday, eclipsed 2004 1500m Olympian Carrie Tollefson (4:06.13), Minnesota Hall of Famer Sarah Thorsett (4:05.87), and 2008 and 2012 Olympian Kara Goucher (4:05.14) on the state all-time list.

“I knew it could be a great opportunity to run fast if I took advantage of it," Anderson added.  "I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a breakthrough race because we weren’t exactly on pace for a really fast time until the last lap.  I knew my training indicated that I was capable of being faster than I’ve run earlier this year but you never know what’s going to happen in a race.”

In men's competition in Lignano, Minnetonka native Will Leer finished 4th in the 1500m in 3:37.96.

Find complete Lignano meet results HERE.

Photo by Becky Miller.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Carleton's Funke-Harris to Coach at Amherst

Former Carleton College cross country All-American Cassie Funke-Harris has been named the new women's cross country and track and field coach at Amherst College, the Massachusetts school announced recently.

Funke-Harris (pictured), has served as an assistant coach at Carleton for the past six years, after graduating with honors from the Northfield school in 2005.

“I have always had tremendous respect for Amherst College, and to be a part of the Athletics department is exciting for me,"  Funke-Harris, a Partridge, Kansas native said in an Amherst media release.  "It’s the type of school and the type of program at which I’ve always envisioned myself.”

Funke-Harris takes over a program that has seen a lot of success in the last decade.  The Lord Jeffs, who finished 11th at last year's NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, were national champs in 2007 and the D3 runners-up in 2006.

In 2007, the Amherst women's track team finished a trophy-winning fourth at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships.  In 2006, the team finished third at the D3 Indoor Championships.

During her coaching tenure at Carleton under head coach Donna Ricks, Funke-Harris helped the women’s cross country team capture a pair of MIAC titles and three NCAA berths. She helped develop ten all-conference honorees, 13 all-region performers, and a pair of All-Americans.

Working with the women’s track and field program, Funke-Harris helped guide Carleton athletes to 19 individual MIAC titles, 34 all-conference selections, 19 NCAA provisional qualifying marks, and nine All-America performances.

Funke-Harris also served as an assistant coach at Rosemount High School prior to assisting at her alma mater.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Carleton in 2005, Funke-Harris earned her master’s in kinesiology and exercise physiology from the University of Texas-Austin in 2008. She holds a USATF Level I Coaching Certification, having also participated in the National Distance Running Summit in Grinnell, Iowa in 2011.

Photo courtesy of Carleton College.

Monday, July 16, 2012

European Vocations: Smock 5th at London DL;
Middle Distance Stars Compete in Belgium

Melrose native Amanda Smock, who will represent the United States at the Olympics next month, tuned-up for London Games by placing 5th in the women's triple jump at the London Diamond League Meet on Saturday.

Smock marked a 45-4¼ on her second jump of the competition, which was won by Columbia's Caterine Ibargüen, the South American record holder and a bronze medalist at the World Championships last year.

Find results of the event HERE.

Former University of Minnesota athlete Barbora Špotáková, the world record holder and reigning Olympic javelin champion, was the runner-up in her event in London.  She marked a toss of 210-7, second only to Great Britain's Goldie Sayers at 217-1.

Team USA in Belgium ... Team USA Minnesota' Gabriele Anderson and Jamie Cheever kicked off their European tours with races in their secondary events in Kortrijk, Belgium on Saturday.

Anderson, racing at 800-meters, clocked a personal best 2:02.83 to finish 3rd in the race won by Maggie Vessey in 2:01.55.

At 1500-meters, Cheever ran 4:25.64 to finish runner-up in the second section of the event, won by Bethany Nickless in 4:24.14.

Cheever plans to compete in the steeplechase, her signature event, in Gent, Belgium on Wednesday and then compete at 1500-meters again in Ninove, Belgium  on Saturday.  Cheever will conclude her European tour on July 24 at a meet in Dublin, Ireland, racing the mile.

Anderson is off to Lignano, Italy, where she will race either the 800 or 1500-meters on tomorrow.  The rest of her European schedule is still being determined and will conclude in late July.

Men's Miling ... Two Minnesota milers were in action in Kortrijk as well.

Will Leer finished 5th in the fast section of the men's 1500-meters in 3:42.10.  Ryan Hill won the race in 3:40.52.

Elliott Heath won the slow section of the event in 3:43.51.

Find complete Kortrijk results HERE.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Yes/No: Will Špotáková Win in London?

Former University of Minnesota Gopher Barbora Špotáková is preparing to defend her Olympic javelin title in early August.  Špotáková, the world record holder in the event, won gold in Beijing in 2008 and she will attempt to repeat in London.

This week, she will compete in the two day Diamond League track meet in London.  She will face off with her current chief rival Sunette Viljoen of South Africa as well as Ukraine's Vira Rebryk.

How will Barbora Špotáková fare in this Olympic preview?  We want you to tell us ...

Yes/No: Will Barbora Špotáková win the javelin throw at the Diamond League meet in London on Saturday?

Barbora Špotáková is the javelin world record holder, defending Olympic Champ and former World Champ (not to mention an additional two silver medals in the World Championships).

Currently she has been swapping wins with Sunette Viljoen.  While Špotáková has the better lifetime best, Viljoen has thrown slightly farther than Špotáková in 2012.

Find the London Diamond League startlist HERE.

Find the 2012 world women's javelin performance list HERE.

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. CDT, Saturday, July 14th.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My Answer:  No

The Yes/No question last week was: Will Josh Moen win AND break the course record at the Afton 25K?  The answer was  no - Moen finished third.  Nineteen players answered correctly this week.  Gloria Jansen is still in first place and has eighteen points, followed closely by Mike Mason with seventeen points.  There are three with sixteen points (Ryan Aylesworth, Heather Jelen and Evan Roberts).

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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booklet Aims to Help Young Runners Train

Aspiring young distance runners need look no farther than their local running shop -- or the Internet -- to find free advice about training.

Former Eden Prairie High School and Carleton College distance runner John Davis has published a booklet called Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running that is available in paper form in limited quantities at TC Running Company, Marathon Sports, Startline, Gear, Gear West, and both Run N Fun locations.

The booklet is also available for download from Davis' web-site, HERE.

The booklet offers an introduction to basic training concepts told through the story of Peter Snell, New Zealand's gold medalist and world record-holder at 800 and 1500-meters in the early 1960s.

The booklet was prompted by the success Davis, a chemistry major, found from an informal training group he was part of in high school and college.

"Everyone in the group made big gains in fitness, and the younger high school guys got to learn a lot about training," Davis told DtB.  "That experience, along with my own misadventures as a young high school runner, spurred me to write a short booklet that could explain the most important points about distance training to a young runner."

Davis' training ideas are heavily influenced by those of Aurthur Lydiard, Snell's coach and a universally recognized pioneer of modern long distance training theory. 

"There's something appealing about an "old school" story, where an underdog makes it big by training smart, being dedicated, and focusing on long-term development instead of short-term results," Davis explained.  "The message of the booklet is, of course, the importance of aerobic development in track and cross country training, a philosophy which has its roots in the training philosophy of Peter Snell's coach, Arthur Lydiard."

The booklet is one of many fruits that have grown out of Davis' interest in running and training.  His web-site, Running Writings, begun a year ago collects Davis' thoughts about the physiology and biomechanics of distance running.

Davis is also finishing work on a long, follow-up book to Basic Training called Modern Training and Physiology that he plans to sell locally and on-line.

"Modern Training takes a look at advances in training since the 1960s, explaining concepts like the aerobic and anaerobic thresholds and how they can be used in training,: Davis outlined.  "While Basic Training is free, I'll be selling Modern Training, probably though my website and hopefully at local running stores too." 

Davis also plans a third booklet, tentatively titled Overcoming Injuries and Setbacks, that will discuss injury, illness, and over-training in runners.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Afton Champ Discovers New Running Venue

By Alex Kurt

Joe Moore, of Minneapolis, walked away from the Afton 25K Saturday with more than just a USATF Minnesota Trail championship.

He may have found his favorite new running spot, too.

“That was my first time running at Afton,” said Moore, a former Kansas State harrier who moved to Minnesota last November. “I didn’t know we had something that cool so close to the cities. I’ll definitely have to get out there to run more often.”

Moore’s lack of familiarity with the course did not seem to affect his performance, though, as he broke the course record in outpacing previous course record holder Ben Kampf, also of Minneapolis, 1:37:10 to 1:38:52. Team USA Minnesota’s Josh Moen, of Eden Prairie, was third in 1:40:20. Moen was also making his Afton debut.

“The first 12 or 13 miles, the three of us just ran together and shot the breeze, but I was wondering how we were going to figure it out,” Moore said. “After the Meat Grinder [hill], I knew Josh could catch back up pretty easily, and I didn’t want Ben to get away from me on the [singletrack] trails, so I tried to get a big lead there. But I didn’t know how far into the race we even were.”

“I was surprised,” he continued. “There were some serious hills there.”

In the women’s race, St. Paul’s Emma Lee – an All-American in cross-country and national champion Nordic skier for St. Olaf College – earned a USATF Minnesota Trail title in 1:55:13, good for eighth overall.

For the first eight miles or so, I could see the two women ahead of me, and I knew that if I held steady I could reel them in,” said Lee, who had trained at Afton but was also making her trail racing debut. “I didn't know my pace until I passed one of them and she asked me if I was on course-record pace.  I checked my GPS and figured that I must be close to it, and from then on I decided
to go for it.”

“The hills got harder and harder as the race went on – I had to ski-walk up a few sections, and I've never walked during a race before,” she continued. “I thought I might be able to get the record until I got to the last couple of miles.  I had to slow down a lot on that section to avoid shooting off into the woods or falling into the creek.”
Melissa Gacek, of White Bear Lake, was runner-up (11th overall) in 1:59:41 and 15-year-old Anna French, of Plymouth, finished third (13th overall) in 2:00:01.

300 runners finished the Afton 25K this year, thanks in part to the dissipation of the historically hot weather that had gripped Minnesota – and much of the rest of the country – in the week leading up to the race.

Complete 25k results can be found HERE.

Afton 50K Notes ... Afton also hosted a 50K – consisting of two 25K loops – which did not serve as a USATF Minnesota championship race. 

St. Paul’s Forrest Tracy won the race overall in 3:54:57, barely holding off Dimitri Drekonja, of Minneapolis, who finished second in 3:55:57. 

In the women’s race, Eve Rukavina-Rembleski, of Watertown, continued her dominance of the Afton 50K, winning her sixth – and third consecutive – race on the course in 4:21:29. In second was Baxter’s Becky George, who earlier this year won the Kettle-Morraine 100 Mile and Zumbro 50 Mile (she won the latter overall), in 4:33:32. 

Rukavina-Rembleski and George finished 7th and 16th overall, respectively.

Complete 50K results can be found HERE.

Alex Kurt is DtB's ultra running contributor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boston's McGillivray to Run, Speak Locally

Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray will run and speak at the Life Time Fitness Crosstown in Eden Prairie on Thursday.

He'll participate in a run at 5:30 p.m. and give a presentation at 6:30 p.m.  Both events are open to the public.

McGillivray (pictured), who manages more than 30 major road races and charitable events via his company, Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises, has been the technical director and race director at the BAA Boston Marathon since the 1980s.

Aside from being a respected event director -- McGillivray is a former Road Race Management, Inc. Race Director of the Year and member of Running USA’s Hall of Champions -- he has completed a number of long-distance charity runs, including one from Medford, Oregon to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts.

There's a great Runner's World profile of McGillivray by Sports Illustrated columnist (and Minnesota native) Steve Rushin, HERE.

Read McGillivray's biography HERE

Thursday's event is free and open to both Lifetime Fitness members and non-members. Space for this presentation is limited. If you plan to attend, please email PMiller [at] lifetimefitness [dot] com.

Photo courtesy of DMSE Sports.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Garrett Heath Second in Heusden, Belgium

Winona native Garrett Heath finished second in the fast section of the 1500-meters at the KBC-Nacht Meeting in Heusden, Belgium. Heath, a semifinalist in the Olympic Trials 1500m, ran 3:36.05.

Watch Heath's race, above, courtesy of Flotrack.

Heath's younger brother Elliott clocked a 13.26.14 5000m at the meet, good for 9th-place in the B Section.

Find complete Heusden results HERE.

Friday, July 06, 2012

St. Kate's Henderson is Princeton Bound

St. Catherine University track and cross country coach Mike Henderson is leaving Minnesota to become the Director of Track and Field Operations at Princeton University.

The Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus will manage the Ivy League institution's home meets, coordinate recruiting, and handle travel for its men's and women's programs.

Henderson's marks his final day on the job in St. Paul today.

Henderson (pictured), who has coached the Wildcats for the last six year, will be replaced by his assistant Shannon Houlihan, the school recently announced, HERE.

During Henderson's tenure, the St. Kate's program established a long list of program firsts.  Henderson coached the first Wildcat athletes to participate in NCAA Division III national championship meets in cross country and track,  He also coached the first cross country All-American from school history.

Under his guidance in 2010, the Wildcats achieved their highest conference result, with a 59-point, 6th finish at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championship.  In 2011, the Wildcat 4 x 400-meter relay team won school's first-ever conference relay title at the MIAC Outdoor Championships.

At Princeton, Henderson will join fellow Minnesotan Steve Dolan on the Tiger staff.  Dolan, a Bloomington native and a former NCAA Division III champion decathlete at St. Thomas, is the head men's cross country coach and an assistant coach in track.

Photo courtesy of St.Catherine University.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Yes/No: USATF-Minn. Trail Championship

The Afton 25K, which will be held Saturday at Afton State Park, is doubling as the USATF-Minnesota Trail Championship.

The men’s 25K field could be one of the fastest ever – and not only because the race will return to its original venue after last year’s state government shutdown forced it out of the state park and onto neighboring – and hilly – Afton Alps ski area.

Former Gopher Ben Kampf, the three-time defending champ and proprietor of the course record in 1:37:39, will be back to defend his state title, but he will have to contend with Team USA Minnesota’s Josh Moen and 2011 USATF 10k Trial Champion Joe Moore.

This brings us to Down the Backstretch’s first ever trail running Yes/No question...

Yes/No: Will Josh Moen win AND break the course record at the Afton 25k?

Moen, who is sponsored by Mizuno, is inarguably quick on the roads, boasting a 1:02:52 half marathon PR. Moore most recently ran a 1:04:43 in June’s US Half Marathon Championships in Duluth in June. However, this will be Moen’s trail racing debut, and while the primary weapon in a trail runner’s quiver is still running fast, the amount of elevation gain and loss, as well as the technical nature of many of Afton’s trails, could prove advantageous to trail veterans like Kampf and Moore. But in fairness, Kampf set his record in 2009, having never run a serious trail race, either.

Kampf has his sights set on his own record as well, and he acknowledges that this year’s field will be strong. “My goal for this race is to run hard and break my course record,” he said. “I have absolutely no idea what [Moen and Moore] are like on the trails but I think it has the very real possibility of being a competitive race, if it's not too hot and humid.”

In the women’s race, Marissa Yovetich will be defending her title from 2011. She’ll face stiff competition from Thea Fleming, who came near the 25K course record at this race in 2007, as well as Nichole Porath, who competed in the Olympic Marathon Trials in January.

The Afton Trial Run also features a 50K race, though it does not serve as the USATF-MN Trail Ultra Championship (it has in past years). The women’s 50K will feature Becky George, whose undefeated 2012 includes an overall win at the Zumbro 50 Mile in March, against five-time Afton 50K champion and course record holder Eve Rukavina-Rembleski. The men’s race will see the ultramarathoning debut of former Roseville High School standout Tim Branigan.

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 7th.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

Alex's answer:  No. He could break Kampf’s record – as could Kampf – but regardless, he will be behind Moore.

Doug's Answer:  Yes

Our final Olympic Trials Yes/No question last week was: Will Gabriele Anderson or Will Leer finish in the top four in their respective races on Sunday? The answer was  yes - Leer finished twelfth and Anderson was fourth.  Twenty-six players answered correctly this week.  Gloria Jansen is still in first place and has seventeen points, followed closely by Mike Mason with sixteen points.  There is a pack of five with fifteen points.

There were two people who answered correctly on all four of the Olympic Trials questions.  The overall leader, Gloria Jansen, and John Leaf both were perfect during the trials.  Jansen was also the monthly Yes/No winner - she was a perfect 7 for 7 in June and currently is in the midst of a nine-question streak of all correct answers.

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

Minnesotans Sparkle in July 4th Races

Minnesota's top distances runners celebrated Independence Day with road racing successes across the region and nation.

Apple Valley native Mckenzie Melander won the Fifth Season 8K in Cedar Rapids, Iowa running 27:10.  The recently graduated University of Iowa star outlasted Team USA Minnesota's Emily Brown, who ran 27:18.  Michelle Frey was fifth among women in 27:53.

In men's competition, Hassan Mead, apparently feeling few ill effects from his Olympic Trails efforts at 5000 and 10,000-meters, was the runner up in 23:14.  Alena Rita, the controversial 2007 Get in Gear champion, won in 23:04.

Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson was 9th in 24:40.  Teammate Josh Moen was 14th in 25:02.

Find complete results HERE.

Elsewhere ... Katie McGregor finished 12th at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, running 34:25 in one of the country's most recognized 10K events.

Complete Peachtree results are HERE.

Closer to home, Olympic Trials 1500m finalist Will Leer returned to the western suburbs to run in the Firecracker Run in Excelsior, where he found himself in a neck-and-neck battle with Team USA Minnesota's Jon Grey.

Leer topped Grey in the results, although both were timed at 14:43 for 5K.

Firecracker results are HERE.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Fourth No Holiday for Team USA Minnesota

Tomorrow is a work-day for three members of Team USA Minnesota.

The elite long distance training program’s Emily Brown and Matt Gabrielson will be in Iowa on Independence Day to run in the Fifth Season 8K in Cedar Rapids.  Katie McGregor will spend the Fourth in Atlanta to compete in the Peachtree 10K Road Race.

Both Brown and Gabrielson have competed at the Fifth Season 8K previously with Brown finishing third last year in a personal best of 26:59.  Gabrielson has raced in the event three times, finishing fourth in 2008 with a time of 23:29, sixth in 2007 in 23:32 and 13th in 2006 in 23:23.  The race, marking its 27th running this year, is the country’s longest continuing 8k road race.

In Atlanta, McGregor will join 60,000 other runners and walkers at Peachtree in the world’s largest 10K, a race that began in 1970.  The University of Michigan grad previously ran the race in 2007 when she finished third in 32:41 as well as in 2006 when she was 10th in 32:44.

Alowonle, Ewen Honored by USATF Minn.

Catching up on some items that were pushed to the side while our eyes were fixed on the Olympic Trials,  we note that USA Track and Field Minnesota announced recently that Rilwan Alowonle and Maggie Ewen were named Athletes of the Month for June.

Alowonle, a senior at Park High School in Cottage Grove this spring, was recognized for his two record-breaking performances at the MSHSL Class AA State Meet in St. Paul. Alowonle ran the 110-meter hurdles prelims in 13.88 seconds, breaking the Class AA record in the event. He went on to win the events' final. Alowonle also won the 300m hurdles in a Class AA record 36.59.

Ewen, a junior at St. Francis High School, is recognized for defending her Class AA State Meet titles in the girls' discus throw and shot put. Ewen threw 171-feet, nine inches in the discus, setting a new Class AA record. She also marked a 48-4 shot put.

USA Track and Field Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota.  USA Track & Field is the governing body of the sport in the United States and the Minnesota Association of USATF sanctions and sponsors track and field, cross country, road racing, and racewalking events for athletes of all ages in the state.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Anderson 4th in Olympic Trials 1500-meters

Gabriele Anderson racing in Eugene..
(Photo by Becky Miller.) 
Gabriele Anderson’s wild Olympic Trials ride ended with a 4th-place finish in Sunday evening’s women’s 1500-meter final.

The Perham High School and University of Minnesota alumnus who was forced to weather a tense disqualification controversy on Saturday morning, ran 4:07.38, finishing behind the event’s three favorites.

Morgan Uceny, who was ranked #1 in the world last year, won the race in 4:04.59. Former Medtronic TC 1 Mile champ Shannon Rowbury, a World Championships bronze medalist in 2009, ran 4:05.11, while 2011 World champion Jenny Simpson clocked 4:05.17.

Toeing the Eugene starting line last night, Anderson faced the tall order of needing not only to finish in the top-three to earn a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team, but also needing to run 4:06.00 or faster to attain the Olympic A standard.

Anderson chose to race from inside the pack, rather than set a pace aimed at the Olympic standard. While the tempo was slower through 1100m than that needed for a 4:06.00, if Anderson would have finished with the speed of the top-three over the final 400m, she would have been in position for the standard.

Uceny, Rowbury, and Simpson all closed in under 61 seconds. Anderson’s last 400m was 1:02.67.

Anderson didn’t seem affected by the wild Saturday morning she endured, when she awoke to the news that she had been disqualified from her 1500m semi-final for impeding another runner. After a successful petition, however, Anderson was reinstated in the field by early Saturday afternoon.

There’s a Flotrack interview with Anderson from after the final HERE.

Find complete women's 1500-meter final results HERE.

In the men's 1500-meters, Minnetonka High School alumnus Will Leer finished 12th in 3:46.75.

Leer, who won his semi-final on Friday, led in the early-going on Sunday’s race. Like Anderson, he needed to run an Olympic A standard (3:35.50) and finish in the top-three to make the London team.

The early pace-setting appeared to work against Leer, however.  After being passed just before the 800m mark, Leer sank through the field, ultimately finishing last.

Find men's results HERE.