Oregon Invitational Preview

The Oregon Invitational is a prime opportunity for Oregon distance runners to test themselves against high-level competition and for sprinters and jumpers to get regional qualifiers against comparable competition.

On Friday night is the distance carnival headlined by the men's McChesney 5000 meters. This race is a great opportunity for Galen Rupp to break his personal record (and what is still the US junior and high school record) of 13:37.91. He is expected to face-off against nine runners from the US final last year (Sean Graham was the top finisher in fifth), a US Olympian, Dan Browne and New Zealand 2000 and 2004 Olympian Michael Aish. Also, with a decision on whether to run for Oregon this year or next, Joaquin Chapa (ex-Stanford all-American) runs as an unattached entrant along with Mike McGrath and a hopefully healthy Jon Thomas.

The women's 5,000 may feature last year's US champ and three time NCAA champion Lauren Fleishman trying to challenge her rival's (Shalene Flanagan) recent American Record 14:44.80. She should receive a stiff challenge from last year's US runner-up and revived two time NCAA champ Kara Goucher (pr this year in 1500 at Stanford Invite), 2005 NCAA champ Megan Metcalf and NCAA scorers Amy Yoder-Begley and Lindsey Anderson.

The men's 1500 will feature US indoor 800 champ and seven time NCAA Division III champion for Willamette University, Nick Symmonds. He will compete with Oregon Track Club teammate and fifth placer in the US indoor mile, Sean O'Brien, and collegiate scorers Stephen Pifer from Colorado and Thomas Chamney from Notre Dame. Also visiting is Yasuhiro Tago from Japan. AJ Acosta will attempt to reach the form that he had indoors and get an NCAA regional qualifying mark along with teammates Andrew Wheating and Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott.

Scott Wall, who has been very impressive indoors and at the Stanford 5000 meters but unfortunately knocked his knee preparing for the Pepsi Team Invite Steeple, will run a 10,000 meters against future teammate Jordan McNamara, currently at Lane Community College. Jordan has run 1:52 for the 800, 3:47 in the 1500 and 14:09.01 (LCC SR) in the 5000 (Ken Martin's old record). He will attempt to break Ken Martin's 10k school record 29:40.30 from 1978. Other collegians and post-collegians will be competing.

The men and women's 3000-meter steeplechase will feature some highly ranked Americans. Peter Nowill will run against last year's NCAA champ Joshua McAdams and recent US finalists and NCAA scorers Luke Watson, Max King, Lucas Meyer, Corey Nowitzke of Eastern Michigan (plus Oregon's Chris Winter). The women's steeplechase will feature former Tualitin high school product and recently pr'd Kelly Strong against US finalists Delilah DiCrescenzo and Jane Rudkin and neophyte Nicole Blood of Oregon.

The women's 10,000 may feature Cack Farrell attempting to cross over from national cross country success to national track success. Her rapid track improvement under the tutelage of Frank Gagliano may finally mirror her three All-American awards in cross-country (and three on the indoor track).

The women's 1500 could have Lauren Fleishman and Megan Metcalfe here instead of the 5000. Ex-Duck all-American Amber McGown now with Team XO and former US 800 champion Nicole Teter will provide tough competition.

On Friday there are a few field events including highly ranked collegiate athletes in the men's hammer and women's javelin. Tenth-ranked collegian Brian Richotte will compete against some NCAA regional qualified athletes including David Paul from Eastern Washington, NCAA finalist Martin Bingisser from Washington and Jake Shanklin from Wyoming. In the Javelin Rachel Yurkovich will compete against ex-Duck all-American Sarah Malone (her second meet in two years), 2006 NCAA competitor Inger Appanaitis from Nevada, and West regional qualifiers Carolee Gutierrez, Duck Ashley McCrea, and Kim Berg. Also competing is last year's NAIA champion Lauren Sexton (ex-Forest Grove high school athlete) from Concordia University.

Saturday includes athletes and strong competition from all of the other events. Some of the competitors are blossoming stars on the national and international scene. Last week in the 100 at Mt SAC, Carmelita Jeter of the South Bay TC beat a national class field and hopes to repeat her win here by competing in the 100 and 200 against strong local competition from Portland State and Seattle Pacific. Also in the 200 and competing in the High Jump is nine-time NAIA champion, Ruky Abdulai, from Simon Fraser University. Graduated 2007 Duck indoor all-American Lauryn Jordan will face off against 16 year-old phenom Sabrina Nettey competing for Kajaks track club along with her sister Christabel.

The most competitive high-level event should be the men's 800. The races will feature many post-collegians from Oregon Track Club (including ex-Duck all-American Matt Scherer), Australian Lincoln Renshaw, the Mt SAC relays winner and ninth placer at last year's junior world championships, 2006 NCAA champion Ryan Brown from Washington and recent NCAA scorers Thomas Chamney from Notre Dame and Tetlo Emmen from UC Santa Barbara. In the women's 800, Rebekkah Noble is expected to compete against a rejuvenated Eugenian, 2002 US champion and 2004 Olympian, Nicole Teter and other regionally qualified collegians Lavera Morris, Amanda Miller from Washington and Charlotte Schonbeck from Nevada at Reno.

Ex-Ducks will be featured in many events. In addition to previously mentioned competitors in other events, the men's high jump will have an abundance of Green and Gold. Kyley Johnson, Jason Boness, Damian Olson, and Chris Nelson will high jump against West regional qualifiers Jonathon Golden of Cal St Fullerton and Norris Frederick from Washington. US indoor fourth placer Nicole McEwen will vault against two-time NAIA champion Jessie Gallaher from Concordia University and northwest all-American collegians Emily Enders from Oregon and from Washington, Kelly DiVesta and Stevie Marshalek. Oregon's NCAA second- ranked javelin thrower Ryan Brandel will face off against former Duck NCAA champion John Stiegeler and two of the best junior college throwers in the country Pat McCormick of Spokane CC and Mike Simmons from Clackamas CC. 2006 Duck NCAA bronze-medalist Brittany Hinchcliffe will compete in the hammer against her old teammate Britney Henry and volunteer assistant coach Cari Soong.

International Discus competitors Darius Slowik from Kajaks Track Club and NCAA leader Mart Israel from Washington will compete against Washington throws coach Reedus Thurmond and volunteer assistant Will Conwell. In the shot put former Texas all-American Dylan Armstrong will try to repeat his winning performance at Mt SAC and defeat last year's NCAA sixth placer Dave Nicholls from Sacramento State.

Former USC all-American ('92 and '93) Jeff Laynes has rejuvenated his career with prs in the 100 and 200 last year. He will compete against the improving Mt SAC champ Mike Mitchell in both sprints. Three-time long jump all-American Norris Frederick will attempt to get revenge for his loss to Ashton Eaton of Oregon at the Pepsi Team Invite. Nationally ranked Husky pole vaulters Scott Roth and McKane Lee will face off against regionally qualified vaulters. Other events on the ledger will include Ducks and other collegians attempting to qualify for the NCAA regional meet or trying to improve their season best marks.

eDuck Top Stories