Big Day for Rupp and other Ducks

There were several stories of interest at the US championships on Thursday. Galen Rupp, already covered was the biggest story. There were other stories that are of great interest to the Oregon track community. Including the runner-up finish of Kara Goucher.

Rupp's run was tremendous in the oppressive conditions of Indianapolis. High heat (80s) and humidity (40-60%) are unusual conditions for Galen to run in and he commented on that after the race. He stayed out of trouble for most of the race. Abdi Abdirahman and Dathan Ritzenhein (newly of Eugene) shared the pace for all of the race. The two led a pack of about a dozen through about three kilos. Rupp was in ninth early on and moved up as runner's were dropping out of the front group.

The early kilometers were run in 2:53/5:45/8:35, 28:37 pace. At 4k more were dropped and it became a race with Ritzenhein and Abdi sharing the lead followed by Ryan Hall, Rupp and Fazil Bizunah. Eventually it was just the first four. At 6400 it was only Dathan, Abdi, and Galen. They reached 7k at 19:50 as the pace had dropped to 28:20. With three to go Dathan and Abdi pushed the pace and Galen fell back. With two to go Abdi and Dathan had a 5 second lead and Galen was 15 seconds ahead of Jorge Torres and Alan Culpepper. At two to go Dathan started dropping back from Abdi. Galen kept running hard and caught Dathan as Dathan staggered over the finish line obviously exhausted from the effort and conditions and had to be helped by medical personnel. Final times were Abdi Abdirahman in 28:13.51, Rupp in 28:23.31, Dathan Ritzenhein in 28:31.88. Also of interest were ex-Duck all-American Jason Hartmann in sixth at 28:46.76 and Daniel Browne tenth in 29:02.98.

Other events of great interest were the women's 10k, junior women's 3,000 meters, junior men's 5,000 meters, junior women's long jump, junior men's Decathlon, and Men's javelin. The women's 10,000 meters featured Portland resident Kara Goucher. Kara already has an "A" qualifier for the World Championships and had to get through this race, would like to compete for a win, and get in the top three. Two out of three weren't bad. After the a slow first three laps (4:05), American record holder and 2004 Marathon bronze medallist decided to push the pace and get her "A" qualifier. A few laps of 72 lost a hopeful Molly Huddle and it became a race for second. With about three laps to go Goucher took off from her competition and finished in 32:33.80 behind Deena Kastor's 31:57.00. In third was Katie McGregor, another "A" qualifier, at 32:44.69.

The only junior entrants guaranteed a ticket to the PanAm games were the event winners and the Ducks had two of those on Thursday. Nicole Blood of Oregon won the junior women's 3,000 meters by letting Angela Bizzari of Illinois run ahead for a kilometer (3:17) and then started to push the pace. A 3:09 kilo was followed by a 3:01 and Blood had another US junior championship (9:27.81) to go with her US junior 5k championship from 2005 and cross country championship from 2006. Future Duck Jamesha Youngblood jumped 6.31 meters (wind was 2.0 m/s) to win the Long Jump.

In the men's 5,000 meters Kenny Klotz faced 2007 US junior cross country vanquisher Elliot Heath. A slow pace had Klotz ahead with 400 to go and pushing the pace but the Minnesota 3200 meter champ, Heath, outkicked him with a blazing 56.5 to 58.0 for Klotz (14:36.32 to 14:37.42). Eric Dettman was 14th, in bad conditions, in a time of 15:44.37.

Fortunes for Ashton Eaton did not go as well at the end of the day as they had at the start. He ran a great race over junior hurdles in the 110 hurdles, 14.47, threw a best distance (not pr) 40.63, 133-4 in the Discus. He had a huge pr and good omen for next year by vaulting a one foot pr in the pole vault 4.30 meters, 14-1 ¼. He didn't lose the lead from the 100 until the Javelin. An unfortunately badly timed poor throw, 35.13m, 115-3, put him in second behind Nick Adcock of Missouri. He attempted to win the meet in the final event, the 1500 meters. He was clearly in the lead in the first lap but slowed lap by lap and ran 4:58.35 behind the Decathlon winner Adcock (4:49.77) and Wesley Bray of Houston (4:36.45) who passed Eaton into second. Final scores were Adcock with 7293, Bray with 7158, and Eaton with 7155.

In the men's Javelin, Ryan Brandel did not look like he had the same pop in his arm as early in the year. Unfortunately it is a long season for the collegiate athletes. He improved on each throw until he finished at 65.34m, 214-4, good for 17th. What a great two seasons for the Putnam graduate. He was a big part of the Pac-10 championship. He expects to return home to Clackamas County and as of right now will throw with Gary Reddaway, his coach at Clackamas Community College. We all wish him the best of luck.

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