Friday at the U.S. Olympic Trials

The Olympic Trials are never about the affiliation that you have when you enter the meet, it is all about the affiliation that you leave with. Fortunately there are many Oregonians involved in this meet but that is not the only concern of the Eugene fans. As Hayward Field fans have proven over the years the fans in Eugene will cheer for the performance.

(PHOTO) Hyleas Fountain competes in the long jump in the heptathlon event at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, June 28, 2008. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In the morning Hyleas Fountain used an illegal wind of 2.8 meters/second to run a Heptathlon American and Olympic Trials Record of 12.65. That was one of three personal records ("pr") on the day for her. She set a personal record in the Shot Put with a Put of 44-10 ¼ that won the event. She also won the 200 meters with a time of 23.31 with just a 1.3 meter/second supporting wind. She was second to former Washington State All-American Diana Pickler (6-0 ½) in the high jump with a best clearance of 5-11 ¼.

After the first day Fountain led the competition with 3989 points to 3750 for Pickler and 3717 for the seven-time NCAA champion from Arizona State, Jacquelyn Johnson. Fountain is now 136 points better than her pr performance of 6501 points that she had in the 2005 Gotzis meet. Johnson of Arizona State is just 17 points superior to her personal record performance of 6307. Fountain is now a strong favorite to win the competition with three events to go on Saturday. Pickler is 17 points behind her pr performance of last year (6204).

The women's 100 meters had some very fast times. Four-time NCAA champion Marshevet Hooker was the only runner to break eleven seconds in the heats with a wind-aided time of 10.94 that was aided with a 2.2 meter/second (m/s) aiding wind. In the quarterfinals she ran 10.76 (3.4 m/s) that is the fastest time whether wind-aided or not since Marion Jones ran a wind-legal 10.70 in 1999.

Shani Marks jumped a slightly wind-aided mark (2.1 m/s) of 47-0 ¾ to lead the qualifying for the Triple Jump. Long-time Eugene resident Simidele Adeagbo was second in qualifying for the final with a wind-legal 45-10 ¾. Brad Walker led the vaulters in the Pole Vault qualifying for finals with a best clearance of 18-4 ½ but ex-Duck NCAA champion Tommy Skipper failed to clear a height. Last year's US champion Tiffany Williams led 400 hurdles qualifying with a time of 55.47. Freshman NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson of Washington State had the top qualifying time in the heats of the men's 400 meter hurdles at 49.05. Miguel Pate was the top qualifier in the Long Jump with a best of 27-0 ½ but ex-Duck Leonidas Watson did not make the final with his best mark of 24-11. Stephanie Brown Trafton led Women's Discus qualifiers with a best throw of 208-8 and Concordia's Annie Hess did not advance after her best throw of 153-2. Adam Nelson was the top Shot Put qualifier for the finals with a throw of 69-0 ahead of Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell.

The women's 800 meters was the first of two events with many Oregon connections. Oregon Track Club's Nicole Teter was the sixth qualifier with a time of 2:05.01. Ex-North Salem runner Sasha Spencer did not finish her heat. Redshirting Duck Rebecca Noble scratched out of the event. The men's 800 meters had many with Oregon connections. Out of the first heat Oregon Track Club Elite's Brandon Shaw was the top time qualifier for the semifinals while placing fifth with a time of 1:47.67. His teammate Elliot Blount was the last time qualifier in 1:48.08. Ex-Duck and current OTC elite runner Matt Scherer took out the pace but was eventually passed by heat winner and teammate Nick Symmonds (1:49.01) to ex-Husky Ryan Brown's runner-up n arun of 1:49.20. In the third heat Andrew Wheating ran by the competition around the final turn to win in the second fastest time (Lopez Lomong won the first heat in 1:46.93) in 1:47.85 to OTC Elite's Christian Smith's 1:47.97 and NCAA champion Jacob Hernandez in 1:48.01. OTC Elite's Kevin Hicks was fifth in 1:48.51 and advanced to the Semifinals.

Galen Rupp ran in the second heat of the Men's 5,000 meters. He ran in the pack most of the race and when a lead group pushed with four laps to go he followed. Rupp showed his speed in winning the heat with a time of 13:59.14. He gave a thumbs-up signal over the last 20 meters. This was his first completed race longer than 3,000 meters this year. He admitted later that this race was a tune-up for the 10,000 meters, "Originally this was just intended as a warm-up," he said. "My focus is definitely the 10k, that's going to be my best event here. Obviously, I have to look at it that way, but we'll see how things go." Matt Tegenkamp won the first heat in 13:54.62.

The women's 10,000 meters was the first final of the Olympic Trials. Coming into the race there were four Olympic "A" Standard qualifiers (31:45). USA track and field had determined that the top three finishers at this race and had run faster than the A standard would go to the Olympics to represent the US. Running 31:45 before the Trials or at this race would be enough to get them to the Olympics.

The race started slowly over the first kilometer (3:24.9, 32:30 pace). So Olympic Marathon qualifier Magdalena Lewy took over. At 2400 meters she led a pack of 17 (of the original 24 entrants) with second Amy Yoder-Begley (Portland resident without the A standard), third was Kara Goucher (World Championships bronze medallist and Begley's teammate), and fourth was American Record holder Shalane Flanagan. After nine laps (of 25) Lewy backed off the pace and so at ten laps (4,000 meters) Flanagan pushed the pace with a 71.2 second lap, the fastest lap of the day. That push dropped the lead group to Flanagan, Goucher, and Begley with NCAA champion Lisa Koll trying to stay close and 2005 US champion Katie McGregor just behind.

At 12 laps (73.7 and 75.7 were the next two laps) Koll tried to catch the leaders but was too far behind and dropped back to 20 meters behind with McGregor and Sara Slattery. The lead group completed 5,000 meters in 16:10 and would have to finish in 15:34 (74 seconds per lap) for Begley to make the Olympic Team (Goucher and Flanagan had the mark). Flanagan, after breaking the rest of the field, backed off the pace-setting and Begley had to take the lead with six laps to go. She ran 75, 77, and 77 seconds for the next three laps. Goucher took off with a little more than three to go and Flanagan and Begley stayed close. Goucher ran 73 and 70 for the next two laps and Flanagan took off with 800 to go. She ran 69.9 and 66 to win in a Hayward Field Record of 31:34.81. Goucher was second in 31:37.72 and behind but finishing strong in 2:18 for the last two laps was Begley who finished in 32:43.60 to get her Olympic A qualifier and a spot on the Olympic Team with Flanagan and Goucher.

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