Rupp wins first US championship

Ducks Galen Rupp and Ashton Eaton had a great day on Thursday at the US championships. Rupp celebrated with a long victory lap after taking his first US championship. Eaton set himself up to have a battle with collegiate record holder and 2008 Olympian Trey Hardee.

(PHOTO) Galen Rupp waves to the crowd as he nears the finish line during the Mens 10000 Meter Run at the first day of the U.S. Track and Field Championships Thursday, June 25, 2009, in Eugene, Ore. Rupp won the event with a time of 27:52.53 (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rupp has had a consistent race pattern this year. He sits behind the pacesetters and lets them do the work and then when one of the top competitors makes a move he follows their move. Last night, Olympic Trials champion Abdi Abdirahman took the early pace and then 2004 Olympic silver medallist in the marathon Meb Keflezighi took the pace but eventually Eugene resident Dathan Ritzenhein pushed the pace through 64 second laps with 3,000 meters to go. Rupp stayed right behind him and with 500 meters to go took off. Ritzenhein did not follow him and Rupp won at 27:52.53 to 27:58.59. Tim Nelson of Oregon Track Club Elite was the only other runner up with Ritzenhein and Rupp until the very end and finished third in 28:01.34. Rupp ran 14:12 for the first 5,000 meters and 13:39 for the second. At the end he acknowledged how great the Oregon fans were and took a long victory lap with lots of hand-slapping, photos with fans, and autographs.

It was a great start to the Decathlon competition for Duck junior Ashton Eaton. Unfortunately three of the top Decathletes, Brian Clay, Tom Pappas, and Mustafa Abdur-Rahim were all injured and suddenly Eaton was now the second seed of the meet and favored to make the world championship team. In the 100 he faced the favorite, James "Trey" Hardee. Hardee has run in the past 10.28 and ran 10.43 to 10.53 for Eaton in cold conditions but wind-aided by 3.6 m/s aiding wind. In the long jump the cold conditions continued to hamper performances as Hardee has jumped at least 7.72m in the last three major Decathlons but could only must 7.41m, 24-3 ¾ in these conditions and Eaton took advantage of a 3.6m/s aiding wind to jump 7.60m, 24-11 ¼. Eaton now led 1928 points to 1905 for Hardee and the closest competitor was Joe Detmer with 1743 points. Eaton was close to his Decathlon best in the next event, the shot put, but finished 11th at 12.63m, 41-5 ¼. Hardee threw 14.38m, 47-2 ¼ for fourth and moved into the lead at 2657 points to 2573 for Eaton. Hardee jumped 1.99m, 6-6 ¼ but decided to not jump at 2.02m. Eaton equaled his outdoor decathlon pr at 2.05m, 6-8 ¾, short of his indoor pr but a superior mark to his decathlon pr performance at the Olympic Trials. In fact he was four for four with marks superior. His 400 meter time of 47.99 was the worst he has run in a Decathlon since he was a freshman and more than a second off his NCAA meet record of 46.85. The wind has stronger than earlier in the meet but the sun had broken out during the high jump. Hardee ran 48.49 and kept the first day lead of 4337 to 4333 points. Eaton was 34 points short of his first day mark at the NCAA championships and unlikely to break the collegiate record of 8465 held by Hardee. He is still in great position as Desi Burt rode a win at the high jump with a pr clearance of 2.17m, 7-1 ½ to help him place third after the first day with 4046 points. In what is building to be a great competition for third place, Joe Detmer is fourth with 4044 points after winning the 400 meters with a time of 47.96 and Robert "Jake" Arnold is fifth with 4036 points based on a very good shot put of 14.69m, 48-2 ½ for second.

Duck junior Cyrus Hostetler was happy with his fourth place performance Coming into the competition only Chris Hill of Georgia and Corey White of USC had broken the "A" standard (81 meters) to qualify for the world championship team. The top four from each event would have until July 30th to get the A standard and the USATF would take the top three as long as they had the "A" standard or if just one had a "B" standard (78 meters). On his first throw Mike Hazle threw 82.06 meters (m), 269-3, five inches off his pr and an "A standard. On Cyrus' first throw he threw 75.58m, 247-11. It was the best technical throw he has had in a while and his best throw since the Pac-10 meet. He was in fourth and fouled to bad throws intentionally. His fourth throw was 66.78m, another foul and then his coach warned him.

"Before my final throw my coach told me I needed to beat Furey to make the team," Hostetler revealed.

Furey had thrown 76.16m, 249-10, on his fourth attempt. Hostetler threw 65.86m with a spongy block leg like he had at the NCAA meet. Afterwards he was happy because, "this year he was fourth and last year, "was eighteenth." It was also his ninth competition of the year and he is ready to hang-it-up for the season. Junior Duck Alex Wolff would have had to throw near a pr to make the final and finished 12th with a best throw of 67.19m, 220-5.

Bad news for the Ducks included junior Andrew Wheating scratching out of the 800 meters and 1,500 meters. It is disappointing that Wheating did not run because of the confidence that Wheating showed before the NCAA final that he could break the meet record of 1:44.70. On Wednesday he admitted that it still felt like someone had, "hit the back of my leg with a bat." He said there was no swelling but that his leg was tight and it felt 95%. He believed that he would run on Wednesday but after running hurt at the indoor and outdoor championships it was probably best for Andrew to try to heal. After the meet he admitted they decided not to risk further injury. West Salem's Ryan Bailey jogged through his heat of the 100-meter, due to a nagging hamstring injury that has bothered him off-and-on the last two years.

Nike's Amy Begley won a back and forth battle with 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan to win her first US 10,000 meter championship in 31:22.69 to 31:23.43 to break the meet record. Fourth place finisher Magdalena Lewy Boulet was fourth in 32:20.45, just .45 off the world "B" standard. If she does not get the "B" standard by July 30th, Molly Huddle would be the alternate for the world championship team.

Easily qualifying was junior Keshia Baker in the 400 meters. She was an automatic qualifying second in her heat at 52.80 to advance to the semifinals. Duck junior Jordan McNamara was in the last and fastest heat of the 1,500 meters. Oregon Track Club's Stephen Pifer pushed the pace to the fastest time at 1,200 meters, 2:56.16 but finished second as top-seeded Lionel Manzano was right behind him and out-kicked him as he did in his two NCAA 1,500 meter championships from his freshman year and last year. McNamara closed fast and finished fifth in 3:41.15 (.02 off his pr from 2007).

Highlights included Georgia's Chris Hill winning the javelin throw with a pr 83.87m, 275-2, fourth on the all-time collegiate list and an American collegiate record. He joins Cyrus Hostetler of Oregon and Corey White of USC as three of the best four American collegians ever with the redesigned javelin (1985). The women's high jump was possibly the most competitive US championship ever with three jumpers clearing 1.95m, 6-4 ¾. Experts cannot remember a US high jump championship that had three clear even 6-4. Chaunte Howard won over Amy Acuff and Sharon Day. Although it was wind-aided by a 2.9 m/s wind, Brandon Roulhac was the first US triple jumper to get over 57 feet this year at 17.44m, 57-2 ¾. 2005 World outdoor champion Walter Davis made up for finishing fourth at last year's Olympic Trials with a runner-up finish this year at 16.84m, 55-3 and 2007 Arkansas State grad and relative unknown (previous best jump was 53-5w last year) James Jenkins was third at 16.79m, 55-1, with a 2.4 m/s aiding wind (previous pr was 16.06m, 52-8 1/4). Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton won her first US championship with a throw of 64.25m, 210-9. On Wednesday she was so excited to compete she had to cut-off her training session so she would be fresh for competition on Thursday. Former Husky Aretha Thurmond was second with a best of 62.51m, 205-1 as she moved from third to second on her final throw. In third was former Cornhusker Becky Breisch with a best throw of 62.08m, 203-8.

There was plenty of other qualifying on Thursday. Tyson Gay ran 9.75 in his 100 heat with a 3.4 m/s aiding wind but he wasn't as pleased as some might expect because the standards have been raised by Usain Bolt.

"I got to know that I am able to turn over that fast," said Gay. "I'll be able to do that when I execute. Honestly, I ran a horrible race."

Carmelita Jeter won her heat of the 100 meters in 10.88 with a 3.1 m/s aiding wind. Nick Symmonds, Christian Smith, and Khadevis Robinson won their 800-meter heats. 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt ran 45.23 to win his heat. OTC Elite's Will Leer and Stephen Pifer advanced to the 1,500-meter final. OTC Elite's Billy Nelson and Ben Bruce advanced the 3,000-meter steeplechase final.

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