Eaton makes the US team in the Decathlon

On Friday the US championships were mostly about the professional and junior athletes except for junior Ashton Eaton's second place finish in the Decathlon. Only a couple of Ducks ran and they advanced to the finals. Portland residents running for the former Oregon Project and now Nike's training group headed by Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacher had a great night.

(PHOTO) Ashton Eaton reacts after failing to clear his height in the pole vault during the decathlon in the second day of the U.S. Track and Field Championships Friday, June 26, 2009, in Eugene, Ore. Eaton cleared 14-09. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Eaton started the day four points behind 2008 Olympian Trey Hardee. Eaton ran well in the 110 hurdles in less than ideal conditions. Trey Hardee won the 110 hurdles in 13.95 to 14.03 for Eaton. Hardee had an average throw for him of 44.76m, 146-10 but still a lot better than Eaton's near pr of 41.03m, 134-7 and Hardee now led by 104 points but there was still separation from the rest of the competition. Eaton again struggled in the pole vault with a best clearance of 4.50m, 14-9 and Hardee cleared 5.00m, 16-4 ¾. Hardee was now ahead 6,990 to 6,756 for Eaton and Arnold was in third with 6590 points as the top three was now determined. Hardee threw a one-foot pr 64.12m, 210-4, Eaton threw 51.46m, 168-10, and Arnold threw 57.82m, 189-8. Hardee had the lead through nine events with 7,790 points to 7,366 for Eaton and 7,295 for Arnold. Eaton, a much superior 1,500-meter runner to Arnold just had to beat Arnold to get second. Hardee ran easily with a time of 5:16.01, and Eaton beat Arnold 4:35.45 to 4:38.59 for Arnold. Hardee scored 8,261 points, Eaton 8,075, and Arnold 7,984. It may not have been a personal record but the objective was to make the team and he indicated he accomplished what he wanted. This will be a great experience for Ashton and he is excited about the opportunity to compete in Berlin,

"I am going to go out there and try to learn," said Eaton. "Try to PR (personal record). Just compete and try to take people down."

Three ex-Wisconsin runners that followed Jerry Schumacher from Madison, Wisconsin to Portland made a home debut at Hayward Field and there was a line of firsts among the group. In 2007 Matt Tegenkamp finished fourth at the world championship 5,000 meters due to a great kick and this year he showed that kick to win his first US championship. He ran 53.5 to outkick four-time NCAA champion Chris Solinsky 13:20.57 to 13:20.82 as Solinsky made his first US outdoor team.

"I know I've got a finish that can compete with anyone in the world," Tegenkamp said later.

Tegenkamp felt supported by the crowd wearing the Oregon Track Club singlet.

"Wearing the green makes a big difference." Solinsky said. "Our mentality seriously was coming in first, second, third. This was one of our biggest hurdles. Our training is geared for August."

Evan Jager, the 20 year-old third place finisher, was eighth at the world junior meet in the 1,500-meters last year. He had been training as a 1,500/5,000-meter runner all year but did not commit to the 5,000-meters (5k) until after he ran 13:29.65 at the Payton Jordan meet in May. He commented that he had been "pushing for the team since then."

In the winter coach Schumacher gave him a chance to join him in Portland or stay at Wisconsin for his sophomore season and Jager is happy he was given the opportunity. He (13:22.18) had to outkick Bolota Asmerom (13:24.00) and Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez (13:25.46) to make the team. He was a little worried about Fernandez who he out-kicked at Payton Jordan but had been hurt.

"I was happy that I beat him there but I knew that he was going to bring a whole another game to USAs," admitted Jager.

Fernandez had planned to run the 5,000 after losing that race and being beaten for the American junior record by Chris Derrick of Stanford, 13:29.98 to 13:31.78. This time he got the American junior record which before this season was 13:37.91 by Galen Rupp in 2004.

Oregon Track Elite's Kara Goucher followed up his teammate's (Amy Yoder Begley) win in the 10,000 meters with a win of her own in the 5,000 meters in 15:20.94. She promptly declined the invitation to run at the world championships so she can focus on the world championship marathon. Jen Rhines was second in 15:26.92 as Rhines had pushed the pace and only Goucher would follow. Angela Bizzari outckicked a group of four to finish third in a personal record 15:33.02. Duck junior Nicole Blood tried to make a move at the end but ran out of gas to finish seventh in a PR 15:38.61.

Carmelita Jeter held off Muna Lee 10.776 to 10.777 in the women's 100 meters aided by a 3.3 m/s wind. Michael Rodgers ran 9.91 to 9.92 by Darvis Patton aided by a 3.1 m/s wind. Chase Malone won his first discus title with a throw of 64.99m, 213-3. He defeated Jarred Rome 63.48m, 208-3 and Ian Waltz 61.91m, 203-1. Freshman Duck Amber Purvis ran wind-aided 11.42 to finish second in the junior women's 100-meters.

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