EUGENE (26-Jun) -- Upholding their status as pre-race favorites, Kara Goucher and Matt Tegenkamp both rolled to victories at 5000m here tonight, closing the second day of action at the USA Outdoor Championships at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.
Goucher, who is in the midst of training for her first appearance at a World Championships marathon in Berlin in August, broke away with fellow Olympian Jen Rhines with three laps to go. Approaching the bell together, Goucher simply ran the faster final circuit, clocking 64.9 seconds to Rhines's 70.6. It was Goucher's second consecutive USA title at the distance.
"I almost fell twice," said Goucher of the slow early laps which led to her modest 15:20.94 finish time. "You just have to not let it bother you."
Rhines clocked 15:26.92, and because she already has the IAAF "A" standard of 15:10.00 (she ran 14:54.29 in Oslo last year), is locked-in for the USA team for Berlin. Behind Rhines, University of Illinois junior Angela Bizzarri, the NCAA 5000m champion, came from fifth place on the last lap to pass both Julie Culley and Rebecca Donaghue to take a surprising third place. She has neither the IAAF "A" or "B" standard (15:25.00) so her status is uncertain for the World Championships team. Bizzari was overwhelmed by the thought that she could possibly be in a global championships.
"I don't know," she said when asked if she planned to try to get her "B" standard before the July 31 deadline which would put her on the team. "I've never run outside of the country."
Tegenkamp won a completely different kind of race. Off of a fast early pace set by two-time Olympic steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti who ran the first kilometer in 2:37.60, Tegenkamp was running third behind Bolota Asmerom and his Oregon Track Club training partner Chris Solinsky with two laps to go. The penultimate lap went down in under 63 seconds, but the fast pace hadn't sapped any of Tegenkamp's energy.
"We were completely comfortable," Tegenkamp said.
At the bell, Tegenkamp and Solinsky put it in high gear. Asmerom couldn't respond, and only the 20 year-old Evan Jager, another Oregon TC athlete, was still in contention. Tegenkamp showed world class speed, closing in 53.47 seconds to Solinsky's 53.90. The teammates stopped the clock at 13:20.57 and 13:20.82, respectively. Jager got third in a personal best 13:22.18.
"I have a kick that can compete with anybody," said Tegenkamp, who thanked his coach, Jerry Schumacher, for preparing him so well for the race. "He knows what he's doing," Tegenkamp said of Schumacher. "He's not in it to please the media. He lets his athletes performance do that."
Since both Tegenkamp and Solinsky already had the IAAF "A" standard of 13:20.00 coming into the race, they earned automatic berths on the USA team for Berlin. Jager's time was well under the "B" standard of 13:29.00, so he makes the team, too, because IAAF rules allow for two A's and one B to compete.
BARRINGER AND WILLARD ADVANCE DESPITE WRONG WATER JUMP HEIGHT
Jenny Barringer's and Anna Willard's victories in the preliminaries of the women's steeplechase were not a surprise, but the fact that they had to clear a 36-inch barrier on the water jumps was. As soon as she finished her heat, Barringer could be seen gesturing to an official at the side of the track about something. When asked about it in the mixed zone she said, "The water jump was set too high. I'm certain the water jump was at 36 inches. I'm very confident it was high."
Officials were not seen lowering the barrier for the second heat, and Penn Relays director Dave Johnson said that he would have done the same thing had such a mistake been detected in his meet. The logic, he said, was that it would be unfair for one group of women to jump over a higher barrier than the second.
Michigan State's Nicole Bush was see limping after the first heat after she fell hard into the water jump, possibly because of the raised barrier. When asked if it was an ankle injury, Bush said, "I don't know. Probably."
SYMMONDS BREEZES TO FINAL IN 800M
Defending USA 800m champion Nick Symmonds loped into Sunday's final with an easy win in the second heat.
"I felt great," said Symmonds. "It felt better than yesterday."
For Sunday's final, where he'll face longtime rival Khadevis Robinson, Symmonds said he was ready to run fast. "I won't hold back in the final," he said. "That's for sure."
NCAA champion Geena Gall led the women's two-lap qualifying, and will be joined in the final by her former teammate, Katie Waits. She would like nothing more than to have Waits be her teammate in Berlin.
"It would be amazing," she said.
Corrections to the article above:
Khadevis Robinson was not on the 2008 USA Olympic Team at 800m as I reported. The third athlete, along with Nick Symmonds and Christain Smith, was the University of Oregon's Andrew Wheating. Thanks to a LetsRun.com reader who pointed this out to site owner/editor, Weldon Johnson.
I misreported the national team qualifying situation for this event Matt Tegenkamp does not have the "A" qualifying standard as I reported (his best mark in the qualifying window was 13:20.57, 57/100ths shy of the "A" time), but rather has the "B." Under USATF rules a "B" winner locks in a team berth, so Tegenkamp is on the team. Second place Chris Solinsky is also on the team because he possessed the "A" mark prior to last night's race (he ran 13:18.51 in 2008 and 13:18.41 in 2009). The third spot is up for grabs between Evan Jager and Bolota Asmerom who have until July 31 to run 13:20.00 or better. If neither does that, 8th place finisher Anthony Famiglietti will get the team berth because he already has the "A" standard (he ran 13:17.98 at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2009).
There is also another scenario. If Tegenkamp achieves the "A" standard by July 31, then he becomes an "A" winner, and Jager would get on the team as a "B" third-placer.