By Parker Morse, Running USA wire
EUGENE, Ore. - (June 27, 2009) - Josh McAdams, a 2008 Olympian in the steeplechase and the 2006 national champion in that event, added a second national title to his resume Saturday afternoon at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, while 2008 Olympic Trials champion Shannon Rowbury defended her title in the women's 1500 meters.
McAdams adds second steeplechase title
McAdams' Beijing teammate Billy Nelson took the early lead in the 3000 meter steeplechase, but the pace was easy for the opening laps as the field sized each other up. With U.S. record holder Daniel Lincoln injured and Olympic Trials champion Anthony Famiglietti having run the 5000m final the night before, there were few left in the field willing to set a quick pace early.
The field finally began to string out as Nelson ratcheted the pace down with four laps to go. Daniel Huling, part of Robert Gary's steeple group in Ohio, moved up to help Nelson with the pace, and with three laps remaining Huling took over the lead by himself, with McAdams and Thomas Kloos giving chase.
"It was pretty slow at the start," said Huling. "I had a plan to go with three laps to go and stay committed to the pace. I felt immediate separation when I took the lead, and Josh was quick to get up behind me. I could feel us pulling away, and I just tried to push as much as possible."
McAdams moved into the lead about 100 meters before taking the bell, as Kyle Alcorn was moving up to third. McAdams, who was a miler before taking up the steeplechase, ran away from Huling to take the victory in 8:29.91, the slowest winning time since 1998. Huling was second in 8:32.86, and Alcorn third in 8:34.65.
"I thought for sure it would go out faster," said McAdams. "It played into my hands. With three or four laps, I was chomping at the bit to get going. I've always liked to race from the back and close fast, but I thought today it was going to go out fast and I should get to the front."
"I made a Worlds team in '07 and the Olympic team last year, but I've never made it to the final. This year, I've been working on being ready for a race going out fast. I'm going over to Europe at least once before Berlin, to try to get in a fast heat either at Heusden or DN Galan. Hopefully I'll get in a fast race and see what I can do."
"Daniel Lincoln was a tremendous asset to American steeplechasing, he really raised the caliber of the competition. And I was ready for Fam to take it out fast, I was going to go with him this year."
McAdams and Huling both have "A" standards and Alcorn the "B", so they will make up the team for Berlin. Kyle Perry, like McAdams coached by BYU coach and Olympian Ed Eyestone, will be the alternate, having placed fourth.
Rowbury defends women's 1500m crown
omen's 1500 meter final was shaping up similarly to the steeplechase, as Amy Mortimer and Heidi Dahl were the pacesetters at the front of a tight pack of twelve women. They passed 400 meters in a relaxed 1:07.7, but with 900 meters remaining Christin Wurth-Thomas, winner of the Reebok Grand Prix in New York earlier this season, burst from the pack and pulled away from the pack. The 800m split (2:14.5) belied the three-second lead Wurth-Thomas had opened on the rest of the field, a gap which kept growing nearly to the bell.
Wurth-Thomas reached 3 laps in 3:16.9, a 62-second third lap, but in her wake first Erin Donohue, then Anna Willard and Rowbury had broken clear of the pack and were giving chase. It was Rowbury who had the greatest speed of the three, and the Duke grad overtook the first two and set out after Wurth-Thomas on the backstretch.
Rowbury drew even with Wurth-Thomas as they came in to the homestretch, and by then her stride was already longer and quicker than the tiring Wurth-Thomas. She pulled clear to win in 4:05.07 to Wurth-Thomas's 4:06.00. Willard was right behind in 4:07.70, with Donohue fourth in 4:08.96.
"I think they said it was 2:02 for the last 800, and 60 seconds for the last lap," said Rowbury. "It's one thing to do that in practice and another thing for it to actually happen. I was really happy with the result. It's a little different with Christin to go after; she had a pretty big gap and I wasn't sure I could close it. I thought someone would follow her, but nobody did, so with 400 to go I said, OK, I guess I'd better be the one. I just tried not to panic, tried not to over-react."
"The tougher the competition I have at home, the tougher I'm going to be for international competition."
While Rowbury and Wurth-Thomas plan to run in Berlin, Willard is a question mark. She's one of the favorites for the women's steeplechase on Sunday, and may forgo a spot in the 1500m in favor of the barriers. "My coach [Terrence Mahon] and I will have to decide that," said Willard after the steeplechase.
USA 1500m Championship - Saturday, June 27, 2009
1) Shannon Rowbury (CA), 4:05.07
2) Christin Wurth-Thomas (AR), 4:06.00
3) Anna Willard (CA), 4:07.70
4) Erin Donohue (NJ), 4:08.96
5) Treniere Clement (TN), 4:09.10
USA 3000m Steeplechase Championship - Saturday, June 27, 2009
1) Josh McAdams (UT), 8:29.91
2) Daniel Huling (OH), 8:32.86
3) Kyle Alcorn (AZ), 8:34.65
4) Kyle Perry (UT), 8:36.65
5) Ben Bruce (OR), 8:36.76
Complete results and more at: USATF.org.