All Eyes are on Europe
The tragedy in Norway has overshadowed news from Europe this weekend, and our thoughts go out to the Norwegian people.
Dozens of American pro athletes competed in Monaco and Barcelona on Friday, and some amazing performances hinting at the level of readiness for Worlds in Deagu at the end of August. At the Pan American Junior Championships in Miramar, Florida, collegiate athletes excelled.
In news of athletes with TrackTown ties:
In Barcelona, Ben Bruce highlighted the OTC Elite action in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Bruce, who was a late add into the field, dropped over three-and-a-half seconds off his personal record, to take fifth in 8:19.10. His previous PB was 8:22.88.
“We were hopeful that he would get in, so when he got the late call, he shot down from Font Romeu and I think that took the anxiety out of it,” Rowland said. “The conditions were perfect and it fell beautifully for him. He hung on at the right time and was awarded with an outstanding PB.”
In the 800, Tyler Mulder and Geena Gall raced for the final time this season and closed out 2011 with two solid performances. Mulder tied his PB of 1:44.83 to take third. And Gall won the women’s 800 in 2:01.06.
“For Geena, it was nice to finish the season with a win, and Tyler put on a fantastic display throughout the last few weeks,” Rowland said. “Even though they didn’t get on the US team because of the high standard in America at this time, they’ve got the hunger and the fuel to challenge for the team next year.”
Also competing in Barcelona were OTC Elite’s Bridget Franek in the 3,000 steeplechase and Russell Brown in the 1,500. Franek finished fourth in 9:48.77. Brown was eighth in 3:36.34.
Racing at the Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday, OTC Elite’s Nick Symmonds placed third behind world-record holder David Rudisha in a time of 1 minute, 43.83 seconds.
The mark was the second fastest of Symmonds’ career (his personal best is 1:43.76) and currently ranks him fourth in the world. Rudisha’s winning time of 1:42.61 was the fastest in the world this year. His fellow Kenyan Asbel Kiprop was second in 1:43.15.
“He’s strong and things are going well, but there’s still work to do,” OTC Elite head coach Mark Rowland said. “Everything’s going as planned going into Daegu. I’m happy with his shape and I think there’s still more to come.”
Symmonds’ teammate Andrew Wheating was also slated to appear in the 1,500 at Monaco but withdrew from the race prior to the start.
“Andrew had a tight upper hamstring. He warmed up but could not loosen up,” Wheating’s coach Vin Lananna said from Monaco. “He desperately wanted to run. He loves this meet, but he and I made the decision that the World Championships final continues to be the goal.”
Wheating’s former teammate at the University of Oregon, current Ducks’ senior, and the 2011 USA National Champion Matthew Centrowitz did run the 1,500 on Friday. He clocked his second-straight PB: 3:34.46, which was good for tenth place and a new school record.
At the Pan American Junior Championships, University of Oregon freshman Phyllis Francis took third in the final of the women’s 400 meters in 53.81. Jamaica’s Chrisann Gordan won in 52.62, with the Dimond Dixon of the U.S. second in 53.10.
Incoming Duck Allison Woodward was the runner-up in the women’s 3,000 meters in 9:31.83. Team USA teammate Kayla Beattie won the race in 9:30.63.
Jenna Prandini, who will enroll at Oregon this fall, finished fourth in the final of the women’s 100 meters in 11.56. She ran an impressive 11.44 in the semifinals Friday morning.
Prandini will also compete in the long jump on Saturday, while current Duck freshman Parker Stinson is in Saturday’s men’s 10,000 meters and signee Greg Skipper is in the men’s hammer on Sunday.