images.google.com/imgres PORTLAND, Ore. – Tim Nelson, left, a member of a fresh new legion of distance runners who have moved here in the last two years and made Portland the nation's new mecca for runners, will run in the 10k national championship race in Eugene on Thursday night. In doing so, he will come up against the hometown favorite, Galen Rupp.
Nelson, a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Wisconsin, moved here last year with his coach, Jerry Schumacher, and several teammates from Madison. Schumacher was hired away from the university by Nike to take charge
of the Oregon Track Club.
Rupp, who grew up in Portland and is graduating this month from the University of Oregon (shown left with Jordan McNamara) is the favorite in the race, although he is coming off a strenuous series of college races over the past month. Rupp made the U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 a bit less than a year ago, running at the Olympic Trials on his home track at Hayward Field.
Nelson, a 25-year-old native of Redding, Calif. and a former Big Ten Conference champion at Wisconsin, has the fastest time by an American this year, 27:36.99, run last month at Stanford.
Rupp, 23, won the NCAA 10k 10 days ago in Arkansas in a strategic 28:21.45. A year ago he broke the collegiate record, running 27:33.48. Rupp also won the 5k for the Ducks in their valiant attempt to win the national team championship. In May he won the 10k and finished 2nd
in the 1,500 when the Ducks won the Pac-10 Conference team championship, and in March he won three events in a remarkable triple that gave his team its first-
ever NCAA indoor team championship.
At the USATF championships in Eugene, which run Thursday through Sunday, in most events the first three finishers in each event will comprise the U.S. team that will go to the World Championships later this summer in Berlin.
The national Juniors championships, for teenaged athletes, will be held at the same time. A number of Oregon high school stars along with some college freshmen from universities across the state will be competing in that event. They are led by Kellie Schueler, the multitalented sprinter from Bend, and Sam Crouser, left, from Gresham, who recently broke the American Junior record in the javelin.
In the Seniors meet, Rupp will be one of a number of Oregon Ducks competing, and Nelson one of a number of new Portland residents running for Nike and the OTC.
The favorite in Thursday night's women's 10k is Shalane Flanagan, the surprise bronze medalist at the Beijing Games. Flanagan recently announced that she will now split her time between North Carolina and Portland, where she will also be coached by Schumacher. Flanagan's fellow female distance star, Kara Goucher, is the favorite in the 5k, scheduled for Friday night. Goucher and her husband, Adam, moved to Portland several years ago from Boulder, Colo.
Other members of the Wisconsin troupe running in Eugene this week will include Evan Jager, Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp, all now Portland residents. Other OTC entrants in the distances include Eugene residents Will Leer, Matt Scherer, Ben Bruce, Tom Brooks, John Jefferson, Stephen Pifer, Russell Brown, Bolota Asmerom, Amy Begley and Ryan Bak.
In the Juniors meet, Crouser, a high school junior, will compete in the men's javelin on Sunday afternoon against his cross country rival, Justin Shirk, of Harrisburg, Pa. Shirk has thrown 235-3, Crouser 239-0, the latter an American Junior record and the second-longest ever by a high school athlete. (The national high school record is held by an exchange student from Finland.)
Schueler, who has won multiple sprint titles for Summit High School, is entered in all three dashes. One of her opponents in the 100 and 200 is likely to include an Oregon freshman, Amber Purvis. Purvis was having an outstanding debut as a Duck this spring until she was put of action when a football player at the school stepped on her left foot in April, breaking one of her toes.
The Seniors 100-meter dashes get under way on Thursday afternoon. One of the featured competitors in the men's event is newcomer Ryan Bailey, right, the state high school champion two seasons ago for McKay H.S. in Salem. Bailey recently broke the national junior college record, running 10.05, then turned professional.
Some of the other leading Oregonians in the meets:
U. of Oregon Cyrus Hostetler (jav), Alex Wolff (jav), Jordan McNamara (1,500), Scott Wall (5k), Nicole Blood (5k), Mattie Bridgmon (10k), Keshia Baker (400), Rachel Yurkovich (jav), Ashton Eaton (dec), Melissa Gergel (pv), Jamesha Youngblood (lj), Kalindra McFadden (hep), Luke Puskedra (10k)
Oregon graduates Tommy Skipper (pv), Eric Mitchum (hh), Britney Henry (ham)
Others Gabe Jennings (1,500), Grant Lindsey (hj), Jesse Williams (hj), Kyle Alcorn (st), Michael Maag (5k), Nick Symmonds (800), Billy Nelson (st)
Collegians Bo Johnson (Conc/ham), Tony Crisofulli (PortSt/800), Kevin Godfrey (Lane/dec), Sharayah Kenady (Conc/ham), Ashley Potter (Ore/tj)
Preps Haley Crouser (jav), Lexi Ross (jav), Alyssa Hasslen (sp/dt), Taylor Wallace (15/3), Kayleigh Tyerman (3k), Tiarra Pittman (IH), Moriah Roberge (pv), Elijah Greer (800), Nathan Mathabane (1,500), Jared Hippler (pv), Greg Skipper (ham)
Oregonians-to-be Jordan Hasay (1,500/U. Oregon), (left - at the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene), Rebecca Friday (800/UO), Mac Fleet (1,500/UO), Trevor Dunbar (5k/U. Portland).