By Lev Rourke
Photos by Randy Miyazaki
Jordan McNamara is having a heck of a good start to his senior track season at Oregon. A miler for much of his injury-studded career, McNamara (#836) is now clearly moving up to a longer race, and last Saturday he confirmed that by running 13:45.45, a 5k PR, at the Stanford Invitational in California. In the process he finished ahead of two better-known teammates, Matthew Centrowitz (#828-5th 13:47.73) and Michael Maag (13:51.35).
McNamara, a 5th-year senior from Auburn, Wash., had a previous 5k best of 14:09.01. A week earlier, at the Oregon Preview meet in Eugene, he gave a hint to his new condition and direction by winning the 3k in an excellent 7:53.63. McNamara is expected to be a 5k specialist this season along with another 5th-year man, Maag. Maag, who is in graduate school, ran 13:41.17 last year as a senior at Princeton.
The Ducks’ 1,500 slots outdoors are expected to go to Centrowitz, who won the Pac-10 last spring before getting injured leading up to the NCAA championships, where he had been one of the favorites; the veteran A.J. Acosta, and freshman Mac Fleet. Andrew Wheating, who is an excellent miler, is expected to focus on the 800 in the championship meets, while Luke Puskedra, who ran the 3k and 5k indoors, is considered a 10k specialist outdoors. Puskedra, who struggled at the NCAA indoor meet in March, did not run at Stanford, leading to speculation that he may redshirt this outdoor season.
The big news of the meet came from Lisa Koll of Iowa State. Koll, right, who was NCAA indoor champion this year in the 5k, tackled the 10k here and ran solo to a stunning 31:18.07, breaking Sally Kipyego’s collegiate record by 7 seconds. “I wanted to run fast,” she told Sieg Lindstrom of Track Newsletter. “I’m really fit still from indoors – to kind-of just take advantage of that, being that fit and ready to go.” After an opening 15:50 5k, Koll picked it up. “I was prepared to set the pace from the beginning,” she told Lindstrom. “I’m really comfortable leading. I’m comfortable being alone.”
Moore runs 4:28 for U of P
Cori Moore, the junior at U of Portland who was a surprise qualifier for the NCAA indoor this winter, continued her progress at Stanford by running 4:28.57 in the 1,500, finishing 2nd in Race III, just ahead of Oregon freshman Taylor Wallace (4th, 4:29.14). Another UP woman, Sifrash Ademe, ran well, going 34:29.99 in the 10k, one place ahead of Oregon’s Maddie Bridgmon (34:30.70).
Other Pilots did not fare so well. Matt Frerker ran 14:17.22 in Heat III of the men’s 5k and Alfred Kipchumba 14:05.19 for 17th place in the seeded race, won by Australian David McNeill of Northern Arizona in a world-leading 13:25.63. Dana Morgan was 15th in the women’s 5k seeded section in 16:53.46.
Fellow Pilot Trevor Dunbar was in Poland over the weekend, running for the U.S. Junior team in the World Cross Country Championships, where he was the No. 1 American finisher, in 29th place. The U.S. men finished 8th; Kenya won with a perfect score of 10 in both Juniors races.
Kenya, in fact, swept all four races, and their runners were treated to a heroes’ welcome when they arrived home in Nairobi. The Ethiopians have been dominating the World Cross in recent years. The overwhelming dominance of this event the past 15 years by the East African runners – some of whom move to neighboring countries in order to have a better chance of making the national team of what is often an oil-rich nation – is leading to the likely abandonment of this event internationally. The IAAF has changed the schedule of the event to every other year, but some observers say it will eventually become quadrennial, a la the Olympics.
Shalane Flanagan, who now resides in Portland half-time, was the top U.S. female finisher, helping the Americans to 3rd place, the first medals for the U.S. in many years at Worlds. Flanagan was 12th, Molly Huddle 19th, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet – a native of Poland – 20th.
Hasay keeps on cruising
Oregon’s freshman phenomenon Jordan Hasay ran her first outdoor track race as a Duck at Stanford and won the seeded section in a mighty 4:14.67. That’s 2nd
on the 2010 collegiate list to her own teammate, Zoe Buckman, who ran 4:12 a week earlier, and is just off the national-high-school-record PR Hasay ran at the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, of 4:14.50. (That race became legend because of the spontaneous response by the Hayward Field crowd, appealing to young Jordan, “Come to Oregon!” It worked.)
In last week’s race, Hasay (at right) defeated Katie Follett of Washington (PR 4:15.04) and fellow Ducks Anne Kesselring (4:18.80) and Nicole Blood (4:20.20). In the women’s 800, freshman Duck Chloe Steinbeck impressed with 2:08.33 while Buckman faded to 2:08.19 in the seeded race. Another frosh, Becca Friday, ran 2:10.27.
The women’s seeded 5k was won by Seattle Pacific’s Jessica Pixler, heretofore known as a miler, who ran an excellent
15:44.07. Just behind was Brie Felnagle, a Tacoma native now in her senior season at the University of North Carolina, 3rd
in 15:55.29. It was a PR for both and leads to speculation that both, now seniors, may have found a new specialty.
Two Oregon State women also ran good 5ks. Abby Chesimet, a junior from Astoria, broke the OSU school record, running 16:37.99 to break a record set 25 years ago by Kathy Knowlton, while Sandra Martinez, a freshman from Yakima, Wash., was also under the record, running 16:47.46.
The Beavers continue to get a lot of attention for their fledgling men’s “team” as well, announcing that their small cadre of highjumpers and sprinters – all members of the football squad – will be eligible to compete in this year’s Pac-10 championships in Berkeley. OSU has not had any men in that meet in more than 20 years. The football coach at OSU has given his blessing to the activity.
Concordia’s Kai Schmidt throws 147
Thrower-rich Concordia took to the road – they travel mostly by bus, even to California – and scored a few wins at Stanford. Kai Schmidt threw 147-4 in the women’s javelin, and Erik Kuster won the unseeded men’s discus at 168-2.
Freshman Bo Johnson was 2nd in the unseeded men’s hammer (177-6) behind Oregon’s Scott Penny (185-3). The men’s javelin was won by Oregon’s Alex Wolff (229-7), followed by Britton Nelson (207-9) and Michael Thompson (194-10) of the Ducks and Paul Roshau (203-10) and Jesse Staub (184-4) of Concordia.
Noticeably absent so far this season is Cyrus Hostetler, the Duck who threw 272-10 a year ago but had Achilles surgery after a basketball injury in the off-season. It is not known if he will be throwing at all this year.
Portland State was also in attendance in Stanford, and the Vikings women won Heat II of the 4x1 impressively. The squad of Black, Vinson, Anthony and King ran 46.24. The Oregon team of White, Purvis, Baker and Williams won the seeded race in 44.38, a tad slower than the impressive 44.30 they ran to open the season a week earlier. Concordia was 8th
in that Stanford race, in 48.82. In the 4x4s, the PSU women ran 3:53.87, the Concordia women 3:55.30, and the Portland State men a solid
Gergel vaults 14-3 ¼ in jumpoff
The Ducks’ pole vaulter Melissa Gergel continues to impress. This time she defeated the home team’s Ketarina Stefanidi in a jumpoff, clearing 14-3 ¼, a lifetime outdoor best. Gergel was NCAA runnerup indoors and, given the home field advantage she will have, is favored to do well at the NCAA championships in June.
Tickets are going fast for that one, June 9-12 at Hayward. The University of Oregon announced that it has sold 6,000 season tickets already and is thus beginning to evaluate whether to put up temporary seating. In other words, a sellout looms. The Oregon women, NCAA champions indoors, have not won the outdoor title since their lone such victory, in 1985. The men haven’t won the title since 1984, at home. Both teams will be strong contenders, if not the favorites, this year.
Several Oregon runners competed in the large high school division. Andy Bennison of Central Catholic finished 4th in Section II of the boys’ 3k, in 8:52.91, and Jordan Latt of Tigard was 4th in the 400, in 49.71.
Other local college results:
W 100 Karene King (PSU) 11.92 (5), Geronne Black (PSU) 12.01 (8); W 400 Catherine Sims (Conc) 58.13; W HJ Jasmine Kelly (UO) 5-7 ¼ (4); W 200 King 24.35, Alexandria Davidson (UO) 24.54; W steeple Claire Michel (UO) 10:14.84 (4);
M IH Eric Hersey (UO) 52.99, M 400 Travis Thompson (UO) 48.10, M HJ David Klech (UO) 6-10 ¼, Marcus Cooper (Conc) 6-8 ¼; M 800 Jessy Brown (Conc) 1:53.24, Tony Crisofulli (PSU) 1:52.26; M Ham Jordan Stray (UO) 211-6 (2), Chris Dilley (E Ore) 198-3 (6); M 5k Danny Mercado (UO) 14:06.38 (19); M 10k Diego Mercado (UO) 30:08.77 (23)