Shannon Rowbury is one of the most underrated athletes in our sport. She is also, one of the most dangerous women middle distance runners in the US, capable of racing world class not only at 1,500 meters, but also 800 and yes, although she is not real excited about it, for now, the 5,000 meters.
At the Pre Classic, the story was about Jenny Barringer, who broke four minutes, at the end of a long, and well raced collegiate season. Peter Stubbs, Shannon's manager, took me aside after the Pre 1,500 and reminded me that this was Shannon's first race of the season. I had thought that running 4:03 out of the blocks, and running an all out 1,500 meter showed how much that Shannon Rowbury had improved over the year.
What a superb race in Eugene for the championships: Christin Wurth Thomas, pulling an imitation of the late Bill McChesney, Jr. (1980 Trials, where Bill tried to steal the 5,000m with three laps to go, making the team), Shannon Rowbury and Anna Willard holding back. Who would win this one?
Shannon Rowbury shows her stuff, US Champs 1,500 meters, by Photo Run.net.
This was not an easy race. With a well balanced field, there were mine fields for every athlete. NCAA star Sarah Bowman stayed near the front and paid a dear price. Amy Mortimer, as is her want, showed that she continues to be one of our tough athletes. Lauren Centrowitz, daughter of Matt Centrowitz, Sr., brother of Matt Centrowitz, Jr., shows that good racing can be a genetic trait.
In the end, Christin Wurth Thomas, who has been running like a bat out of hell ( great album by MeatLoaf) all season, made the decisive move at 1:59 into the race, as there were two full laps from the finish line. Wurth Thomas charged to the front and did not stop, putting thirty meters on the field. Thomas won with this tactic at Reebok Grand Prix and enthralled the crowd of 11,000 there.
Well, Christin Wurth Thomas is running for home, and hits the 1,100 meter mark in 3:03, with Shannon Rowburty, Anna Willard, Erin Donahue, Treniere Clement all in the hunt.
The winds were playing a part in the race, all of the races, blowing hard on the back stretch, and making a move even harder. With the hard third lap, the real sprinters were winding up, but it was Shannon Rowbury who took off, and move she did, running a sixty second last lap, Rowbury caught Wurth Thomas going on the final stretch, winning in 4:05.7! Christin Wurth Thomas took second in 4:06.00 and Anna Willard, staying out of trouble, took third in 4:07.7, with Erin Donahue in 4:08.96.
After the race,a very relaxed Shannon Rowbury, expressed her concern the past two weeks about the tactics, about her racing at Pre Classic-the normal concerns of a world class athlete: “We were working on sharpening the last couple of weeks. I think they said it was 2:02 for the last 800, 60 seconds for the last lap. I was really happy with the result. It is a little bit different when you have something to go after. My main focus was on the finish line. I was just trying to reel Christin in – she did a fabulous job.”
Shannon Rowbury won the 1,500 meters in Eugene because she was a) the best prepared, b) has a repertoire of racing tactics, c) is focused on one race, the Berlin 1,500 meter final. Rowbury continues to mature in her racing tactics and level of confidence.
Berlin prospects? Shannon Rowbury should contend for a World Championship medal in Berlin. Her racing continues to improve and her finish is world class! We have a good shot at getting three women into the 1,500 meter final.
Christin Wurth Thomas had a smile from side of her face to the other: " The goal was to make the team, and I did. If one person caught me, that was fine, three make the team!"
For Anna Willard, who was running both the 1,500 meters and steeplechase, the key here was to make the team in both events. Terrance Mahon, her coach, told us this weekend, as we met in the hotel lobby, that "getting Anna through the rounds was key."
The quality of US distance running has continued to improve and this team should be quite impressive in Berlin.
Women 1500 Meter Run
World: W 3:50.46 9/11/1993 Yunxia Qu, CHN
American: A 3:57.12 7/26/1983 Mary Slaney, Athletics West
Hayward: S 3:59.19 1984 Mary Slaney, USA
Name Year Team Finals
1 Shannon Rowbury Nike 4:05.07
2 Christin Wurth Nike 4:06.00
3 Anna Willard Nike 4:07.70
4 Erin Donohue Nike 4:08.96
5 Treniere Clement Nike 4:09.10
6 Lauren Centrowitz Stanford 4:11.21
7 Heidi Dahl East Tenn St 4:11.58
8 Molly Lehman Duke 4:12.13
9 Amy Mortimer Reebok 4:12.94
10 Margaret Infeld Georgetown 4:13.25
11 Sarah Bowman Tennessee 4:16.29
12 Lauren Hagans unattached 4:17.05
For more on our sport, click http://www.american-trackandfield.com