Shalane Flanagan lead the whole way,
photo by PhotoRun.net
Rupp, Derrick, Ritzenhein, after the break, three laps to go,
photo by PhotoRun.net
David Hunter wrote this piece about Day One's 10,000 meter races and gave us some insights into Mary Cain and Treniere Moser....
June 20, 2013
Des Moines, Iowa
As the shadows lengthened and dusk descended upon the Midwest, distance stars Shalane Flanagan and Galen Rupp closed an exciting opening day of the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships by doing what they were expected to do: ringing up impressive wins in the 10,000 meter runs.
Flanagan was all business. Undaunted by the 84 degree start temperature and on pace from the starting gun, the American 10,000 meter record holder made it clear there would be no dawdling warm-up laps this evening. After an opening circuit in 71 seconds, only fellow Olympian and training partner Kara Goucher and newly-minted Nike pro Jordan Hasay dared book passage on the Shalane Train. Amy Hastings, a 10,000 finalist in London, headed up a tidy chase pack. By the 3600 meter mark, Flanagan had dispatched all competitors. Her race rhythm - just a smidgen over 5:00 per mile pace - had gapped Goucher who was sliding backwards toward Hastings' chase pack which included Hasay and Tara Erdmann. The chase pack trio gobbled up a fading Goucher with just over two miles remaining. With 4 laps remaining, Hastings - unable to hold on - slid off the chase pack as Hasay and Erdmann - running efficiently and working together by switching leads - pressed on. While Flanagan - nearly 200 meters ahead - race unchallenged for the victory in a stadium-record 31:43.20, Hasay - employing the same ill-fated move that failed her in the NCAA Championships - surged ahead of Erdmann just before the final lap. But this time Hasay's tactic worked. Powering over the final circuit, a smiling Hasay [32.17.34] put nearly 7 seconds on Erdmann [32:24.16] over the last 400 as the pair finished 2-3. Hastings - possessor of the all-important "A" standard while Hasay and Erdmann currently lack any qualifying times - finished 4th in 32:31.28. Alberto Salazar - their coach - was unfazed as he calmly laid out the task ahead. Discussing the race that will be set up to allow Hasay and Erdmann to "chase" the requisite standards needed to get them to Moscow, Salazar added, "We need one girl to run 31:44 [making the A standard] and the other girl to run 32:04 [making the B standard] and they'll both get to go."
In the men's 10,000, the sultry racing conditions combined with respect for Olympic silver medalist and 4-time defending 10K titlist Galen Rupp combined to produce a most pedestrian race pace. Jake Riley found himself in the early lead and grudgingly obliged to undertake the pace chores while the ensuing mob strode gingerly along. As the laps unfolded, the mob remained as the major players - Dathan Ritzenhein, Chris Derrick, Ben True, and ultimately the defending champion - positioned themselves in the front seats of the lumbering pack. With six laps remaining, Ritzenhein - a 10,000 finalist in London - could wait no more. Moving to the front, Ritz took the field to Dathan's House Of Pain as he began a long punishing drive to the finish. One by one, the pack broke up as spent competitors - unable to hold on - littered the track in Ritz's wake. Ultimately, Rupp - working hard but with more to give - surged into the lead and locked up his 5th consecutive 10,000 meter national title. Rupp completed the sweltering chess match in 28:47.32, while Dathan - the cruel protagonist - finished second [28:49.66] and an exhausted Chris Derrick [28:52.25] held on for third.
Day One's other finals - all field events - produced no large surprises. Brittany Borman copped the javelin crown and achieved a "B" standard mark when her final throw sailed 60.91m / 199'10". Kansas' Andrea Geubelle - disappointed with her two 2nd place finishes in the NCAA horizontal jumps - claimed the long jump title with a 4th round leap of 14.03 / 46'½". Omar Craddock's "B" standard leap of 17.15m / 56'3" was good enough to turn back veteran triple jumper Will Claye [17.04m / 55'10¾"] and capture the triple jump crown. A life-time best first day by Sharon Day  will allow her to carry a 115 point lead over nemesis Bettie Wade  into the final day of the heptathlon.
The day offered qualifying heats which generally followed the form chart. But there were a few surprises. In the women's steeple, Olympian Emma Coburn was earlier forced to withdraw from the meet when a flare up of a lingering lower back injury - manageable during her NCAA win - caused her to withdraw.
In the men's 400, some mighty oaks were felled as revered members of the old order were first round casualties. Jeremy Wariner and Angelo Taylor - both of whom have several Olympic and World Championship gold medals - finished last in their heats. And NCAA champion Bryshon Nellum - nursing a recently-tweaked hammy - couldn't advance.
In the women's 100, first round casualties included former Olympian Marshevet Hooker and college sprint star and Bowerman Award winner Kimberlyn Duncan.
The mixed zone - a frenzied gathering of elated qualifiers, vanquished entrants, and harried journalists - offered a variety of great encounters and quotations:
Mary Cain - who ran like a wily veteran to advance easily in the 1500 - on being in the national meet: "It is amazing, you know. I hope to be doing a lot of these down the road. The better I am and the more familiar I am with heats and finals, the more comfortable I'll get."
More Cain on her cautious early positioning: "That was the plan. With two laps to go, move up."
Cain teammate and training partner Treniere Moser on the Cain/Moser Rupp/Farah comparison: "Yeah, we are reminded about it every day. We all go practice together and Galen and Mo are out there. It's hard to ignore. And sometimes Alberto will throw us in with them. He'll say 'you go with the guys." And we're like, 'But they're not normal guys.' But they take us to another level and I think that helps. It is more of a positive influence that they have on us."
More Cain on training with Alberto's professional troupe in Park City, Utah: "I guess I'm not technically on the club. But I'm feeling the love from all of them."
More Moser on the training match-up with Cain: "We used to see each other every couple of months. I've been in Park City Utah for two months, But now I have Cain coming in with me [at Park City, Utah]. Alberto really prepared us both. I'm better in the longer stuff and she [Cain] is really quick. So it's going to go complementary."
More Moser on Cain's development: "Oh my gosh, it's amazing. Just being a fan of track & field, I am just happy to be a part of this journey. She is doing something that no one has ever done and probably no one else will ever do. I am just happy to be along as an insider."
More Cain on choosing the event to run here: "I would never have attempted a double here. I wouldn't do that. That's too much. The 800 is kinda freaky. For all I know, the 800 may be my event. I have no idea."
400 warrior Natasha Hastings on her good showing in round one: "It felt pretty good. It was real windy on the home stretch. My plan is get through tomorrow and do my job comfortably. It felt great out there. Besides the wind, the temperature was great."
Defending 400 champion and Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross on her recovery from big toe surgery: "Today was good. I am really happy at least to be able to block out the pain of my toe and run a full race today. It was a little tough. The first one's always tough. So hopefully I will be ice-packed and freshened up for tomorrow."
More SRR on managing the pain: "It is different pain that I have had in the past. Now I can actually feel the bones. It's a little excruciating. But time is not waiting for me, so I just have to go. Today the pain was manageable, but I can still feel it. And so I am really trying to stay in my head and not focus too much on the toe and focus on execution and try to get it done this weekend."
SRR reading the tea leaves: "I want to predict that I'm going to make the team. I think Francena [McCrory] will run well and so will Natasha [Hastings] and [Ashley] Spencer - the college girl. So we'll see. I want to be in that top three. I don't really feel nervous about it. A bit little anxious, but I feel good out there. I have great confidence as the Olympic champion. But I am anxious to see how it is going to end."
400 gladiator Monteo Mitchell on qualifying from lane 8: "Going into the race, I was in lane 8. I was out on an island, man. I threw all my strategy out the window and I turned to a "No Butt Cheeks" clause which meant that if I saw no butt cheeks for the first 350, I'd get in the top three. I know it sounds crazy, but that's what I went out there and did. I ran smart. I ran smooth. And I'm not really that tired. The wind was a little tough in the home stretch with the headwind. I felt pretty good. I'll go back to the hotel and recover and get ready for tomorrow."
More Mitchell on legendary stars not advancing: "It's kind of sad when see legends go down in the first round, but you know that's just life some time. Bad things happen and you have to be able to bounce back from them."
Bryshon Nellum, non-qualifier in the 400: "I've had a long season. I tweaked my hamstring last week in practice. And I've done a lot of rehabing and therapy thinking I was going to be healthy by the time I came here. Unfortunately, I needed a couple more days. And I didn't get it. I had a great season. I came back to college to win a [collegiate] national championship. And I accomplished that goal. When I get back healthy, look out. Because I am going to be ready."
Kara Goucher on the possibility of being named to the national World Championship team: "I really would like to go. It's a dream to never miss a team as long as I am competing, so I really want to go. But I don't feel like I deserve to. So I feel very confused."
More Kara on attempting to match Flanagan's ambitious pace: "Oh God. I was too cocky for sure!"
Amy Hastings - 10,000 4th place finisher and possessor of an "A" standard time, on the A/B system: "They have this system and it won't change how I race at all. I am going to out there and I am going race as hard as I can. We're just racers at this level and we all want to run as hard as we can and place as high as we can."
Jordan Hasay on this race as redemption after NCAA loss and her new status as a professional: "This is not so much redemption. This is really great giving me a fresh start as a professional. It was an opportunity for me to get on a really good streak. This is not college any more. This is professional. I am trying to be serious, but I still feel like a little kid out there."
Tara Erdmann on chasing the requisite standard needed to get to Moscow: "We're going to rest. And we'll have something set up to chase the standard. And we'll go after it, for sure. Probably in Portland."
Shalane Flanagan on the 10,000 pacing: "Kara and I wanted to establish a presence and just let people know we weren't messing around. I didn't know what pace to expect given the conditions. So I just let my body gravitate to whatever pace that was per lap. I found a good rhythm at 77 seconds per lap."
More Flanagan on the importance of national titles: "It is important to me. Winning national titles are important because it is the step toward the next level. It is important to win national titles, to inspire, to motivate people. I love the competition, the atmosphere, and it is important to be a part of it."
Ben True, 4th place finisher in the 10,000, about enduring Ritz's brutal long grind to the finish: "Three laps to go, I was cooked. I was just trying to stay on my feet and get fourth. I was able to do that. At least I'm the alternate."
Dathan Ritzenhein on his closing strategy: "Alberto told me he didn't want me to go until a mile to go. He told me, 'You can run under 3:56 right now.' It's nice going in knowing that I have that kind of speed. It's hard. It's a hard way to break people. You have to break them one by one. And that's what I was trying to do. It was as much pain as I could make it. And I was just trying to keep the hammer down. I was trying to get everyone - Galen too. But he really closes hard over the last lap."
Galen Rupp on the race: "The pace was slow as expected. I was just trying to sit back and try to conserve as much energy as possible." On winning 5 10K titles in a row: "It's great. I want to keep it rolling as long as I can. It's fun winning national championships. It's of very high importance."