This is the second of two pieces we asked Cathal Dennehy to write about the Armory Track Invitational. I will say just this: it is a rarified world we live in, if an 8:17 two mile is unsatisfactory. But, when one is shooting for the stars, so it goes.
The Oregon Project: how they fared on their first assignment of 2015
The Nike Oregon Project sent a battalion of their best athletes to the Armory Track Invitational in New York on Saturday and, with it being their first major assignment of 2015, we put their performances under the microscope and played some guesswork with what grade they will have got from coach, mentor and all-round athletic teacher Alberto Salazar.
Cam Levins: A+
Cam Levins, photo by PhotoRun.net
It was the ultimate day for the Canadian, first taking a dominant victory in the men’s mile in 3:54.74, before coming back and duly crushing the field, which included his training partner Galen Rupp, in the two-mile just 30 minutes later, winning in 8:15.38. “I feel the strongest and the fittest I ever have,” said Levins afterwards, and it showed. “I thought in the two-mile I would get dropped by Galen, but I didn’t. I think I’m thriving under Alberto’s program, and it’s showing. Between races, I lay down and put my legs up, then jogged a couple of minutes, then did a couple of strides. Right now, the primary focus for the year will be the 10k, but who knows if that will change. This has to be one of my best days in running.”
Jordan Hasay: A
Jordan Hasay, Armory Invite, photo by Jeff Benjamin
Mr. Salazar certainly could have no complaints with one of his most promising protÃ©gÃ©es, Jordan Hasay, who won the women’s two-mile in 9:38.28. Indeed, Hasay’s run was one executed with a precision of which Salazar would be immensely proud. The 23-year-old stayed out of trouble throughout, tracking the leaders, then swept to the front 300m out and cranked the pace up to a level that had her competitors toiling. “My plan was to wait until the last 400, as we were trying to practise closing. I tried to really execute good form the last 300, and I was really pleased with how I did that. I’ll be back here for Millrose in two weeks running the mile.”
Mary Cain: B
Mary Cain, photo by Jeff Benjamin
Finishing fifth in the women’s 800m, running 2:02.75, was certainly an improvement on recent weeks for Mary Cain, but it was a run that will no doubt have left plenty of room for more. Cain, a world junior champion last year over 3,000m, found the speed of the half-mile specialists too hot to handle, but as she said afterwards, she is relishing the chance to make the step back up in distance. “I can’t wait to get back in the 1500, where I know what the hell I’m doing,” she said. “Alberto said it was pretty good, but I’m disappointed with how it went,” she said. “My strongest discipline is the speed aspect of the 1500m, but the second I’m thrown in with the pure 800m runners, I struggle, and I need more race experience.”
Galen Rupp: F
Galen Rupp, photo by PhotoRun.net
No getting away from it: this wasn’t good. The look on Alberto Salazar’s face as he watched his star protÃ©gÃ© remove his spikes said it all afterwards; it was a look somewhere between confusion and concern. Rupp finished a fading fourth in the men’s two-mile in 8:17.24, beaten comfortably by his training partner Cam Levins. We asked Salazar afterwards if all was well with Rupp’s health and, half-shrugging off the question, Salazar said: “he’s just not ready, that’s all.” Indeed, that seemed in evidence an hour or so later, as Rupp completed a lengthy workout on the Armory track under Salazar’s watchful eye. Given that there was no apparent physical ailment present, though, will perhaps give Rupp and Salazar more cause for concern than if he was actually sick or injured. Either way, this was a race they will both be keen to forget in a hurry.
Matt Centrowitz: A+
Matt Centrowitz, photo by PhotoRun.net
Running the opening 1200m leg for the American team, Centrowitz essentially ended the race as a contest with a solo run of 2:49.47, almost three seconds clear of his closest competitor. Centrowitz looked at his brilliant best as he reeled off six laps unaccompanied by any athletes and running with the clockwork fluidity that has become his trademark. If this was anything to go on, the 25-year-old could be set for a big year.
Treniere Moser: A-
Treniere Moser, photo by PhotoRun.net
It was hard to fault the run of Moser, who quite simple didn’t have the legs to match her more accomplished rival, Ajee Wilson, over the last-lap burn-up. The 33-year-old, though, showed that her winter training has obviously gone well when finishing second in the 800m in 2:01.79, and Moser showed enough closing speed to suggest she could be a real threat over 1500m later this season.