By Jack Pfeifer
Photos by Tim Fulton and Kim Spir
EUGENE, Ore. – Galen Rupp won the men’s 10,000 meters at the USATF national championships Thursday night, before adoring hometown fans here at the University of Oregon. It came just two weeks after he won both the 5k and 10k for the Oregon Ducks in their vain attempt to win the NCAA team championship in Arkansas.
Rupp, wearing the Oregon singlet for the final time, had won a remarkable indoor triple in March – the 3k, 5k and anchoring the DMR – in leading Oregon to that NCAA team championship, and also won the NCAA cross country title last fall for the winning Ducks.
Oregonians won all three spots on the U.S. team in the race and also finished 1-2 in the women’s race.
In the men’s race, Dathan Ritzenhein, who recently moved to Eugene, finished 2nd, and Tim Nelson, who moved from Wisconsin to Portland, Ore., last year, was 3rd, just ahead of Jim Carney, who attended tiny Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
The women’s 10,000 was won by Amy Yoder Begley, who upset last year’s Olympic Trials champion, Shalane Flanagan. Begley ran 31:22.69, a personal best and a new Hayward Field record, breaking the record Flanagan set a year ago. Begley and Flanagan are both Portland residents.
Two Juniors events were contested on Day 1. In the day’s lone final, Jack Whitt (North HS, Norman, Okla.), won the pole vault, clearing 17-2 ¾.
In the boys’ decathlon, Curtis Beach (Academy, Albuquerque) – who set national records in his earlier two decathlons this spring – was in the lead after the first five events, with 3,974 points, 144 points ahead of Gray Horn, a freshman at Florida.
It was his first time at Hayward Field.
“I knew just being at Hayward Field it would be really cool just to be here, and I really felt that,” Beach said. “In the high jump, where everyone was clapping and everyone was looking at me, it was just amazing. I have seen Hayward on TV, but to be here and experience it first-hand was just amazing. I love the people of Eugene, they are the best fans ever.”
Beach’s first-day performances were 11.10w in the 100, 22-11 ¼ in the long jump, 39-1 ¾ with the Juniors shot (6 kilos), 6-8 ¾ high jump and 48.76 in the 400.
“Today was solid,” Beach said. “Nothing extraordinary, but it was solid. Solid scores are how you get a good decathlon score. I feel good. It’s not the best I’ve done. I have done better in other decathlons, but I feel good.”
Two high school athletes competed in the Seniors competition on Thursday.
In the women’s discus, Anna Jelmini (Shafter, Calif.), finished 7th, throwing 187-9, close to the national high school record she set this spring at 190-3.
Jordan Hasay (Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo, Calif.), who became the darling of last year’s Olympic Trials here by setting the national high school record in the 1,500 meters, did not have the same success here this year. Hasay, who recently won her 4th consecutive California state championship in the 3,200 meters and who has signed with Oregon for college, finished last (10th) in Heat II, in 4:19.61, 5 seconds slower than the record time she recorded a year ago.
In Seniors qualifying, New Yorkers Natasha Hastings and Shana Cox both advanced to the semifinals in the women’s 400, along with the favorite, Sanya Richards. Hastings won Heat III in 52.16, while Cox was 4th in that race in 52.90.
In a surprise, two New Yorkers also moved on in the women’s IH. Nicole Dumpson, running for LeMans Track Club, and Fawn Dorr of Penn State both advanced out of Heat I.
Dumpson finished 4th in that heat in 57.72, a lifetime best, while Dorr got the final qualifying spot on time, 58.88. Dumpson, 26, won the state high school pentathlon for Schreiber High School in Port Washington in 1999 and later competed for Central Connecticut. Last summer she was USATF club champion in the 400 (54.07) and the 400 hurdles (58.05).
In the first round of the 100 meters, all of the expected qualifiers advanced to the semifinals. Times were quite fast thanks in part to a steady over-the-allowable tailwind.
The person who ran the fastest time of the day, Tyson Gay, is not expected to see any further action in these championships. Gay ran an extremely fast time of 9.75, with an aiding wind of 3.4 meters per second. (Usain Bolt’s world record is 9.69.) “I ran a horrible race,” Gay said, inexplicably. “I know I had the right rhythm, but I didn’t feel that in the race.”
Because Gay is the defending world champion in the 100 and 200, he gets a pass into this year’s World Championships, to be held in Berlin in August. This meet is the U.S. qualifying meet for those championships. Gay was only required to compete in this meet in order to gain admission to the U.S. team. Asked if he would run further, Gay said, “No, I don’t think so. This has been the plan for a month or so. I’m just trying to stay healthy and get ready for the World Championships.”
In all, seven runners broke 10.00, led by Gay, Michael Rodgers (9.92w) and Darvis Patton (9.92w).
In the women’s 100, Carmelita Jeter led qualifiers, running 10.88w. “I’m just relaxing and trying to get on to the next round,” she said. Allyson Felix, reigning world champion in the 200, also advanced in the 100. “It went OK,” Felix said. “I wanted to work on some speed work.”
New Yorkers Sean Tully (Syosett, NY) and Gered Burns both advanced to the semifinals of the men’s 800. Tully, competing unattached, ran 1:48.44, Burns (NYAC) 1:48.75. In that event, one of the favorites, Andrew Wheating of the hometown Oregon Ducks, withdrew. He was reported to be on crutches with a calf injury.
In the women’s high jump, Carin Knight of UConn (and New Rochelle, NY) finished 11th, former Husky Deirdre Mullen 5th. Priscilla Frederick of St. John’s failed to clear her opening height of 5-10.