Rowbury, Tegenkamp, Wurth-Thomas and Myers Win USA Indoor Titles

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    Ryan
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    BOSTON – (February 23-24, 2008) – Shannon Rowbury won her first Open national title in the women's 3000 meter Saturday night, as three of four distance finals were contested at the 2008 AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships here at the Reggie Lewis Center. In addition to the national championships, the meet will select the U.S. team for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain on March 7-9.

    Rowbury, who is coached by John Cook and training with Shalane Flanagan and Erin Donohue in North Carolina, sat back as Kristin Anderson took the early pace, and stayed back around fourth in the pack as Team Running USA athlete Jen Rhines took over the pace from Anderson. Rhines led the pack through the first two kilometers in 3:01.58 and 6:02.90.

    With a bit more than two laps remaining, Donohue moved to take over the lead. Rowbury, the 2007 NCAA indoor mile champion and runner-up at this distance, reacted immediately, blasting to the front and opening an immediate lead on both Rhines and Donohue and following up with a sub-30 final 200m to finish in 8:55.19, a seven second PR.

    Two-time Olympian Rhines met Donohue's challenge as well, and held off another from Julie Culley to finish second in 8:59.98, with Culley third in 9:00.14.

    “I wanted to just stick with the pack and see what I had at the end,” Rowbury explained. “I was surprised that I felt so comfortable with it. I don't know what's going to happen with Worlds now; I still have to get the Olympic standard [for the 5000m], so I need to discuss this with my coach.”

    “I planned to push harder,” said Rhines. “I'd been planning on going to the World Indoor Championships, but I'll have to re-evaluate. I wasn't in the form I wanted to be in today, so we'll have to see if it still makes sense to go to Worlds. I didn't have the speed to burn more people off in the middle.”

    Men's 3000m
    Like the women's race, the men's 3000 meter would be decided by strong moves in the final laps, but unlike the women, the men lacked a strong pacesetter in the middle laps, and the final times were relatively unimpressive. ChrisSolinsky shadowed a procession of early pacemakers through kilometers of 2:50 and 5:36, with teammate Matt Tegenkamp, 26, far back in the pack, but when Solinsky bid for the lead he found Tegenkamp right on his shoulder.

    “Sometimes when you get passed, it's easy to give up on the race,” Solinsky said. “Tonight, I really tried to hang on as long as I could.”

    Tegenkamp's closing laps were too strong for even Solinsky's resolve, with the last 400 meters coming in 56 seconds. Tegenkamp, fourth by .01s in the 5000m in last year's World Championships, won in 8:02.52 with Solinsky second in 8:03.80.

    “I need to stay focused and not get ahead of myself,” said Tegenkamp about the coming year, where he'll face World 5000m Champion Bernard Lagat before even reaching the Olympics. “The Trials is going to be a real challenge. I'm in an early phase of my training now, and there's a lot more to come this summer.”

    Women's 1500m
    Christin Wurth-Thomas' mile PR last week at the Tyson Invitational made her the favorite for the women's 1500 meter, and she delivered on that expectation forcefully with five laps remaining. Wurth-Thomas, 27, went essentially unchallenged from there, winning her first-ever national title in 4:14.21 to Jenelle Deatherage's 4:17.38. Sara Hall of Team Running USA was third in 4:19.23.

    “I feel good, but I have a long way to go,” said Wurth. “We're going after the Russians, and I'm going after the [1500m Olympic] “A” standard indoors at the Worlds. This year, we've been going in with a lot of confidence. You need to in this sport.”

    Men's 1500m
    Rob Myers won his second USA Indoor 1500 meter title on Sunday evening here at the Reggie Lewis Center, taking the lead for good with 400 meters to go. Myers, the 2004 champion, was just .09 slower than his meet-record 3:40.80 from that year, winning in 3:40.89. Russell Brown was national runner-up in 3:41.20.

    Myers, 27, followed early leader Kalpanatic Broderick through a 1:59.82 800 meter split before taking the lead with two laps to go. Myers then had to fight off the challenges of everyone else hoping for a late-race kicker's victory, but his 55 second closing 400 (28 and 27 seconds for the closing two laps) was enough to keep him clear.

    Stanford redshirt Brown, from Hanover, N.H., wound up following Myers to the line, just pipping Steve Sherer (third, 3:41.52). Brown will join Myers on the World Indoor team.

    Myers credited a return to strength work for his second U.S. title. After winning as an Ohio State senior in 2004, Myers has stuck with Coach Robert Gary and this year is training with steeplechaser Brian Olinger and Dan Huling in Columbus.

    “I sharpened up a little this week, but I haven't sacrificed any of my training for outdoors,” Myers continued. “It doesn't take a lot to be able to change gears the way you need to [in the mile], at least for me, and I was more confident because I felt strong.”

    AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
    World Championship Team Qualifier – Valencia, Spain
    Boston, MA, Sat-Sun, Feb 23-24, 2008

    Saturday
    Women's 3000m
    1) Shannon Rowbury (NC), 8:55.19, $2500
    2) Jen Rhines (CA), 8:59.98, $1500
    3) Julie Culley (MD), 9:00.14, $500
    4) Katie McGregor (MN), 9:03.34
    5) Erin Donohue (NC), 9:07.88

    Men's 3000m
    1) Matt Tegenkamp (WI), 8:02.52, $2500
    2) Chris Solinsky (WI), 8:03.80, $1500
    3) Jonathon Riley (WI), 8:04.86, $500
    4) Kyle King (NC), 8:07.11
    5) Bolota Asmerom (OR), 8:07.16

    Women's 1500m
    1) Christin Wurth-Thomas (AR), 4:14.21, $2500
    2) Jenelle Deatherage (MN), 4:17.38, $1500
    3) Sara Hall (CA), 4:19.23, $500
    4) Tiffany McWilliams (AL), 4:21.82
    5) Amy Mortimer (RI), 4:22.11

    Sunday
    Men's 1500m
    1) Rob Myers (OH), 3:40.89, $2500
    2) Russell Brown (CA), 3:41.20, $1500
    3) Steve Sherer (CA), 3:41.52, $500
    4) William Leer (OR), 3:41.94
    5) Grant Robison (MI), 3:42.81

    Full results at: http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/USAIndoorTFChampionships

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