USATF News & Notes: 3/12/2004

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    Ryan
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    A little late with this one but better late than never…I hope…

    Keflezighi to defend USA 15 km title at Gate River Run

    Olympians Meb Keflezighi and Colleen De Reuck headline the fields for the USA 15 km Championships Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. For the 11th consecutive year, the Gate River Run will host the national championship and like past editions, strong U.S. fields – which include six Olympians and 13 national champions – are expected to compete for the road titles and $52,000 in USA Championship prize money.

    New at the River Run is the “Equalizer Bonus,” awarding $5,000 to the first male or female to cross the finish line, with the top-seeded women starting 5 minutes before the men. The head start was based on the five minute difference between the course and U.S. records by four-time champion Deena Drossin 47:15 (2003) and five-time champion Todd Williams 42:22 (1995).

    Last year, Deena Drossin four-peated in 47:15 to break her American record and establish the second fastest all-time 15 km performance, while fellow Mammoth Lakes, Calif. resident Keflezighi three-peated with his 43:31.

    This year, Keflezighi, 28, fresh off his second place performance at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Birmingham, Ala., is the race favorite again. In 2002 and 2003, the UCLA graduate won five and three national titles respectively. In 2002, the 2000 Olympic Trials 10,000 meter champion set the U.S. 10,000m record (27:13.98) and in 2003, the Team Running USA athlete added the U.S. 20K record (58:57) at New Haven.

    In the USA Women’s Championship, Colleen De Reuck, 39, from Boulder, Colo., also is favored to win. This year, De Reuck has won the USA 8 km Cross Country title and the Halliburton Half-Marathon in 1:10:55. The 2002 World Cross Country Championships bronze medalist, who has also won the past two USA Running Circuit Grand Prix titles, finished third last year at the River Run. The three-time Olympian from South Africa became a U.S. citizen in December 2000.

    The 27th Gate River Run is part of the 2004 USA Running Circuit, a USA Track & Field road series that features USA Championships from the 5 km to the marathon and offers over $820,000 in prize money. Per USARC race, the first 10 U.S. runners earn points (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1) with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6000, $4000 and $2500) for the top three men and women. In 2003, the second largest 15 km in the country had 7,153 finishers. For more information, visit the Gate River Run website at: http://www.gate-riverrun.com

    NCAA Indoor Championships begin Friday

    The 2004 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships begin Friday in all three divisions, headlined by the NCAA Division I Championships March 12-13 at the University of Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

    Last year, sprinter Muna Lee led the Louisiana State University Lady Tigers to their second consecutive women’s team title by becoming the first woman in nine years to win the 60m/200m double. Lee broke the 21-year-old collegiate indoor 200m record with her time of 22.49. She won the 60m title by coming from behind in 7.17 to edge Jamaican Elva Goulbourne of Auburn (7.24), who earlier won the long jump and triple jump.

    The LSU women finished with 62 points, with Florida and South Carolina tied in the runner-up spot with 44. The Lady Tigers won their 10th NCAA indoor title and 24th overall track championship under coach Pat Henry.

    In men’s competition last year, the host Arkansas Razorbacks easily won their 17th indoor championship and 37th track or cross country title for coach John McDonnell. The Hogs ran away with the team competition with 52 points for their first NCAA title since 2000. Auburn was a distant runner-up with 28 points, and Nebraska was third with 26 points.

    The NCAA Division II Championships again will take place at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston where last year St. Augustine’s easily won the women’s team title with 73 points, while Abilene Christian successfully defended its men’s team crown with 58 points. Abilene Christian was a distant runner-up in the women’s competition with 53 points followed by 2002 national champion North Dakota State with 41 points. Abilene Christian narrowly held on to the men’s title, with runner-up Western State finishing just four points behind. Cal State Bakersfield was third with 34 points.

    The NCAA Division III Championships will take place at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater after the Wheaton (Massachusetts) College women’s team won its fifth consecutive crown last year at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Wheaton totaled 54 points in winning its fifth straight championship in only the ninth season of the program. Lehman College was the runner-up with 48 points, followed by Williams College (3rd-42 points) and Wisconsin-Oshkosh (4th-41 points).

    The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse men’s team won its third straight title at last year’s championships, and its 10th overall, winning the crown with a Division III record total of 71 points. Wisconsin-Oshkosh was the runner-up with 34 points, giving Wisconsin-LaCrosse the largest victory margin ever in Division III Championships competition. Nebraska Wesleyan was third with 27 points, with Gustavus Adolphus fourth with 23.

    For complete NCAA Indoor Championships coverage, visit http://www.ncaachampionships.org.

    USOC announces Hall of Fame candidates

    The United States Olympic Committee has announced the return of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, along with a list of finalists eligible to become members of the Class of 2004. The Hall, inactive since 1992, will announce the induction of six individual athletes, one team and one paralympian on July 1 in Chicago.

    This year’s individual finalists include track & field stars Evelyn Ashford, Joan Benoit, Valerie Brisco, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Athletes from other sports include Greg Barton (Canoe/Kayak), Bruce Baumgartner (Wrestling), Matt Biondi (Swimming), Bonnie Blair (Speedskating), Jeff Blatnick (Wrestling), Oscar de la Hoya (Boxing), Janet Evans (Swimming), Rowdy Gaines (Swimming), Dan Jansen (Speedskating), Mary T. Meagher (Swimming), Shannon Miller (Gymnastics), Tracie Ruiz (Synchronized Swimming), John Smith (Wrestling) and Kristi Yamaguchi (Figure Skating).

    The team finalists are the 1976 Women’s Swimming 4x100m Freestyle Relay, the 1988 Women’s Track and Field 4x100m Relay, the 1992 Men’s Basketball team, the 1996 Women’s Soccer team, the 1996 Women’s Gymnastics squad and the 1998 Women’s Ice Hockey team.

    The Hall’s nominating committee also will select a veteran, an Olympian who competed 12 Olympiads (48 years) prior to the ceremony, and a special contributor, one who has demonstrated extraordinary service to enhancing the Olympic Movement in the United States, to be honored.

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