Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deresse Mekonnen to face Bernard Lagat at Millrose; Preview of UW men's distance squad...

Seven-time Wanamaker Mile champion Bernard Lagat will have to defeat the man who outsprinted him for silver at the 2009 IAAF World Championships 1,500 meters when he goes for a record eighth Wanamaker title at the 103rd Millrose Games in NewYork.

The 2007 world champion and two-time Olympic medalist in the 1,500m, Lagat finished third at the 2009 World Championship in Berlin behind Deresse Mekonnen (left, leading Lagat/photo by Paul Merca) of Ethiopia in a furious final sprint. On January 29 at Madison Square Garden, Lagat will have an opportunity to seek revenge against Mekonnen, as well as Millrose history.

The 2007 World Outdoor 1,500m and 5,000m champion, Lagat won his seventh Wanamaker Mile title at last year's Millrose Games, which tied all-time Irish legend and "Chariman of the Boards" Eamonn Coghlan for the most wins ever in that prestigious event.

The reigning World Indoor 1,500m champion, Mekonnen had a strong 2009 campaign, ending the season ranked #4 in the world by Track & Field News. In Berlin last summer, Lagat was boxed in on the rail during the men's 1,500m final. He broke out in the final straightaway, moving from fifth to third to finish in 3:36.20 behind Mekonnen's sliver in 3:36.01. Lagat went on to win the 5,000m silver medal, ending the decade with a combined total of seven World Championship and Olympic Games medals.

The full release from USA Track & Field can be read here...

In advance of Saturday's UW Indoor Preview meet at the Dempsey, the University of Washington is releasing a multi-part preview of its team.

Part one previews its mens' distance squad, fresh off a 18th place finish at last fall's NCAA cross country championships.

Head Coach Greg Metcalf has a lot of depth to play with at the long distances this season, but the middle distances will feel the absence left by six-time All-American Austin Abbott, and will need freshmen and sophomores to take steps to be competitive on the conference and regional levels.

The link to the full story on the Washington men's distance squad is here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field & the University of Washington contributed to this report.

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