Friday, March 5, 2010

What's Galen Rupp doing at the UW Last Chance meet?

While perusing the start lists for Saturday's UW Last Chance Qualifier meet, the name that jumped out was one Galen Rupp (left/photo by Paul Merca), who is entered in the mile and the 800.

Normally, I wouldn't question it, except that the majority of Team USA's World Indoor Championship squad, including 3000 meter champion and Washington State University hall-of-famer Bernard Lagat left for Doha, Qatar on Thursday.

Rupp, the 2009 Bowerman Award winner, 2008 Olympian, and two-time world championships competitor out of the University of Oregon, finished second to Lagat at last week's USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In fact, according to tweets posted by among others, Sara Hall, Kerron Clement, Allyson Felix, and Lagat, the majority of them assembled in Washington, DC on Thursday for the flight to Qatar.

According to Ken Goe of the Oregonian, Rupp will indeed run both the 800 and mile Saturday, then leave for Amsterdam on Sunday, where he'll train for a few days before heading to Qatar.

Rupp is following a similar pattern that he did in late January when he ran both the mile and the 3000 at the UW Invitational (3:56.22/7:51.48) before heading to Boston to face Lagat at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games 5000, where he pushed Lagat to an American record 13:11.50, and broke his own indoor personal best and former American record, clocking 13:14.21.

Meanwhile, some events and athletes to watch Saturday include:

--men's 800. Besides Rupp, look for the top two finishers in the WAC conference meet, James Allred from Utah State & Josh Dalton from Idaho;

--women's mile. Emma Coburn, fifth in the Big 12 meet from Colorado, Shannon Murakami from UCLA, and Ashley Miller from Nebraska;

--men's mile. Rupp, along with Oregon's Scott Wall & AJ Acosta, Minnesota's Ben Blankenship the Big 10 champ, Summit League champ Cameron Levins, who broke 4 for the first time last month at the UW Invite;

--women's 3000 featuring Washington All-Americans Mel Lawrence & Kendra Schaaf; Summit League champ Sharla Manuele from Southern Utah, Tara Erdmann from Loyola Marymount, a NCAA track & cross country participant;

--men's 3000 with Wall from Oregon, MPSF scorer Alex Crabill from Tacoma, who attends UCLA, and the University of Portland trio of Alfred Kipchumba, Tommy Betterbed from Gig Harbor, and USA junior cross country champ Trevor Dunbar (Dunbar's redshirting indoors, but he's entered as an unattached athlete);

--women's high jump featuring Washington's Kelly McNamee against former Oregon standout Kalindra McFadden & WSU freshman Holly Parent, who was third in the MPSF meet;

--women's pole vault with three placers from last week's MPSF meet: Tori Pena (2d) from UCLA and her teammate Katy Viuf (t3rd), and Oregon's Jordan Roskelley; Olympic Trials participant Tori Anthony from UCLA; WAC champ K.C. Dahlgren from Idaho; and former NCAA participant Brooke Demo from Wichita State; and,

--men's pole vault featuring Pac-10 scorer Ryan Vu from UW; the top two finishers in the Mountain West indoor meet, Nick Frawley and Chase Cooper from Air Force; the Big Sky champ Michael Arnold from Idaho State; MPSF scorers Casey Roche from Stanford (3rd), Johnny Quinn (2nd) and Casey DiCesare from UCLA; and USC's NCAA participant Brandon Estrada (who is the son of CHIPS star Erik Estrada);

--and, women's weight throw, with Nicole Luckenbach, the Big Sky champ from Eastern Washington.

Many of the athletes named are on the cusp of securing their spots for next week's NCAA championships in Fayetteville, and are looking to improve their marks and positioning for the announcement early next week on who gets to go to nationals.

Action at the Dempsey gets underway at 11 am.

NOTE: WSU grad Diana Pickler is the leading contender as most of America's top multi-eventers assemble this weekend in Bloomington, Indiana for the USA Indoor Combined Events Championships.

Pickler, a two time indoor national champ in the pentathlon, looks to win her third title, and will face Olympian Sharon Day.

In the men's heptathlon, former Seattle Pacific standout Chris Randolph is among the entries.

You can read the USA Track & Field release here...

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