Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bernard Lagat gets yet another USA national indoor title...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--The old man still has it!

In one of the most highly anticipated races of day one at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Washington State University alumnus Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) unleashed a 26 second final lap over the 200 meter Albuquerque Convention Center track to win yet another national title in the 3000 meters, running 7:47.54.

In what was hyped as the Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat match-up in the 3000m didn’t play out as most would have expected.

Rupp, Lagat and Lopez Lomong led the pack and quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the men in the field. However, with 700m to go, Rupp began to show signs that he was laboring and began to fade back from Lagat and Lomong.

While the two men entered the bell lap together, Lagat unleashed his signature kick and soared over the final 200m in only 26 seconds. Lomong took the runner-up spot in 7:51.75, while Rupp finished third in 7:57.36.

Afterwards, Lagat, who is the defending world champion in the 3000, and who plans to go to Istanbul, Turkey for the world championships in two weeks, said, “I came to the last lap and I thought ‘why not?’ I felt good. I came down Thursday and did a run and everything was feeling good. Every time I come here I feel so good. I felt like if I could outlast everyone at the end I would have it. I am the defending world champion and I want to be able to do it again.”

In other events, two-time world championships team member Michael Mai, who was based at Joint Base Lewis McChord before joining the Army World Class Athlete Program, finished second in the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of 78-5 1/2 (23.91m).

Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek had the second fastest time in the 800 meter prelims, running 1:48.88, while Seattle resident Kevin Hicks, who represents the Self Esteem Through Athletics club, had the third fastest at 1:49.13. Both advanced to Sunday's finals.

In the women's 3000, won by reigning world outdoor 1500 meter champ Jenny Simpson in 9:19.15, Washington State alum Collier Lawrence finished seventh in 9:50.42, while Club Northwest's Lois Keller was one place behind at 10:05.21.

Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama finished fifth in the women's triple jump with a best of 44-2 1/2 (13.47m).

The meet concludes Sunday, with action available online via media partner runnerspace.com from 11am-3:10 pm pacific time, and on ESPN from 4:30pm to 6:30 pm, pacific.

Results from the USA Indoor Championships are available here.

COLLEGE RUNDOWN:

At the Westwood Sports & Fitness Complex in Sterling, Illinois, five different Seattle University athletes earned second place finishes as day one of the Great West Conference indoor championships got underway.

In the women's long jump, Katie Tougas finished second with a top effort of 5.38 meters (17' 8"), just one-quarter of an inch behind event winner Morgan Pressley of Houston Baptist.

The next close calls for Seattle U came in the 5000 meter run, as sophomore Hannah Mittelstaedt finished second in the women's race with a time of 17:40.90, just over four seconds behind Angela Baker of Utah Valley.

In the men's race, Erik Barkhaus finished second by just over four seconds with a time of 14:43.42, only 9/10ths of a second off the school record he set two weeks ago.

The women's distance medley relay team of Jennifer Stolle, Meeghan Bergmann, Sarah Bolce, and Sophie Curatilo finished second with a time of 12:27.02, only 5/100ths of a second behind Houston Baptist.

The men's distance medley relay quartet of Dan Auld, Zachary Schlachter, Collin Overbay, and Kelton Sears were only 41/100ths of a second behind the team from Texas-Pan American, finishing second with a school-record time of 10:25.41, almost nine full seconds faster than the previous mark.

You can read SeattleU's release here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and Seattle University's sports information office contributed to this report.

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