Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekend preview: Lagat to open with two meets in Germany & NYC; Berry receives Bowerman votes; Edinburgh XC Saturday...

39-year old Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) will open his 2014 indoor season with a pair of meets in Germany and New York.

Lagat, the reigning world indoor champion at 3000 meters, will run that distance on February 1st at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe against the Kenyan duo of Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi, whom the Washington State alum defeated en route to the world indoor title two years ago in Istanbul.

Two weeks later, Lagat will drop down in distance to 2000 meters at the 107th Millrose Games at the Armory in New York, where he'll face 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 1500 meters Nick Willis of New Zealand in the inaugural Paavo Nurmi 2000.

"I'm looking forward to coming back again to the Millrose Games in February - 2000m is a new distance for me indoors, and that's exciting," said Lagat, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist at 1500m. "I've had two great runs at The Armory the last two years and hope for another one this year.

Finland's Paavo Nurmi was one of the greatest distance runners in history. An Olympic gold medalist in 1920, 1924, and 1928, Nurmi became known world-wide as the 'Flying Finn.' In 1925, Nurmi traveled to New York City, where he set a world record for 2000 meters at The Armory during a prolific indoor racing series.

The Paavo Nurmi 2000 meters will also feature Evan Jager (Portland, Ore.), the American record holder in the 3000m steeplechase; Canadian Olympian and former NCAA champion Cam Levins; and American Junior record holder German Fernandez (Portland, Ore.) Finnish national champion Niclas Sandells is entered as well.

With the official start of the 2014 collegiate indoor season this weekend (no Washington schools are in action), the USTFCCCA released earlier this week its Bowerman Award Watch List for the Pre-Season.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon received votes for the Watch List, which is determined by a four person panel that submits a rank-ordered top 10 list. The 10 athletes (both men and women) who receive the most votes are included in the season-long Watch List.

Athletes who received votes but didn't make the top-10 list are listed by the USTFCCCA.

Athletes from the Pac-12 who are on the Bowerman Watch List include Arizona's Lawi Lalang, UCLA's Julian Wruck,  Oregon's Phyllis Francis and Laura Roesler, Arizona State's Anna Jelmini, and Colorado's Shalaya Kipp.

Finally,  Sequim native Stephanie (Marcy) Dinius, Lakewood's Joe Gray, and the Spokane trio of Tanner Anderson, Taylor Wilmot, and John Dressel will race in Saturday's BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Edinburgh's famed Holyrood Park.

Dinius will run in the senior women's race, while Gray competes in the senior men's race.

High school preps Tanner Anderson, Taylor Wilmot, and John Dressel are all entered in the junior men's race.

The BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race will be streamed live via starting at 5:15 am Saturday, with action from the two senior races, and the invitational men's 4k race featuring a matchup between Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya's Asbel Kiprop.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field, the IAAF, the USTFCCCA, and the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race organizers contributed to this report.

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