Sunday, June 28, 2015

Nick Symmonds wins another national 800m title & tows teammate Cas Loxsom to third...

Nick Symmonds reacts as he approaches the finish line
to win another USA outdoor 800m title
(Paul Merca photo)
EUGENE--At last week’s Brooks PR Invitational, Nick Symmonds told the assembled media that it wasn’t enough to get to the USA national championships, but it was “about making teams.”

Symmonds’ words proved prophetic, as on Sunday at Hayward Field, he won yet another USA national championship at 800 meters, and in the process, helped pull teammate Cas Loxsom to a third place finish and a spot on the plane to Beijing.

After Duane Solomon took out the early pace with Loxsom tucked behind Solomon up front, Symmonds, the 2013 world championships silver medalist was tucked in towards the back of the pack, as they went through 400 meters in 49.76, with Symmonds at 51.27.

Symmonds made his move exiting the south turn, picking his way through a 26.24 third 200, then turned the jets on as they exited the Bowerman Curve to win in a season best 1:44.53.

“Last year, I watched this meet from my couch and contemplated retirement.  But Brooks Running said that we need you and that coach Danny Mackey said, ‘we can get you back on the podium’”

“If Duane Solomon goes out in 49 and 1:16, he’s gonna take some people that might not be able to hang on to him.  So if Duane is gonna make the race honest, it helps me out.”

Loxsom, who was especially pleased at making his first major international team, said, “I think that Danny did a great job preparing us for this meet.”

Asked to elaborate about Mackey, he said, “He’s such an underrated coach.  He is really one of those guys who is a student of the sport.  I think that our team is moving in a positive direction.”

Father time caught up to the ageless wonder, Bernard Lagat, as he finished tenth in the men’s 5000 on the final day of competition at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.

The 40-year old Lagat was in striking distance for most of the race, but in the last 350 meters of the race, the final gear that fans were used to seeing was not there.

When asked about what it would be like to not be on a national team, Lagat broke down for the first time that I’ve covered his career, saying that he wanted to make the national team for his kids.

Garrett Heath of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts finished fourth in a time of 13:51.61.

One spot in front of Lagat was Riley Masters of the Beasts in 13:58.23.

In the women’s 5000, Katie Mackey of the Beasts was in position with 700 to go when she was knocked down.  She got up after spotting the field about 15 meters, and actually took the lead with less than a lap to go before being overtaken with about 200 to go, fading to sixth in 15:16.96.

Tacoma’s Brie Felnagle was ninth in 15:45.35, followed by Amanda Mergaert of the Brooks Beasts in tenth at 15:46.32.

In the finals of the women’s 800, Phoebe Wright took the early lead, taking the field through 400 meters in 58.14, before finishing sixth in 2:01.12.

Former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral, who returned to the East Coast last year, finished second in the 3000 steeplechase in 8:13.37.

Washington’s Kristina Owsinski failed to clear the opening height of 13-11.25 (4.25m).

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