With numerous championship meets going on, it was one fabulous weekend for the track and field community. Taking place in the newly built Portland Convention CenterThe USATF Indoor National Championships was one of the main events. nation’s fastest athletes gathered in one place to duke it out for bragging rights, glory moments, and in some cases prize money. Some of those great distance runners even hail from the New England scene. Here’s the highlights of our local elite athletes:
Women’s 3000m – Two local pros took the stage here as Abbey D’Agostino (New Balance Boston) and Elaina Balouris (BAA) toed the line against many fast ladies. The pace was honest from the gun, but it eventually turned into a glacial muckfest with nearly the entire field condensing into a pack after the mile. And it was Olympic medalist Shannon Rowbury who would eventually break it open with Abbey D. following not far behind. Rowbury would unleash one of her signature kicks and take the race in 8’55.67 with Abbey D. an impressive 2nd in 8’57.31, punching her ticket to the World Championships next weekend. Elaina would place fairly decently herself, coming in 12th with a 9’10.54.
Women’s 800m – Megan Krumpoch (New Balance Boston) was the lone local competitor in this event. She would race in the third section of the prelims and place 3rd in her section with a 2’06.63, falling short of making the finals by a few strides. Though not her best performance, Krumpoch was grateful to compete and considered it a great experience as a whole. Ajee’ Wilson (Adidas) would emerge as the USA Champ, winning the finals with a blazing 2’00.87.
Women’s 1500m – Cory McGee (New Balance Boston), Rachel Schneider (Under Armour), and Emily Lipari (BAA) competed with the nation’s finest in this 7.5 lap tour of the convention center. This one came down to a kick as well as Brenda Martinez showed her true colors. Martinez hammered out a 4’08.37 for the W with McGee 2nd in 4’09.97 – always racing in beta. Schneider and Lipari would cross the line in 4’19.48 and 4’22.04 respectively.
Men’s 1500m – Early in the season, we saw Seekonk, MA native Johnny Gregorek (ASICS) break that 4 minute barrier at a BU Mini MEet of all places. Well that prepped him pretty well for the USA Champs as he placed 5th in 3’47.28, a mere 3 seconds behind eventual victor Matt Centrowitz (Nike ORPJT). Also hailing from the Commonwealth in this race was Daniel Winn (BAA), who placed 11th in 3’52.13.
Men’s 3000m – This was really the only race in the house that actually went out like a race. Well, actually it went out very quick – 58.x, 2’00.x, 4’05.x for the 400, 800, mile. This was almost the kind of clip Rupp ran in his American Record 2 mile at BU, except Rupp was in the back recovering from his big marathon. It was Portsmouth, NH native Eric Jenkins from the Oregon Project duking it out with the leaders. Jenkins would fight hard for 3rd in an incredible 7’41.19, but had to watch Ryan Hill and Paul Chelimo go one, two in front of him, with times of 7’38.60 and 7’39.00 respectively. Not to mention “old man” Bernard Lagat can still run 7’41.25 for 4th at the national championships as a 41 year old!
There’s still one last big hurrah for indoor racing here in the US. Keep an eye out this Sunday as the World Championships come to the same Portland Convention Center these US Championships were held at.