Just A Sampling Of What
You'll Find In The Exciting July Issue Of T&FN
Previous 2001 Issues
Two World Records
-- Dragila: 15-3 & 15-5
April 27--Tired of traveling early in the spring, vault queen
Stacy Dragila wanted to stay at home during April. The World
Record holder's outdoor debut made it clear she had done some
serious training on her home ground.
Dragila upped her
own global standard at the ISU Springfest--not once, but twice--first
to 15-3 (4.65) and then to 15-5 (4.70).
The first leap
raised the record from the 15-2 1/4 (4.63) she used to win
last year's Olympic Trials, while Dragila's second record
effort equaled the event's highest clearance ever. That Dragila
mark, also made last year, was ineligible for record consideration
as it came on an elevated runway.
Coach Dave Nielsen
explained that during April, Dragila was doing "longer
intervals, lifting more and heavier, hurdling and jumping." But the Olympic champion did no vaulting until about two weeks
before her first meet.
Added Nielsen, "Even then, it was only a little ... more in the July
Meb Takes Down
Nenow's 10K AR
by Sieg Lindstrom
May 4--Bob Kennedy and six swift Kenyans coached by Kim McDonald
set up a fast 10,000 at the Cardinal Invitational, hoping to break
Mark Nenow's 15-year-old American Record of 27:20.56. The fabulous
race before an awed crowd of some 3500 did produce an AR. Only
it went to Meb Keflezighi, not Kennedy.
A day before his 26th
birthday, Olympic Trials 10K champ Keflezighi (see sidebar) lowered
the PR he set in Sydney by nearly 40 seconds to 27:13.98, placing
4th behind three Kenyans.
On a temperate,
windless night, winner Abraham Chebii chopped his own PR down
from 28:01 to a world-leading 27:04.20 which made him No.
9 all-time and eclipsed the U.S. all-comers mark, 27:07.34,
set by Haile Gebrselassie at the '96 Olympics.
In 2nd, Ben Maiyo,
7th-place finisher in the '99 World Championships 10K, moved
to No. 14 all-time at 27:07.55, and Luke Kipkosgei, owner
of a 27:22.54 PR from '98, clocked 27:12.37 in 3rd, as eight
runners broke 28:00 running to the beat of a dozen Stanford
student drummers under a nearly full moon.
At the start the
half-dozen identically-clad Kenyans, in salmon-colored uniforms,
broke to the front and set about forging the 27-minute pace
their sometime training mate Kennedy had requested. With Kennedy
tucked in behind them, ... more in the July issue
A Present For
by Jon Hendershott
is brimming with energy, even though he broke the American
Record in the 10,000 only minutes earlier. The UCLA alum is
excited to bask in the glory of his record run, of course,
but he wants to begin another celebration--in about an hour
it will be May 5, his 26th birthday.
He is heading off
to join many of his 10 brothers and sisters, plus other family
members, who have traveled north to Stanford from San Diego
for a birthday party.
record is kind of an early birthday present," smiles
the new recordman.
He was born Mebrahtom
Keflezighi ("Kuh-FLEZ-ghee") in the small African
nation of Eritrea, but grew up and was schooled in Southern
California after his family emigrated when he was 12. He became
a U.S. citizen in the summer of '98.
That summer, he
wore a national uniform for the first time as he represented
the U.S. in the Goodwill Games 10,000. He placed 6th at 29:57.80
as Kenyans Julius Gitahi and James Maina ran 2:00 faster to
"Meb was lapped
twice by those runners, so it's very gratifying to see him
now running toe-to-toe with top Kenyans," reflects Bob
Larsen, who has coached Keflezighi since '94. Larsen directed
him to a 5/10 double at the '97 NCAA as a UCLA junior, plus
the cross country crown.
Along with veteran
coach Joe Vigil, Larsen now directs the Southern California
unit of Team USA (T&FN, May), the program backed by USATF
and Running USA with the goal of boosting U.S. distance fortunes.
One immediate effect
of the Team USA program helped Keflezighi to set his AR. He
explains, "We spent three weeks training at Mammoth Lakes
[in California's Sierra Nevada mountains]. I got in great
training with Phillip Price [former Arkansas standout who
ran a PR 13:35.74 last year]. Then I did workouts at UCLA
and the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and things
came pretty easily. I felt great, I knew coach Larsen and
I were on the same page and that the record was possible."
Larsen adds, "Before
Stanford, we wrote down the AR as one option. We have to give
credit to Bob Kennedy, since we guessed he'd go with the Kenyans.
I figured Meb would go if Bob went with them.
was ... more in the July issue
What A Penn
by Jonathan Berenbom
26-28--A Penn Relays record Saturday crowd of 48,922 was treated
to one of the rarest sights in track & field: Michael
Johnson trailing on the anchor leg of a 4 x 400. In what was
billed as his final race on American soil, Johnson trailed
Jamaica's Michael Blackwood for the first half of his leg
before gliding away to victory over the final 200m.
when I run the anchor leg, it's usually pretty boring,"
said Johnson, whose 44.2 anchor capped off a 2:58.60 performance.
"I usually get the stick 5-6-7--15m--ahead. They made
it interesting today, but it was fun."
Not to be outdone on
a weekend which longtime Penn habitués thought might have
featured the best weather "ever," Marion Jones turned
in a virtuoso performance of her own, anchoring a U.S. 4x4 squad
to a 3:21.34 win. That's the fastest time in the world since '97.
LaTasha Colander-Richardson's 49.7 third leg broke the race open
against a strong Jamaican squad, and then Jones cruised a... more
in the July issue
Back -- A shocking relay drought ends
by Rich Sands
Never mind who
let the dogs out--who let the 'Cats back in? After a 20-year
drought in what was once their signature event at Penn, the
Wildcats of Villanova won a fiercely contested distance medley
relay to the vigorous approval of a packed house.
last 'Nova foursome to win included current head coach Marcus
O'Sullivan. That '81 victory, with O'Sullivan running the
800 leg, marked the 16th consecutive DMR title for the Wildcats
(and the school's 21st dating back to '56).
But during the
past two decades they were rarely a factor in the event, and
since a 4 x 1500 win in '93, the Main Line school had been
without a relay championship in what had once seemed like
its own personal showcase.
While the women's
side of the Villanova program flourished in the '90s with
numerous NCAA titles (not to mention a trophy case filled
with Penn hardware), the men's team was inconsistent at best.
O'Sullivan was hired in '98 with the mandate to reinvigorate
the squad. Initially he ran both programs, but he handed over
the distaff reins to fellow alum Gina Procaccio this season.
He credits the
guidance of his former assistant coach, the late Jim Tuppeny,
who emphasized the importance of recruiting: "Tupp would
always say, you'll never out-coach anybody. There's a lot
of great coaches out there. He said recruiting is what we
built our program on way, way back." (Tuppeny, who once
coached under legendary Villanova mentor Jumbo Elliott and
also served as a longtime Penn Relays meet director, passed
away last November.)
It was no easy
task. "When I came in it was just hard to recruit, because
high school kids have a memory of about four years,"
says O'Sullivan with a laugh. "They forget so quickly.
Fortunately for us though,... more in the July issue
Ritz & Webb
Shine At Penn
27-28--Under the best weather Penn has enjoyed in more than
a half-century, the relay-dominated meet was a delight, but
it was the distance runners who shone the brightest, even
though circumstances conspired to keep superstars Dathan Ritzenhein
(Rockford, Michigan) and Alan Webb (South Lakes, Reston, Virginia)
from going head-to-head.
Running in the
open 5K, Ritzenhein wanted just to run under 14:00. Left unsaid
was his hope for much more, even threatening Gerry Lindgren's
36-year-old national record of 13:44.0.
A slow first kilo
(2:50.0) and a tiring final 1000 (2:47.2) put paid to Ritz's
record hopes but he still ... more in the July issue
Time For The
Women To Shine At Drake
by Don Kopriva
Des Moines, Iowa,
April 26-28--It's not the Drake Women's Relays, but more than
ever, women garnered the applause and the records at the 92nd
edition of the meet. From Illinois's hurdle quartet to pole
vaulter Kellie Suttle to high jumper Amy Acuff to shot putter
Teri Tunks, women on the track and in the field provided the
Although the men didn't exactly fall asleep out there, it
was the distaff side of the sport that wowed the usual enthusiastic
While the warm
(80 degrees) but windy (15-25mph) weather over the Friday
and Saturday sessions held performances on the track down
a bit, the competition itself was fierce.
Running the seldom-contested
but fan-favorite shuttle hurdle relay, Illinois set a Collegiate
Record at 52.85, bettering the Illini's own 53.39 from '96
and also surpassing a hand-timed 53-flat set by LSU in '91.
Swedish twins Jenny and Susanna Kallur ran the first and third
legs with Cameé Williams sandwiched in the second,
all a setup for Canadian Olympian Perdita Felicien, who scorched
the barriers for an easy win over Nebraska (55.44).
the reigning world Junior champ, came back 40 minutes later
to upset ... more in the July issue
by Jon Hendershott
May 12--After four seasons away from competition, World Record
holder Mike Powell returned to long jumping at the 60th Coca-Cola
Modesto Relays and showed he can still be a major player in
the sand-pit wars.
26-5 1/4 on his opening leap, which stood up for victory over
Canada's Rich Duncan (25-6 3/4w). It was Powell's first meet
since his final effort at the '96 Olympics caused a groin
injury so serious it took him four years to recover fully
The 37-year-old Powell--who got serious about returning only
late last year (T&FN, May)--passed his second jump, then
... more in the July issue
Welcome To The
Club -- Kellie Suttle joined vaulting's 15-foot club at Drake
by Jon Hendershott
It didn't take
long for vaulter Kellie Suttle to fly to new heights this
spring. After opening her outdoor season at 14-0, the 28-year-old
Olympian twice elevated her career best by topping the 15-foot
At Drake the pupil
of respected coach Earl Bell scaled 15-1/4 to raise her outdoor
best from last year's 14-10 1/4 and her all-time high from
the 14-11 1/2 she jumped indoors this winter.
Then at Modesto
(see p. 18) she glided over 15-1 to claim a share of No. 3
in world history. The international veteran had one decent
try at the World Record setting of 15-5 1/2.
"I'm so excited
by all this, because I know there's way more to come,"
says Suttle in a voice bubbling with unbridled enthusiasm.
"Training has gone really well, I'm finally getting the
runway worked out and I'm getting on bigger poles. I have
more and more confidence every time I get on the runway.
"I just have
to be more patient with each jump. You always have to do a
technically sound jump--but that's hard for me to do since
I get so excited jumping. But I know a lot more is there,
maybe 15-6 and more."
Former WR holder
Bell says, "Kellie has been ready for the last three
years to go higher. She has broken through a lot of mental
barriers, the biggest one being ... more in the July issue
USC & UCLA
Split -- Superb Dual Meets
Los Angeles, California,
May 5--The best dual meets of the year saw the USC men clip
a 22-year UCLA winning streak by a single point, 82-81, and
the UCLA women keep alive a 9-year skein of wins. The latter
contest, pitting squads that figure to battle for both the
Pac-10 and NCAA crowns, came down to the concluding 4 x 400
relay, with the Bruins prevailing 3:32.76-3:33.17 for an 85-78
The finish was
so close that UCLA women's coach Jeanette Bolden retreated
into the Loker Stadium entryway to avoid watching hurdle doubler
Michelle Perry (13.18/56.23) crank a 52.5 anchor lap to save
on my staff wants it to come down to the relay," Bolden
told the Daily Bruin. "Except me." Perhaps due to
painful memories of the '99 NCAA Championships, when UCLA
reached the 4x4 with a 2-point lead and Perry on anchor. In
that race... more in the July issue
-- Vols End Arkansas SEC Reign
by Glen McMicken
Carolina, May 11-13--Arkansas had never lost a Southeastern
Conference outdoor men's title since joining the league in
'92, but the reign came to an abrupt end when the Hogs ran
into Tennessee's sprint-based shredder.
Bill Webb's Vols
rode the efforts of Leonard Scott and frosh Justin Gatlin
to a surprising 153-107 1/2 win over Florida, despite winning
only three individual events. The Razorbacks ended up 3rd
"I hope we
can make this a habit," Webb said. "I'm so proud
of the way our people came through in the clutch. I don't
know how they pick the MVP, but Gatlin gets my vote."
Gatlin scored 251/2 points, including... more in the July
by Dan Lilot
May 13 /by Dan Lilot/--Running only his second outdoor race
of the year, Stanford junior Gabe Jennings stamped himself
as a double NCAA threat by winning the 800 in a quick 1:46.83
over teammate Michael Stember (1:47.17).
Kenyan rabbit Sammy Langat to a sub-52 first circuit, while
Jennings moved up into contention on the backstretch. In the
final straight, fellow Olympian Stember tied up slightly as
the short-striding Jennings--whose recent training has had
an anaerobic emphasis--powered past to best his PR set at
the '98 USATF.
that surprised by his performance," said Cardinal mentor
Vin Lananna, "because... more in the July issue
2:14/1:52 In 4:06
May 17 /from Pearl Watts/--In what may well have been the
most masterful performance of his career (to date), Alan Webb
won three district titles in the space of just 80 minutes.
His first win,
the 1600, was impressive enough, taking only 4:06.74 as it
did. The incredible part is that he purposely went out in
conservative fashion, checked his watch after a 2:14 split
for two laps and proceeded to kick home in a scintillating
later... more in the July issue
-- Regionals On Hold
The plan to implement
regional qualifying to the NCAA Championships, reported in
our pages as a fait accompli last month, has been stalled
by a vote of the NCAA Board of Directors that caught many
by surprise. The hold on the initiative, which would have
taken effect next year, has also blocked--at least for now--a
40% increase in the number of athletes at the collegiate nationals.
The Board of Directors
declined to allocate $363,000 that would have been used to
establish four regional meets and fund the increase in field
According to a
report in The NCAA News, "The Board did not disagree
with the intent to expand the field size, but it took issue
with the establishment of regionals that may interfere with
exam schedules, devalue conference championships and possibly
extend the season."
The matter was
referred back to the NCAA Championships Cabinet, which was
asked to address these concerns.
The proposed regional
qualifying system would have scrapped the current scheme of
automatic and provisional qualifying marks in favor of a head-to-head
competitive qualifying format augmented by a smaller group
of at-large qualifiers to the NCAA based on performances during
the season. It was and is a controversial concept.
it seems the Board's decision did not come without the application
of pressure from... more in the July issue
Oppose No-False-Start Rule
Even though they're
fierce competitive rivals, Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon are
fast friends, as befits training partners. The pair are also
unified when it comes to their distaste for the IAAF's proposal
to go to the type of starting system long used by U.S. high
schools and colleges, which allows for no false starts.
"I don't think
you can give professional athletes such restrictions and still
expect them to perform as they've performed during the years,"
said Boldon during a May trip to Australia. "When everybody
starts running closer to 10-flat and not 9.79, I think the
IAAF is going to second-guess their thinking."
thoughts at the Osaka GP, 100m World Record holder Greene
said, "I really don't think it would be a good idea.
When you have a group of athletes who are there to compete
and are very eager to run, you... more in the July issue