Relying On The Crowd
A crew of Nike's top professional runners, coached by Jerry Schumacher and based in Portland, Ore., will take aim at the IAAF World Championships A standard in the 5,000 meters tonight at The Armory — and they could re-shape the U.S. top-10 list in the process.
The race is slated for 8:40 pm and they're hoping for a crowd to help drive them under 13:15, a difficult standard but one that could clear the way to a spot on the U.S. team that will compete in Moscow this summer.
"It will take a lot of focus and it's going to be a big grind that last mile," two-time Olympian Matt Tegenkamp said. "That's why we came to The Armory, because we're looking for that atmosphere. It's something that when you're really having to dig deep you need that crowd behind you."
The men's 5,000 is one of four events on Friday's Columbia Final Qualifier docket and follows the first-day action from the Division III ECAC Championships.
Because the session is only an hour long, there is no admission charge for the Friday night portion of the Columbia Final Qualifier.
How significant is a sub-13:15 5,000 meters indoors? Only two Americans — Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp — have ever done it.
But the seven members of this star-studded training group might be up to the challenge.
Tegenkamp is the American record holder for two miles (8:07.07) and No. 5 on the U.S. 5,000 list outdoors.
Evan Jager is the American record holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:06.81) and ran 8:14.95 for two miles at the Millrose Games two weeks ago.
Lopez Lomong is No. 10 all-time on the U.S. 5,000 list with a personal best of 13:11.63. As a result of his Wanamaker Mile victory at Millrose, he is also No. 3 all-time in the indoor mile (3:51.21).
Andrew Bumbalough ran 8:13.02 for second place in the Millrose two-mile and moved to No. 3 all-time in that event.
Chris Derrick has an indoor 5,000 PR of 13:19.58 — No. 3 all-time behind Lagat and Rupp.
Elliott Heath ran 13:26 and placed seventh at last year's Olympic trials in the 5,000. And teammate Dan Huling, No. 6 on the U.S. all-time steeplechase list, will serve as one of the rabbits.
"I think the guys are completely, 100 percent prepared for this race," Lomong, who attended high school in upstate New York, said. "It would be great to get that A standard out of the way so we can focus on training instead of chasing the time in the spring. With this group of guys, we've been training and we've been working very hard to focus on getting the A standard. So why not do it in New York?"
Lomong logged one of the biggest professional wins of his career at the Armory at Millrose, competing in his home state for the first time in seven years. It was also his first time at The Armory.
Jager and Bumbalough also ran impressively here two weeks ago. And Tegenkamp, Derrick and Heath are all preparing to represent at the World Cross Country Championships on March 24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Because of the success at Millrose the decision was made to come back and shoot for the A standard (performances on indoor tracks are eligible earning the standard).
"It's a fast track. That's obvious," Jager said. "Times were incredible (at Millrose) and I think everyone just genuinely wanted to come here and race here again. Matt and Dan have never raced here so they were a little intrigued about it, and everyone else had a really good time competing here."
Tegenkamp, the elder statesman of the group at 31, is realistic about the challenge that awaits. The group will be trying to hit 31- and 32-second laps for 25 laps.
"First and foremost, we traveled all this way to run 13:14-whatever and as many guys that can accomplish that, the better," he said. "Along the way it's going to be an extremely tough race and if you're not really feeling it, or not able to accomplish (the standard), I think that at some point you need to get up to the front and sacrifice yourself a little bit for the (good) of the group. They guys who can beat it, great. But there will be other chances down the road for sure."
FRIDAY EVENT ENTRIES
Women's distance medley relay
Georgetown (Katrina Coogan, Chelsea Cox, Deseree King, Rachel Schneider)
Richmond (Mary Allen, Taylor Clevinger, Jade Gregory, Alyson McGonigle, Stephanie Paradis, Jill Prentice)
UConn (Lindsay Crevoiserat, Celina Emerson, Ana Groff, Brigitte Mania)
Men's 1,000m run
Liam Boylan-Pett — NJ-NY TC
Justin Craddock — Syracuse Chargers
Dave DeSalvo — unattached
Brian Gagnon — NJ-NY TC
Christian Gonzalez — NJ-NY TC
Mike Rutt — NJ-NY TC
Ben Scheetz — NJ-NY TC
Women's 5,000m run
Patricia Barry — unattached
Madeline Chambers — Georgetown
Corey Conner — Maine
Andie Cozzarelli — N.C. State
Jenna Davidner — Georgetown
Kate DiCamillo — New Balance Boston
Erica Jesseman — unattached
Emily Jones — Georgetown
Katie Kellner — Cornell
Allison Lasnicki — UConn
Shauna McNiff — UConn
Tina Muir — unattached
Laura Nagel — Providence
Leonora Petrina — Saucony
Lauren Sara — UConn
Kim Smith — New Balance
Emily Stites — William & Mary
Jane Vongvorachoti — CPTC New Balance
Men's 5,000m run
Andrew Bumbalough — Nike
Chris Derrick — Nike
Elliott Heath — Nike
Dan Huling — Nike
Evan Jager — Nike
Lopez Lomong — Nike
Travis Mahoney — NJ-NY TC
Girma Mecheso — Oklahoma State
Matt Tegenkamp — Nike