All the news from Mens and Womens Track.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson Surprises Herself For Silver at Worlds

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Our own Jenny Simpson surprised even herself at the end of the World Championship Women’s 1500m in London on Monday. Below is an excerpt of Deadspin’s Dan McQuade article covering Simpson’s shock at her late race heroics. For the complete story at, click here!

Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

The women’s 1500 meters headlined the fourth day of the IAAF World Championships in track and field, and it was a worthy main event for the London crowd. Great Britain’s Laura Muir led the pack through the first 800 meters at 2:17, at which point the race turned into a sprint.

Sifan Hassan, the bronze medalist in the event two years ago, ran from last place into the lead. But Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the defending Olympic champion, and American Jenny Simpson were right with her. Meanwhile, Caster Semenya lurked just behind.

The last lap was the best lap of these championships so far. (Jenny Meadows said it was one of the best races she’d ever seen!) Hassan and Kipyegon got a healthy lead on everyone, then both started to break down on the final stretch, and the rest of the pack surged. Kipyegon held on for first place in 4:02.59, Jenny Simpson took second, and Semenya beat out Muir for third.

 But it appeared Simpson didn’t realize she took silver until Laura Weightman pointed it out to her, as you can see above. Then she decided to sprint across the track for a celebration that lasted nearly 30 seconds—after running 1500 meters in just more than four minutes.

Her post-race celebration was made all the better because of what happened when Simpson won the 1500 meters back at the 2011 World Championships; winning on a late kick, she reacted like she had no idea she’d just won the world title.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Mike Byrnes

Iowans to Compete at the 2017 World Championships

© Michael Scott 2016,

© Michael Scott 2016,

The 2017 Outdoor Track and Field World Championships begin TODAY in London!

We have 3 Iowans/Iowa connections on Team USA:

Jenny Simpson, Webster City, 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist.  Drake Relayts champion.  Round 1 of 1500M, today August 4.


Hillary Bor, Iowa State, 2016 Olympian. Round 1 of Steeplechase, Sunday, August 6.


Shelby Houlihan, Sioux City, 2016 Olympian. Round 1 of 5K, Thursday, August 10.


Track and Field News event by event predictions, click here!

Team USA Roster, click here!

World Championships time schedule, click here!

Broadcast schedule, click here!


Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon 2016

Your New Destination “Houlihan Run” In Sioux City

© Michael Scott 2016,

© Michael Scott 2016,

The Sioux  City Planning and Zoning Committee recently announced the naming of a stretch of road near East Sioux City High School in honor of Olympian and National Champion, Shelby Houlihan.  Ian Richardson of The Sioux City Journal made the announcement .


Olympic runner Shelby Houlihan could soon have a street named in her honor in her hometown of Sioux City.

Courtesy of The Sioux City Journal and Ian Richardson of The Sioux City Journal, click here! For the complete story, click here! Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Mike Mahon

A proposal on next week’s Planning and Zoning Commission agenda would re-title an existing stretch of Lincoln Way near East High School “Houlihan Run” after the 24-year-old East High alumna, who placed 11th in the 5,000 meters during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games.

Shelby Houlihan mapMayor Bob Scott, who put forth the proposal, said he had heard interest in the community and believed the city’s first female Olympics track runner deserved the recognition.

“I think our community rallied around her, and I think the community will get behind this,” the mayor told the Journal. “You have very few Olympic runners (from Sioux City). … If we have 10 more, we ought to find 10 more streets.”

Houlihan, a track standout at East High and Arizona State University, followed her Olympic performance by winning the 5,000 at the 2017 USA Outdoor track and Field Championships in June, qualifying for the world championships in London later this summer.

Laulauga Tausaga-Iowa
© Darren Miller/

Final Results For Iowans at the USATF

Hannah Truniger-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Hannah Truniger-UNI
©Jim Kirby

The 2017 USATF Junior and Senior Track and Field Championships will be held in Sacramento, California, Thursday June 22 through Sunday June, 25. The state of Iowa will be well represented in both divisions, by former Iowa preps and Iowa collegians.

Feature photo: Laulauga Tausaga-Iowa © Darren Miller/

The Junior meet will serve as qualifying for the Pan Am Junior Championships, to be held in Peru in July. For more info, click here!

The Senior meet will serve as qualifying for the IAAF World Championships to be held in London in August. For more info, click here!

Iowa connections who have both qualified for and declared to participate in Sacramento in the Junior (U-20) division:
Athletes highlighted in BOLD will represent the USA at Pan Am Jr’s, July 21-23 in Lima, Peru.

  • 800M-Joy Ripslinger, Davenport Assumption HS-5th, 2:07.18, Iowa HS All Time Best
  • 1500M-Ryan Schweizer, Dowling Catholic/U of Notre Dame-3rd, 3:49.04
  • 5K-Hannah Truniger, UNI-2nd-17:05.37
  • 5K-McCayla Cole, UNI-3rd-17:23.56
  • 5K-Karson Sommer, Pleasant Valley/U of Iowa-12th-15:19.75
  • 5K-Luke Sampson, U of Iowa-10th-15:09.38
  • 400H-Addie Swanson-Pleasant Valley HS: 9th-1:02.50
  • Steeplechase-Nathan Mylenik, U of Iowa-2nd, 9:15.42
  • Shot Put-Erika Hammond, Clinton/U of Iowa: 20th-42-6 1/2
  • Discus-Sydney Laufenberg, Clinton/Illinois State: 14th/149-7
  • Discus-Laulauga Tausaga, U of Iowa-1st, 177-3
  • Javelin-Katelyn Gochenour, Logan, Iowa/Duke-2nd, 158-10
  • Junior competition schedule, click here!

Iowa connections who have both qualified for and declared to participate in Sacramento in the Senior division:
Athletes highlighted in BOLD will represent the USA, at the World Championships in London, August 4-13.

  • 100M-Brandon Carnes, UNI-23rd-10.23
  • 200M-Brandon Carnes, UNI-13th, 21.17
  • 200M-Brittany Brown, U of Iowa-15th, 23.40
  • 400M-Mar’yea Harris, U of Iowa-19th-45.73
  • 800M-Erik Sowinski, U of Iowa/Nike-4th-1:45.39
  • Brette Correy-Western Dubuque/UNI-25th-2:08.11
  • 1500M-Jenny Simpson, Webster City/New Balance-1st-4:06.33
  • 5K-Shelby Houlihan, SC East/Az State/Nike-1st-15:13.87
  • 5K-Karissa Schweizer-Dowling/U of Missouri-4th-15:18.69
  • 10K-Meghan Armstrong Peyton-U of Iowa/Team USA Minnesota-14th 33:46.69
  • 10K-Biya Simbassa, SC North/Iowa Central/U of Oklahoma-4th-29:03.48
  • 10K-Reed Fischer, Drake-23rd-30:53.50
  • 10K-Kevin Lewis, Ottumwa/U of Iowa/Team USA Minnesota-20th-30:14.01
  • 110 HH- Aaron Mallett, U of Iowa-6th, 13.58
  • Steeplechase-Hillary Bor, Iowa State/US Army-3rd, 8:18.83
  • Steeplechase-Alexina Wilson, Mt. Vernon-Lisbon/UNI/Oiselle-10th-10:00.58
  • Pole Vault-Jeff Coover, UNI Asst. Coach-9th-18 1/2
  • Discus-Reno Tuufuli, U of Iowa-13th-181-8
  • Discus-Brian Williams, Iowa Central/Ole Miss-4th-198-8
  • Shot Put-Christina Hillman, Iowa State-12th-55-3 1/2
  • Hammer Throw-Katelyn Weimerskirch, Dubuque Wahlert/North Dakota State-16th, 198-7
  • Heptathlon-Lindsay Lettow, Des Moines Christian/U of Central Missouri-8th, 5,774
  • Heptathlon-Alex Gochenour, Logan Magnolia/Arkansas-4th, 6,129
  • Decathlon-Kurtis Brondyke, Clinton/Central College-5th-7,746
  • Decathlon-Mat Clark, Ames/UNI/Arkansas Asst. Coach-DNF
  • Decathlon-Derek Jacobus, CR Kennedy/Arkansas-11th-7,255
  • 20K Race Walk-Anthony Peters, St. Ambrose-7th, 1:35:01.82

Senior competition schedule, click here! 

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club
©Michael Scott

“There’s No Reason Not to Do it” Sioux City Journal by Steve Allspach

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona State

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona State

Something about Our Town.

City Fathers need … ugh, so outdated and inappropriate.

So, City Sisters and Brothers, you need to revisit the prospect of renaming a street near East High School in honor of world-class distance runner Shelby Houlihan long before it considers building a foot bridge across the wide Missouri.

Courtesy Sioux City Journal- Steve Allspach, click here! Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club ©Michael Scott

Houlihan, who won a gazillion gold medals at the prep and college levels for East High and Arizona State has once again put Sioux City prominently on the athletic mat.

Friday, Houlihan won the United States Track & Field national championship in the outdoor 5,000 meters.

In doing so, the Rio Olympian defeated the American record holders in the both the 5,000 (Shannon Rowbury) and 10,000 (Molly Huddle).

A stirring race in which Houlihan burst away from challengers by taking and lead in the final 120 meters that was called by Iowan Mike Jay, the former Columbus Junction school teacher who is now the premier public address track announcer calling races – in the world.

It was Jay who called Houlihan victories in the Drake Relays and in state high school meets, along with thousands of other young athletes inspired by his calls.

Jay was also thrilled to point out the fourth-place finish of another Iowan, former state champ Karissa Schweizer, the Missouri senior and ex-West Des Moines Dowling prep from Urbandale.

Next stop for Houlihan and possibly Schweizer is the World Championships in London in August.

The Road to London. Hmm. Houlihan Road?

#The polarizing debate of whether or not a shot clock should be used in Iowa high school boys basketball will gather some steam since neighboring Wisconsin will officially adopt a 35-second clock in two seasons, in varsity games only.

The two Dakotas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington currently play with a shot clock at the prep level.

A semifinal game of Iowa’s Class 4A state tourney semifinals demonstrates a reason for the Hawkeye State to adopt a shot clock, depending on funds to install a system and finding the volunteer help to assist in the system.

In an overtime semi, West Des Moines Valley held the ball for over four minutes of the extra session then beat Pleasant Valley on a buzzer-beating basket.

#Nashville’s selection of Eeli Tolvanen as the 30th pick in the first round swells the list to five of Sioux City Musketeers selected in the first round of the National Hockey League draft.

In 2000, Rostislav Klesla (Columbus, 4th) and Dave Hale (New Jersey, 22nd) were the franchise’s icebreakers.

Then came Sam Gagner (Edmonton 6th) and Max Pacioretty (Montreal, 22nd) in 2007.

#Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather who has mastered the manly art of self defense in the boxing ring, is going to box, not fight in this case, loquacious mixed martial arts champ Conor McGregor in a grudge match on Aug. 26.

Win and lose each will earn millions and millions of dollars.

Call the whole thing off?

Not on biggest paycheck.

It is or will be an abomination, no question.

But I remember reading about towering cager Manute Bol boxing William “The Refrigerator’’ Perry of the Bears and “Two Ton’ Tony Galento boxing Joe Louis — and a bear, a kangaroo and an octopus.

You’ll have to pay through the nose to see this one, live or on TV.

#Racing fans in Iowa appeared to be teased with the opportunity to watch up close and personal this summer not one, but two winners of the Indianapolis 500, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’’

Saturday, in the NASCAR Xfinity Ethanol E15 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Sam Hornish Jr. was one of the favorites to take the former checkers.

Former is used here because the traditional massive checkers painted on the start-finish line of most surfaced tracks, Iowa Speedway has painted a colorful and gigantic ear of Iowa corn.

So apropos. And, in keeping with the landscape (corn fields surrounding the facility).

Before Saturday, Hornish had won twice on the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet’’ in addition to taking the checkers in the 2005 Indy 500.

He was driving for Marlboro Team Penske in 2005 at Indy and is driving for the Penske team in a limited Xfinity run this summer.

Sato, meanwhile, was scheduled to drive in the Verison IndyCar Series in the Iowa Corn 300 in Newton July 9, but may cancel that date.

A non-appearance will not be received well by Iowa racing fans clamoring for a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race to go along with Indy race.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado 
©Jim Kirby 2017

Flotrack: Simpson Wins Fourth Consecutive USATF Title-by Taylor Dutch

Jenny Simpson-Webster City ©Michael Scott

Jenny Simpson-Webster City
©Michael Scott

The Olympic bronze medalist and world champion raced as such on Saturday at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Jenny Simpson won her fourth consecutive national title in the 1500m with a powerful homestretch run to win the race in 4:06.33.

Courtesy FloTrack-Taylor Dutch, click here! Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado  ©Jim Kirby

Simpson was followed by Rio Olympian Kate Grace who closed for second in 4:06.95. And Sara Vaughn executed a stunning come-from-behind effort to claim the third and final spot with a finishing time of 4:07.85, less than a second ahead of fourth-place finisher Lauren Johnson, a 2015 world qualifier at 1500m. The performance marks Vaughn’s first international championship team. Along with being a professional middle distance runner, Vaughn is also a real estate agent and mother of three children.

Simpson, Grace, and Vaughn will represent Team USA in the 1500m at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Eleanor Fulton of Skechers Performance was the early leader before Shannon Osika took over just before halfway. The first year pro and 2016 Michigan alum is coached by Mike McGuire, whose under-the-radar athlete Jamie Phelan stole the show at NCAAs with a surprise win in the 1500m. Could a Wolverine spoil the party again?

The answer would be no, as Simpson passed into first with 500m to go with Grace, Lauren Johnson and Alexa Efraimson in tow. 1500m American record holder Shannon Rowbury, the 5K runner-up last night, tried to go with the lead pack but seemed too fatigued to match the move.

Simpson split 1:00.41 over the final 400m to win her fourth consecutive title unchallenged in 4:06.33.
Grace, an 800m Olympic finalist in Rio, closed in 1:00.84 to take second place in 4:06.95 and Vaughn seemingly came out of nowhere –she was in ninth at the bell– to kick past Johnson, who was now flailing towards the finish line for fourth, and Efraimson, who would take fifth in her best career placement at a U.S. championship.

Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas, who was in 11th place at the bell, would finish as the top collegian in sixth with a lifetime best of 4:10.28. Early leader Osika placed seventh and Rowbury was eighth. Last year’s Olympic Trials fourth placer, Amanda Eccleston, placed ninth.

Vaughn’s third place finish was one of the biggest shocks on Saturday and she said to media after the race that even she couldn’t believe it happened. The 31-year-old threw her arms in the air after she crossed the finish line in disbelief, then immediately asked those around her if she had actually finished third.

The former Colorado Buff had a breakout race two weeks ago at the Music City Distance Carnival, where she lowered her five-year-old lifetime best in the 1500m from 4:08.34 to 4:06.64.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon 2016

Let’s Run: Houlihan Outkicks Huddle in USATF 5K Final

Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU © Michael Scott 2016,

Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU
© Michael Scott 2016,

The women’s 5000 final at the 2017 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships was billed as the battle between the American record holders at 5000 and 10,000 in Shannon Rowbury (14:38.92) and Molly Huddle (30:13.17), but the winner ended up being a woman who ran the 800 final at USAs as recently as three years ago and has a Twitter handle of @shelbo800Shelby Houlihan.

Courtesy Let’s Run, click here! Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Mike Mahon

Houlihan blew by Molly Huddle with 100 meters to go and Shannon Rowbury couldn’t catch her as Houlihan won in 15:13.87 thanks to a 61.63 last lap. Rowbury ended up second in 15:14.09 and Huddle third in 14:15.29.

The NCAA’s indoor and outdoor champ at 5000 this year, Karissa Schweizer, passed 2016 Olympian at 10,000 Marielle Hall, to finish fourth in a PR of 15:18.69 to Hall’s 15:19.56.

The Race

Huddle leads with 200 to go

Natosha Rogers, who was doubling back from a fifth-place finish last night in the 10,000, did most of the leading early on as the first 1600 was hit in 5:01 and 3200 was hit in 10:00. When there were four laps to go (10:37:44 for Rogers), 14 of the 21 starters were still in the lead pack and Huddle decided it was time to start racing as she took the lead and started to squeeze things down. Her next three laps were 72.65, 71.56 and 70.15. While those laps separated the contenders from the pretenders, there were still six women within one second of the lead at the bell in this one which was going to come down to the last lap.

On the final lap, it soon became a four-person race as Schweizer and Lauren Paquette (sixth in 15:25:06) were dropped. With 200 to go, Hall was dropped but Huddle, Houlihan and Rowbury were very tightly bunched. As the came off the final turn, Huddle still led with Houlihan just behind her on the outside of lane one with Rowbury directly behind Huddle, still tucked in in lane 1. Once on the homestretch, Houlihan hit the jets and quickly accelerated into the lead. Rowbury was slightly gapped as she had to swing wide around Huddle to give chase. Over the final 50, Rowbury gained ever so slightly on Houlihan but Houlihan got the win thanks to a 29.7 final 200.

Results and analysis below.

Houlihan wins it

1 Shelby Houlihan Nike / Bowerman TC 15:13.87
2 Shannon Rowbury Nike Oregon Project 15:14.08
3 Molly Huddle Saucony 15:15.29
4 Karissa Schweizer Missouri 15:18.69
5 Marielle Hall Nike 15:19.56
6 Lauren Paquette Brooks 15:25.06
7 Vanessa Fraser Stanford 15:25.48
8 Sarah Pagano BAA 15:26.04
9 Nicole Tully HOKA NJNYTC 15:27.14
10 Sara Sutherland Saucony 15:29.98
11 Natosha Rogers New Balance 15:31.46
12 Jessica Tonn Brooks 15:32.34
13 Kim Conley New Balance 15:36.82
14 Samantha Nadel Oregon 15:37.69
15 Alycia Cridebring rabbit / SRA Elite 15:47.40
16 Katherine Receveur Indiana 15:51.14
17 Samantha Silva Nike / Bowerman TC 15:55.07
18 Allie Buchalski Furman 16:09.92
19 Cally Macumber Hansons-Brooks Dist. Proj. 16:11.52
20 Rochelle Kanuho HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite 16:16.26
21 Erika Kemp North Carolina St. 16:19.45
DNS Emily Sisson New Balance
DNS Emily Infeld Nike / Bowerman TC
DNS Elaina Balouris BAA

QT: Houlihan gets her first USA Outdoor title

Today’s win was the first USA Outdoor title for Houlihan, who won the mile and 2-mile indoors this year. In the span of less than four months, she’s won titles at 1, 2, and now 3.1 miles. While Houlihan did make the Olympics at 5000 last year, today’s win has to be viewed as a bit of a surprise. Houlihan had only raced twice outdoors this year – both 1500s – but at the Pre Classic she was well behind Rowbury (4:06.41 to 4:04.61). Perhaps if Rowbury, who is doing the 1500/5000 double at USAs, didn’t have the 1500 heat in her legs from yesterday it would have been a different story, but Houlihan, just 24, is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Houlihan now has accomplished something Rowbury never has in her illustrious career – win a national title at 5000.

Houlihan is establishing herself as one of America’s best distance runners. Crazy to think the last time she raced in Sacramento, three years ago, she ran the 800 at USATFs making the final while a junior in college at Arizona State running 2:01.12 for 7th. Not that a good 5000m runner can’t run a good 800 — after all, Rowbury who ran 1:59.97 last year, has a better 800m PR than Houlihan. But Houlihan’s Twitter handle is @shelbo800. It’s rare for someone who thinks of themselves as an 800 runner to become a 5000m runner.

QT: Molly Huddle Will Double at Worlds

Huddle said today she didn’t have the zip she’d like to have in her legs and that she started feeling worse in terms of recovery from last night’s 10,000m as the day went on due to delayed onset muscle soreness. Nonetheless, she knew her best shot to win and make the team was to push the pace.  However, when she didn’t get any separation on the final lap, she shifted her goal to making the 5,000m team.

This is Huddle’s last year on the track before she shifts her focus to the marathon and she’s trying to enjoy it. She’ll do the 10,000m/5000m double at Worlds for the first time. Her primary event, the 10,000m is first.

QT: Shannon Rowbury admitted that she felt the 1500 in her legs a bit, but said that was no excuse and was still happy to make the team

Rowbury admitted that she felt the effects of yesterday’s 1500 prelims in her legs tonight, and that it will be tough to come back on short rest for tomorrow’s 1500 final (the events are separated by less than 18 hours). But at the very least, Rowbury will be running the 5,000 in London as she continued her streak of making every U.S. team since her first professional season in 2008 — eight in total.

QT: Karissa Schweizer was incredible this year but has no plans to go pro

Schweizer showed tonight that she’s ready to compete with the very best in the USA, but the reigning NCAA XC champ said she has no plans to leave Missouri as she loves it there. Schweizer, a junior, definitely figures to make a U.S. team in the future, perhaps as soon as 2019 once Huddle is out of the event. Making it tonight would have been incredible, but Schweizer ran about as well as anyone could have expected, clocking a PR in less-than-ideal conditions, and has earned a nice break after a specatuclar junior year that brought NCAA titles in XC, indoor and outdoor track.

Houlinan Doubles and Sowinski Dominates at USATF Nats

Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU © Michael Scott 2016,

Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU
© Michael Scott 2016,

When someone is way better than you, there’s not much you can do, a lesson the women in the two-mile were taught by Shelby Houlihan tonight. Last night’s mile — which Houlihan won thanks to a 2:06.98 final 800 and 28.78 final lap — proved that Houlihan had the best kick in this field and set her up as the favorite. And unfortunately for her two-mile competitors, Houlihan is also a 2016 Olympian at 5,000 meters with a 15:06 PR, so dropping her early in this race — at altitude, no less — was not going to be an option. As a result, Houlihan was able to dictate the race, chilling out until 600 meters to go, at which point she gradually increased the pace before ripping the field apart with a 29.91-second final lap. It was a truly dominant performance, and one that gave Houlihan her second national title in a 24-hour span.

Courtesy, click here! Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU © Michael Scott 2016, 

The race started extremely slow (over 6-minute mile pace the first 800) and remained slow through the mile (5:39 for 1618m) when Katie McMenamin of the Roots Running Project decided to make it an honest race. McMenamin upped the tempo to sub-35-second laps and would lead until 600 to go. That is when Houlihan decided she had had enough and made her move to complete the double. McMenamin, Heather Kampf, Sara Sutherland, and Katie Mackey tried to respond to Houlihan but it was futile. Sutherland was still with Houlihan at the bell but Houlihan was clearly best the final lap and powered away to her second title in two days as Kampf passed Sutherland for second and Mackey got 4th ahead of McMenamin.

Results *Lap By Lap Splits
1 Shelby Houlihan 10:19.14 Nike / Bowerman TC
2 Heather Kampf 10:21.80 ASICS / Team USA Minn.
3 Sara Sutherland 10:22.49 Saucony
4 Katie Mackey 10:22.78 Brooks
5 Katie McMenamin 10:24.80 Roots Running Project
6 Emily Lipari 10:44.62 Boston Athletic Association
7 Rachel Schilkowsky 10:46.20 rabbit
8 Emily Oren 10:46.35 Oiselle
9 Katrina Coogan 10:48.51 New Balance
10 Ayla Granados 10:52.38 rabbit / Strava TC
11 Patricia Terry 11:19.75 Texas Elite TC

Houlihan was clearly the best female distance runner in Albuquerque this weekend
Houlihan came into the meet in terrific shape after a training block in Flagstaff this winter, and with her biggest threats — Jenny Simpson, Shannon Rowbury, Kate Grace, Brenda Martinez — skipping the meet, there was no one to stop her from dominating the competition this weekend. Though her winning times were not impressive (4:45 and 10:19 for the mile and two-mile), Houlihan’s closing speed was, not only for how fast it was but how strong and powerful she looked on the last lap of each race.
Rowbury, Grace and Simpson are better in the 1500 than anyone the U.S. is going to trot out at 5,000 meters this summer (comparatively), so if Houlihan wants to make it to Worlds, her best bet is the 5,000. But after her success in the mile this year indoors, it may make sense for her to test the 1500 a few times outdoors before deciding on an

There was a nice mix of new and veteran faces claiming titles on the final day of the 2017 USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque. In the mid-distance events, Erik Sowinski (1:15.07) and Ajee Wilson (1:23.84) claimed their third and fourth indoor titles, respectively, while Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy won the 1000 (2:18.60) to go with the outdoor 800 crown he earned last summer. Charlene Lipsey (2:37.97 1000) and Ben Blankenship (3:59.22) became first-time champions, while Shelby Houlihan capped off a dominant weekend by adding the two-mile title (10:19.14) to the mile title she won on Saturday night.
The 60 hurdles were headlined by a pair of outdoor world record holders, with Keni Harrison and Aries Merritt living up to the billing. Harrison overcame a so-so start to win her first U.S. title in 7.81(how crazy is that – her first US title and she is a WR holder) while Merritt won his third — but first since undergoing a kidney transplant in 2015.
Other winners on the day included Ronnie Baker in the 60 (6.45) and Olympic medallists Sandi Morris in the pole vault (4.70m/15-5) and Michelle Carter in the shot put (19.03m/63-5.25). World Indoor champion Vashti Cunningham also claimed her second straight U.S. high jump title (1.96m/6-5) at the tender age of 19.

Erik Sowinski-Iowa ©Jim Kirby

Erik Sowinski-Iowa
©Jim Kirby

Erik Sowinski

Cas Loxsom is the world record holder* at this event, but he isn’t the 2017 USATF Indoor champion as Erik Sowinski got the win in a personal best of 1:15.07. That’s national title #3 for Sowinski, who wishes that USATF holds nationals in Albuquerque every year — all three of his national titles have come on this track.
Unlike the women’s 600, which featured two women head and shoulders above the rest, there were several guys in this field who figured to have a shot at winning, which made the positioning key at 200 meters. It was converted 400 runner Chris Giesting who broke best, hitting 200 in 23.56, with Shaquille Walker, 19-year-old phenom Donavan Brazier and Sowinski behind him. Loxsom was in fifth place on the inside, and if he was to win another national title, he would have to pass four men over the next 400 meters. Giesting continued to lead through 400 in 48.19 as places 2-3-4 shuffled up; at the bell, it was Brazier, Sowinski and Walker behind Giesting in that order with Loxsom remaining in fifth.
The backstretch of the final lap was where the race was decided. Sowinski entered it in third, but he had room to step out and move past Walker and Giesting into the lead before the final turn. Loxsom, on the other hand, found himself blocked by the men in front of him and unable to pass.
Loxsom finally freed himself on the turn and swung wide on the homestretch, but at that point Sowinski had put too much ground on him and despite a heroic final 50, Loxsom had to settle for second. Sowinski crossed the line in 1:15.07, shaving .44 off the PR he set yesterday to move up to #4 on the all-time list, with Loxsom finishing just behind in 1:15.18.

Results *Lap by Lap Splits
1 Erik Sowinski 01:15.07 Nike
2 Casimir Loxsom 01:15.18 Brooks
3 Shaquille Walker 01:15.39 Brooks
4 Russell Dinkins 01:15.86 NYAC
5 Chris Giesting 01:15.96 HOKA NJNYTC
6 Donavan Brazier 01:16.10 Nike
Not running this race in lanes makes it way more interesting
Loxsom got the unfortunate draw of lane #1 and that made it hard for him to get in position after the first 200m. He could never recover. Sowinski has the most experience racing professionally indoors and he put that knowledge to use.

 The world best could have gone down if this was a two-man race
Sowinski said afterwards he felt that he was capable of running faster as he was cut off with 300 to go, and Loxsom definitely could have run faster if he hadn’t been boxed in. If you had put them together in a two-man race today, we’d have been surprised if the world best (1:14.91) didn’t go down.
*Officially, the IAAF does not recognize a world record for the indoor 600, so Loxsom’s mark is a “world indoor best”


Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU
© Michael Scott 2016,

“Houlihan, Ahead of Her Olympic Schedule” by Jeff Metcalfe

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club ©Michael Scott

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club
©Michael Scott

Shelby Houlihan made it to the Olympics four years ahead of her original timetable.

Her relative inexperience in the 5,000-meter showed in the final Friday night at Olympic Stadium, where she ran in 12th-15th for much of the race before finishing 11th in 15 minutes, 8.89 seconds.

Courtney Jeff Metcalfe, Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Michael Scott

The time was slower than her season best (15:06.14) but more than 10 seconds faster than she ran in the first round Tuesday.

Gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot blew away the Olympic record by 14 seconds, winning 14:26.17 over fellow Kenyan Hellen Onsando. Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana was third.

“Ultimately I wanted to medal, but I knew that was maybe a really high goal,” said Houlihan, an Arizona State product. “I wanted to be top eight. I went out conservatively, which I felt really good about, then the gear changed and I tried to stay with that second pack. That last mile, I was just trying to hang on. I was struggling a bit (with a side cramp.)”

Houlihan won the NCAA 1,500 as a junior and nearly repeated as a senior while also finishing seventh in the 5,000. To make the Olympic final in her first year out of college, training with Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Ore., in an event she’s still learning is an accomplishment by any measure.

“I don’t have a great gauge as to how much I have left in the tank,” Houlihan said. “I feel really tired and it’s really a grind, but once I do switch that gear I get a second wind. I didn’t have that today. I was wheezing the entire last lap just trying to control my breath and stay calm and finish strong.”

Houlihan, 23, plans to race in Europe at distances from 800 to 3,000 meters for the rest of the year, then go back to work on the 5,000 with an aim to finish higher at the 2020 Olympics. No American has medaled in the women’s 5,000, first run in 1996.

“Things happen for a reason,” Houlihan said. “I didn’t place as high as I wanted to, and I’ve got to take that as a learning step and just try to move forward and make me stronger. I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be doing the 5K this year. Ideally I’d like to stick with it. Once I get the (mileage) volume up and get more aerobically strong, I’m going to be even more of a threat. I’m excited to see where that could take me.”

In the men’s 4×100 relay, Canada took a bronze medal behind Jamaica and Japan after the U.S. was disqualified for an illegal exchange.

Andre de Grasse, who trains with Altis in Phoenix, anchored the Canadian team to a national record 37.64, picking up his third medal to go with silver in the 200 and bronze in the 100.

Usain Bolt, running in what he says was his final Olympic race, anchored the Jamaicans to gold in 37.27, leaving him 9-for-9 in Olympic finals wins over three Games.

Bolt is tied with Finland’s Paavo Nurmi and American Carl Lewis for the most career Olympic track golds.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona State
©Chad Sheehan

Next Level Iowa Podcast For August 16, 2016: Olympic Update

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona State We know that look! ©Chad Sheehan

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona State
We know that look!
Feature Photo and above©Chad Sheehan 

On this edition of the Next level Iowa Podcast we catch up with the Olympic track and field competition (Recorded Tuesday, August 16 at noon) and get excited about Jenny Simpson-Webster City Iowa and Shelby Houlihan-SC East making their finals in their races, the 1500m and 5k, respectively. We also boldly look forward to the cross country season just weeks away!