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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!

© Michael Scott 2016,

Houlihan Survives Heat and Drama to Advance in Olympic 5K

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St ©Tyana Burslie

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St
©Tyana Burslie

Almaz Ayana returned to the track four days after her 10,000m world record on Friday and whetted everyone’s appetite for the final on Fridaty, where there is speculation she may try to break the world record of 14:11.15, held by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba since 2008.

The first heat on Tuesday morning, in relatively hot conditions with the temperatures at around 21-22 degrees Celsius, saw Japan’s Miyuki Uehara go quickly into a big lead and dashed through the first kilometre in 2:59.96, a rather audacious pace for a runner with a PB of 15:21.40.

Courtesy Phil Minshull for the IAAF

At one point Uehara’s lead had grown to 70 metres but then she started to slow and she went through 2000m in 6:07.56.

Initially, the tow US runners Kim Conley and Shelby Houlihan made the running for the chasing pack which contained most of the 16 starters, while Great Britain’s Laura Whittle and Turkey’s 20-16 European champion Yasmine Can also took turns at the front.

With six laps to go, Uehara’s lead had slimmed to 50 metres and from that point on there was a certain inevitability that she her bid for glory was going to end well before the last couple of laps.

The Japanese runner was still in pole position as she passed 3000m in 9:18.75 but her lead was shrinking all the time, as she was slowing and the pack was starting to speed up, and she was swallowed up by the chasing group with four-and-a-half laps to go.

Can lead the field through 4000m in 12:24.25 and there was a five-woman group at the bell: Kenya’s former world indoor 3000m champion Hellen Obiri and her compatriot Mercy Cherono, Can, the Netherlands’ Susan Kuijken and Australia’s Madeline Heiner Hill.

Off the final bend there was a sprint to determine bragging rights, won by Obiri in 15:19.38. She was followed home by Can and Obiri, with fourth going to Houlihan who came from back in eighth to get into get one of the top five automatic qualifying positions, the other going to Kuijken.

However, Heiner Hill progressed in sixth place as a fastest non-automatic qualifier, as did the courageous – some would have called it foolhardy if she hadn’t have qualified but she secured her place in the final which must surely have been her main objective – Uehara who finished seventh just over a second outside her personal best.

The second heat saw another Japanese runner push the early pace with Ayuko Suzuki taking the field through the first kilometre in 3:07.59, although somewhat slower than the first heat

With eight laps to go, Great Britain’s Stefanie Twell took over at the front from Suzuki but just before the 2000m mark – passed 6:13.32 – the 10,000m winner Almaz Ayana moved up through the field and took off.

In the next half-a-lap, she put 30 metres between herself and the rest of the field and the gap just kept growing and growing.

Ayana kept on ticking off the laps at a tempo nobody else could match, or wanted to, passing 3000m and then 4000m in 9:06.62 and 12:06.86 before crossing the line in 15:04.35, finishing in a very relaxed fashion more than 13 seconds clear of the best of the rest as the women behind her battled for the other four automatic qualifying spaces.

They went, in order, to: Ayana’s compatriot and Beijing silver medallist Sembere Teferi Rio 2016 10,000m silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot from Kenya, Norway’s Karoline Bjorkeli Grovdal and Great Britain’s Elish McColgan.

The only real surprise from the second heat was that the former world junior 1500m champion Twell wasn’t among the battle for the top five and the Briton finished eighth in 15:25.90, which was not quick enough to go through as a non-automatic qualifier.

In addition, there was bloody drama four-and-a-half laps from the end, with the pack chasing Ayana closely grouped together as USA’s Abbey D’Agostino accidently tripping New Zealand’s Nicky Hamblin.

Both ended up on the ground, with Hamblin sporting a big gash to her ankle, but picked each other up and limed their way through the rest of the race, determined to finish and record a time rather than see DNF (did not finish) beside their names in the results.

The referees later sympathetically advanced the pair, along Austria’s Jennifer Wenth who was also impeded in the collision but not as seriously, advanced to the final.


Layne Anderson and Diane Nukuri
©Jim Kirby

Former Hawkeye Nukuri Sets Burundi National Record

Diane Nukuri-Iowa ©Let's Run

Diane Nukuri-Iowa
©Let’s Run

University of Iowa All-American Diane Nukuri placed 13th and set a Burundi national record in the 10,000 meters Friday at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Nukuri ran 31:28.69 to record her best finish in three Olympic appearances. She placed 45th in the 5,000-meters in 2000, and 31th in the marathon in 2012.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics

There were eight national records set in the race, including Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, who won gold and set a world record in 29:17.45. Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot won silver in 29:32.53, and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba earned bronze in 29:42.56.

The Hawkeyes’ Olympic presence continues Monday when four-time Big Ten champion Troy Doris competes in the triple jump at 7:50 a.m. (CT). Doris is making his Olympics debut and representing the Republic of Guyana.

Kate Grace, Jenny Simpson and Brenda Martinez compete at the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays Alum Competing in the Rio Olympics

 Aries Merritt and Omar McLeod talk with Lewis Johnson at the Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby

Aries Merritt and Omar McLeod talk with Lewis Johnson at the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Below is a list of all the Drake Relays Alums who will be competing at the upcoming Rio Olympics.  We have a lot to be proud of when considering all of the outstanding and world class athletes that we have the privilege of watching up close and personal at our own Drake Relays.




Americans from Drake Relays 2016 who are competing in Rio:

Men’s 200M- Lashawn Merritt

Men’s 400M-LaShwan Merritt and David Verburg

Men’s 800M-Clayton Murphy and Boris Berian

Men’s 400H-Kerron Clement and Michael Tinsley

Men’s Pole Vault-Sam Kendricks

Men’s Triple Jump-Will Claye and Chris Benard

Men’s 4x400M Relay Pool-LaShawn Merritt and David Verburg

Women’s 800M-Kate Grace

Women’s 1500M-Jenny Simpson and Brenda Martinez

Brianna Rollins competing at the Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby

Brianna Rollins competing at the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Women’s 100H-Brianna Rollins, Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali

Women’s 400H-Dalilah Muhammad

Women’s High Jump-Vashti Cunningham and Inika McPherson

Women’s Pole Vault-Sandi Morris

Women’s Long Jump-Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach

Women’s Triple Jump-Andrea Geubelle

Women’s Shot Put-Michelle Carter and Felisha Johnson

Heptathlon-Heather Miller-Koch

Women’s 4x400M Relay Pool-Courtney Okolo


Foreigners from Drake Relays 2016 who are competing in Rio:

Women’s HJ-Marusa Cernjul-Slovenia

Men’s 400 H-Javier Culson-Puerto Rico and Jeffery Gibson-Bahamas

Men’s 110HH-Eddie Lovett- US Virgin Islands, Omar McLeod-Jamaica, Hansel Parchment –Jamaica and Andrew Riley-Jamaica

Kirani James, Kirani             LaShawn Merritt and Bralon Taplin compete at the Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby

Kirani James, Kirani LaShawn Merritt and Bralon Taplin compete at the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Women’s 100H-Cindy Ofili (Michigan)-Great Britain

Men’s 400M-Kirani James-Grenada, Bralon Taplin-Grenada, Rabah Yousif-Great Britain, Yousef Al-Masrahi-Saudi Arabia

Men’s HJ-Derek Drouin and Mike Mason-Canada, Trevor Barry, Donald Thomas and Jamal Wilson-Bahamas

Men’s Pole Vault-Shawn Barber-Canada

Men’s Triple Jump-Troy Doris- Guyana (B10 champ and All American at Iowa)

Women’s Pole Vault-Katerina Stefanidi- Greece

Women’s Long Jump-Lorraine Ugen- Great Britain, Blessing Okagbare-Nigeria

Women’s 400H-Kaliese Spencer- Jamaica and Ristananna Tracey-Jamaica

Women’s 1500M-Nicole Sifuentes-Canada and Violah Lagat-Kenya

Women’s 800M-Kenia Sinclair-Jamaica (rabbit for Women’s 1500M at Drake)

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

Quotes From Iowa’s Newest Olympian by Mike Mahon

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Mike Mahon

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon

Sioux City, Iowa native Shelby Houlihan ran a personal best 15:06.14 to place second. Her previous PR was 15:02.22 at the indoor Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden Feb. 20.

Feature Photo: Shelby Houlihan -SC East-ASU
© Michael Scott 2016, 

This was just her third 5000 race of the season — 2nd outdoor 5000 with both occurring within span of five days at Trials .

She was among top four leaders the entire race, moving from fourth to third at 3000-meter mark…moved from third to second in last 400, running 63.89 final 400. Ran 2:15.08 for final 800.

Women’s 5000m, final

Molly Huddle, first place, 15:05.01
“I just knew I had to make it hurt for the last 1000m, and as long as I could run 70s and under for the last K, that would hurt to take the kick out of a lot of those girls.”

On dropping the 5000m:
“I’m like ninety-nine percent sure. I’ll think about it one more day, but I’m almost positive I won’t be running it.”

Shelby Houlihan, second place, 15:06.14
“Going into the race I said ‘let’s go, I’m going to stick on Emily like I do everyday’, I moved into second on the last lap and I wasn’t going to give that up. It didn’t matter, if I had to run a 29 second last 200m I would have. I’m really glad I was able to stick it out and get second. This is really cool.”

“I started running when I was five years old and ever since I’ve wanted to be an Olympian and when I crossed that line and it happened I was overcome with emotion.

Kim Conley, third place, 15:10.62
“Even though I knew Molly (Huddle) was probably going to drop the 5,000 for Rio, I wanted to get in the top three. My heart was set this year on the 10k, but I felt like I turned the page really well.” (Conley dropped out of the 10,000 final with four laps remaining after having to put her shoe back on early in the race.)

Comparing today’s race to her photo-finish third in 2012:
“It was nothing like ‘12, but I think I leaned a little at the line, just to be sure.”

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon 2016

Shelby Houlihan Olympian: Sioux City Journal by Jeff Budlong

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

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

The former Sioux City East High standout finished second in the 5,000 meters at the Track and Field Olympic Trials here Sunday to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Courtesy JEFF BUDLONG, Click Here! Feature photo: Sehlby Houlihan-©Mike Mahon

Houlihan finished in 15:06.14, establishing a new personal record in the process. She pulled away from the field in the last lap and was closing in on leader Molly Huddle in the home stretch. Huddle won the race in 15:05.01.

“I started running when I was 5 years old and ever since I’ve wanted to be an Olympian, and when I crossed that line and it happened I was overcome with emotion,” Houlihan said.

Houlihan becomes the first female track runner from Sioux City to reach the Olympics. She joins F. Morgan Taylor, a Central graduate, as the only Sioux Cityan to make the Olympic team as he did it three times winning gold in the 400 hurdles in the 1932 Olympics in Paris. He also won a pair of bronze medals.

Kim Conley took third place in 15:10.62, but who will end up representing the U.S. in Rio is in question. Huddle also qualified in the 10,000 and may drop the 5,000.

Houlihan was in the top four throughout the race and for the second time at the trials showed her impressive closing kick.

“Going into the race I said ‘let’s go, I’m going to stick on Emily (Infeld) like I do everyday,’” Houlihan said. “I moved into second on the last lap and I wasn’t going to give that up. It didn’t matter, if I had to run a 29-second last 200 I would have. I’m really glad I was able to stick it out and get second. This is really cool.”

Houlihan comes from a family of accomplished runners as her uncle Bob Prince was the 880-yard NCAA champion at Kansas State and the state champion in the same event in 1973 at East. Her mother, Connie (Prince) Houlihan, and her late uncle, Bill, also enjoyed success racing.

“I always thought that girl was something special,” Bob said. “I wasn’t sure this would be her Olympics but she obviously did a good job preparing.”

The former East standout finished with the third best time of 15:26.91 in the prelims Thursday to reach the finals.

Houlihan was a 12-time All-American at Arizona State and was the NCAA champion in the 1,500 meters in 2014 before finishing as the runner-up in 2015.

The East graduate won eight state track crowns, eight Drake Relays titles and one state cross country championship.

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

Houlihan Advances to 5k Finals in the Olympic Trials

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Sun Devils Athletics

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Sun Devils Athletics

There were definite highs and lows for native Iowans and Iowa connections on Day 7 of the 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials, being held in Eugene, Oregon.

Feature Photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club
©Michael Scott

Let’s start this wrap up of Thursday’s competition with the “highs”.

Shelby Houlihan qualified to the Trials in both the 1500 and 5K.  Since qualifying rounds for both events took place on Thursday, the former Sioux East state champion had to make a decision.   Prelims in the 5K were first for her and the NCAA 1500M champ from Arizona State was able to race, somewhat conservatively, and advance to Sunday’s final with the third fastest time of 15:26.91.  Although Houlihan is looked upon as more of an 800/1500 runner, the 5K is also an event she excels at, not just as often.  She ran 15:06.22 at the Millrose Games in February, a time that placed her at #5 5 All Time on the US Indoor list.  Houlihan scratched herself from the 1500M field.

Former Drake University SID, Mike Mahon, is working at the Olympic Trials for USATF and was able to talk to Houlihan after her race for Next Level Iowa.

“It felt really good and easier than I expected,” she said. “It is great to be going to the final and it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”

“I hope I feel as good in the finals as I did today and hopefully make the team. I believe I can do it,” she said. “There are no words because I have been wanting to run in the Olympics since I was 5 years old.”

The 5K final will be run Sunday night at 6:28 PM Iowa time.

In the 100M hurdles, Alex Gochenour, Logan Magnolia/Arkansas ran 13.38 and did not advance.  She now turns her attention and energy to her specialty, the Heptathlon which will be contested Saturday and Sunday.

University of Iowa NCAA qualifier, Montayla Holder ran 57.77 in the women’s 400M hurdles, but did not advance.

Drake University assistant track and field coach, LaRon Bennett, ran 51.27 in his heat of the 400M, but the former Georgia All American did not advance.

The rain began to fall, quite heavily during the men’s discus competition and a number of competitors struggled with the wet ring.  One of those having issues with the wet surface was former Newton prep and Kentucky All American, Chase Madison.  Madison had 2 fouls and a throw of 171-6 in the prelims and did not advance to the final.

Iowa State All American shot putter Christina Hillman had some very good throws in the qualifying round, Thursday afternoon.  Her best throw of 17.69M/58’ ½” an outdoor seasons best and her best outdoor throw since 2014, qualified her to Thursday night’s 12 person final.   The rain was falling hard during the shot put final and Hillman struggled with the wet ring conditions.  She had a best throw of 56-4 in the final, and wound up with a still impressive 9th place finish.

In the Women’s 1500M preliminary round, Webster City/Ames native Jenny Simpson cruised on to Friday’s semis with a time of 4:17.31.  The 2011 World Champion is working toward her making her third US Olympic team.

In the Men’s 1500M, UNI MVC champ and All American, Dorian Ulrey advanced to Friday’s semi’s with his time of 3:50.80.   Ulrey was a NCAA champion at Arkansas under former UNI head Coach Chris Bucknam.

Today, Friday July 7, 2016

Men’s 110 high hurdles: University of Iowa B10 champ and All American Aaron Mallett will be in Heat 3, Lane 4.

Women’s 200M prelims: University of Iowa B10 400M champion, Elexis Guster will be in Heat 1, lane 8.  Her teammate Lake Kwaza will be in Heat 2, Lane 8.

Men’s 1500M Semi Finals: Dorian Ulrey will be in heat 2.  Top 12 overall to Sunday’s final.

Women’s 1500M Semi Finals: Jenny Simpson will be heat 1.  Top 12 overall to Sunday’s final.

The Men’s steeplechase final is tonight, with 2 Iowa connections in the field:  Stanley Kebenei was an All American at Iowa Central in Ft. Dodge and at Arkansas.  Hillary Bor earned All American honors at Iowa State.

Olympic Trials schedule and live results, Click Here!  

Television and Live Stream schedule, Click Here!


A.G. Kruger-Sheldon-Morningside
©Jim Kirby

A.G. Kruger, One of Iowa’s Best, Comes Up Short at Trials

A.G. Kruger-Sheldon-Morningside ©Michael Scott

A.G. Kruger-Sheldon-Morningside
©Michael Scott

South Dakota throw coach A.G. Kruger finished fourth in the hammer throw at the United States Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on Wednesday evening.


Courtesy University of S. Dakota Athletics, Britni Waller, USD Sports Information, Click Here!

Kruger sent the hammer 240 feet, 6 inches, on his second throw of the competition. His throw remained in the top three headed into the finals.

Cornell junior Rudy Winkler launched a throw of 251-10 on his fourth attempt to bump Kruger to fourth in the standings.

“I am probably done with my career,” Kruger said after the competition ended. “I thank God for giving me the chance to do this for all of these years. It has been an amazing ride. There are a lot of emotions right now, but at some point it comes to an end.”

Winkler, Kibwe Johnson and Conor McCullough took home the top three spots at the Trials. Johnson threw 246-5 on his third throw and McCullough posted a 243-4 on his first attempt. McCullough’s throw was the best third place mark at the U.S. Olympic Trials since 1992.

Kruger retires as a three-time Olympian, five-time World Championship qualifier and 15-time U.S. National Championship qualifier.

“Hopefully it’s not the end of A.G. Kruger,” Johnson said. “If it was, I would have given him a big old hug. We go back further than most of these guys throwing the hammer. It’s kind of bittersweet the way it ended tonight. I would have liked for him to make the team going out. He definitely put it all into it today. I am sure moving on, hopefully he will reconcile that and he will be at peace with that.”

“A.G. is a fantastic human being and a great coach,” Lance Deal said of Kruger. “It’s always hard for me to see an athlete at this stage of his life because I still remember what it’s like. A great friend and mentor once said to me ‘Athletes and dancers die two deaths.’ Every time I see that I get a little chocked up.”

Deal, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist in the hammer throw and American record holder, designed and built the hammer cage that was used for this year’s Olympic Trials. The hammer throw was contested inside Hayward Field for the first time in history.


More A.G. Kruger quotes…

Sheldon, Iowa native AG Kruger was very emotional in mixed zone area following the men’s hammer throw where he finished fourth. He talked to reporters handling questions with class and dignity
“I’m probably done with my career. Thank God for giving me the chance to do this for all these years. It’s been an amazing ride. There are a lot of emotions right now, but at some point it comes to an end.”
Here is quote from Lance Deal, silver medalist in men’s hammer throw at 1996 Olympics on career of AG Kruger:
“AG is a fantastic human being and a great coach. It’s always hard for me to see an athlete in that stage of his life because I still remember what it’s like. A great friend and mentor of mine said to me once ‘Athletes and dancers die two deaths’. Every time I see that I get a little choked up.”

At 34 years old Kibwe Johnson, was the second oldest competitor in the men’s hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Johnson finished second Wednesday in the Olympic Trials finals. He was a teammate of Kruger on several U.S. national teams.

“Hopefully it’s not the end of A.G Kruger. If it was, I would have given him a big old hug. We go back further than most of these guys throwing the hammer. So it’s kind of bittersweet the way it ended tonight. I would have liked for him to have made the team going out. He definitely probably put it all into it today. I’m sure moving on, hopefully he will reconcile that and he will be at peace with that”