We feel this timeline will bring more excitement to the event and allow us to focus more on XC when the time comes (XC Top 50 will be coming out at the end of July).
ADDITIONAL NOTE: While the Oscars will be hosted by our own etrain11, we will also have guest presenters for all the awards. The winners will also be notified ahead of time in case they would like to make an acceptance speech during the vent. It's gonna be a legit thing people. Maybe we will do some red carpet style interviews with some nominees as well. Probably no fashion analysis however, although you can see some of our skills in the "Best Costume Design" link below.
If you want to get involved as a presenter, interviewee, etc. get in touch with us through the usual means. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter is @TheRealTrain11, the blog comments are right at the bottom of this post.
Here's the link to vote in the Etrain Oscars: http://goo.gl/forms/IPSAcLLb8OhdVEFK2
Every vote will count! To help you with your voting decision making, we will be putting up some summaries of the nominees criteria on LXV+ gradually throughout the voting window.
Here's what we've done so far:
Best Make Up and Hair Styling
Best Visual Effects
Best Documentary Feature
Best Costume Design
Best Original Song
Please try and spread the word to friends and others who you think might be interested. It's summer time which means there aren't as many viewers reading and finding out about the news. I will have an Oscar's show time to announce by the end of the weekend so be on the lookout for that announcement.
Also shameless plug for the Etrain 11 series. We've got a relatively new one up on CB East and another one in the works.
It Takes a Village
The Young and The Restless
Running Up Hill
New: The Bucks Starts Here
Let’s start with Lagat. He has an incredible history of showing up when it matters. Every time USA’s rolls around he’s ready to go. However, Lagat is 41, and while he looked really good running 27:49 at Payton Jordan, that’s not young. Then you throw in the fact that he didn’t finish his last race and he looks dubious at best. I realize those are strong words, especially when we’re talking about Lagat, but father time has to catch up to him eventually, and I think this is the year. I know Lagat’s outkicked him every other year, but not this time. I can’t see him top three, and he better watch his back because fourth certainly isn’t guaranteed either.
Now, one of the guys I’m really excited to see run is Hassan Mead. This guy has been on fire for the last year, but is somehow still super underrated. He qualified for the Worlds team in the 1ok last summer, finishing 3rd at the trials in 28:16. He then went on to run the same time in Beijing, which is really impressive given how terrible the conditions were. Mead has continued to build since then running 7:38 for 3k indoors and 3:37.65 at the Hoka Mid-Distance Classic destroying some established 1500 runners like Wheating and Manzano in the process. Mead then went on to run the American leading 5k at the Nike Prefontaine Classic finishing in a very impressive 13:04. Even though he hasn’t run a 10k since World’s last year, I think Mead is coming into the trials in fantastic shape and is a borderline lock to make the team.
Before I get to this next guy, I have a confession to make. While I am, always have been, and always will be a mid-distance runner at heart, this guy may be my favorite distance runner right now. He’s New England born and bred, just like me, and he’s one of the really good guys out there right now. He’s humble and stays out of the spotlight, but his results are anything but ordinary. By now you’ve probably guessed I’m talking about Ben True. Despite being the U.S. leader in the 1500 - which means I don’t feel as guilty calling him my favorite distance runner as I otherwise would - his better events are the 5k and 10k. Much like Mead, he’s on a roll right now, and I really like guys who come into the trials with momentum. Besides that 3:36 1500 I mentioned, he’s finished second at the B.A.A. 5k to Dejen Gebremeskel and 12th at the Nike Prefontaine Classic (2nd American) in 13:12. If I have one major concern it’s that the 10k is a little bit of unfamiliar 10k to True, even by his own admission. In an article in the Portland Press Herald written by Glenn Jordan True said, “I haven’t run many 10Ks on the track, ever, so it’s more of an unknown for me.” Now, that being said, True proved to be more than capable finishing 2nd in the 10k last year, so I think he’ll be fine.
Another runner to keep an eye on is Diego Estrada. He was in 10th with 6 miles to go at the Marathon trials but unfortunately the heat caught up to him at that point and he didn’t finish. Since then there have been some reports that the comeback train has been a bit rough for him so it’s tough to tell what kind of shape he’s in, especially since he hasn’t run a 10k on the track. However, with that being said, he ran 29:40 at the Bolder Boulder road 10k to finish 3rd in a pretty solid field. Especially when you factor the altitude in, that’s a pretty solid time. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the fastest an American has ever run there. At the very least it’s the fastest time since 2005. Now, that was a month ago, and a lot can happen in a month, but that could just as easily be a good thing as a bad thing. Don’t forget, this is the same guy that ran 60:51 to win the USA Half Marathon championships last year. Estrada is definitely a tough read, but don’t be surprised if he comes through clutch.
The final runner to spotlight is probably pretty obvious. Galen Rupp comes into the track season fresh off a dominating performance at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. I’m not sure “fresh off” is the right way to put that, since I can’t imagine being fresh after a marathon, but that’s what we’re going to go with. There has been a bit of concern among American distance fans in the last couple weeks over Rupp’s performances so far though. He ran 13:20 to win at the Portland Track Festival, but then lost to two collegians at the StumpTown Classic. Salazar attributed this to tired legs, saying that Galen has been running 145 miles per week consistently and was coming off a hard 22 miler just five days before that race. Salazar also said that they were going to start resting Rupp now to get ready for USAs (OregonLive – Ken Goe). This should really worry everyone else in that race, since, as LetsRun pointed out, Galen and Salazar have mastered the art of peaking. Whether it was last year when he ran 4:00 at the Flotrack throwdown only to come back and place 5th at Worlds just two weeks later, or when he lost to Collis Birmingham 2 weeks before setting the American Record in the 10k, Galen is always ready when the stakes are high. And if the stakes aren’t high this weekend, I don’t know when they ever are.
Finally, there are a couple guys you should be aware of going into the race. Christo Landry has been dominating the roads with wins at the U.S. Half Marathon and 25k championships. He hasn’t done a whole lot on the track though, so we’ll have to see if he can translate road success into track success. That’s something a lot of guys have struggled with, so it will be interesting to see how he handles it. Also keep an eye on the Army WCAP teammates Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir. They’ve quietly been steadily improving and could be ready to break out. We also have PA and fellow district III alumnus Jon Grey. He’s got one of the best post collegiate resume’s of all time for a PA distance runner so it should be fun to see where he finishes.
I guess I should probably finish with an official prediction. Call me boring, but I’m going to go with the same result as last year. However, True will scratch after making the 5k so the 4th place runner will be our 3rd 10k representative in Rio.
1st: Galen Rupp
2nd: Ben True
3rd: Hassan Mead
4th: Diego Estrada
By Alex Fox
Over the past several years Nick Symmonds has been able to dominate headlines in the world of US track and field; he’s won US Championships in dramatic fashion, medaled at the World Championships, and has championed the causes he believes in through social media, legal battles, and using his body as a platform for speech. Most recently, Symmonds has advocated for athletes to rep the gear of their sponsor, bowing out of the US team last summer due to USATF requiring Nike apparel to be worn at all times during the team’s trip abroad. As Symmonds ages however, his relevancy in the sport has declined; his performance last summer shocked many, and he is not a favorite to make this year’s Olympic squad. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the third fastest half miler in American history retires from the sport within the next few years, especially if he fails to qualify for Rio next week. Should Symmonds retire, he will more than likely take a less active role in advocacy for athletes, if he has any role at all. Yet as Symmonds’ period as an athlete and activist winds down, a new presence has emerged: Boris Berian.
We all know the story of Boris Berian: the former fast food employee who went from sleeping on a couch to 1:43 runner seemingly overnight. Berian’s career somewhat mirrors Symmonds, as both were classic underdog stories; Symmonds was an undersized DIII runner who dominated at OTC despite coaches overlooking him during his early life. Berian dropped out of DII Adams State before finding his groove with Big Bear Track Club. Berian’s rise to prominence is unparalleled in how quickly he went from raw talent to legitimate superstar, as he reached new heights yet again this winter with a World Indoor Championship. As runners like Symmonds and Duane Solomon reach the twilight of their career, Berian, just 23 years old, is leading the next charge of American half milers, a group that includes the incredible talents of Donovan Brazier and Clayton Murphy. The next major stage for Berian to prove himself will be the Olympic Trials. Should he make the team as he is expected to, Berian’s combination of strength and guts paired with blazing speed could make him a serious contender in Rio. If Berian is able to perform to his enormous potential in Rio, I think he could solidify himself as the next great 800 runner repping USA across his chest (and maybe break the national record chasing Rudisha). In this sense, he will be replacing Symmonds on the track as the premier 800 runner in the country.
Nick Symmonds was more than a runner, and if he leaves the sport, his absence will be felt off the track too. Once again, enter Boris Berian. In case you missed it, Berian has been battling former sponsor Nike over his right to be represented by New Balance. Berian signed a New Balance contract which Nike had the opportunity to match. The Oregon-based sponsor did match the contract, except with several reduction clauses. Berian opted to sign with New Balance, which resulted in Nike bringing Berian to court. Berian was up to the fight, risking his eligibility at the Olympic Trials to fight for his rights. Berian ultimately defeated the giant, which will hopefully set a precedent for other track athletes to standup for themselves in contract negotiations with potential sponsors. Berian didn’t just remind me of Symmonds because he was willing to fight, but he was also outspoken. Berian broke the norm and published the contracts on Letsrun.com, engaging the entire running community with his private battle. Symmonds also uses tactics that involves fans, giving us insight to otherwise undisclosed details about the sport off the track. Berian showed a lot of gusto in standing up to Nike, especially in an Olympic year; Symmonds has displayed similar moral fortitude, as he sacrificed an opportunity to run at the World Championships (possibly for the last time) to do what he felt was best for him and the sport. Should Berian capture the title of America’s best half miler, he has shown both the strength and willingness to use that platform for advocacy, speaking out for himself and his fellow athletes, a role that is currently occupied by Nick Symmonds. If and when Symmonds falls out of the public’s eye, it could very well be the former McDonalds employee, Boris Berian, who champions the causes of US track and field athletes.
Why is Boris Berian replacing Nick Symmonds so important to me, and why should it matter to you? This is something you may have asked yourself if you have read to this point. Well, the future of track and field depends on advocates like Symmonds and Berian to secure the rights of athletes so they will enter and remain in the sport. Boris Berian stood up to the sponsorship giant Nike and won. He proved that an athlete does not bend to the will of the sponsor. If I’m an athlete, I feel encouraged by Berian’s outcome and maybe standup for myself if I ever find myself in a similar situation. Nick Symmonds was outspoken about other issues, and brought them to the forefront of the sport. Without him or other vocal advocates, these problems would remain unsolved, and athletes would continue in their careers without a chance of remedy. Young athletes like Donovan Brazier or local legend John Lewis need to know they’ll have fair treatment in their professional careers as track athletes, or else they will look elsewhere to make a living. If track and field is ever going to be taken seriously as a sport in this country, we need not only the most talented athletes, but athletes who are happy and treated fairly. That’s why we as fans needed Nick Symmonds, should applaud his efforts, and should encourage the young and talented Boris Berian to continue to grow as a runner and a spokesperson for his peers.
Sadly, it's that time of the year again where we as readers and fans must say goodbye to our graduating PA seniors who have given us so much to cheer about over the past few years. Luckily, many of them are going off to college to compete at the next level. So what can we expect from them in college and their respective programs? I addressed the same question last year and decided to do it again.
Although I can't address everyone, I like having as much information as possible available to the readers. You can check out the compiled list of PA seniors college selections below! See anyone I missed? Feel free to comment below and let me know.
*Thanks to everyone who commented and kept the list updated!
Hoey, on the other hand, reminds me a lot of Abert. They both prefer to take it hard from the gun and are still able to maintain a strong finish (a crucial ability to have especially in the 1500/mile). Plus, they both have pretty impressive range. I could see Hoey being just as effective in XC as he is in track. We've seen tremendous improvement and times from Abert this past year and I could see Hoey doing the same.
Another interesting piece of info that I noticed is that Desko never ran a race shorter than a 3k until 2015. That's right, Desko has only been running the 800 and mile for just a touch over a year. Already, he has put up some incredible times and has taken down some of the biggest and best names in the state despite being so new to the shorter distances.
Now, Schroeder is leaving a void that needs to be filled. Who better to do that than Brophy? His leadership experience makes him invaluable and he could even be the one to finally lead Navy to an NCAA championship. He did, after all, do the same thing with a young and inexperienced CB East team.
As for the track, it will be interesting to see how he does. Brophy has PR's that would occasionally be the fastest 3k times for the Navy depending on the season. Rarely did Navy ever have someone under 14 minutes for the 5k or 30 minutes for the 10k.
Alabama: Patrick Grant
It also helps that Grant is still dropping a lot of time and getting big PR's. With 800 studs Lahbi and Farnham-Rose returning for their final year of eligibility, Grant will be able to learn from the experienced national contenders and continue his rapid rate of improvement.
Out of all the recruits I'll mention throughout this post (and throughout Part 2), Patrick Grant probably has the most upside.
Lehigh: Matt Kravitz, Joe Espinal, David Fletcher, & Ryan Paradise
As for Espinal, Fletcher, and Paradise, they will give the Mountain Hawks some much needed help at the middle distances. If we look back at last spring, Lehigh didn't have a half miler faster than 1:55. Espinal's 1:51 along with Fletcher's 1:52 speed may make them the best pair of 800 runners to be recruited this year (ok, maybe Perretta and Hoey were). Regardless, Espinal and Fletcher will be complimented by Ryan Paradise who has run a 1600 PR of 4:23 and will give a lift to a middle distance program in need of more depth.
As for Espinal and Fletcher, they will need to push each other for a bit until Lehigh can find them more support. If Lehigh is able to find other strong recruits or develop the guys they already have, then both Espinal and Fletcher could be under 1:50 at some point in their careers...something that has never been done by anyone wearing a Lehigh uniform.
We then finish with Ryan Paradise who's 4:23 PR will still make him one of the better milers on the team. His impressive range from the 400 up makes him a very versatile addition which could be useful for Lehigh in future relays. For Paradise, this may be the perfect time to be entering the Lehigh program as a miler. He may not start off as the best four-lap runner on the team, but he'll be close enough to the top guys that he will be pushed hard from the beginning of his training. Like Patrick Grant, I see of upside in him.
- Marc Migliozzi (Akron)- I wouldn't have picked Akron as his first choice, but with Migliozzi's large jump in improvement and an experienced coach who has training Clayton Murphy, I'm sure Migliozzi will continue to progress and prosper as a Zip.
- Brett Wolfinger (John Hopkins)- Hopkins is one of the more decent programs in D3 and Wolfinger will be an excellent addition to a group that is already filled with a slew of 1:54 guys. Strong training partners and a PR of 1:53 makes him someone who could qualify for nationals as just a freshman.
- Todd Gunzenhauser (UNC-Charlotte)- Gunz reminds me a lot of PA alum Aaron Gebhart who actually runs for UNCC right now. Gebhart had a fantastic year at UNCC and got left out of my Zatlin Awards as a nominee for the 'PA Don't Play' Award despite running 14:27 as a freshman. The UNC-Charlotte team is low-key loaded and the amount of talent constantly around Gunz will allow him to grab big PR's. If he's as much like Gebhart as I hope he is, then we will see big things from him early on.
The other nominees like Ferlic and McBride never lost a race in their respective events (Ferlic in the 3kSt. and McBride in the 800). Both of them preferred taking it out hard and they did it in nearly every race without too much concern about the competition. Yorks had a very similar racing approach as well and was undefeated in the 1500 this season before entering NCAA's.
A very close second behind Murphy was Willy Fink who ran everything...literally. Fink competed in every distance event that is run at NCAA's this season. He recorded times of 1:53/3:47/8:40/13:43/29:04. That is incredible when you consider that most guys typically run just two events in a season. While he is certainly more talented in the longer distances, Fink's range is a valuable asset to the EMU Eagles.
Other than Fink, Kibichiy and Wallace showed a great combination of range as they threw together solid times in the 1500, 5000, and steeplechase. Nelson was able to do the same, but didn't run the 1500 and replaced it with the 10k. Out of Kibichiy, Fink, Wallace, and Nelson, only Kibichiy earned an All-American spot.
Others like Heppenstall and Gilbert never got enough love in their respective events. The 800 and 5000 were incredibly talented this year so it wasn't always easy to point out the guys who were still progressing and running big times. Even guys like Brinkley weren't appreciated enough despite having the 9th fastest 1500 time in the NCAA (ran 3:40) and running under 1:50 (ran 1:49). He was often forgotten with McGorty and Fisher garnering much of the attention.
As for the other individuals, they just didn't live up to the hype and expectations that many people had set for them. Haney was the premier Oregon miler everyone had on their radar. However, in his five attempts at the 1500 this season, only one of them was run under 3:45 (where he ran 3:40). He failed to make it out of the prelims at PAC-12's and was not able to regain his All-American status at NCAA's. It wasn't his best season by any means. The same could be said for Matt McClintock, who struggled to return to old form as his times weren't matching up to his previous PR's. His season and collegiate career ended with him missing NCAA's despite being chosen by everyone to advance to the final.
Then you have the arguments for Cheserek and McBride. Cheserek was looking very vulnerable after pulling out of Payton Jordan and getting out-kicked twice on his home track. Some thought that the King wouldn't even make NCAA's. Of course, as per usual, Cheserek rebounded from his injury to make nationals and retain his 5k/10k crowns in dominant fashion. So why does he not win? Because deep in your heart, you knew he was going to find a way to pull out the win...As for Brandon McBride, the man took off an entire season of winter track to focus on outdoors after a poor series of races last spring. His idea turned out to be the right call as McBride dominated every race he was in and looked nearly unstoppable. The man was undefeated heading into NCAA's before Brazier took the win from him.
The other nominees like Tiernan and Curtin are one of the few guys smart enough to make a race fast enough hard from the gun rather than just leave it to Cheserek's kick. As for McBride, when you take it out in 50.xx and lead Brazier to a 1:43.55, you've got to be considered for the award.
Had Brazier not gotten the record, I would've given this award to Murphy who showed incredible poise when he kicked down Wynne and Yorks to get his NCAA title. He timed his move perfectly and was clearly not concerned about the fast pace that was being pushed. Futsum and McGorty were essentially pulled to a fast time thanks to a loaded field at Payton Jordan. Ferlic, on the other hand, soloed his 8:27 (but then again, he soloed most of his races throughout the season).
Looking at the others, Willig was very impressive throughout the entire season. Two wins (one of them being at Heps) and PRing with a time of 1:47 had him set to get this award until an off-day at nationals set him back. Still, Willig would later go on to run 1:48 low at Princeton in a post-NCAA's meet. He'll be competing in Canada this weekend as he pursues the Olympic Trials 'A' standard of 1:46.5. Guys like Sauer and Lewis were very impressive as well as they dropped down to 1:48's by season end. Sauer was able to advance to the regional finals while Lewis was the first man out to miss the finals. The future is very bright for these 800 studs. Tom Coyle and freshman Colin Abert continued to dominate the 1500/mile area with Coyle running an early season 3:42 while Abert ran 3:45 which was complimented by a 14:10 5k.
Then there is Cheserek who obviously had his struggles this season by getting out-kicked twice on his home track. Still, his double gold at NCAA's does deserve to at least put him in the nominees spot. For Izaic Yorks, he was just a slightly slower Clayton Murphy. He was able to run outstanding times of 3:37 and 1:48, and he was even able to go undefeated in the 1500 until NCAA's. His ability to take out a race hard and establish his presence made him an extremely valuable piece to an already talented Washington squad.
Guys like Brazier and McBride were beyond impressive (espiecally at NCAA's) but Brazier's slow start during the regular season and McBride's failure to lock down an NCAA title (despite running 1:44) keeps them out of the winner line. Ferlic and Futsum dominated their respective events, but never really gave the excitement that some of the other nominees gave.