Good afternoon, and what can I tell ya?
It was conference championship weekend in Division I, and with men and women in 32 conferences it’s easier just to hit the highlights and point you to Flotrack’s conference championship page.
#2 Wisconsin dominated the Big Ten, going 1-2-3-5-6 for 17 points, just one point off the conference’s record-low score. As of right now, they look all but unbeatable. But that’s what it looked like five years ago going into the 2006 NCAA Championships, when Colorado pulled off one of the great upsets of all time.
Speaking of the Buffaloes, #6 Colorado pulled off a mild upset to win the Pac-12 title in their first year in the conference. #4 Stanford was hurt by the DNF of Ben Johnson, who was their second runner at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational; had he been anywhere near his normal self, the Cardinal would have won. Arizona’s Lawi Lalang won with relative ease, cementing his status as the favorite to win the individual title at the NCAA.
#1 Oklahoma State won the Big 12 over #5 Oklahoma, but weaknesses are apparent-specifically, depth. Unless someone makes a surprising step up, or last year’s top runner Girma Macheso returns to the lineup, it looks like a very long shot for them to win their third NCAA title in a row. Oft-injured Senior German Fernandez had his best outing in quite some time to take home the individual title, indicating that one of the USA’s greatest undeveloped talents may be putting it back together.
Over in the West Coast Conference, #3 BYU broke the 32-year winning streak of #8 Portland.
#1 Florida State won the ACC by a wide margin and continue to be the favorites for the national title.
#4 Villanova beat back three top-ten teams to win the Big East, led by defending national champion Sheila Reid.
The upset of the day was in the Pac-12, where #16 Colorado beat out five teams of the nation’s top eleven teams, including #2 Washington. But Colorado’s low ranking was due in no small part to sitting out track star Emma Coburn, who ran her first race of the year here; when you put the world’s 13th-best steeplechaser back into the lineup, it tends to make a difference. Now the Buffs have the best 1-2 punch in the country, and are the best candidates to beat Florida State in three weeks at the NCAA Championships. Washington’s Katie Flood put on a clinic to win the individual title and has to be considered a contender at nationals.
For more, go to RunningTimes.com.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang won the BMW Frankfurt Marathon, running just four seconds off the five-week old world record with 2:03:42.
Three guys were under 2:06, six were under 2:07, and fourteen were under 2:10. What the heck is going on here?
What’s happening is that, due to TV pressures, the 10,000 meters has pretty much completely disappeared from the summer track circuit. It is impossible to make a living as a 10k specialist, but you can make a pretty good living as a marathoner. So a significant amount of track talent is now on the roads. Note that Kenya has an embarrassment of riches in the marathon right now, and picking an Olympic team is going to be difficult. In 2011 alone, Emmanuel Mutai won the World Championship, and Geoffrey Mutai, Moses Mosop, Patrick Makau and Kipsang have run the four fastest marathons in world history.
Almost as an afterthought, the women’s champion was Ethiopian Mamitu Daska in a pretty good time of 2:21:59.
Leonard Komon (Kenya) and Asselefech Mergia (Ethiopia) won the BUPA Great South Run ten-miler. Komon attacked the race with a 4:12 opening mile and was taking aim at the road world record for this distance, but both his aggression and strong winds slowed him significantly, and he hung on to beat marathon World Champion Abel Kirui.
Atsede Tsegay (Ethiopia) and Lydia Cheromei (Kenya) both broke the course records at the Marseille-Cassis Classique International, held over its traditional 20.308 km distance. Men’s runner-up Azmeru Bekele made the classic mistake of confusing a checkpoint for the finish, making a huge move with some three kilometers left, stopping, and then starting up again once he saw Tsegay continue to run.
The Pan-American Games finished up over the weekend.
That’s the news, and I am outta here!