In all, 21 present, future, and former Stanford athletes are scheduled to compete in junior and senior events at the U.S. Championships. Of those, four current Cardinal are competing in the senior championships, including three on Thursday – Bain, Weissenbach, and Michael Atchoo, who was unable to advance out of the first round of his first-round heat in the 1,500.
Collegiate record-holder and NCAA champion Kori Carter begins her quest for a world championship berth in the 400 hurdles on Friday when the Stanford junior runs her first-round race at 3:45 p.m. PT.
In the U.S. junior championships, taking place simultaneously at Drake Stadium, Stanford was well represented. Stanford freshman Megan Lacy was second in the women’s 5,000, incoming freshman Dylan Duvio was second in the men’s pole vault, Stanford freshman Thomas Graham was fourth in the men’s 5,000, and Stanford freshman Claudia Saunders advanced to the final of the women’s 800.
Among alums, Russell Brown ’07 advanced to the final in the senior men’s 5,000. Chris Derrick ’12, Brendan Gregg ’11, and Jacob Riley ’11 were scheduled to run the 10,000 at 7 p.m. PT.
Bain, the two-time Pac-12 champion and owner of the longest throw by a collegian this year (183-10), threw 174-0 on her first throw, but was unable to improve on her next five attempts in windy conditions. However, her sixth-place finish was a personal best in senior U.S. championship competition.
Weissenbach was second in her heat in 2:03.39 to qualify automatically. Weissenbach, who turned 19 on Sunday, ran with a conviction that belied her age. She was fourth in a tight five-runner pack that came through the first 400 in 1:03. But Weissenbach pushed forward, passing three runners on the backstretch.
Trailing only Maggie Vessey, a veteran from Santa Cruz, Weissenbach held off an attempted charge from behind while maintaining her pace to the finish line to guarantee the second and final automatic berth from her heat.
Weissenbach ran negative splits – a 60-second second lap following a 63 first – on the way to running her second-fastest time of the season. The freshman qualified 14th for the 16-runner semifinals Friday at 6:08 p.m. PT.
The second heat of the men’s 1,500 featured not only Atchoo, but two former Stanford All-Americas, Brown and Garrett Heath ’08.
With 46 runners, the route to the 12-runner final was difficult, with only three automatic qualifiers from each heat and the next three fastest advancing. Despite a relatively fast first heat, the competitors in the second heat seemed to content to take their chances on a slow tactical race. Indeed, the entire field was bunched through two laps, with everyone in contention for a top-three spot.
Heath seemed in prime position, running to the outside of Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano to set the pace, with Brown tucked behind and Atchoo close, but a bit farther back.
With 600 left, Atchoo scrambled to find space, but there simply wasn’t any and on the penultimate stretch, he was stuck on the rail. In the scrum that followed, Atchoo was left behind while Brown, Heath, and Manzano dueled down the straightaway.
Brown found room on the inside to make a push to the front and held strong, but Heath, despite his fine position, could not hold his pace and was passed by two runners in the final 50 meters.
Atchoo was 14th in the heat and 41st overall in 3:51.64, while Brown earned passage to the final in second (3:47.64). Heath, however, was fifth and, because of the slow early pace that affected the final times, could not advance, running 3:48.03.
Brown, the 2007 Pac-10 1,500 champion, will run in the final Saturday at 3:40 p.m. Brown had been training in Eugene, Ore., but will be moving to New York City after this season to be closer to his fiancé, former Stanford volleyball player Njii Nnamani ‘07, who begins a career as an investment banker.
In the junior 5,000, Lacy was left to duel with Hannah Oneda of Johns Hopkins for second while William & Mary All-America Emily Stites bolted to a huge lead. With Stites already across the line in 16:13.77, Lacy battled Oneda on the backstretch and drew ahead down the final straight to finish in 17:01.38.
Duvio, who will join his brother Dalton on the Cardinal pole vault crew next season, cleared the winning height 16-8 ¾, but lost to Daven Murphree on fewer misses. Duvio, who has a best of 17-3 ½, missed twice at 15-11, and once each at 16-4 ¾ and 16-8 3/4, while Murphree was perfect at those heights.
Graham and teammate Kevin Bishop were part of a tight nine-runner pack heading into the bell lap of the 5,000. Graham joined the chase for the lead while Bishop fell back, but Graham ultimately was dropped on the backstretch and finished in 15:05.38, with Bishop 11th in 15:23.96.
Saunders finished second in her first-round heat and advanced on time. Saunders, a hurdler in high school, is competing in her first season in the 800.
Only the winner was guaranteed an automatic berth to Friday’s final, and Saunders made her bid by taking the lead out of the break. Just before the end of the first lap, she was passed by South Carolina’s Lisa Zimmer, and soon after by Oklahoma State’s Savannah Camacho.
Saunders fell back with 150 to go, but maintained her speed and found room at the rail to pass Zimmer down the homestretch and finish a step behind Camacho. Saunders finished in 2:09.78 for second in the heat and was second among non-automatic qualifiers and fifth overall.
In the senior women’s 3,000 steeplechase, Sara (Bei) Hall ’05 did not advance out of her first round heat, clocking 10:28.60 to finish 22nd of two sections. Hall was the initial leader in her race and was second after two laps, but dropped sharply midway through and fell out of contention.