Feb. 16, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford’s Chris Derrick was given one directive by his coach heading into what he knew would be furious 5,000-meter race at the Millrose Games: “Hold On.”
That’s exactly what Derrick did on the way to becoming the second-fastest American collegian at the distance, cracking a school indoor track and field record by 15 seconds Saturday at The Armory in New York City.
Some other numbers to consider from the race:
- With an elite field, the race was so fast that Derrick’s 13:19.58 made him the 12th runner in the world to achieve an Olympic ‘A’ standard for the London Games, but still finished fifth overall and fourth among collegians, though he was the first American-born runner in the field.
- Former Oregon star Galen Rupp’s American and collegiate records both fell – the former to three-time world champion Bernard Lagat (13:07.15) and the latter to Arizona’s Kenyan duo Lawi Lalang (13:08.28) and Stephen Sambu (13:13.74).
- Derrick was only 1.5 seconds from Rupp’s American collegiate indoor record of 13:18.12. It also makes him the third-fastest Stanford runner at that distance – indoors or outdoors – behind 2008 U.S. Olympians Ian Dobson and Ryan Hall.
Dobson holds Stanford’s outdoor 5K record of 13:15.33 and though a healthy Derrick will undoubtedly be in condition to run faster this spring – indoor races are typically slower than outdoors because of the tight turns and short straightaways -- but he may not get the chance, at least in the type of fast race and proper conditions that could get him there.
“I don’t know if the opportunity will present itself to go after that outdoors,” said Stanford distance coach Jason Dunn, who added that he won’t rule it out.
“This changes a little bit with the ‘A’ standard,” Dunn said of Derrick’s plans. “This opens up some possibilities. We’ll have to reevaluate what we do outdoors.”
Derrick’s best chance at an elusive NCAA title and a possible Olympic berth appears to be in the 10,000. That’s been the focus of his training so far. And, using a rule of thumb of doubling his 5K best and adding a minute, Derrick’s 10K potential would be 27:39.16, which would crush Dobson’s 2005 Stanford mark of 27:59.72 and put him in range of Rupp’s American collegiate record of 27:33.58. Derrick’s best is 28:26.65.
“We still have a long way to go,” Dunn said. But at the Millrose, “Chris never looked like he was over his head. He kept his composure.”
Derrick told Flotrack.org afterward, “It was ridiculously painful. This was the kind of race where you fly out from the gun. What are you going to do? I tried to stay in my rhythm and hold on as best I could.”
As for his goals for the year, “I’d like to win an NCAA title,” Derrick said. “Everybody wants to make the Olympic team, I’d like to do that too.”
Against the likes of the sophomore Lalang and senior Sambu, an NCAA title will be difficult. In 2011, Lalang beat Derrick at the NCAA cross-country championships (a 10K distance) and in the NCAA outdoor 5,000. Sambu beat Derrick in the NCAA 10,000.
“It’s scary to think that as good as Chris is, he might not win an NCAA championship,” Dunn said. “And yet he’s been incredible with all he’s accomplished and has been so consistent for four years, and he’s still only 21. But if he stays healthy and continues to do well, he’ll have a chance.”
* * *
Cal’s Don Bowden, a San Jose native, was the first American to break 4 minutes in the mile. He did it in Stockton on June 1, 1957. Since then, 372 other Americans have broken a barrier once considered impenetrable.
Among the latest to do so was Stanford sophomore Michael Atchoo, who recorded a 3:59.92 indoors at the Flotrack Husky Classic in Seattle on Saturday. Atchoo was one of seven Americans in one day to break 4:00 for the first time, with the times coming from three different meets.
Atchoo, who won his heat Saturday, became the 10th Stanford runner to break 4:00, indoors or outdoors. The first was Duncan MacDonald, who ran 3:59.6 on May 16, 1970, at UCLA to become America’s 33rd sub-4 miler.
Jeff Atkinson set the existing Stanford mile mark of 3:55.16 in 1986.
* * *
Anthony Brown hit a tying three-point basket in the third overtime the last time the Stanford men’s basketball team played Oregon State – its opponent Thursday night – and had 11 points and eight rebounds.
So, what does he remember most about the 103-101 quadruple overtime victory on Jan. 7 in Corvallis?
“I remember I was tired,” Brown said.
“It was a game where he really stepped up for us, especially in the overtimes,” said coach Johnny Dawkins, the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball. “He gave us a spark. He came in with an intensity, a fire, and helped lead us to a victory.”
The sophomore swingman has been playing 23 minutes a game – fourth highest on the team despite being hampered by chronic knee pain caused by a Osgood-Schlatter Disease. Brown’s shooting has been inconsistent, but coach Dawkins was encouraged by his 3-for-5 effort in a victory at USC on Sunday. It was Brown’s first over-50 percent shooting performance since going 6-for-10 while scoring a career-high 16 points against Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 19 – a span of 14 games.
“I thought Anthony played pretty well against SC,” Dawkins said. “It was good to see him start to really emerge and hopefully we can continue that with him.
“He needs to become more consistent for us on the perimeter and he needs to value the basketball, make better decisions with the ball. He’s had moments where he’s done that, he just has to be more consistent.”
Brown and sophomore Dwight Powell are in much the same position, enduring uneven performances while playing through injuries.
“They make us a better team,” Dawkins said. “We want those guys to be playing at the high level we know they can play. If they reach their potential, we can reach ours.”
* * *
There's no quantifying exactly how important the Ogwumike sisters are to the Stanford women's basketball team, but here's an indication: Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike have combined to score 860 of Stanford's 1,799 points. That's 48 percent of the Cardinal scoring. In addition, they have grabbed 478 of the Cardinal's 1,056 rebounds. That's 46 percent.
In comparison, other teams may have two players close to those percentages in points. Baylor's Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims combine to score 48 percent of the Bears' points. But nowhere are the same two players as dominant in rebounding.
Stanford is believed to be the only school in the country with the same two players among the nation's top 100 in both scoring and rebounding.
* * *
Dawkins has used nine starting lineup combinations in Pac-12 play and 12 overall. Stanford has switched lineups frequently while trying to find the right combinations during a stretch in which the Cardinal had lost five of six.
In the 59-47 victory over USC, Dawkins sat point guard Aaron Bright and put in his strongest defensive team in an effort to offset the Trojans’ guard play. He also had three seniors in the starting lineup, which provided experience in a road game.
The combination of Jarrett Mann, Chasson Randle, Dwight Powell, Andrew Zimmermann, and Josh Owens worked, though the Cardinal did not start a true point.
The most successful starting combination this season has been Bright, Randle, Mann, Zimmermann, and Owens. The combination went 5-1 through the first six games of the season, through the loss to Syracuse in the NIT Tip-Off Tournament final. But it hasn’t been used since.
* * *
The Stanford men's emphasis this weekend against Oregon State and Oregon?
“We need to value the basketball,” Dawkins said. “I thought we took some good steps forward in our five prior games. Our turnovers were really low. But on this road trip (a split at UCLA and USC), we turned it over way too many times. It hurt us. If we take care of the basketball, that gives us the best chance.”
Some interesting stats in relation to turnovers: In games in which Stanford has 10 or fewer turnovers, the Cardinal is 3-4. When it has 11 or more, Stanford is 14-4.
During the recent stretch in which Stanford lost five of six, the Cardinal had 10 or fewer turnovers in five of those games, but lost four.
* * *
The Pac-12 will induct one former player or coach from each school into its Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor during the conference tournament. Stanford’s honoree will be George Selleck, an Indians’ point guard from 1954-56.
Selleck scored 1,004 points and averaged 13.8 points and 4.2 rebounds during his Stanford career. He was a two-time UPI honorable mention All-America and an All-Pacific Coast Conference selection. Selleck bypassed the NBA to become a Presbyterian minister and later a full-time psychologist. Though he did some coaching along the way, his focus became “helping young athletes avoid an obsession with winning,” as described in a Stanford Magazine story.
Selleck has written several books on the subject and leads seminars for coaches and parents.
* * *
Pitching matchups for Stanford's season-opening series against No. 10 Vanderbilt this weekend at Sunken Diamond are mostly set.
On Friday for the 5:30 opening night game, No. 2 Stanford will use junior righthander Mark Appel (6-7, 3.02 in 2011), the projected No. 1 pick in June's Major League Baseball amateur draft, against Vandy sophomore lefty Kevin Ziomek (3-0, 1.59).
On Saturday (1 p.m.), Stanford lefty Brett Mooneyham (3-7, 5.07 in 2010) returns after a year's absence because of injury to face either junior righty Drew VerHagen, a junior college transfer, or freshman righty Tyler Beede.
On Sunday (1 p.m.), the Stanford start will go to either junior righty Dean McArdle (7-4, 4.21) or sophomore righty A.J. Vanegas (1-0, 3.35), against the Commodores' junior lefty Sam Selman (0-0, 1.42).
* * *
Dawkins, who played nine seasons in the NBA, on sensation Jeremy Lin, the former Palo Alto High School star:
"I've seen guys get their chance, but I've never seen guys take advantage of that opportunity like Jeremy Lin has," Dawkins said. "He didn't just open the door, Jeremy knocked that door down."
* * *
HOME EVENT OF THE WEEK
Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Stanford vs. Vanderbilt, at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond
It’s Opening Night for two teams with College World Series aspirations. Stanford, with seven returning position starters, is No. 2 in the Baseball America preseason rankings and the Commodores, who made it to Omaha last year, are No. 10. Throw in Cardinal starting pitcher Mark Appel, the potential No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, and fans and scouts should get their money’s worth.
Other weekend home highlights:
Women’s golf at Stanford Golf Course: The 12-team Peg Barnard Invitational, Saturday (9 a.m.) and Sunday (8:30 a.m.).
Softball at Jill and Boyd Smith Family Stadium: The four-team Stanford Nike Invitational, Friday (10 a.m.), Saturday (10 a.m.), Sunday (10 a.m.). Championship is Sunday at 12:15 p.m.
Men’s swimming and diving at Avery Aquatic Center: Stanford vs. Cal, 1 p.m.
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics