Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi named Athlete of the Week
INDIANAPOLIS — Honoring the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983, USA Track & Field named Meb Keflezighi (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) USATF Athlete of the Week after his final lunge through the tape left the city of Boston and the nation standing in salute.
Spurred on by thousands of supporters on the sidelines, Keflezighi won in personal best 2:08:37. As the crowd erupted into frenzied cheers, Keflezighi knelt to kiss the ground, draped himself in an American flag and finally let the tears stream down his cheeks.
“I wanted to win it for Boston . . . win it for the people,” Keflezighi told the Boston Herald. “The last three to four miles, (the crowd) pushed me through it. I’m so lucky to be the champion.”
At age 38, Keflezighi became the oldest man to win the Boston Marathon since 1931. His family immigrated to the United States from Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa, when he was 12-years-old.
“This is almost like winning five Bostons, there was so much emotion and symbolism in this year’s race, and for Meb to win it, it’s just incredible,” said Dick Patrick, co-author of Meb's autobiography and USA Today columnist, told the Herald.
Keflezighi was the silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics marathon in Athens, Greece, and in 2009 he became the first American since 1982 to win the New York City Marathon.
Prior to Keflezighi's historic win on Monday, there were several track & field performances of note around the country this past weekend. Duane Solomon (Los Angeles, Calif.) ran a 1:43.88 800m at the Mt. SAC Relays, which is the fastest time in the world this year and the fastest 800m ever run before May. David Oliver (Kissimee, Fla.) won the 110H at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., in a world-leading 13.26. Christian Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.) claimed the top spot in the world shot put rankings with his throw of 21.36m/70-1 to win the Kansas Relays. Ashley Higginson (Marlboro, N.J.) had the fastest 3000m steeplechase time in the world this year with her 9:35.72 at Princeton's Larry Ellis Invitational. High school prodigy Desiree Freier (Justin, Texas) set a pending American Junior Record in the pole vault with her 14-6 clearance at a Class 5A 4/5 Area Meet in Coppell, Texas.
2014 Winners: January 15, Chris Derrick; January 22, Galen Rupp; January 29, Galen Rupp; February 5, Alexa Efraimson; February 12, Mike Rutt; Feb. 19, Bernard Lagat; Feb. 26, Sharon Day-Monroe; March 3, David Torrence; March 13, Francena McCorory; March 19, Irene Obera; March 26, Duane Solomon; April 2, Maria Michta; April 7, Noah Lyles; April 14, Kendell Williams; April 21, Meb Keflezighi.
WEEKEND REVIEW -- APRIL 18-20
Contributed by Glen McMicken
SOLOMON SIZZLES AT MT. SAC
2012 Olympic fourth-placer Duane Solomon threw down the two-lap gauntlet at the Mt. SAC Relays, running the fastest-ever 800 in April with a 1:43.88 that topped the world list. In his wake, U.S. indoor champ Erik Sowinski smashed his lifetime best with a 1:44.58 for second.
Jessica Mildes of Spokane CC set a national JUCO record in the women's 10,000 with her 34:34.61, and Sharika Nelvis of Arkansas State sliced .13 off her 100 hurdles best with a 12.71 to take over the U.S. lead.
NCAA indoor champion Laura Roesler of Oregon won the 800 in 2:00.54, the fastest outdoor time in the nation and the eighth-fastest collegiate time ever, while teammate Jenna Prandini zipped to an 11.11 100 win and helped the Ducks to a 43.31 U.S. leader in the 4x100.
Competing at Azusa Pacific, Barbara Nwaba won the heptathlon with a PR 6,043 points to grab the '14 U.S. lead, and Nebraska-Omaha's Sami Spenner had her first 6K+ score with 6,003 to take third.
FREIER UPS PREP VAULT RECORD, ADDS JUNIOR MARK
Last year's World Youth ninth-placer Desiree Freier of Justin, Texas, cleared 4.42m/14-6 at her area meet in Coppell to claim the American Junior record and the U.S. high school record. The event was moved indoors due to inclement weather, and Freier also attempted 4.50m/14-9.
HIGGINSON STEEPLES TO WORLD LEAD AT ELLIS MEET
Team USA steeplechaser Ashley Higginson almost nabbed a personal best in her 2014 debut over the barriers at the Larry Ellis meet at Princeton, recording a world-leading 9:35.72 to lead four Americans under 9:45. Nicole Traynor, Rachel Sorna and Leah O'Connor all notched lifetime bests, with Cornell's Sorna taking the collegiate lead.
HOT HURDLES IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
Reigning World champion David Oliver hurdled to the top of the global list in the heats of the 110H at the Florida Tom Jones Memorial meet with a 13.35, then improved that to 13.26 in the finals.
2005 World champ Tianna Bartoletta uncorked the best outdoor long jump by an American this year with a 6.67m/21-10.75 leap. Florida's Dedric Dukes, who leads the world list in the 200, showed his range with a 45.66 in the 400, and Tori Bowie moved to No. 2 on the '14 U.S. 100 list with her 11.10.
CANTWELL BACK IN THE MIX IN SHOT
After two years trying to get fully healthy, three-time World Indoor champion and 2009 World Outdoor winner Christian Cantwell opened his 2014 outdoor campaign in style with a world-leading 21.36m/70-1 blast to win the "downtown" competition at the Kansas Relays.
The Jayhawks got a U.S.-leading 49.35 in the 400 hurdles from Michael Stigler, and won three of the four major relays.
QUARTERMILER U GIVES STADIUM SOLID SENDOFF
Long a hotbed of one-lap stars, Baylor's Hart-Patterson track and field facility saw its last collegiate action after more than 50 years on April 19 as the Bears hosted the final Michael Johnson Classic there before moving into a new on-campus stadium in 2015. Fittingly, Baylor won the final two races, mile relays, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner opened his season with a 46.18 in the 400.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.