Women's distance runners and race walkers head to Eugene


Vicky Oddi
Communications Coordinators
USA Track & Field

EUGENE, Ore. -Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Shannon Rowbury, Lisa Galaviz, Treniere Clement, Jenny Barringer and Teresa Vaill lead a strong contingent of women who will compete in the women's middle/long distance and race walk events at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, June 27 - July 6 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The top three finishers in each race who have met Olympic performance standards will earn the ultimate prize of a spot on the Team USA roster for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

800 Meters

Three-time U.S. Outdoor champion and two-time Olympian Hazel Clark is out to regain her supremacy in the women's 800 meters after finishing as the runner-up at the 2007 USA Outdoor Championships to the then-reigning NCAA champion, Alysia Johnson. After sitting out this year's NCAA Championships due to pain in her foot, Johnson will be on track at the Olympic Trials to defend her 2007 crown.

Other top contenders include 2006 U.S. Indoor champion Alice Schmidt, who has the top seed time with her 1:58.75 from the 2007 Prefontaine Classic, and two-time NCAA finalist Katie (Erdman) Waits. Also watch for 2008 Gatorade Girls National Track and Field Athlete of the Year Chanelle Price, who placed sixth at the 2008 Prefontaine Classic.

1500 Meters

This year's breakthrough star, Shannon Rowbury, is now the one to beat in the women's 1,500m following her 4:01.06 winning performance at the 2008 adidas Track Classic. It is the fifth best time in U.S. history. She will have to face three-time U.S. Outdoor champion Treniere Clement, who will be vying her fourth consecutive national title.

2008 U.S. Indoor champion Christin Wurth-Thomas and 2007 World Team member Erin Donohue will be looking to make their first Olympic Teams.

5,000 Meters

There are only eight American women who have ever broke the fifteen minute barrier over 5,000 meters and the Olympic Trials may very well feature four of them, led by American record-holder Shalane Flanagan. She set her American mark of 14:44.80 at the 2007 Mt. SAC Relays. Flanagan is closely followed by 2004 Olympian Jen Rhines. An Olympic marathoner in 2004, Rhines is focusing again on shorter distances and ran 14:54.29 in Oslo this year.

The 2007 World Outdoor 10,000m bronze medalist, Kara Goucher set a personal best 14:58.10 over 5,000m in placing third at this year's Prefontaine Classic. 2006 U.S. champion,Lauren Fleshman joined the sub-15 group with her 14:58.48 performance at the 2008 Reebok Grand Prix.

10,000 Meters

Flanagan and Goucher are also entered in the women's 10,000m. Flanagan's entry comes after her debut performance in the event at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, where she smashed the American record by 17 seconds, running 30:34.49. Goucher is out to make history again after becoming the first American female ever to win a medal in the 10,000m at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships.

Other contenders to watch include 2005 USA Outdoor champion Katie McGregor, who was fourth in this event at the 2004 Olympic Trials and is looking for her first Olympic berth. Also watch for four-time NCAA 5,000m finalist Molly Huddle, who finished sixth over 10,000m at last year's USA Outdoor Championships.

Already a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for her third place finish at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's marathon, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet also is running the 10,000m.

3,000 Meter Steeplechase

The American record holder in the women's 3,000m steeplechase, Lisa Galaviz is the favorite heading into competition. Hot on her heals is the reigning U.S. and two-time NCAA champion, Jenny Barringer, who set an NCAA record in winning her second title in 9:29.20.

Also in form are 2007 NCAA champion Anna Willard and Carrie Messner, who finished third at the 2004 Olympic Trials. Also entered is Delilah DiCrescenzo, who set a personal best 9:41.68 in Belem this year and is the inspiration for the Plain White T's hit song "Hey There Delilah."

20 km Race Walk

2004 Olympian and three-time U.S. champion Teresa Vaill is out to win her second Olympic Trials title. She will face stiff competition from three-time U.S. Outdoor champion Joanne Dow, who is looking to avenge her runner-up finish at the 2004 Olympic Trials.

The 2007 USA Outdoor runner-up, Jolene Moore is out to win her first Olympic Trials. Also watch for Sam Cohen, who finished third at the 2006 and 2007 U.S. Outdoor Championships.

For more information on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, including status of entries and TV schedule, visit http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/OlympicTrials-TF/.