It was an electric atmosphere at Hayward tonight. The lure of some great distance races brought in a record crowd of 20,949 and packed the live tv area just across the street. The weather was perfect tonight, as it finally cooled off a bit and the wind was non-existent.
The 800 was probably the most exciting race of the night, with Oregon Track Club athlete Nick Symmonds taking the win in an impressive time of 1:44.10. Finishing second was Oregon sophomore Andrew Wheating, who this time one year ago was running in the low 1:5o's for the 800, and third was another Oregon Track Club runner. I know I have been saying how loud the crowd has been in some of my previous posts, but trust me, this was the loudest I have heard it since the start of the meet. Both Symmonds and Wheating looked to be completely out of the race after the first lap, but feeding off the crowd, they made their moves coming off the final turn and really hammered home the last 50 meters.
Mixed in between the 800 was a few prelim heats of the women's steeple and 5k. Those were good races. No huge surprises. The finals will be very competitive.
The night was capped off with a thrilling battle in the 5k. There was a pack of 5 runners, for 3 Olympic team spots, with three laps to go. Solinsky, a former Wisconsin runner, took the lead and dropped the pace to a blistering 58-second quarter. The pack was unfazed and continued the torrid pace, until finally Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegankamp, and Ian Dobson separated down the final homestretch. They ran the last mile in 4:03!
I am closing tonight's post with an announcement: There will be a guest contributor in the coming days. The person's name shall remain anonymous for now, but I promise it will be worth your read.