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Lagat vs Rupp – US Indoor Championship Preview

Lagat vs. Rupp headline men’s running events at 2010 USA Indoor Championships

INDIANAPOLIS
– The growing rivalry between two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat
and reigning U.S. 10,000m champion Galen Rupp will be one of several
highly anticipated men’s running events that will take center stage at
the 2010 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, February 27-28 at
the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M.

The third
and final event of the USA Track & Field 2010 Indoor Visa
Championship Series, the USA Indoor Championships will be televised
February 28, from 7 – 9 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2. In
addition to competing for a total prize purse of $117,000, U.S.
athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for Team USA roster spots
for the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships, March 12-14, in Doha,
Qatar.

The Albuquerque Convention and
Visitors Bureau, along with the New Mexico Sports Authority, the
University of New Mexico and the USATF New Mexico, are the official
hosts for the championship, which will also be held in Albuquerque in
2011 and 2010.

Nike Men’s 3,000 meters

This
race will feature an intriguing ‘Old Lion’ vs. ‘Young Lion’ matchup
between two-time Olympic Games medalist and 2007 World Outdoor
Championships 1,500m and 5,000m champion Bernard Lagat, and rising star
Galen Rupp, who was a finalist in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympic Games
and 2009 World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany.

The
two staged a memorable battle earlier this year on February 6 when they
met in the 5,000m at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. In taking on the
indoor 5,000m for the first time in his storied career, the 35-year old
Lagat claimed that his goal was to set the American record in that
event, which was set by Rupp in
2009 when he clocked 13:18.12 at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

Despite
fighting a cold earlier in the week, Rupp took the lead with 1,000m to
go, with Lagat following close behind. With 300 meters remaining Lagat
exhibited his classic miler’s kick and forged to the front before
crossing the finish line first in the new American record time of
13:11.50.  Rupp finished fourth in 13:14.21, which also bettered the pre-race American record.

Additional
contenders in the men’s 3,000m include 2009 USA Outdoor Championships
5,000m runner-up and World Outdoor Championships finalist Chris Solinsky, and 2008 Team USA World Cross Country Championships team member Scott Bauhs.

Visa Men’s 60 Meters

The hottest men’s sprinter on the U.S. Indoor circuit this winter has been 2005 national JUCO 100m champion Ivory Williams, who posted Visa Championship Series 60m wins at the Millrose Games and the Reebok Boston Indoor Games.

Williams
crossed the finish line first at the Millrose Games in New York in 6.59
seconds, and followed that up with a personal best performance in
Boston when he stopped the clocks in 6.51 seconds, which is the
second-fastest time in the world this year.

The 2004 World Junior 100m champion, Williams will be challenged by 2008 Olympic Games 100m and 200m bronze medalist Walter Dix, who
is looking to bounce back after a sub-par 2009 campaign. Others to keep
an eye on include 2009 USA Outdoor 100m champion and 2008 USA Indoor
60m champ Michael Rodgers, who finished fourth at the
2008 World Indoor Championships and owns the third-fastest time in the
world this year of 6.53 seconds from his runner-up finish to Williams
at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games.  2008 Olympic Games relay competitor Travis Padgett, who finished fourth in the
100m at the 2008 Olympic Trials and at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships, will be in the mix, along with
2007 World Outdoor 4x100m gold medalist Leroy Dixon.

Hershey’s Men’s 400 Meters

The
Hershey’s men’s 400 meters should be an entertaining event featuring
two highly accomplished athletes who are known more for their expertise
in hurdles competition.

Kerron Clement enters
the championships after winning his second consecutive World Outdoor
Championships 400m hurdles title, and a gold medal in the 4x400m relay
at the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany. At the
2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Clement won silver in the 400m hurdles
and gold in the 4x400m relay. Clement has been ranked #1 in the world
in the 400m hurdles by Track & Field News over the last three years.

Also keep a close eye on 2005 World 400m hurdles champion and 2008 Olympic Games bronze medalist Bershawn “Batman” Jackson, who
won the bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Berlin.
Jackson, who ended the 2009 season ranked #2 in the world in the 400m
hurdles, owns Visa Championship Series wins this year in the 600 yards
at the Millrose Games (1:11.26) and in the 400 meters at the Reebok
Boston Indoor Games (46.86). Jackson won the USA Indoor 400m title in
2005.

Additional challengers include 2008 Olympic Trials 400m fourth-place finisher and Olympic Games 4x400m relay gold medalist Reggie Witherspoon, reigning USA Indoor champion Jamaal Torrance and 2009 USA Outdoor Championships fourth-place finisher and World Championships 4x400m relay gold medalist Lionel Larry.

Nike Men’s 800 Meters

2008 Olympic Trials champion Nick Symmonds will
headline the field in the Nike Men’s 800 Meters as he looks to add
another USA Indoor title to go along with the one he captured in 2007.

Symmonds,
who won the 2009 USA Outdoor 800m title, is a two-time USA Outdoor
Championships runner-up and a seven-time NCAA Division III champion. At
the 2009 World Outdoor Championships, Symmonds became the first
American to qualify for the men’s 800m final since Rich Kenah won the
bronze medal and Mark Everett finished eighth in 1997. Symmonds
finished sixth in 1:45.71.

Symmonds,
who has been living and training in Albuquerque for the last four
weeks, will be challenged by his longtime rival and defending USA
Indoor champion Khadevis Robinson, who will be looking
to win his fifth career USA Indoor 800m title to add to his previous
triumphs in 1999, 2006, 2008 & 2009. A 2004 Olympian, Robinson owns
four USA Outdoor titles (1999, 2005, 2006, 2007) and has competed as a
member of Team USA at six World Outdoor Championships.

Others to watch include University of Oregon standout and 2008 Olympian Andrew Wheating, 2005 World Outdoor Championships team member Kevin Hicks, 2004 Olympian, Olympic Trials winner and NCAA Outdoor champion Jonathan Johnson and 2006 NCAA Outdoor champion and third-place finisher at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships, Ryan Brown.

Men’s 1,500 Meters

Nike
Men’s 3,000m combatants Galen Rupp and Chris Solinsky are also slated
to tangle in the 1,500 meters. Solinsky was the 2006 Big Ten Conference
champion in that event as a junior at Wisconsin, and Rupp was the 2005
U.S. Junior Championships runner-up in that event before finishing
fourth later that summer at the Pan Am Junior championships.

The favorite in the race will be former University of Texas star and 2008 Olympian Leonel Manzano, who was the 2007 USA and NCAA Outdoor Championships 1,500m runner-up. Manzano, who finished 12th
at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships, is the 2006 NCAA Indoor mile
champion and ended the 2009 season ranked #3 in the U.S. by T&FN.

Men’s 60 Meter Hurdles

Two-time Olympic Games 110m hurdles silver medalist and three-time World Outdoor Championships silver medalist Terrence Trammell enters
the championships in search of his fifth U.S. Indoor crown to go along
with the titles he won in 2000, 2001, 2006 & 2009.

The
reigning men’s Indoor Visa Championship Series winner, Trammell has
been without peer so far this winter with wins at the Millrose Games in
7.49 seconds, and a victory at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games in the
identical clocking. Trammell owns two of the top four fastest times in
the world this year with his best coming from his win February 13 in
Leipzig in the world leading time of 7.43.

Trammell will face a strong challenge from 2008 Olympic Games 110m hurdles bronze medalist and 2008 USA Indoor champion David Oliver, who
equaled Trammell’s fourth-fastest time in the world this year of 7.49
when he finished second in Stuttgart, Germany, on February 6. Others to
watch include up-and-comer Dexter Faulk, who ended the
2009 season ranked #5 in the world, and 2005 USA Indoor champion and
2005 World Outdoor Championships sixth-place finisher Joel Brown.

As an added attraction for this event, look for the world’s two finest decathletes Bryan Clay and Trey Hardee on the starting line of the 60m hurdles.

Clay
claimed the “world’s greatest athlete” moniker with his dominating
decathlon win at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.  The first U.S.
Olympic decathlon champ since Dan O’Brien in 1996, Clay amassed 8,791
points in capturing the Olympic gold medal.
Clay also won the decathlon at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

A
former star at the University of Texas, Hardee won the decathlon at the
2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin with a personal best score
of 8,790 points, which bettered his previous PR of 8,534 by 256 points.
Hardee posted a winning margin of 150 points over the field and his
performance in Berlin made him the #3 all-time American in the
decathlon behind only Dan O’Brien and Bryan Clay. His performance is
ranked #9 on the all time list and was the highest score at a World
Outdoor Championships since 2001.

Men’s 5,000m Race Walk

Two-time Olympian Tim Seaman will be looking for his 43rd
career national race walk title this weekend when he answers the gun
for the men’s 5,000m race walk. Seaman is a 5-time U.S. 20 km champion
(’98, ’00, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09) and has won 11 of the last 12 U.S.
Indoor race walk titles. Currently tied with National Track & Field
Hall of Famer Henry Laskau with 42 U.S. race walk crowns, Seaman trails
only Hall of Famer Ron Laird, who owns the most U.S. race walk national
titles in history with 65.

2009 USA Outdoor Championships 20 km race walk runner-up Patrick Stroupe, and last year’s U.S. 20 km third-place finisher Ben Shorey will attempt to keep Seaman from making history in Albuquerque.

For more information on the 2010 USA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque and the 2010 Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com or www.usatf.org.

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