USA T & F Championships/Home Depot Center/Carson, CA/Day One Men's Results

June 24, 2005

UCLA highlights following the first day (June 23) of competition at the 2005 USA Track & Field Championships included - Bruin great Meb Keflezighi placing second in the 10,000m and UCLA senior Jon Rankin setting a school record in the 1500m and advancing to the semifinals.

The concluding event of USA T & F's 2005 Visa Championship Series, the meet, which ends Sunday, hosts more than 1000 athletes as they compete for the right to represent Team USA at the 2005 World Outdoor T & F Championships, Aug. 6-14 in Helsinki, Finland (top three finishers in the final events will make the U. S. team).

In the 10,000m final, Keflezighi placed second, with a time of 28:10.57. His teammate, Abdi Abdirahman, finished first in 28:10.38. As has played out several times on American tracks over the last five years, two-time Olympic teammates Abdirahman Keflezighi made a two-man show of the men's 10,000 meter final. The 2001 U.S. champion, Abdirahman made it an honest race from the gun, seizing the lead and stringing out the field within the first 200 meters. Keflezighi, the Olympic marathon silver medalist, 10,000m American record holder and three-time U.S. 10 km champion was on his heels, and the two men set about striding around the track alone.

With Abdirahman leading the way, the duo came through 5,000 meters in 14:03 with no competition in sight. Keflezighi took over the lead with nine laps (3,600 meters) remaining, but Abdi took over once again with 800 left. Most observers likely expected Keflezighi's footspeed to prevail in the final meters, but it was Abdirahman who crossed the line, jubilantly in first, in 28:10.38. Keflezighi was inches back in 28:10.57, with Matt Downing third in 28:34.65.

''I felt fine,' said Keflezighi, who during his Bruin career won four NCAA titles (1997 Indoor 5000m/Outdoor 5000m/10,000m/Cross Country). 'You have to put it into perspective. This is my first track since last Trials. I thought I could beat Abdi. At the end of the day, he won it, but we're friends. We're good friends, we warm up together, talk together. I'm just glad both of us are going, and going to win it (World Championships).'

In the prelims of the 1500m, senior Jon Rankin, placed third in heat two, with a mark of 3:39.71 (seventh overall). For Rankin, it's a personal-best (old mark, 3:40.39) and it breaks his own UCLA school record. Rankin advances to the 1500m final on Saturday (2:32 p.m.).Although Rankin had a disappointing 2005 NCAA Outdoor meet, he did not make it out of qualifying, he did have a highly successful current outdoor season - he was the West Region and Pac-10 1500m champion and also ran the mile in under four minutes (3:57.89).

'Jon ran the race he wanted to run,' said his coach, Eric Peterson. 'He was in the lead almost the entire race, except for the final 100m. His plan was to finish in the top two of his heat (automatic qualifying time), or to run a strong qualifying mark, which he did, getting a personal-best and breaking his school 1500m record. I'm proud of Jon - it means a lot to see him step up and run a personal-best against some of the nation's top competition.'

Bruins In Thursday's Events
In the long jump final, Juaune Armon, who was an All-American in this event during his Bruin career as a senior (2004) and junior (2003), placed sixth (25-6.25, -0.5w).

In the discus final, Luke Sullivan, who was also an All-American in this event as a senior (1999) and junior (1998), finished 14th (177-8).

In U. S. Junior competition at the Home Depot, freshman Dustin DeLeo no-heighted in the pole vault (at 16-0.75).

Looking Ahead
On Friday, UCLA sophomore Brandon Johnson, Bruin senior Jonathan Williams and Bruin great Kyle Erickson will run in the 400m hurdle prelims (4:10 p.m.), with the semis set for Saturday (3:10 p.m.) and final on Sunday (2:57 p.m.).

On Sunday, Bruin great John Godina will compete in the shot put final (2 p.m.). Godina is a three-time World Champion, two-time Olympic medalist and reigning Visa Championship Series Indoor Champion. He owns four of the top six throws this year, including a personal-best 72-10. As a Bruin (1992-95), Godina won five NCAA titles and six Pac-10 championships.

In Junior competition, the Bruins will have freshman Michael Johnson in the triple jump (final Sunday) and freshman Boldizsar Kocsor in the hammer throw (final Saturday), along with two incoming freshmen also competing - Alexander Pearlstone (Sir Francis Drake HS) in the 200m (prelims/final on Friday) and Elijah Wells (Taft HS) in the 400m (prelims Friday/final Saturday).

In the Junior competition, athletes ages 19 and under are competing for the right to represent the U. S. at the Pan Am Junior Championships, July 29-31, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (by placing in the top two of their events).

Weekend Results
For up-to-the minute Bruin results at the 2005 U. S. Track & Field Championships, please go to -

The Bruin website will be updated Monday morning (June 27) with the weekend results.

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