America's Top Women's Distance Runners Aim for U.S. Record - 10,000 Meters

May 2, 2002

Stanford, Ca - Last year, the American record in the men's 10,000 meters was broken by Meb Keflizighi before a capacity crowd at the Cardinal Invitational at Stanford's Cobb Track & Angell Field. Keflizighi's effort was certainly one of the top track & field highlights of the 2001 outdoor season.

One year later, the women's American 10,000 meter record will be on the line at Friday's (5/3) Cardinal Invitational, and several of the top American distance runners will take aim at the record of 31:19.89 set by Lynn Jennings in 1992. The women's 10,000 meters race starts at 9:25 p.m.

Several of the top American distance runners will attempt to break the record. That list includes Deena Drossin, Elva Dryer, Jen Rhines, Kim Fitchen and Nicole Jefferson. Drossin has emerged as this countries top woman's distance runner. Her credentials reflect her status as Drossin has won the U.S. 10,000 meter champion twice (2000, 2001). Drossin, an eight-time All-American from Arkansas, has also won the the United States cross country championship six times. Two months ago at the World Cross Country Championships in Ireland, Drosin finished second. Dryer, who was a seven-time NCAA Division II track and cross country champion, has distinguished herself in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Rhines is ranked second in the United States in the 10,000 meters, while Fitchen, who calls Palo Alto her home, has the nation's fastest time in the 10,000 meters this year. Jefferson has been regarded as one of the top distance runners in the United States.

The American runners will be pushed by a group of elite international runners, including runners from Japan, Ireland and Canada. A large contingent of Japanese reporters are here to see Yoko Shibui, who distinguished herself by chalking up the world's best time in the marathon last year. Courtney Babcock of Canada and Ireland's Marie Davenport will be among the favorites in the race. Babcock's time of 15:10.66 leads the world in the 5,000 meters, while Davenport possesses one of the world's best times in 2002.

More than 25 of the world's best runners will compete in the women's 10,000 meters, and the field will include several top collegiate runners (Brigham Young, Wisconsin, Colorado).

Meb Keflizighi, a former All-American and four-time NCAA champion at UCLA, returns to Cobb Track & Angell Field where he set the American record in the 10,000 meters (27:13.98) last year. The competition will again be strong with a quartet of Kenyan runners, Luke Kipkosgei, Albert Chepkurui, Martin Keino, and Daniel Gachara challenging Keflizighi. Kipkosgei is one of the world class runners competing at Stanford on Friday. Kipkosgei recently placed second at the World Cross Country Championships, and was ranked third in the world in the 10,000 meters last year. Chepkurui is only 20-years old, but is also considered one of Kenya's top runners. Jeff Schiebler set the Canadian record in the 10,000 meters last year at Stanford, while former Oregon All-American Karl Keska competes for Great Britain.

A bus load of former Stanford runners will challenge this world-class field in the 10,000 meters. The list includes 14-time All-American Brad Hauser, Greg Jimmerson, Jason Perscheid and Chris Lundstrom. Current Cardinal runner Ian Dobson also is entered.

Other running events will field top competitors. Nicole Teter, who now trains with the Nike Farm Team at Stanford, will lead a talented field in the 800 meters. Teter is the 2002 U.S. indoor champion in the 800 meters, and her time in the 1,500 meters this year is #1. In the men's 800 meters, U.S. Olympian Bryan Woodward headlines a strong field. In the men's 1,500 meters, Stanford's Gabe Jennings will attempt to meet or break the IAAF 'A' standard of 3:34.90. The field also includes former Cardinal runner Jason Lunn (the 2002 U.S. indoor champion in the mile).

The women's 3,000 meter steeplechase is emerging as one of the top races in the United States. Liz Jackson, a former standout at BYU (2000 U.S. Olympic champion, 2001 NCAA champion), is the American record holder and was ranked among the world leaders last year.

Field events get underway at 4:00 p.m. while the running events start at 6:05 p.m. Nick Hysong became the first American since Bob Seagren (1968) to win the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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