Ashton Eaton sets a decathlon world record on the second day of competition.
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
EUGENE, Ore. — On a day that saw drenching rain, gorgeous sunshine and a spectacular decathlon world record by Ashton Eaton, Tyler Mulder upstaged Oregon Track Club Elite teammate Nick Symmonds in the semifinals of the 800m on the second day of the USA Olympic Trials here.
Mulder, who didn’t advance out of the preliminary round at the 2008 Trials here, made a bold move on the backstretch about 550 meters into the second heat, shooting ahead on the inside. He quickly opened a lead on the field which left Symmonds scrambling to catch up.
“When I saw the line on the rail I know he was going to take it,” Symmonds told reporters after the race.
Mulder rounded the final turn with a big lead, and won comfortably in 1:46.14, despite slowing down in the final 50 meters to save energy. Symmonds, the 2008 Trials champion and a Hayward Field fan favorite, finished second in 1:46.82. Both men, who live here in Eugene and are coached by Mark Rowland, advanced to Monday’s final, along with third place Ryan Martin of the University of California Santa Barbara.
“It felt good to move on my instincts,” Mulder told Race Results Weekly. ”I feel very comfortable. I feel very strong. I feel very prepared for this.”
Veteran Khadevis Robinson won the first heat in a tight battle with Duane Solomon, 1:45.83 to 1:46.03, sending Solomon to the final without an Olympic Games “A” standard. Elijah Greer of the University of Oregon for the third auto-qualifier in 1:46.28, and Charles Jock (1:46.40) and Mark Wieczorek (1:46.48) advanced on time.
In the women’s 800m semis, Saucony’s Molly Beckwith controlled the first heat expertly, winning in 2:00.57 over the Oregon Track Club Elite’s Geena Gall (2:00.58). Third place Phoebe Wright also advanced as did Heather Kampf and Brenda Martinez who finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and advanced on time.
“Honestly, I feel very, very smooth this weekend,” Beckwith told reporters. ”I’m really looking forward to getting some treatment and some rest the next day, and really get after it on Monday.”
Alysia Montano, fourth at last year’s IAAF World Championships, tried to run away from the field in the second heat, hitting 200 meters in 27.2 seconds and 400 in 55.7. But her big lead deteriorated in the last 200 meters as Montano intentionally slowed, allowing Alice Schmidt –who made the last Olympic team– and Maggie Vessey to make up ground. The trio finished in that order in 2:00.25, 2:00.50 and 2:01.01, respectively. The University of Oregon’s Laura Roesler finished fourth and did not advance.
“My strategy is just to feel it out, do it how you do it, then shut it down the last 200,” said Montano with a big yellow flower made of fabric in her hair.
Tomorrow’s action here does not feature any middle or long distance events, but on Monday the finals of the 800m will be held for both men and women, plus the preliminary rounds of the men’s and women’s steeplechase events and the 5000 meters. Both 10,000m champions –Galen Rupp and Amy Hastings– said they intend to also compete in the 5000.