News & Tips|June 3, 2021, 4:34 p.m. | 85
Portland Track Stumptown Twilight Preview
This evening, on Thursday June 3rd 2021, a big meet is happening in Portland or, more specifically, at Lewis & Clark College’s outdoor track stadium.
As hype before the USA Olympic Trials builds (coming June 18th) these athletes are looking to sharpen their racing skills and get as much rust busted off as possible while some are giving their last shots at qualifying times.
Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
First up is the men’s 3000m steeplechase. This may be the men's race with the most athletes who actually specialize in this distance. In other words, a lot of 1500m people are dropping to the 800 or vise versa.
All eyes will be on Brandon Doughty after his incredible comeback race in the steeple a few weeks ago in NYC. After 1000+ days off of racing, he ran OTQ and showed some serious grit doing so. His mindset seems to be in a perfect spot right now and I would not be surprised at all if he keeps this trajectory going with a W.
Craig Nowak is somewhat of a mystery man these days. His social media has no real proof of having a sponsor yet he’s already had some stellar performances this spring.
Tony Clement. I had the pleasure of linking up with Tony for a run in Bozeman in January of this past year. He flies under the radar and is unsponsored but the guy is an animal and has a beautiful attitude towards life and running. I’m rooting for a great one for TC. Boomer sooner baby let’s get it.
Also listed in the race is UT alumn & Reebok Boston pro Alex Rogers. His IG says that 5 days ago was his last race before the Trials, though, so we’ll see if he does end up toeing the line.
It should be fun to watch Joey Berriatua. A high school competitor of my college roommate (shout out Gabe McLarnan, who always said Joey was a great guy) it will be great to see what happens. Especially with all of the drama out of the Tinman camp these days it would be huge for morale.
Predicted Top 3
- Brandon Doughty
- Craig Nowak
- Tony Clement
Dark Horse: Joey Berriatua
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
This is the race that’s most exciting to me. It’s sure to be a fun one to watch unfold.
Seeded first is Marisa Howard. A (school) nurse by day and steeplechaser by night. The Sarah Sellers rule tells us that as a full time nurse she should do well. She’s even got the link to live stream this race in her IG bio.
Alexina Wilson is next. She took the W in the women race of the same meet as Brandon Doughty’s breakout - at Trial of Miles x Citus Mag’s meet in NYC on May 22. She coaches NAU and has a Tracksmith kit these days. Good recipe.
Grayson Murphy. Murphy likely has the best NCAA credentials of anyone in the race, finishing in the top 6 of the NCAA championship steeplechase two years in a row.
Sarah Pease is a Ball State coach and from Indiana. Looks like there will be a battle of some NCAA assistant coaches. Also shout out the Midwest. She says her debut 10k at Sound Running was underwhelming to her so hopefully she has the opposite result in this one.
Also in the race is Australian Amy Cashin. More like Amy Cashmoney am I right? What a sick name.
The other two athletes I would keep my eye on for great races would be Meredith Rizzo and Baylee Mires. Rizzo is another Tracksmith athlete who was in the same race that Alexina Wilson won.
Mires is part of the Dark Sky Distance Project with Under Amour and Stephen Haas in Flagstaff.
Predicted Top 3:
- Grayson Murphy
- Alexina Wilson
- Marisa Howard
Dark Horse: Meredith Rizzo
There are 4 heats of the 800m at this race and 1500m gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz is listed in the final 3. He’s such a legend already but if he actually workouts all 3 heats and is competitive in them, it may be the story of the night 😂 .
As mentioned earlier the 800 has mostly 1500m specialized dudes racing - which is normal for preparing for a 1500m later (at the trials).
Examples are Craig Engels, Sam Prakel, Mick Stanovesk... they can undoubtedly rip a super fast 800m but it could be a way to gear up for something bigger later on.
One 800m specialist that should feel especially at home is Drew Piazza.
I highly recommend following Christian Harrison aka ChristianCash on IG. Legend.
Predicted Top 3:
- Craig Engels
- Christian Harrison
- Drew Piazza
Dark Horse: Michael Rhoads
Sam Murphy has been racing well. Another part time coach, Murphy trains in San Diego. Training with Hiltz doesn’t hurt.
Nia Akins is a Penn alumn and Brooks pro. I personally feel there's something special cooking in that Brooks Beast group right now.
Edit: Rebecca Decided to Healthy Scratch to Gear Up For Trials
Sinclaire Johnson ran 1:59.9 earlier in May of this year 🔥🔥 Look out for her as Johnson, like Murphy in the Steeplechase, has the best college career in the field as the 2019 NCAA 1500m champion.
Kendra Chambers secured her OTQ in the event last week on the same track.
Predicted Top 3:
- Sinclaire Johnson
- Nia Akins
- Sam Murphy
Dark Horse: Nia Akins
Josh Kerr is seeded first. No surprise there as the 23 year old finished 3rd at his final NCAA 1500m 3 years ago. Another member of the Brooks Beast squad.
Will Paulson is a Canadian Nike athletic with Oregon TC Elite who ran 3:35.42 last weekend.
Geordie (his IG says George) Beamish has probably the best flow (aka lettuce, aka cheddar) of any man in the whole meet (okay maybe Brandon Doughty has him beat).
His teammates Joe Klecker and Carlos Villareal will be there with him and there's a chance they all end in the top 5 or better. Beamish is also listed in the 800m. More on that later.
Neil Gourley, the British Nike athlete, is also listed in the 800m. Perhaps this will be a workout effort and he'll do both events or it's a game time decision to go with one race or the other. We will see!
Eric Holt had a super impressive W at the Trials of Miles x Citius Mag event in NYC that I keep referencing. He also won his heat on this same track last week. His club, the Empire Elite TC, has been a sneaky addition to the running sphere and there's a chance Eric keeps the inertia going across the finish line. It would be pretty nuts for him to outright win 3x 1500m races in a row.
Pat Casey. He's a veteran in the game, he's proven time and time again that he's an elite American mid distance talent, and is simply must-follow on Twitter.
Finally, Blake Haney will be an interesting one to watch out for. Teammates at Dark Sky with Casey, Blake has been battling the injury bug for some time now.
Predicted Top 3:
- Joe Klecker
- Josh Kerr
- Geordie Beamish
Dark Horse: Tripp Hurt
While we've skipped the extra heats for the other events to this point, the Men's 1500m Heat 2 is a must watch.
We've got Daniel Winn & Colby Alexander who are roommates.
We've also got Jeff Thies and Brian Barraza. Tinman Elite teammates.
Spencer Brown, aka The Athlete Special, a sub-4 miler, YouTuber, and pro runner hybrid with the Brooks Beasts will be sending.
Austin Tamagno, Looking for his shot at pro running greatness. Awesome.
AND Tim Gorman.
Nikki Hiltz. They are the favorite in my mind to take the W. Nikki is like a always close or first to hitting the finish line tape and I suspect we'll see more of the same this time.
Marta Freitas is another really good Brooks Beast athlete. They seem to be all-in on this meet. Marta is a past NCAA champ.
Kate Van Buskirk is a Canadian runner who tied her PB in the 1500m on this same track last week. Earlier in May, she ran a PR in the 5000m by a solid amount.
Canadian buddies with Kate Van Buskirk is Natalia Hawthorn. Hawthorn is a Brooks runner but doesn't seem to be a part of the Beast group, like Freitas and others mentioned above. Straight from Hawthorn's IG from last week:
"A new PB of 4:04.47 and more valuable experience gained competing against a stellar field of women last night as Portland Track Festival. I'm already counting down the days before I get the chance to hit the track again, and find that extra .27 second I need, to hit Olympic standard next week at #stumptowntwilight!"
Another Brooks Beast member will be in the race - Karissa Nelson - as well as a Dark Sky athlete - Taryn Rawlings. I think these two clubs have the most athletes at the meet.
Predicted Top 3:
- Nikki Hiltz
- Natalia Hawthorn
- Marta Freitas
Dark Horse: Taryn Rawlings
To start off the 5K we have (I think?) the only person to ever dethrone Ed 'King' Cheserek at an NCAA XC Championship - Patrick Tiernan. The Australian has dipped under 13:30 multiple times so there's a good chance the front end of this race is around that pace.
Ryan Hill is a veteran in the distance game with many ridiculously fast performances. He's approaching a decade of competing in the 5000m and distance events at the highest levels with a 13:05 5000m PR. At the end of 2020 he switched from Nike x Bowerman TC to sign with Hoka One One x NAZ Elite. I'm sure he wants nothing more than to have a stupendous Olympic Year to show Nike what they were missing by not getting a new contract together.
Eric Jenkins. He's one of 9 Americans to go sub 27:30 in the 10k (fact check me on that). The last time he raced a 5000m last month he stepped off the track at 3000m mark, though, so he may be doing another workout type effort this time.
Heath just missed the OTQ time of 13:25 two weeks ago by .72 seconds. He said he was going to run it again last week at the Portland Distance festival but I can't find any results.
- EDIT: Eric Speakman's IG story says he just landed in Cyprus. So. It's safe to say he will not be racing tonight.
Another guy who may be doing a workout type effort is Geordie (George?) Beamish. Listed in 1500m he may be doing both events or he may choose one or the other. With American distance running legend Dathan Ritzenhein as his coach, anything is on the table and it's almost definitely going to be smart.
Seth Hirsch is a current student-athlete at University of Wisconsin and finished 24th in the 10,000 meters in 30:04.36 in the 80+ degree temperature at the Big10 Championships at the end of May.
Seeded last in this race is Lawi Lalang! The 29 year old Kenyan has won basically every distance race and has a PR of 13:00.95 in this event. He's an actual legend. I have no idea what kind of fitness he has right now, though.
Predicted Top 3:
- Patrick Tiernan
- Ryan Hill
- Garrett Heath
Dark Horse: Lawi Lalang
This race has 22 athletes entered.
The first 4 entries for this race are all Nike athletes - Vanessa Fraser, Emily Infeld, Marielle Hall, and Gwen Jorgensen. They're likely to work together and pack up to get some OTQ times going. 3 days ago the 4 of them were working out at Nike campus' legendary Michael Johnson Track.
Also in this race is Heidi See. Heidi ran a great PR in 15:18.24 on May 15.
There's a number of unattached women entered after that. I'd love to see some of them mix it up with the Nike frontrunners and surprise everyone heading into the Trials. We will see!
Predicted Top 3:
- Vanessa Fraser
- Heidi See
- Marielle Hall
Dark Horse: Beverly Ramos