Outdoor Track: Gonzales Takes On USA Championship Field Tonight
UPCOMING: Matt Gonzales epic track season rolls on when he takes on the top American 10,000-meter runners at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships tonight at 9:50 (MST) at Cobb Track and Angell Field in Stanford, Calif. The University of New Mexico sophomore will face the grueling task of running his second 10K in a week. He recorded his top time of 28:26.88 en route to a third place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on June 12 in Sacramento, Calif. Gonzales, UNMs first track All-American since 1996, Gonzales is ranked ninth overall, but is the top collegiate runner in the field. He eclipsed the automatic qualifying time for the meet (28:40.00) twice during the 2003 season.
The last several years, the mens 10,000 meter championship races have come down to a three-way battle between Alan Culpepper (1999 champion), Abdi Abdirahman (2001 champ) and Meb Keflezighi (2000, 2002). A similar race is expected to develop in 2003. Keflezighi has been in the shorter races on the roads, winning the 2003 U.S. 8 km championship, but Culpepper has shown tremendous strength, running 2:09:41 in his first marathon at New York City last fall. Stanford was the site of Keflezighis 2001 American record run of 27:13.98, so a fast pace is expected. If Gonzales can follow the elite pace, he could challenge the 19-year-old New Mexico school record of 28:05.00, set by Ibrahim Kivina.
A strong showing at the USA Outdoor Championships could earn the 5-5 Gonzales a spot on the USA national team and would qualify him for such meets as the 2003 Pan American Games, IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, World University Games and a triagular meet versus Great Britain and Russia later this summer. The top three finishers in each final who have achieved the IAAFs A standard will compete in at the World Championships in Paris in August.
The USA Championship meet will be broadcast live from 2-4 p.m. (MST) on Saturday, June 21, on NBC, and live from 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2. Complete results from the weekend action can also be found on www.usatf.org.Iu