Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - May 2, 2014

Sports Shorts

TRACKING THE BEST . . . Sunday marks the renewal of the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, one of the nation's premier track and field showcases for long-distance runners. Annually, the Payton Jordan is the premier early season domestic meet used to establish qualifying standards for international competition and for collegians to secure spots in the NCAA Prelims. At last year's meet, competitors established four world-leading times, five meet records, two stadium records, and 13 World Championship 'A' standards. The top 10 finishers in the men's 5,000 meters all were under the existing best time in the world. In the men's 10,000, the top three did the same. This year, with a collection of elite American and international pros, as well as many of the best collegians, the 19th annual meet promises to be a fast one. Cobb Track and Angell Field will be the site once again, with field events starting at noon and running events at 3:39 p.m. Action continues on the track through 11:30 p.m. with the second section of the women's 10,000.

The first fast section of a distance race is the women's 800 at 4:56 p.m. The last is the men's Kim McDonald 10,000 at 9:45 p.m. The women's 800 includes three Olympic or World Championship finalists — Shannon Rowbury, Jemma Simpson, and Maggie Vessey — plus an NCAA champion and the two fastest half-milers in Stanford history — Amy Weissenbach and Justine Fedronic. The women's 1,500 includes Stanford recruit Elise Cranny, a high school senior from Niwott, Colo. She ran in this meet last year as a junior and was third in the elite section, running the third-fastest 1,500 in prep history (behind only Mary Cain and Jordan Hasay) of 4:15.07. The men's 5,000 (at 8:50 p.m.) will be the marquee event of the meet as it brings together 11 U.S. runners ranked among the Top 10 for 2013 by Track & Field News. It also is an opportunity to see two U.S. champions — Matthew Centrowitz (1,500) and Evan Jager (5,000) — go head to head. Returning to familiar territory are 14-time Stanford All-America Chris Derrick, local product Diego Estrada, and USA Olympian Lopez Lomong, who set the meet record despite misjudging his laps in the 2012 race. In the men's Kim McDonald 10,000 (at 9:45 p.m.), Canadian Olympian Cam Levins returns to the Payton Jordan for the first time since his memorable duel with Derrick and Sam Chelanga to win the 2012 race. Belgium's Bashir Abdi and Japan's Yuki Sato add to the international flavor, while Sean Quigley and Christo Landry are the top Americans.

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