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The last week of Distance Gala Weekly wraps up the rest of the state meets in our Top Ten Countdown. It's been a fun season of reviewing the top performances this week, but many top performances are still waiting to be posted. With the Midwest Distance Gala, Nike Outdoor Nationals and USATF Junior Nationals still to be run, make sure to keep your eyes open as the top athletes come blazing to the finish.

It's Finally Here, the 2009 Midwest Distance Gala

It's been a year in the making, but the fifth annual Midwest Distance Gala takes place this coming Saturday, at Benedictine University, in Lisle, Illinois. All week we'll be posting news, updates, start lists, contests and much more at our meet website, www.midwestdistancegala.com.

Note to Athletes and Coaches: Registration for the Midwest Distance Gala closes on Wednesday. Please make sure to register before then. If you have any questions please contact MDG recruiting coordinator Scott Bush at scott@midwestdistancegala.com.

Free Coaching Clinic: Along with our star-studded races, we also have a coaching clinic this year. If you are a coach in the Midwest, you'll definitely want to check this out. Famed coaches Joe Newton, Jay Johnson and Scott Simmons will all be speaking, with a coaches social being held afterward. Best of all, this clinic is absolutely free! Visit http://bit.ly/galaclinic to register (only 50 slots available). Send questions to clinic@midwestdistancegala.com

Five days remain to register for the Gala. With fields growing day by day, the 2009 edition will certainly be exciting and action packed. If you have any questions please feel free to visit the website at www.midwestdistancegala.com or email us at info@midwestdistancegala.com.

Top Ten Countdown

State meets dominated this week's Top Ten Countdown, led by seven top performances from either New Jersey or California athletes.

10. Simone Brickley (Sr., Dallas Madison, TX) - While many female middle-distance runners are starting to dip under 2:10 for 800m, one of the most impressive performances in the event this spring took place on Saturday at the Texas State Meet. Brickley won her division of the 800m in 2:09.81, but what was even more impressive is that she won by just over nine seconds. What a fantastic way to close out her senior season.

9. Elijah Greer (Sr., Lake Oswego, OR) - High expectations, a field where everyone has run much faster, and the glitz and glamour of running in front of your future college fanbase, seemed to keep Greer out of contention at the Pre Classic on Sunday. Even though he was not happy with his performance, he still broke 1:50 yet again this spring, something only one other 800m runner has been able to do this spring. Greer finished ninth overall in 1:49.15 and is looking forward to bigger performances in the coming weeks.

8. Aly Drake (Sr., Valencia, CA) - Californians earned four sports on this week's Top Ten Countdown, starting with Drake's performance. Drake came up big at the California State Meet, winning the 800m dash in 2:07.45. Running stride for stride with senior Carlyle Davis, Drake was able to come up big for the win, and a U.S. top ten performance, while Davis finished closely behind in 2:07.82.

7. Stephanie Morgan (Sr., Barnesville, OH) - Morgan has been a bit quiet this season, but she's rounding into form nicely. This past weekend, at the Ohio State Meet, Morgan once again won the 1,600m and 800m events. The Baylor-bound senior won the 1,600m in 4:50.93, then came back shortly after to win the 800m in 2:09.77. With two weeks to go until Nike Outdoor Nationals, Morgan seems primed to make a run at the national mile title once more.

6. Chris Schwartz (Sr., Foothill, CA) - Schwartz had a slow start to his track season, but he came up big when it counted most in the end, winning the California State 3,200m run in a U.S. #3 mark of 8:51.60. Schwartz ran to a two second win, but even more impressive was the long streak of runners behind him. Eight other runners broke the nine minute barrier, showing once again why California has to be considered the best state for distance depth year in and year out.

5. Mac Fleet (Sr., University City, CA) - As one of the top middle-distance runners in the country, Fleet seems to be coming on strong at the right time. The Oregon-bound senior won the California State Meet 1,600m run in 4:05.33, which ranks him at U.S. #2 behind Illinois senior Jeff Thode. Fleet beat a star studded field, including sophomore Elias Geydon (So., Loyola, CA), who finished second in 4:07.26.

4. Melanie Thompson (Sr., Voorhees, NJ) - Similar to California, New Jersey had a great week of performances, as the New Jersey Meet of Champions took place. Starting off the top three New Jersey performances was Melanie Thompson's 4:46.28 1,600m victory. The Voorhees H.S. senior won in a U.S. #2 time, leading two others under 4:47. Freshman standout Ajee Wilson (Fr., Neptune, NJ) placed second in a U.S. #4 time of 4:46.84, while Ariann Neutts (Sr., Roxbury, NJ) finished in a U.S. #5 time of 4:46.95. Three U.S. top five performances in one race is exceptional.

3. Jordan Hasay (Sr., Mission Prep, CA) - Choosing who'd be number one on the Top Ten Countdown was a tough choice this week. Hasay's performance Saturday at the California State Meet was inspiring. Taking out the laps on national record pace, Hasay wanted to conclude her regular season career with a national record. However, she couldn't maintain the effort, finishing 18 seconds up on the field in a U.S. #1 time of 10:05.29.

2. Robby Andrews (Sr., Manalapan, NJ) - With sub-4 talk starting up over the past week, Andrews showed why he has a legitimate shot at breaking the mark, making a statement with a 1:48.66 800m victory at the New Jersey Meet of Championships. The Virginia-bound Andrews ran even splits the entire way, running a new U.S. #1 mark at the distance. Next up, taking a stab at the vaunted four minute mile barrier in Portland.

1. Jillian Smith (Sr., Southern Regional, NJ) - Few athletes have had the career Smith has had. The Michigan-signee wrapped up her New Jersey racing career with an amazing performance over 800m, winning another New Jersey Meet of Champions race. Smith broke away and never looked back, winning the hotly contested race in a new U.S. #1 time of 2:04.67. Coming in second, with a U.S. #3 mark, was Emily Carrollo (Sr., Pope John XXIII) in 2:06.94, while Marielle Hall (Jr., Haddonfield Memorial, NJ) grabbed a U.S. #4 clocking in 2:07.33.

Additional Articles of Interest

Prefontaine Classic Results & Highlights (Runnerspace)

A Brief Chat with Anna Willard & Christin Wurth-Thomas (Runner's World)

NCAA T&F Championships Men's Declaration List (NCAA)

NCAA T&F Championships Women's Declaration List (NCAA)

To submit an article or results to Distance Gala Weekly please contact Scott Bush at: scott@midwestdistancegala.com



The Midwest Distance Gala is one of the premier post-season high school track competitions in the United States. Through strong competition and a professional environment, the Midwest Distance Gala has continued a steady rate of growth and success. The fifth edition of the event takes place on Saturday, June 13, 2009, at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. For more information please visit the Midwest Distance Gala website at www.midwestdistancegala.com. To receive more Midwest Distance Gala info follow us on twitter. Sign up here to receive the Distance Gala Weekly via email.
Distance Gala Weekly Copyright © 2009 Midwest Distance Gala, Inc. Printed with permission.