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State meets are going full force now, which means athletes around the country are hitting their peak form. It showed this past weekend, with numerous U.S. top five performances. Despite harsh weather in some part of the country, the times were great and we have it all covered.

Top Ten Countdown

Conference, regional, sectional, district and state results dot the Top Ten Countdown this week. Here's this week's countdown:

10. Gareth Gilna (Sr., Los Alamos, NM) - The New Mexico rivalry between Los Alamos High School and Albuquerque Academy is one of the best rivalries in high school sports. It was reignited once again this past weekend, as the Los Alamos and Albuquerque Academy runners went head-to-head at the New Mexico State Meet. Well, Los Alamos seemed to come out on top, with Gilna grabbing victories in the 800m, 1,600m and 3,200m. Gilna ran 1:56.13 for 800m and 9:27.35 for 3,200m, but his best performance came in the 1,600m, where the senior won with a 4:12.60 clocking.

9. Laura Tremblay (Sr., Thompson Valley, CO) - There's a lot of distance running talent in Colorado this season, and at the top of that list is Tremblay. Over the weekend she proved why she is an impressive recruit, helping her team's 4x800m relay team to a state championship and U.S. #1 time, then coming back to run 2:13.66 for 800m and 4:54.59 for 1,600m. All three performances combined make for quite the weekend.

8. Justin Zimmerman (Jr., Ferris, WA) - It's rare for someone to PR in the 800m dash by four seconds, especially when they are already a sub-1:58 800m runner. Well, Zimmerman did just that at the Greater Spokane League Championship over the weekend, when the junior clocked a U.S. top five time in 1:51.69. Zimmerman set a personal best by four seconds, while besting Jordan Curnutt (Sr., Mead, WA), who finished second in 1:52.46.

7. Shane Moskowitz (Jr., Central Kitsap, WA) - Moskowitz made a name for himself this past fall when he qualified for Foot Locker Nationals as only a junior. Well, he's back at it again, this time running a great 1,600m/3,200m double at the Narrows League Championship. Moskowitz ran a very solid time in the 3,200m with a 9:15.62 clocking, but his most impressive performance was easily his 1,600m time. Leading the whole way, Moskowtiz ran to victory in 4:11.75, and seems poised to run big the rest of the season.

6. Jillian Smith (Sr., Southern Regional, NJ) - Surprise, surprise! It was only a matter of time before Smith jumped back into the national spotlight. The University of Michigan-signee won the distance triple at the Shore Conference Championship over the weekend, placing first in the 1,600m with a time of 4:53.04 and the 3,200m in 11:05.76. Her most breathtaking performance came in her specialty, the 800m dash, which she won in a U.S. #2 time of 2:06.78.

5. Brian Shrader (Jr., Sinagua, AZ) - At the Arizona 4A-II State Meet, Shrader showed why he will be a force next year as a senior. The junior standout won the distance triple, running some great times along the way. Shrader won the 800m dash in 1:52.89, the 1,600m run in 4:13.01 and the 3,200m run in 9:10.47. Just imagine what he could run in any three of those events if he ran any of them fresh and not having to worry about running another event.

4. Central Bucks South (PA) - A few weeks ago at the Penn Relays, Morris Hills (NJ) and Albemarle (VA) battled to the finish of the 4x800m relay, with Albemarle pulling away to victory in the final strides, both squads breaking the old national record in the event. However, Central Bucks South (PA) got overlooked in the process, as they ran to a third place finish of 7:36.93. Well, Central Bucks South showed this past weekend that they won't be discounted the rest of the season, as they won the 4x800m relay this weekend in 7:37.43, once again dipping under the 7:40 barrier.

3. Jordan Hasay (Sr., Mission Prep, CA) - It seems as though every time Hasay runs, she always goes big-time with her performance and ends up in the national spotlight. On Saturday evening, Hasay raced in the adidas Track Classic 1,500m against many professional runners. Using the pros to help pull her to a fast time, Hasay finished eleventh overall in 4:16.92, a U.S. top ten all-time mark.

2. Thompson Valley (CO) - There were two U.S. #1 marks earned over the weekend, and the first came from the Thompson Valley girls 4x800m relay squad. Thompson Valley wanted to break nine in the 4x8 this weekend, and came just a split second short, winning the 5A Colorado State Meet race in 9:00.07. Hopefully, Thompson Valley will take their talent to Nike Outdoor Nationals and run for the national title.

1. Amanda Winslow (Sr., Collins Hill, GA)
- The other U.S. #1 performance over the weekend came from Winslow. Taking part in the Georgia State Meet, Winslow wanted to close out her high school career with something truly special, and she did just that. The Florida State-bound senior won the 3,200m run in 10:42.70, then came storming back to win the 1,600m run in a new state record and U.S. #1 time of 4:44.97.

An Interview with Bill Matthews

For the past four years, Bill Matthews has established himself as one of the premier runners in the country. The Georgia-bound senior qualified for Foot Locker Nationals this past fall after winning the Foot Locker South Regional, while having a very solid track season this spring. Matthews spoke with Distance Gala Weekly this past week, discussing his decision to attend Georgia next fall, how his season has been and what his goals are for the rest of the season.

Distance Gala Weekly (DGW): You've been fairly quiet since competing at the Arcadia Invitational in early April. What have you been up to?

Bill Matthews (BM): I actually just completed a triple this weekend at our state qualifying meet. I ran the 3200, 1600, and 800 and went 9:10.1, 4:15, and 1:57.2. I negative split my 1600 with a 2:11 and 2:04.

DGW: At Arcadia you had the chance to compete in a very strong 3,200m field. What was your experience like racing at Arcadia and what did you take away from the experience?

BM: Arcadia did not go well at all. The only word to describe me probably would have been angry. I was not pleased with my time or race, and I felt completely depleted during the race. I enjoyed seeing friends at Arcadia, and meeting new people, but the race did not go the way I had desired.

DGW: Heading forward, what are your goals the rest of the season? What post-season racing will you be doing?

BM: Well for now the only meet I have left is state meet so far. I hope to repeat in winning the 800, 1600, and 3200 titles again. Right now, I am thinking I will probably just get ready for freshman cross country, but who knows.

DGW: You're headed to the University of Georgia next year. Why did you decide to attend UGA?

BM: I am very excited to be running under coach Pigg at Georgia next year. I really clicked well with him, and Georgia is a great school and location for me. I really enjoy living in the south, and I did not want to be anywhere that would get too cold in the winters. I definitely prefer the heat over the cold. Aside, from what has been previously mentioned I really have felt that it is the best fit for me. On some of my visits some schools just didn't feel right, but I felt completely at home at Georgia.

DGW: You've had an extremely successful and exciting high school running career. Out of all the races you've done, do one or two that standout above the rest?

BM: I would say my biggest race has to have been Footlocker South 2008 when I won the seeded boys race in 14:48. I was really excited because that time stacks up in the top 10 all time on that course. Also, I would say winning Great American in 2008 and breaking Sean Keveran's course record in the process.

DGW: Tennessee, for whatever reason, tends to get overlooked nationally, despite producing some strong runners over the past few years. What's the running community like in Tennessee and how close are you to some of your competitors?

BM: I have grown close to my competitors over the years, because it seems in like in the south it is impossible to not cross paths with other top guys in the south at least once a season. The funny thing is Matt Sonnenfeldt and I have been running the footlocker races since we were 10, we started off with the 9-10 age race. He is going to Kentucky next year, and I will be at Georgia next year so we will see much more of each other. I am sure we will end up racing each other until we are masters, both of us will tear it up in the 80+ rankings!

Quick Six (Six quick questions, six quick responses)

DGW: Favorite band?

BM: My favorite band is Blink-182. Apparently they are getting back together.

DGW: Favorite food?

BM: My favorite food is steak.

DGW: Shoes you run in?

BM: I am currently running the Nike Max Moto and I think they are ideal for my training.

DGW: Shoes you race in?

BM: I currently compete in the Nike Victory spikes.

DGW: Favorite vacation spot?

BM: Well I would have to say that Bermuda is pretty awesome. Bermuda is absolutely beautiful, and I had a blast when I went. But if not Bermuda, then going down to Seaside or Watercolor in the Fort Walton beaches in Florida is great. The only thing is that even though I am at boarding school, everyone from my old school and everyone from my current school go down there.

DGW: Favorite professional runner?

BM: My favorite professional runner is Craig Mottram by far. He is a complete baller.

Highlights Around the U.S.

* As stated in our interview above, Georgia-bound Bill Matthews (Sr., Baylor, TN) ran an impressive triple at his state qualifying meet over the weekend. Matthews ran 9:10.1, 4:15.0 and 1:57.2 respectively in the 3,200m, 1,600m and 800m. Matthews was even more impressive in the 1,600m race, which he negative split, going 2:11 for his first 800m and 2:04 for the second 800m.

* Jessica Tonn (Jr., Xavier Prep, AZ) once again showed why she'll be a force at Nike Outdoor Nationals later this season. Tonn won three individual events at the Arizona State Meet over the weekend. She won the 3,200m in 10:56.93, the 1,600m in 5:01.30 and the 800m in 2:14.84, while also helping her squad win the 4x800m relay. Tonn's impressive weekend helped her Xavier Prep team to the team title in 5A-1.

* While Jillian Smith was earning a top ten spot in this week's countdown, freshman sensation Ajee Wilson (Fr., Neptune, NJ) was running an impressive double. Wilson placed second in both the 1,600m and 800m at the Shore Conference Championships, losing only to Smith. Wilson nearly dipped under the 2:10 barrier in the 800m dash, running 2:10.31, while breaking five minutes in the 1,600m with a 4:59.93 effort.

* A few weeks ago, Erik Olson (Jr., Novato, CA) shocked the distance running community by breaking nine minutes for 3,200m and took over the U.S. #1 ranking in the event. Well, while he's lost his U.S. #1 ranking, the junior is making further strides, this time running 4:09.60, while easily winning the MCAL Finals. DyestatCal reports Olson will now focus solely on the 3,200m for the state meet.

* There's been a ton of freshman talent seen throughout the track and field season this year. And while it is expected that a few freshmen girls run very well around the nation, this year there are numerous freshmen boys running well. At the Idaho State Meet this past weekend, frosh runners Dallin Farnsworth (Fr., Highland, ID) and Cody Curtis (Fr., Couer D'Alene, ID) impressed. Farnsworth won the 5A 3,200m event in 9:34.35, while placing ninth in the 1,600m with a 4:34.66 effort. Meanwhile, Curtis placed third in the 3,200m in 9:38.34, with a 4:23.19 1,600m runner-up finish. What a combo of freshmen!

Additional Articles of Interest

Interview with Texas' Chelsey Sveinsson (Dyestat)

New Challenges Await Prep Phenom Hasay (Eugene Register-Guard)

Brief Chat with U.S. Women's Marathon Championships Squad (Runner's World)


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



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