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With state meets wrapping up around the nation, most of this week's highlights focus around state meet action. We also announce three of the top registered athletes in the Midwest Distance Gala, which takes place Saturday, June 13, in Lisle, Illinois.

Haile, Thode & Brown Top Latest Registrants for Midwest Distance Gala

With just under two weeks to go until the fifth annual Midwest Distance Gala, athletes from around the country are starting to register for the event. Some of the marquee athletes that registered over the weekend were Solomon Haile (Sr., Sherwood, MD), Jeff Thode (Sr., Conant, IL) and Stephanie Brown (Sr., Tri-Valley, IL).

Solomon Haile is the defending Foot Locker National Champion in cross country, as well as multi-time indoor and outdoor national champion, winning races at Nike Indoor Nationals, Nike Outdoor Nationals and the National Scholastic Indoor Championships. Haile is registered in the boys two-mile at the Midwest Distance Gala, where he'll look to break the meet record of 9:03.04, set by Colorado's Bobby Nicolls last year.

Entered in the boys mile, Jeff Thode is the defending Illinois State cross country champion, as well as the 1,600m state champion. Last weekend, Thode broke a 20+ year old state meet record in the 1,600m run, crossing the line in a U.S. top time of 4:05.17. Thode has been a consistent force on the Illinois scene since last season, and will look to challenge Rob Finnerty's meet record of 4:01.09..

On the girls side, Stephanie Brown is entered in the girls mile. Brown, who's been ranked in the U.S. top five multiple times this season at 800m and 1,600m, looks to improve her mile best. A sub-2:10 800m runner, Brown has shown impressive speed, while winning the state title in both events two weeks ago. The University of Arkansas-bound senior will have plenty of competition at the Gala and should challenge the meet record of 4:52.94, set back in 2005 by Michigan's Jenny Morgan.

Nine 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 MDG recruiting coordinator Scott Bush at [email protected].

Top Ten Countdown

State meets, sectional races and the Reebok Grand Prix dot this week's Top Ten Countdown.

10. Heyden Wooff (So., Camarillo, CA) - While there were many, many notable 3,200m and 3,000m performances over the weekend, Wooff stands out in particular because he ran 8:57.66 to win the Southern Section race, which saw two others run under 9:01. The thing about Wooff is that he's only a sophomore. Second place in the race was junior Matt McElroy (Jr., Edison, CA) in 8:59.91, while fellow sophomore Sam Pons (So., S. Pasadena, CA) ran 9:00.95. Furthermore Erik Olson, who ranked #1 earlier in the year, won his section in 8:55.06, and he's only a junior. The future is looking bright in California!

9. Peter Callahan (Sr., North Shore Country Day, IL) - Quietly making his name known among the top middle-distance runners in the country, Peter Callahan pulled off a great double victory at the Illinois State Meet. Competing in Class A (the smallest class), Callahan beat a strong 800m field to win in a new class record of 1:51.22, while coming back to win the 1,600m by just over three seconds in 4:15.30. Did we mention that he anchored his team's 4x800m relay to all-state as well, running a reported 1:52 split? The Princeton-bound senior will look to drop his times further this post-season.

8. Megan Goethals (Jr., Rochester, MI) - In the Top Ten Countdown for the second time in as many weeks, Goethals showed why she'll be a force this post season, winning the 1,600m and 3,200m events at the Michigan State Meet. Goethals won the 1,600m event in 4:51.20, blitzing a 65.9 second last lap according to Dyestat. Six other girls ran 4:57.00 or faster in the race. Goethals' victory in the 3,200m was just as impressive, cruising to victory in 10:37.50.

7. Tyler Stutzman (Sr., Western Albemarle, VA) - While many of the top distance performances this weekend came in completing two events, Stutzman earned the number seven slot with a mighty distance triple performance. On Friday night, Stutzman won the 3,200m run in 9:10.03, earning a meet record. On Saturday, the senior finished third in a hotly contested 1,600m field, running 4:15.94, only to come back later in the day to win the 800m dash in 1:53.93.

6. New Jersey Group 3 Girls - The New Jersey Group Championships were so good this past weekend, we couldn't pick out simply one performance to talk about. The Group 3 distance girls really shined, with some great races. Senior Melanie Thompson (Sr., Voorhees, NJ) won the 1,600m run over Ajee Wilson (Fr., Neptune, NJ), 4:50.40-4:52.03, while Wilson came back to place second in the 400 meter dash (55.85) and win the 800m dash (2:09.66). Thompson placed second in the 800m dash with a 2:10.14 performance. Also, Chelsey Ley (Jr., Kingsway, NJ) won the 3,200m run in 10:28.42, while in Group 4, Jillian Smith (Sr., Southern Regional, NJ), won the 1,600m and 800m events in 4:55.88 and 2:08.68 respectively.

5. Jordan Hasay (Sr., Mission Prep, CA)
- The Oregon-bound senior is at it again. Hasay won the 800m dash and 3,200m run at the Central Section over the weekend. Running at a controlled effort, Hasay won the 800m event in 2:09.64, while taking the 3,200m in 10:30.04. With the state meet next weekend, and the U.S. Track and Field Championships in a month, Hasay is starting to hit her peak time perfectly. Next weekend at the California State Meet could be quite special.

4. Michael Atchoo (Jr., Troy, MI) - He's only a junior, but Atchoo put himself in some special company this past weekend. Atchoo broke Dathan Ritzenhein's state meet record in the 1,600m run with his victorious 4:07.71 effort. Atchoo won the race by five seconds, earning himself a US#2 ranking. Later in the day Atchoo came back to place fourth in the 800m dash, running 1:55.53. Atchoo is expected to compete in the mile at the Midwest Distance Gala on Saturday, June 13 in Lisle, Illinois.

3. Emily Sisson (Jr., Parkway Central, MO) - Three victories and two state records concluded Sisson's first season as a Missouri resident. Sisson started the season quietly, but has picked up steam in the past month and turned in one magnificent weekend at the Missouri State Meet. Sisson helped her squad's 4x800m relay win in a state record time of 9:06.89, then came back to break the state record in the 3,200m run with a 10:24.12 performance. Completing the trifecta, Sisson won the 1,600m run in 4:52.15. Her teammate, Diane Robinson, placed second in the 3,200m run in 10:33.91, while placing third in the 1,600m run in 4:56.50.

2. Jeff Thode (Sr., Conant, IL) - Thode hasn't kept his goal of breaking the four-minute barrier quiet this season. Asked numerous times about his seasonal goal, Thode has stayed consistent that making a run at the magical four minute mark is his ultimate task this season. While he didn't quite accomplish it this past weekend, he did break a 20+ year state record in Illinois, by winning the 1,600m run in a new US#1 time of 4:05.17, this coming after he faded to fifth in the 800m dash earlier in the day. Thode seems poised to take a legitimate stab at the four-minute mark, here's to hoping he can do it.

1. Chelsey Sveinsson (So., Greenhill, TX) - Most fans of the sport did not expect another female to match Jordan Hasay's accomplishments this year, but Sveinsson is going to try her best to do so. This past weekend at the Reebok Grand Prix, Sveinsson placed 15th in the 1,500m field, running a US#2 mark of 4:18.13 for 1,500m, earning her US#9 all-time in the event. Sveinsson only ranks behind Hasay this season in the event, and will look to improve that time this post-season.

Additional Articles of Interest

Reebok Grand Prix Distance Highlights (Run the Roads)

A New Running Book: Born to Run (CNBC)

Ryan Hall Gets Wisdom from a Hippie (Denver Post)

A Brief Chat with Leo Manzano (Runner's World)

To submit an article or results to Distance Gala Weekly please contact Scott Bush at: [email protected]



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.