Shay shatters record; qualifies for Olympic trials
By BRIAN BURKE
Ryan Shay was planning on running the 5,000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. this weekend, but after talking with head coach Joe Piane, decided to enter the 10,000 meter race instead.
Good thing he changed his mind. With a time of 28 minutes, 26.91 seconds, Shay set a personal best, broke Ron Markezich's 1989 school record of 28:44.91, finished as the top collegiate and American runner and qualified provisionally for the Olympic trials.
"The highlight [of Mt. SAC] would have to be Ryan Shay," Piane said. "He's a pretty dedicated character. I'm not surprised he qualified because nobody works harder than him."
"Conditions were really good [at Mt. SAC], basically no wind at all, 40 degrees, perfect for a 10,000." Shay said. "I had a feeling I was going to run well based on workouts during the week. [Qualifying for the Olympic Trials] was one of my goals for the season."
Shay is now ranked second among collegiate runners in the 10,000.
"There's really not much pressure," Shay said of his high ranking. "On the collegiate scene I'm still making a name for myself. I guess every race there's a little pressure, but I'd like to think the pressure's on the other runners."
The Irish sent a small squad to the meet. Tim Kober finished third in the 800 meters with a time of 1:49.47, and Luke Watson finished fourth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, posting a time of 8:51.54. Watson is now the eighth -ranked runner in that event. Matt Thompson threw 171 feet 6 inches in the discus, and for the women, freshman Tameisha King notched a second place finish in the long jump with a mark of 19-9.
Besides Mt. SAC, some Irish athletes took part in the Pomona-Pitzer Invite at Pomona College on Friday. In that meet Liz Grow turned in an excellent performance in the 400 meters, setting a personal best with her NCAA provisional qualifying time of 53.35 seconds. The time was also the second fastest in school history. Freshman Jamie Volkmer earned a pair of fourth place finishes in the women's pole vault [10-11 3/4] and women's triple jump [37-6 3/4]. Thompson also competed in Pomona placing fourth in the hammer with a throw of 173-7.
"Some of [the times and distances] were very good," Piane said. "Liz Grow qualified, I'm very pleased with Matt Thompson in the discus and the hammer. Luke Watson ran an 8:51 [in the 3,000 meter steeplechase], he's pretty solid."
"Our women are pretty solid, and for us the goal now is the Big East [Championships]. Our men traditionally have been in the top three, so we'd surely like to replicate that."
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 18, 2000