Keflezighi named USATF Athlete of the Week

May 9, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS - UCLA distance great Mebrahtom Keflezighi has been named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week after setting an American record in the 10,000 meters last Friday at the Cardinal Invitational. Keflezighi's time of 27:13.98 shattered Mark Nenow's 1986 American record of 27:20.56

The 2000 Olympic Trials champion and 12th-place finisher at the Olympics at 10k, Keflezighi keyed off of several Kenyan pacesetters and the cheers of 3,500 fans to help him to the record.

"My first goal was to have a good, solid race, but I didn't want the record to get away either," Keflezighi said. "The plan was to stick close with the leaders because I knew they were going to go 27-flat. I wanted to hit halfway in 13:30 to 13:40 and then try to maintain the same pace. When that actually happened, I definitely knew that I was about to make the record."

Keflezighi, who turned 26 on Saturday and trains with the recently formed Team USA Southern California, finished fourth in the race, won by Kenyan Abraham Chebii, who posted the fastest time ever run on U.S. soil with his 27:04.20 - faster than Haile Gebrselassie ran in winning the 1996 Olympics (27:07.34). American Alan Culpepper was fifth in 27:33.93, a personal record that makes him the sixth-fastest American ever at the distance.

During his Bruin career (1995-98), Keflezighi won four NCAA individual championships (1997 Indoor, 5000m, 1997 Outdoor, 5000m/10,000m, 1997 cross country) and he holds the school record in both the 5000m (13:26.85) and 10,000m (28:16.79).

Other top performances this week included Bruin great John Godina, who won the shot put at Irvine, Calif. last weekend with a best effort of 21.36 meters, 70 feet, 1 inch.

USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each Tuesday and features the athlete on the USATF Web site. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

TOP OUTDOOR PERFORMANCES, WEEK OF APRIL 30-MAY 6
(Other present and past Bruins listed)

MEN'S 10,000 METERS
27:13.96 - Meb Keflezighi at Stanford (American record)

MEN'S SHOT PUT
70-1 (21.36m) - John Godina at Irvine, Calif.

MEN'S DISCUS THROW
209-2 (63.76m) - John Godina at Irvine, Calif.

WOMEN'S 100 METERS
11.13 - Shakedia Jones (UCLA) at Los Angeles

WOMEN'S POLE VAULT
14-0 (4.27m) - Tracy O'Hara (UCLA) at Los Angeles

WOMEN'S DISCUS THROW
199-11 (60.94m) - Seilala Sua at Irvine, Calif.


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