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Celebrations make a lasting impression

Tracking the TrailsBlake RisnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Hello from Eugene, Ore. – “Track Town, USA.”Victory celebrations differ from athlete to athlete.Chaunte Howard would perform a little celebration dance after each bar clearance en route to first place in the women’s high jump. Howard became the 2008 U.S. champion with a jump of 6 feet, 5 inches, only one year after giving birth to a daughter.Kara Goucher outkicked Jen Rhines and Shalane Flanagan to win the women’s 5,000-meter run title on Friday night. She celebrated initially with a monstrous yell, followed by tears of joy as she approached her family. (Yes, I once again heard chants of “Goucher, Goucher, Goucher!” one row behind me.)Tiny Jordan Hasay, 16, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., simply lit up with a huge smile after breaking the all-time prep record in the women’s 1,500 run (4 minutes, 14.50 seconds). Hasay, incredibly, qualified for the 1,500 finals, which are scheduled for Sunday. However, it is unknown if she will stay to run or fly to Poland for the World Junior championships.The most memorable victory celebration to date was performed Friday night by Abdi Abdirahman. Abdirahman had just led from start to finish in the men’s 10,000 and held off a late charge from Oregon’s Galen Rupp. Upon crossing the finish line after 25 laps, he decided that he had enough energy for one more lap.Abdirahman, 31, spread his arms and began to imitate an airplane as he passed several lapped runners through the first curve. He then sprinted down the backstretch and waved to the raucous Hayward Field crowd. Upon reaching the track’s second curve, the noise in the stadium built with anticipation of what was about to happen. Not to disappoint, the nationalized American citizen jumped right into the steeplechase pit full of water.What a scene!It just occurred to me that my great high school track and field athletes have some work to do. It will no longer be good enough to collapse to the track in complete exhaustion (Meg) or to stumble around on weak legs after eight laps of determined effort (Katrina). We need to work on some victory celebrations for the fans to remember.For complete results and information on the 2008 U.S. Olympic track and field Trials, log on to http://www.eugene08. com.Bryce and Bailey, have a good final weekend with Gram and Bob. See you soon.Blake Risner is a Glenwood Springs High School track and field coach.


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