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January 30, 2013

Tigers to host USATF Oxy High Performance Meet in May

By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

LOS ANGELES — Occidental College and Bill Henry Track continue to play a role in the highest level of track and field.

Oxy announced an agreement with USA Track and Field (USATF) on Tuesday to host the 2013 USATF Oxy High Performance Meet on May 17, bringing a crop of the best middle distance runners in the world to Jack Kemp Stadium for the fourth consecutive year.

The meet features 800, 1,500 and 5,000-meter events.

"We are excited and honored that USA Track & Field has chosen our facility to host the USATF High Performance meet again this year," Occidental track and field coach Rob Bartlett said. "It is a privilege that so many elite athletes will be making use of our great track."

Oxy is a desirable venue because it was built specifically as a training venue for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, with wider turns and a faster surface than most other college track facilities in the country.

Last year's field was the meet's best ever, with eight athletes who went on to finish in the top nine at the 2012 London Olympics. The most exciting event was the men's 1500, that featured Olympic 10K and 5K gold medalist Mo Farah and 10K silver medalist Galen Rupp, going one and two in the event, just as they did in the 10K in London.

"The meet has gotten bigger and better each year," Bartlett said. "Last year the stands were filled with spectators which made for a really exciting and competitive atmosphere."

Other notable athletes that competed last year are; Leo Manzano (1500m silver medalist for U.S. at the 2012 Olympics), Duane Soloman (4th for U.S. 800m Olympics), Evan Jager (6th for U.S. steeplechase Olympics), Nick, Symmonds (5th for U.S. 800m Olympics), Shannon Rowbury (6th for U.S. 1500m Olympics) and Emma Coburn (9th for U.S. steeplechase Olympics).

With the IAAF World Championships in Moscow starting on Aug. 10, and the USA National Championships in June, the meet directors are expecting to attract similar caliber performers this year, as they try to hit "A" qualifying standards for both meets. In 2012, a total of 58 athletes hit at least a "B" standard for the Olympics, with 16 of them hitting "A" standards.

Oxy, a small college that is known better for its elite academic reputation as a nationally prestigious liberal arts school, still boasts its own tradition as a track powerhouse. Several Olympians have come out of the program, perhaps the most notable being all-time great coach Dean Cromwell '02, and silver medalists Bob McMillen '58 and Bob Gutowski '53.

Oxy's current track and field student-athletes will get a chance to work the event as volunteers and interact with some of the world's best middle distance runners.

The Tigers also host other elite competitions this season, including their annual Distance Carnival in March and the Oxy Invite in May. 

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country's #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.