A number of men with Oregon roots are prepared to make their mark in the distance events at the 2008 Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene.
Nick Symmonds, who attended Division III Willamette in college, has shown that school size doesn't matter. He'll line up Friday for the quarterfinal rounds of the Men's 800 meters as the second-ranked American at the distance. Symmonds likes to lag at the back of the pack, then unleash an explosive kick in the backstretch. It should make for an exciting race for fans.
Also on Friday, the men will run in the 5000 meters semifinals. Adam Goucher, who moved with his runner-wife Kara to Oregon to train under Alberto Salazar and the Nike Project, will line up, along with UO standout Galen Rupp and Dathan Ritzenhein of Eugene, who's already made the US team for the Marathon.
In the 10,000 meters, Rupp will run his best event, Goucher may also toe the line, and 2004 Olympic Marathoner Dan Browne of Portland will also compete.
For fans, the 1500 meters could be one of the most exciting. The metric mile will feature Alan Webb, who broke Jim Ryun's high school mile record on the Hayward track, against 2007 1500 meter World Champion Bernard Lagat. They hold the top two American mile times this year, and it should be a great showdown.