Sunday, April 22, 2012

Villanova Pros Eye the Payton Jordan Invite at Stanford

Several former Villanova athletes will be competing at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford next Sunday. All the distance events are crowded into a packed evening schedule. Among those competing will be New Zeland national record holder at 5000 meters and Villanova assistant coach Adrian Blincoe. Interestingly, Blincoe is entered in the 10,000 meters, not the 5,000 (the latter is expected to be his event as he vies for his second Kiwi Olympic team). Also, it is worth noting that his countryman Nick Willis, an Olympic silver medalist at 1500 meters, is entered in the 5000 meters. Willis has stated his intention earlier this spring to attack Blincoe's national record of 13:10.19. The races at the Payton Jordan meet are usually quite fast, so perhaps Willis believes he is ready for an assault on that record.

Other Villanovans to compete will be Carrie Tollefson, Jen Rhines, and Carmen Douma-Hussar in the 5000 meters. All three are former Olympians. Tollefson won the US Olympic Trials 1500 meters title back in 2004 and is hoping to qualify for this year's Trials at 5000 meters. Rhines is a three-time Olympian, at three different distances (5000, 10,000, and marathon) and has represented the USA at the last three Olympic Games. She was an Olympic finalist at 5000 meters in 2008. Carmen Douma-Hussar, who owns a world indoor championships silver medal at 1500 meters (2004, Budapest), represented Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where she finished 9th in the finals at 1500 meters.

Finally, former Villanova teammates Frances Koons and Marina Muncan will be competing as well. Koons has submitted credentials at 1500, 5000, and 10,000 meters. Muncan is entered in the 1500 meters. She set a new mile PR this weekend, was 2nd at the B.A.A. road mile last weekend, and hopes to continue a sold streak of quality running in the lead up to the naming of the Serbian Olympic team (Muncan is the Serbian national record holder at 1500 meters and the mile and has been a European Championships finalist both outdoors and indoors). Koons, an 8-time All-American while at Villanova, will attempt to secure a spot at the US Olympic Trials either at 1500 or 5000 meters.

10,000 meter specialist Bobby Curtis is not entered in any events at this point, notwithstanding the fact that he set his 10,000 PR at Stanford and seems to do well at this meet.

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