It was quite a night for the Dartmouth Big Green at the USATF National Championships in Eugene, Ore., as two alums — Ben True and Sean Furey — secured their spots on Team USA for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August.
Furey won his second national title in the javelin with his final throw of 83.08 meters (272-7), which also gave him the world standard as well. But Furey was focused in the moment afterward.
“These are the moments that make you glad you stick with this,” he said. “It’s why I’m 32 and I’m still doing this … I said when I started throwing the javelin that I wanted to win 10 national titles. This is just my second, so I’m going to have to throw until I’m 90 to make it. On my last throw, I knew that I would at least finish second and go to worlds, but I stopped myself and said, ‘No, you only have so many chances to win championships. Go for it.'”
True, representing Saucony, finished second to Galen Rupp in the 10,000-meter run in 28:14.26 in the last race of the night. Running in a large lead pack with 800 meters to go, Rupp and True took off on a sub-60 penultimate lap to separate from the rest by the bell. True had hit the IAAF standard in Palo Alto last month, finishing in 27:43.79.
One other former Ivy Leaguer — Conor McCullough — will be heading to China after finishing second in the hammer with a best of 76.09 meters (249-7), about three feet behind champion Kibwe Johnson. McCullough — who won the NCAA title for USC two weeks ago — threw for Princeton and holds the League record. Someone shooting for that record — Cornell freshman Rudy Winkler — was 11th tonight with a best of 68.04 meters (223-3).
Three others — Columbia grad Kyle Merber, Dartmouth alum Will Geoghegan and Princeton grad Ashley Higginson — advanced to the next round on Thursday.
Geoghegan earned an auto qualifier in the first heat of the 1,500-meter run, finishing in 3:48.19 (less than a second in front of Princeton alumni Peter Callahan). Merber finished just outside the auto berths in heat two, but his 3:45.41 would hang on for the final qualifying spot.
Merber posted to Facebook: “Squeaked into my first U.S. Outdoor final. Running Saturday in a stacked 1,500 to try and make a team. It’s been a crazy last few weeks, but glad to be on track.”
Higginson was an easy qualifier to the final of the steeplechase, running 9:46.79 for third place in the second heat. The top four in each heat moved forward and Higginson’s group was 10 seconds clear of the fifth-place finisher.
Other top-10 finishers in finals were Penn’s Sam Mattis, Princeton grad Liz Costello and Dartmouth alum Alexi Pappas. Mattis, the NCAA discus champ, was eighth in that event with a throw of 60.82 meters (199-6). Costello (33:06.66) and Pappas (33:14.24) were seventh and ninth in the women’s 10k.
Among those competing in the Junior Nationals, run concurrently with the Nats, was Brown rookie Josie Natrasevschi, who won the discus with a fling of 53.52 meters (175-7), which was five feet ahead of runner-up Lloydricia Cameron of Florida.
“It’s a great feeling. This is big for me,” said Natrasevschi. “I have Olympic aspirations, and this is one of the steps … I felt kind of flat at NCAAs. I was really struggling with my energy level. Today was much better.”
Meanwhile, down at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, former Princeton Tiger Damon McLean was fifth in the triple jump at 15.90 meters (52-2).