Aug. 18, 2009
BERLIN, Germany -- Former Washington State All-American and Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat has advanced to the final of the men's 1500m at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
Bernard Lagat (WSU '99), competing for the USA, qualified for the men's 1500m final after running a time of 3 minutes, 36.86 seconds, third in his heat for an automatic berth into the Friday, Aug. 19, final. Lagat is the defending world champion in the 1500m.
Lagat commented on his prelim race which was published on the USA Track & Field website www.usatf.org: "The race went well because we went but quicker than normal. I was happy it went that way. I was in good position in the beginning, and that's what I wanted. I wasn't outside, like I was in the heat. I wanted to be in good position, not outside, not inside. That was my position in the beginning. When the guys were starting to react with 300 meters to go, I was still in good position. I just wanted to keep it to the finals, and that's what happened. (With teammates in the finals). That's the best part. Think about this. Lopez Lomong works so hard. I told him, `Let's go together. Let's fight together.' I didn't want to leave him. I went like that. I remember coming in the straightaway, I was moving to Lane 1, on the inside. Then I realized it was Lopez, so I moved out to Lane 2. I didn't want to cut out my teammate. When we finished, he laughed. I gave him one look and he moved out. That's what teammates are all about. I'm so glad. Leo (Leonel Manzano) fought so hard. And Dorian Ulrey did a very, very good job. He's gaining experience. He's a college kid. Think about it. What is he going to do five years from now? I love to be in the presence of these guys."
Ian Waltz (WSU '00) finished 14th in the qualifying round for the men's discus Tuesday with a throw of 203-feet, 6 inches (62.04m) with only the top 12 advancing to the Wednesday night final.
Diana Pickler (WSU '07) took 11th place in the women's heptathlon with a point total of 6,086, just behind USA teammate Sharon Day's 10th place finish with 6,126 points.
Pickler gave the following comments which were published on the USA Track & Field website www.usatf.org: "I came in so prepared. I went in here faster and stronger than I've ever been, and I felt mentally prepared. It just didn't start out this way. The first day was a struggle, and it was so frustrating, because I knew that I did everything to prepare right for this meet. It was hard to go out there and be disappointed with the way things went yesterday. I was nowhere close to where I should have been. Today, I just tried to block everything out. I was really happy with setting a PR in the 800 after what I went through the competition. Setting a PR in the 800 is going to make me mentally stronger."
For daily insights into the happenings at the World Championships and particularly all the competitors with Northwest ties, visit http://paulmerca.blogspot.com/.