Heat Training

     The predicted high today in Beijing is 93 degrees. The predicted high for Houston is 96.      

     So distance runner Kara Goucher, and some of her Nike Oregon Project teammates headed for the Summer Olympics in China, are spending this week in Houston to get acclimated to the heat.

     They live in Portland, Ore., where temperatures this week are to be in the high 70s.

     "We want to do some of our harder workouts in the same uncomfortable conditions that we will face at the Olympics. Although I’d love to stay home for this week, I know that this will make us more prepared for Beijing," Goucher said last week.

     Nike coach Alberto Salazar went to Houston on Saturday along with Goucher (5,000- and 10,000-meter entrant), Galen Rupp (10,000) and Amy Yoder Begley (10,000).

     While conditions are expected to be warm and muggy during the Olympics, Aug. 8-24, distance events in track will be held in the evening to help minimize the situation. For Goucher, the women’s 10,000-meter final on Aug. 15 is at 10:45 p.m., the 5,000 preliminaries on Aug. 19 are at 7:35 p.m. and the 5,000 final on Aug. 22 is at 8:40 p.m.

     "When I look at all the cities in the country, I wanted one that was hot and humid consistently. In Houston, there’s no doubt," Salazar told the Portland newspaper The Oregonian. "I believe there is also a psychological effect that you’ve got to get used to — feeling that suffocating heat that crowds your brain and makes you feel like you’re frying. You can do that running in sweats, or in a heat chamber, but I want them to be running outside, on a track running at race pace. I want them to get the exact feeling."

     Salazar’s runners have had a taste of a heat chamber since the end of the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 6, running on a treadmill indoors with the heat turned up. This week they’re expected to make use of the University of Houston track and a high school track, and run twice daily.

     Goucher said the plan is to run three key workouts while there — seven individual miles with a short break between each, a four-mile time trial and a long run. The Duluth native has done well in heat and cold during her running career. She had a breakthrough performance in the heat at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, last August, finishing third in the 10,000-meter final, and won the 2000 NCAA Division I cross country title for the University of Colorado when the wind-chill temperature was 19 below zero in Ames, Iowa.

    "I can handle rough conditions. The worse, the better for me," she told The Oregonian.

     Leading up to the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., Goucher averaged more than 100 miles in training per week for eight weeks, with a peak of 115, then tapered for her races. She’s now back up to about 110 miles per week.

     This week will provide another piece to a training schedule, which Salazar hopes will pay off in Beijing.

     "In the middle of their [Olympic] races, I want them thinking, ‘Wow, this is exactly what it felt like [in Houston] and I was able to run 4:30 per mile,’ " Salazar told The Oregonian. "It’s that sort of psychological certainty you get by going out and doing it.

     After returning to Portland on Saturday, the Nike team will go through processing in San Francisco on Aug. 5 and fly to Beijing on Aug. 6.

DECC Hall to Add Four

     Three U.S. Olympians and one of Duluth’s best-known high school basketball coaches have been chosen for induction into the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 18. 

     Duluth-born ski jumper Adrian Watt of Esko, who competed in the 1968 Winter Games; Duluthian Dave Krmpotich of Conshohocken, Pa., a silver medalist rower in the 1988 Summer Games; and the late Anne Govednik Van Steinburg, a Chisholm native who swam in the 1932 and 1936 Summer Games; along with former Duluth Central High School boys basketball coach Jim Hastings of Grand Marais make up the 22nd DECC Athletic Hall of Fame class. 

     Watt was a member of the U.S. Ski Jumping team from 1965 through 1972, and won the U.S. championship in 1969 with a hill-record jump of 251 feet in Brattleboro, Vt. He won the 1964 Minnesota high school title at Duluth East and won two U.S. Junior titles. He set a North American record of 337 feet during the 1968 U.S. Olympic Trials in Iron Mountain, Mich. 

    Krmpotich was a silver medalist in the men’s straight four rowing event in the Seoul Olympics, a bronze medalist in the heavyweight eight in the 1986 World Championships, a gold medalist in the straight pairs from the 1986 Canadian Henleys and a gold medalist in the eight at the 1986 Goodwill Games. He’s in the Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of fame as a basketball player. 

     Van Steinburg placed sixth in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke race in the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles and competed in the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. She broke the U.S. high school and AAU world record for the 100-yard breaststroke in 1932 and the AAU world 50-yard breaststroke record. She later taught elementary and middle school physical education in Duluth for 23 years. She died in 1985.

     Hastings spent 31 years at Duluth Central High School and compiled a 541-236 record with nine state-tournament appearances and three championships. Under Hastings, Central won state titles in 1961, 1971 and 1979, and was second in 1969 and 1977, and third in 1967 and 1968. The 1961 Central team was 27-0 and the 1971 team 23-1. 

     Selection criteria include having a connection with Northeastern Minnesota or Northwestern Wisconsin, and having gained prominence through participation or affiliation in sports.    

     The DECC Athletic Hall of Fame, previously known at the Duluth Arena Sports Hall of fame, had its first class in 1968 and presently has 44 members.

     Tickets for the 7 p.m. induction ceremony and dinner are $25 and can be purchased in person at the DECC ticket office, the Duluth News Tribune (424 West First Street) and Grandma’s Marathon (351 Canal Park Drive), and by mail at the Duluth News Tribune (addressed to Kevin Pates, DECC Athletic Hall of Fame, 424 West First Street, Duluth, Minn. 55802). Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door. 

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Adam Goucher 19th

      Ethiopia’s Tadessse Tola, 20, won Sunday’s New York City Half-Marathon in 1 hour, 15 seconds. Bret Schoolmeester of Portland, Ore., married to Duluth’s Kendall Grgas-Wheeler, was 16th in 1:05:34, and Adam Goucher of Portland, husband of Kara Goucher, was 19th in 1:06:05.
      Antonio Vega of Minneapolis was 11th in 1:04:26.
      Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba led the women’s field in 1:06:53.

Adam Goucher on Road

      Adam Goucher of Portland, Ore., is on the road this weekend, competing in the New York City Half-Marathon at 7 a.m. Sunday. He’s racing on the roads just three weeks after running in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials 10,000-meter final, where he finished seventh in Eugene, Ore.
      A press release from the New York Road Runners:
      A galaxy of international stars, including 2008 Olympic marathoners
Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, Benita Johnson of Australia, Hendrick
Ramaala of South Africa, and Mada Perez of Mexico have entered
the NYC Half-Marathon Presented by NIKE.
      "Even more than a major international race, this year’s NYC Half
provides a pre-game glimpse at some of our sport’s favorites as they
head into Beijing," said race director Mary Wittenberg said. "We welcome Catherine, Benita,
Hendrick, Mada stars in their own right to our July running summit of
Olympians."
     Perez, 28, finished six seconds behind winner Hilda Kibet in 32:49 on
June 7 at the NYRR New York Mini 10K. Coached by German Silva, the 1994
and 1995 New York City Marathon winner, Perez set the Mexican marathon
mark of 2:22:59 in finishing fourth at the 2006 Chicago Marathon. 
     Also entered are last year’s IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships
silver medalist Patrick Makau and his Kenyan countryman Felix Limo.
Makau, 23, is returning to New York after capturing the Healthy Kidney
10K crown in Central Park in May and will be putting a four-race
winning streak at the half-marathon (13.1-mile) distance on the line.
Limo, 27, is one of the premier marathon runners in the world, with
World Marathon Majors Series crowns at Berlin (2004), Chicago (2005),
and London (2006).
      On the women’s side, Yuri Kano, 29, of Japan, who took fourth place in
the NYC Half in each of the last two years, returns fresh off a
personal best of 1:08:57, set in winning the Sapporo Half-Marathon.
     Athletes will vie for prize money of more than $70,000, with the male and female winners each receiving $10,000.

New Equipment Manager

  Former collegiate and professional equipment
manager Chris Garner has joined the Minnesota Duluth men’s program in that
position. He accepted a job offer July 6 and has been working since July 14.
     Garner, 30, a native of Rochester, Minn.,
replaced Rick Menz, who retired in June after 29 years with UMD’s athletic department.
     Garner has worked as a volunteer, assistant
or full-time equipment manager for the St. Cloud
State men, North Dakota women, Kalamazoo (Mich.)
Wings of the United Hockey League and Houston Aeros of the American Hockey
League. He most recently was with Kalamazoo
in 2006-07 and was out of hockey last season.
     The St. Cloud State
graduate said joining a program in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association
was a career goal.
     "Being at UMD is a dream job because it’s the
best of both worlds for me," Garner said Wednesday. "It’s a great program with
a good tradition, and in the best league outside of the NHL. And I love camping
and backpacking and this is a great part
of the state for that."
    Also, new UMD assistant coach Brett Larson is expected to travel to Slovakia next month to do some scouting, including the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament on Aug. 19-24
, which includes recruit Travis Faulk of South St. Paul on the U.S. roster, along with Duluthian Derek Forbort.
    Also, recently returning from NHL development camps were UMD players — goalie Alex Stalock (San Jose), winger Matt Greer (Columbus), defenseman Josh Meyers (L.A. Kings) and winger Michael Gergen (Pittsburgh).
     Also, Dallas Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen has been in Duluth recently, skating with some of UMD’s players.

Faulk Chooses UMD

      A couple of family connections aided
Minnesota Duluth in gaining a men’s hockey commitment from South St. Paul High School
defenseman Justin Faulk for 2010-11.
     Faulk, 16, a sophomore last season, accepted
a scholarship Monday and plans to play the next two years with the U.S. National
Team Development Program in Ann Arbor,
Mich.

     Former
UMD winger Marco Peluso is related to Faulk by marriage, while one of Faulk’s
close friends and high school teammates, goalie Adam Wilcox, is a cousin of UMD
goalie Alex Stalock of South St. Paul.
     "UMD looked like the right school for me
and I felt like I fit in there. It seemed like a good time to make a commitment
and I’ve always wanted to play at UMD," Faulk said Tuesday. "I
watched them play five or six times last season and when they made an offer, I
couldn’t say no."
     Faulk, 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, had six
goals and 15 assists for 21 points in 26 games last season, his first as a
varsity player. South St. Paul
finished 19-6-3, the team’s best record in four years.
     He said he took about two weeks to make a
college decision, but that UMD had been on the top of his list. He was also
considering St. Cloud
State
.
     "He got better every day last season and
would’ve been an all-state candidate as a junior," said South St. Paul coach Jeff Lagoo. "He’s a
strong kid, who lives and breathes hockey. He’s a good defensive player, tough
to beat, and shut down some good players last year. And he has a heavy shot and
can move the puck.
     Faulk is on the roster for the U.S. Under-17
Select team in the Five Nations Tournament on Aug. 19-24 in Prievidzy, Slovakia.
     John Hynes, coach with the U.S. National Team
Development Program, saw Faulk in a Select 16 Festival last month in Rochester, N.Y., and made
an offer to come to Ann Arbor
this fall.
     UMD now has two recruits for 2010-11 as Faulk
joins goalie Mac Carruth of Shorewood, Minn.

Washington Post on Goucher

     The Washington Post had this short feature on Kara Goucher in Wednesday’s edition by Amy Shipley:

     Four years ago, Kara Goucher‘s running career had become a disaster. She and her husband, Adam, also a professional distance runner, had battled hard luck and injuries, but this topped everything: At the 2004 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Kara Goucher finished dead last in the 5,000 meters. In the first heat.

      At the 2000 Olympic trials, she had finished eighth overall as a junior at the University of Colorado. Now this? She stumbled out of that July feeling miserable. Adam, who had competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, also failed to make the 2004 team.

     That "was probably ground zero for me," Goucher, 30, said after earning a place on this year’s Olympic team in the 5,000 and 10,000. "I ate a lot, gained a lot of weight. It was a low time, but obviously something was still there. There were times when I asked myself, ‘Am I crazy?’ It never totally went away. I kept trying and kept coming back."

     Eager to climb out of their joint rut, the Gouchers moved from their training home in Boulder, Colo., to Portland, Ore., where they joined Alberto Salazar and Nike‘s "Oregon Project." They immediately liked the changes: the camaraderie of the group, and the drop from high altitude to near sea level. Kara Goucher finished second in the 5,000 at the 2006 U.S. outdoor championships and then, at the urging of Salazar, moved up to the 10K.

     She finished second at the U.S. championships in that distance the next year, assuring herself she was on the right track.

     Then she got absolute confirmation.

     At the 2007 world championships in Osaka, Japan, Goucher was a stunning third in the event. Her bronze medal was the first earned at that distance by an American woman in world championship history.

   At the recent U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., Goucher won the 5,000 and finished second to Shalane Flanagan in the 10,000. Adam, who continues to try to come back from injuries, withdrew from the 5,000 and finished seventh in the 10,000, failing to make the team. Goucher acknowledged some preoccupation with the fate of the "love of her life" during the trials, but she also reveled in her own turnaround.

     "Since 2004, there was always a little hope in me," she said after the 10,000. "I knew there was that fast girl in there somewhere. That’s what kept me going."

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Kurvers, Lessard in News

     Wednesday’s NHL news involving two former Minnesota Duluth players and former Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners. Tom Kurvers became assistant general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and winger Junior Lessard was signed by the Atlanta Thrashers as a free agent:
      From the Tampa Tribune: Tampa Bay announced several hockey operations changes and additions.
      Greg Malone, father of newly signed free-agent forward Ryan Malone,
was named the team’s head pro scout; former NHL defenseman Kurvers
was named assistant general manager; and longtime NHL scout Jim Hammett
was named director of player personnel, replacing Bill Barber, who
recently resigned.
      The Lightning also named three assistant coaches to Barry Melrose’s staff: Rick Tocchet, Wes Walz and Cap Raeder.
      Malone, an 11-year NHL player, spent 16 seasons as a scout with Pittsburgh before spending the past two years with Phoenix.
      Kurvers, 45, played 11 years in the NHL, retiring in 1995. He spent
the past 10 years in the Coyotes front office, the last three as player
personnel director.
      From the Atlanta Constitution: The Thrashers also signed three other unrestricted free agents, forwards Lessard, former Minnesota State-Mankato player Grant Stevenson and Mike Hoffman.
      Lessard, 28, appeared in 21 games last season with Dallas and Tampa
Bay. Lessard won the 2004 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
      Stevenson, 26, led Quad City (AHL) with 73 points and 43 assists,
and tied for the team lead with 30 goals in 80 games last season.
     Lessard, a native of St. Joseph De Beauce, Quebec, has appeared in 27 career
NHL games with the Stars and Lightning, registering four points (three
goals, one assist). He has recorded 168 points (80 goals, 88 assists)
in 257 career AHL games with Houston, Iowa and Norfolk. Lessard, who
was originally signed as a free agent by Dallas on April 15, 2004, had
his best offensive totals in 2006-07 when he tallied 52 points (27
goals, 25 assists) in 65 games with Iowa.

DECC Lease Approved

    This story Thursday by Jana Hollingsworth of the News Tribune on the approved lease Minnesota Duluth has with the DECC for the next 25 years:


Regents approve 25-year UMD lease of new DECC arena
Jana Hollingsworth

     
A long-term
relationship between Minnesota Duluth and the Duluth
Entertainment Convention Center has been approved.
     A
25-year lease agreement was approved Wednesday by the University of
Minnesota Board of Regents that names UMD the anchor tenant of the
6,630-seat DECC Arena, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, when a $78 million
expansion is expected to be completed. Primary users will be the UMD
mens and womens hockey teams, so the university has suggested calling
it the DECC Bulldog Arena. The DECC has suggested the DECC Arena,
promoted as the Home of the UMD Bulldogs.
     Gov.
Tim Pawlenty approved $38 million for the expansion through a state
bonding bill in April. The city will raise the other $40 million for
the expansion.
     "We
are excited to be in the new arena, and we believe it will be a
facility that will give both the women’s and men’s hockey programs an
opportunity to maintain excellence and do really well," said Greg Fox,
vice chancellor for finance and operations at UMD.
     UMD
is nearing the end of an eight-year lease, which probably will be
extended until the proposed 25-year lease kicks in. Yearly rent
payments would begin at $290,146 with annual 3 percent increases, and
an annual advertising fee would be $165,000, also with yearly 3
percent increases. Total payments would begin at $455,146 per year, and
that money would come from ticket sales and advertising. After the
25-year term, UMD has the right to use the arena without a rent charge
on reasonable terms agreed upon by the DECC.
     UMD currently pays $281,013 for rent and $78,256 for advertising per year, for a total of $359,269.
     The
DECC has the right to name the arena, subject to "reasonable approval"
by the university. While that has yet to be hammered out, Fox said it
won’t hold the agreement up. The Board of Regents asked that it be
named in a way that recognized Bulldog hockey is played there, he said.
     The DECC is pleased that the contract has been signed, said Mark Emmel, president of the DECC Board of Directors.
     "The DECC values UMD as a partner with the new arena, and we look forward to the next 25 years," he said.
     As for the name, he said, the decision has yet to be discussed by the board.
     Alcohol
will be permitted in the suites and in the UMD lounge of the new arena,
as it is in the University of Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena in
Minneapolis. Interior design of the arena  including seat colors and
other color schemes  will reflect it as a UMD hockey facility,
according to the agreement.

Goucher to Double

      Kara Goucher of Portland,
Ore., has decided to run in the womens 5,000
and the 10,000-meter races at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing next month.
      Gouchers coach, Alberto Salazar, confirmed the
decision Sunday, said the Oregonian newspaper.
      At the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Goucher
won the 5,000 race and was second at 10,000.
      Shalane Flanagan of Pittsboro, N.C.,
who won the trials 10,000 and was third in the 5,000, also expects to run both
races in the Olympics, said her coach, John Cook.
      The Olympic schedule at National Stadium for
Goucher and Flanagan is: 10,000 final Aug. 15, the first round of the 5,000 on
Aug. 19 and, if they advance, the 5,000 final Aug. 22.