Hayward Field just wrapped up the World Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships and the American women - 18 year-olds Mary Cain and Elise Cranny, along with Alexa Ehpraimson went toe-to-toe with the Africans who had dominated the middle- and long-distance events for nearly three decades.
Cain ended that run with a superlative 3,000m race that netted the gold medal with a PR race of 8:58.
Neither Cranny or Ephraimson made the podium but they did shake up the field in the 1,500m. Ephraimson, a soon-to-be high school senior at Camas High School in Washington State, ran fearlessly, staying with the race leaders in a manner reminiscent of Steve Prefontaine. The crowd at Hayward responded, cheering her on. Meanwhile, Cranny was running a tactical race farther back.
The two lady runners finished fourth and sixth. Ephraimson faded in the final lap as the leaders made their moves, taking the sixth place slot. Cranny, timing her kick a bit too late (per her own words), was a bit disappointed to not make the podium.
It's curious that the American ladies are running so competitively with the East Africans. Why aren't the men? A research project for me, I guess.
Hoping to pop loose to watch young Miss. Ephraimson this cross-country season, if I can find a gap between coaching junior high and cheering on our local men and women.