Watching and reading about the natural disasters around the world that befall us, the tendency is to become numb to all of them. Except when the disaster hits so close to home.
Other than getting drenched a few times and dodging a funnel cloud on Saturday, the Memorial Day deluge (and its aftermath) had few consequences for me. But for our dear friends and neighbors just to the south, the tragedy was very real and apparent. Unfortunately, it still is as parts of Wimberley and San Marcos will never recover from the loss of life, livestock and property that was washed away in an instant.
We can rejoice all we want about the drought buster and the lake levels returning to normal, but it comes at such a cost. So sad that the much needed rain bombs have also brought so much misery to so many that it’s hard to feel anything but utter sadness and sympathy.
The only constant through all this is that life goes on as it must.
O The NCAA West Preliminaries begins today at Mike Myers with the running events, scheduled (weather pending) to begin around 4:30. The meet, which is the qualifier for the NCAA Champs in Eugene, continues through Saturday with eight of the women’s top 12 teams in the country and half of the top 10 men’s. The UT women (ranked seventh nationally) and the men (tenth in the country) have a ton of athletes in the Prelims. There will be 29 Longhorn men competing and 24 women. The UT women will be led by Morolake Akinosun (second fastest in the country in the 200) and Courtney Okolo and Ashley Spencer in the 400. Okolo is the defending NCAA champ, while Spencer won the 400 as a freshman and as a soph when she ran for Illinois. Among the men, three-time NCAA champ Ryan Crouser is a favorite in the shot put and discus and decathletes Johannes Hock and Wolf Mahler should be in the running in the multi events. The UT distance runners will be led by Craig Lutz in the 5000 and 10,000 and Sandie Raines in the 5000.
O More Longhorns: Second-year head coach Mario Sategna was named Big 12 Coach of the Year for both the men’s and women’s programs for the second straight season. He’s also the indoor coach of the year. Sategna’s teams this year swept the Big 12s outdoor and indoor titles.
O This weekend is also the premier track meet in the country – the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. It starts tomorrow night and will be streamed live on USATF.TV, starting at 10 p.m (Austin time) with the 5000 and 10,000 meters. On Saturday, the meet will be on NBC Sports Network from 2:30-3:30 and then switch over to the NBC network from 3:30-5 p.m., culminating with the Bowerman Mile in which our own Leo Manzano will be trading elbows with some of the world’s best. Other former Longhorns expected to compete include Marielle Hall in the 5000 and Sanya Richards-Ross in the 400. Former Texas Tech star Sally Kipyego is in the 5000, but former Austinite Matthew Maton – a high school senior – will not be running the high-school mile as he is nursing an Achilles injury. Former Cedar Park stud Parker Stinson also is not running in Eugene. Actually, he’s home and will be at Mike Myers watching his girlfriend Ashley Maton run in the 1500 meters in the NCAA Prelims.
O More Stinson: The newly minted pro, Stinson was 16th at the Bolder Boulder 10-K over Memorial Day. Parker ran 30:40 and was the sixth American. Renee Bailee, who is from Flower Mound but lives in Bend, Oregon, continued her comeback effort with a 12th place finish in 35:12.
O A ton of Austinites also ran Bolder Boulder and were led by Brian Melinat who had the fastest time among the flatlanders with a 40:16. Oldies but goodies, Danny Spoonts (44:57), Kenny Hill (49:32) and John La Claire (49:53), Ann Schneider (1:07:36), Leah Smith Angers (1:28) and Jane Feinstein (1:20) all finished in the CU football stadium. Spoonts was second in his age group and Hill and La Claire were fifth.
O At the Green Bay Marathon two weekends ago, Joseph Amenya of Grand Prairie won it in 2:19:38 and Priscah Batenge, also of Grand Prairie, was the second woman in 2:54:04. Mitch Kies of Wimberley was 12th in 2:58:03. David Eiben of Austin was sixth in his age group (45-49) in 3:22:08. In the accompanying half, Dawn Grunnagle of Dallas was second in 1:21:29.
O In Chicago two weekends ago, Rio Reina of Austin finished fifth in the Solider Field 10-Miler in 50:57. Rio went out a tad too fast in 24:40 for the first five miles, but gutted it out in 26:17. Then, last weekend he placed 24th in San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers in 38:40 (12-K). A bunch of Austinites showed up in San Francisco and were paced by Mason Fischer in 55:33 and Britt Ballard in 1:01:20. Top Austin woman was Cassandra Joachim who ran 1:17:25.
O Next Saturday (June 6th), the Austin Parks Foundation, the Texas Conservation Corps and the Hill Country Conservancy will host Austin’s National Trails Day. After the Great Memorial Day Flood of 2015, there is much clean up work to do. Last year, over 500 volunteers worked on 29 different trail projects in Austin. If you’re interested to volunteer your time this year, go to austinparks.org for more info.
O The first of the Luke’s Locker Summer Driveway Series last Wednesday got off to a soggy start because of the weather. Then, yesterday’s race was canceled because of more crappy weather. But the Series remains on and chances are good, that next Wednesday might have better (dryer) weather. For more info, go to the event site.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Europe ’72” , might be the best live Dead album (actually three albums), recorded at their creative height.
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