Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

H A W A I I _ P R E P _ S P O R T S

Chang, Macdonald
on the run

By Pat Bigold


Hawaii's two nationally recognized female prep distance runners will compete in two of the country's top meets this weekend and next.

Victoria Chang, who led the U.S. in the 3,000 meters this year, and Eri Macdonald, who established herself as one of the nation's premier 800-meters last year, are entered in the Golden West Invitational at California State University at Sacramento, Calif., Saturday.

The Punahou pair will move on from there to compete in the U.S. Junior National Championships in Denton, Tex., June 19-20.

For Chang, who finished laps ahead of her closest Hawaii competition in each 3,000 event this year, the mainland meets will force her to do something new: race.

In preparing to face some of the nation's best prep distance runners, Chang has been fine-tuning with Punahou boys' coach Dacre Bowen.

"She's finally going to be running with people who can run with her," said Bowen.

In the 3,000, she had the nation's top two times this year: 9:38.03 and 9:38.94.

But instead of the 3,000 (newly adopted in Hawaii meets this year), she will have to compete at 3,200 meters for the next two weeks.

Chang dominated the 3,200 the last two seasons it was run in Hawaii prep meets (1997, 1998). Her fastest 3,000 time this year converts to a time roughly equal to, or better than the best 3,200 run this year. That means she is capable of running a 3,200 time of about 10:21.00.

But Bowen, a 1976 Olympic relay sprinter for Canada, said that even though Chang leaves here with some of the nation's best credentials, her mainland rivals will employ racing strategies she hasn't seen in Hawaii.

"We made sure she can respond to all the different scenarios that confront her," he said.

"These include changing of pace and people moving in front of her and then slowing down real hard."

The latter tactic is used to destroy a runner's rhythm when it is executed to perfection. Bowen told Chang to "anticipate" such a move. He told Chang that if the runner who has jumped in front goes into an upright posture, she is likely to hit the brakes ahead of her.

"If Victoria anticipates that, she can evade and go around," said Bowen.

He said he has also advised Chang on how to avoid getting boxed in during a close race, how to use a frontrunner as a windbreaker, how to adjust her tempo and how to make more efficient use of her energy to launch an effective kick at the end of a race.

In addition, the slightly built junior has been hitting the weights to make sure she can hold her ground if the going gets physical.

At the Golden West, Chang will be challenged by Montgomery High's (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Sara Bei (10:28.75), James Robinson High's (Va.) Liz Awtrey (10:33.04) and Sayville High's (N.Y.) Jilian Mastroianni (10:35.18).

Lauren Fleischman of Canyon Country (Calif.), who ran the top 3,200 time this year (10:21.3), is not yet listed as an entry in Sacramento.

For Macdonald, a senior who has accepted a track scholarship to Oregon, the Golden West will be a long-awaited rematch with the nation's top 800-meter runner, Lindsey Hyatt of Placer High (Auburn, Calif.)

Macdonald, whose personal best is 2:09:95 (1998), came in second and third to Hyatt in their two mainland meetings last year.

The Stanford-bound Hyatt enters the Golden West race as the strong favorite with a 2:06.74 time from her state meet victory. But her personal best is an even more remarkable 2:06.30 (1998).

Deepening the field will be Katie Hotchkiss of Mission San Jose (Fremont. Calif.), who has a 2:10.91 best.

The fields are not yet available for the Junior Nationals.

The top two finishers in each event at the nationals will represent the U.S. in the 1999 Pan American Junior Championships, which will be held July 9-11 in Miami, Fla.

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