June 21, 2006
USA Track & Field Championship Home Page
TV Schedule: Saturday, June 24th, 6:00pm ESPN2
Sunday, June 25th, 5:00pm ESPN2
World Cup soccer, NBA Finals, mid-season baseball...time to take a little break. In one of the fastest cities in the world, The 2006 USA Track & Field Championships begin tomorrow in Indianapolis bringing the best athletes in the United States and in the World to a city which is used to seeing blazing speed.
For the Gauchos, redshirting Tetlo Emmen will suit up in the Men's 800m in his first appearance at a U.S. Championship. The All-American from Torrance, CA and West Torrance High enters ranked 8th in the field; however has the 4th best mark at 1:46.89 for 2006 out of the declared competitors. The 1st round of the 800m begin on Thursday, June 22nd at 4:25pm. Going up against Olympians and National Champions, he will be looking to be selected to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Cup of Athletics later this summer in Athens, Greece. Televesion coverage will start on Saturday June 24th on ESPN2 at 6:00pm.
Having a career year, his road to becoming one of the best in the U.S. did not just happen over night. One of the hardest working athletes for UCSB, Emmen has steadily improved in each of his years, becoming one of the best middle distance runners in Gaucho history. Out of West Torrance High, he came to Santa Barbara as a California prep star finishing 6th in the 2002 California State Championships with a best of 1:52.84 and sub 50 400m speed. The allure of Director of Track & Field Pete Dolan's fast and deep 800m squad led by alumni Ben Armel (1:48.00), 2000 School Record holder Ryan Locklin (1:47.73) a slew of 1:50 to 1:52 athletes and the academics of UC Santa Barbara made it a perfect choice for this athlete-social activist.
His first year out for the Gauchos, Emmen lowered his mark to 1:51.44 during the '03 season finishing in an All-Conference 3rd place finish at the Big West Championships. However, that was not enough for the young star as he missed 2nd place by .01 seconds and was just short of the NCAA Regional qualifying mark of 1:51.15. Taking some of the disappointment with him into the 4x400m Relay, he anchored the Gauchos to an exciting 4x400m runner up finish as he split a blazing 47 second lap, coming across the line in 3:12.54, their best time since 2000.
Instead of hanging up the spikes for the summer to get ready for 2004, he wanted more. He would train for the USA Track & Field Junior National Championships in mid June and set a personal best at the Jim Bush Classic on June 8th racing to a 1:50.45. He then barely made finals at Junior Nationals, but coming around the final turn in the 800m final, his drive pushed him into position to qualify for a trip to Barbados to represent the U.S. He would finish just outside the top three qualifying spots in 5th, but Emmen's grit was revealed, setting the stage for the year's to come.
As a sophomore he entered the 2004 campaign looking like a veteran. Putting in miles in the off season he would finish runner-up to teammate Ben Armel at the Big West Championships. Looking to win the 4x400m Relay after their '03 runner-up finish, the baton would not get around to him as Armel had the baton bounced out of his hand by an encroaching UC Irvine athlete during the third leg fostering a deep fire inside not only for Emmen but the team. Taking this fire to the NCAA West Regional Championships, Emmen would run away with the West Regional 800m Championship followed by Armel who charged down the homestretch to grab a 2nd place, 1-2 finish for the Gauchos. At NCAA's he would set a personal best 1:48.75, but fail to move on from the first round.
Going into his third year, now officially a veteran to the squad, he would have a consistent year. In April he would win the prestigious Mt. SAC Olympic Development 800m final in a personal best 1:48.72. Armel and Emmen would again finish 1-2 at the Big West Championships and after their disappointing dropped baton in the 4x400m relay in '04, they would run away with the title in '05 anchored by Emmen. He would then go into the West Regional Championships ranked 8th, but unable to repeat as West Regional Champion he would still grab a 6th place finish and nonetheless qualify for NCAA's. At the National Championships he would again race well in the prelims and qualify for the semi-finals. Unable to improve upon his best in a slower section, Emmen would fight his way down the homestretch into an All-American 12th place position.
After watching the 2006 NCAA Championship finals from the stands, a fast final made it apparent that more work needed to be done to take the next step in his racing career. Talking it over extensively during the summer, Coach Dolan and Emmen decided to redshirt the 2006 season. His work ethic was next to none and he had stayed relatively healthy in first three years. He would run cross country in the fall, build a large base and then compliment it with speed in the winter and spring. The payoff - an early season personal best at the Mt. Sac Invitational where he would race to a 1:47.90 in the top section, followed by a big win at the Occidental Invitational coming across the line in 1:46.89. A few weeks later he would again win at Occidental College at the Jim Bush Classic in a time of 1:47.47.
Racing consistently now for two months; Emmen is confident as he goes up against the best in the U.S. for the first time in his career. The quarterfinals will begin tomorrow, June 22nd, followed by the semifinals at 7:30pm on Friday and the finals on Sunday at 4:00pm, all at IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on IUPUI's campus in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Stephanie Rothstein To Represent the United States
Also, for the Gauchos in this post season, newly anointed All-American Stephanie Rothstein (Jr.) has opted out of the USA Track & Field Championship 10,000m final in which she automatically qualified with her 33:27.85. She is currently the 14th ranked American at the distance. Rothstein will travel to the Dominican Republic in July where she will compete for the United States in the Under 23 North American, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Championships. The Junior will make her first appearance for the United States on July 7th in the 10,000m final at 6:25pm in the Pan-American Stadium in Santo Domingo. An expected 500 athletes from the three regions will compete for medals from July 7th - July 9th.