By Steven Ritchie

For The Bulletin

Rupp wins 10,000 at nationals amid doping allegations

EUGENE — Hardly even looking the least bit exhausted, Galen Rupp gave a thumbs-up sign to the crowd before crossing the finish line.

Really, though, the last few weeks have left him thoroughly drained.

Rupp easily won his seventh straight 10,000-meter title at the U.S. championships Thursday night amid allegations that coach Alberto Salazar encouraged him and others to skirt anti-doping rules.

For 28 minutes, 11.61 seconds on a sweltering evening, Rupp had nothing on his mind but racing. Afterward, the questions began concerning the allegations that have triggered the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to launch an investigation.

“It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie. It’s been difficult to focus,” Rupp said. “I believe in clean sport. I believe the truth will prevail.”

Rupp beat runner-up Ben True by nearly three seconds.

— The Associated Press

EUGENE — Winning the 2013 world championship in the decathlon gave Ashton Eaton a free pass to this year’s world meet in Beijing. With the late-week temperatures climbing near 100 degrees at Hayward Field, not having to compete in the grueling 10-event competition here at the U.S. track and field nationals is undoubtedly a good thing for the decathlon world-record holder.

So Eaton and his longtime coach, Harry Marra, decided the athlete from Bend should focus on one of his best events, the long jump, and see what he could do against some of the best jumpers in the world.

“We thought it was kind of a bread-and-butter (event) which I like doing,” Eaton said last week. “I like doing the 100 (meters) and long jump going into competitions. And also (it is) my best chance to make the Pan American Games — and I also want to compete there.”

On this warm Thursday evening, though, the Hayward magic was not there for Eaton. He finished the preliminary round in 14th place, which did not get him through to the finals.

Eaton’s best jump came on his first attempt. He hit the board perfectly and sailed out to a mark of 25 feet 8 1⁄4 inches. But he did not improve on either of his next two jumps, and, aided by a consistently strong trailing wind, no fewer than 12 jumpers exceeded 26 feet. NCAA champion Marquis Dendy of Florida won the competition on his first attempt, with a wind-aided leap of 28-5 3/4.

The ever-gracious Eaton took the disappointment in stride, saying it would give him extra motivation for the rest of his season.

“You can find advantages from doing bad,” Eaton said. “(I’m) very fired up right now. I was watching the decathlon guys run the 400 and I was like, man, I wish I had another event to take this out on.”

After his last jump, Eaton sat on the grass near the long jump runway, slowly putting his gear in his backpack. As the decathletes running the 400 rounded the final curve, Eaton suddenly jumped up and ran to the edge of the track, shouting encouragement as they passed him.

Asked what he yelled to his fellow decathletes, Eaton said that, even though he was not competing in the decathlon here, he was with them in spirit.

“Part of me is there, you know what I mean? I know what they are going through,” he said. “I know the yelling doesn’t really do anything but I was just saying, ‘Hey, wish I was there, you’re doing good, stay tough.’”

Eaton admitted that he had been following how the first day of the decathlon was going.

“It’s going really well,” he said. “We have some guys that are coming on the scene. Good to see Trey (Hardee) doing stuff again … I know last year he was the best in the world. I’m just curious to see who is going to be going to Beijing with us. Who are they going to be?”

Among the upcoming American decathletes is Mitch Modin. A University of Oregon sophomore and, like Eaton, a graduate of Bend’s Mountain View High School, Modin posted solid marks in Thursday’s five events and ranks seventh in a field of 14 entering today’s final day of the competition.

Modin was fifth in the 100 meters (10.83 seconds), seventh in the long jump (23-2 3/4), 11th in the shot put (40-10 1/2), tied for seventh in the high jump (6-4 1.4), and sixth in the 400 (49.09).

Eaton said that he wanted to do pole vault at this meet, but he injured his back a few weeks ago. The “minor sprain” was enough to keep him out of the Hypo Meet at Gotzis, Austria, a few weeks ago, but he said that he was feeling fine now.

“I felt 100 percent normal today … I feel good,” he said. “I guess you need these disappointments to get you fired up.

“I’m really looking forward to worlds.”

Earlier in the day, Summit High School graduate and University of Oregon recruit Matthew Maton scratched from the U.S. Junior Nationals 1,500 meters. In that race, Sisters High graduate and Gonzaga freshman Brandon Pollard finished in 4:00.05 to qualify for Saturday’s final. Pollard was second in his heat and seventh among 12 qualifiers.

Maton is entered in today’s 5,000 meters final, and he is reportedly recovered from the Achilles tendon injury that kept him from racing recently. In early May at the Oregon Twilight meet at Hayward Field, Maton became just the sixth American high school runner ever to break the 4-minute mile mark with his time of 3:59.38.

In other action on Thursday, 2007 Bend High grad Kimber Mattox qualified for Saturday’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final. She posted a time of 10:03.36 to grab the 14th and final qualifying spot. Another Bend resident in the women’s steeplechase, Collier Lawrence, did not finish the race.

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