Third year ZAP-Reebok athlete Cameron Bean and newcomer Mary Ballinger took down the ZAP-Reebok steeplechase records last month at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, CA. For Bean it was his first steeplechase of the season and a 5 second personal best. Bean set the ZAP-Reebok record last year of 8:37, a time that left him narrowly missing a spot in the Olympic Trials. Bean will not miss the Championships this year as his run of 8:32 not only was a personal best, but was an “A” standard for next month’s USATF National Championships. Bean’s mark narrowly missed the World Championship “B” standard which is minimum mark needed to contend for a spot on this summer’s World Championship Team. Bean is headed to the Occidental High Performance Meet in Los Angeles this weekend with his eye on the World Championship standards of 8:32.00 and 8:26.00.
Joining Bean in Los Angeles this weekend will be first year athlete Mary Ballinger. Ballinger is a native of Indiana and attended the University of Southern Indiana where she was a NCAA Division II National Champion in the steeplechase. In her first steeplechase competition since 2010 Ballinger ran a personal best at the Duke Invitational, clocking 10:18 and winning by nearly a straightaway. Three weeks later in Palo Alto Ballinger continued her winning ways taking a narrow victory in her heat of the steeplechase and smashing her new PR by a whopping 18 seconds. Her time of 10:00 sets a new ZAP-Reebok record and has her knocking on the door to an automatic qualifying mark for her first USATF National Championship. Ballinger will be looking to run under 10 minutes in Los Angeles on Friday to achieve her automatic berth.
Also competing at the Payton Jordan Invitational and making his season debut in the 5000m run was Michael Crouch. Crouch’s time of 13:46 was enough to earn a provisional mark for the USATF Championships, and he will be racing again at the Portland Track Festival next month with the goal of improving on his mark.