Former Missouri High School State Champion/Record Holder and Lee’s Summit native Matt Tegenkamp will run just his third career 10k on the track Sunday in Daegu South Korea at the World Championships. The race is scheduled for 7:30pm which is 5:30am in Missouri. I have to apologize this post is late and won’t provide acceptable notice before the race.
As a sophomore Tegenkamp helped Dave Denny’s Lee’s Summit High School team to the 1997 MSHSAA Class 4 Boys Cross Country State Title. In 1999 Tegenkamp claimed the Class 4 Boys XC individual championship in course record time and went on to earn Cross Country All-American honors with his fifth place finish at Footlocker Nationals. At the 2000 State Track Meet Tegenkamp earned two more State Titles and a State Meet Record with his time in the 3200 meters. Tegenkamp blazed the Dwight T Reed Stadium Track in Jefferson City that Friday Night as rain delayed the meet several hours. His 8:57 3200 performance that night gave him the State Meet Record. He followed that up with a 4:11 1600 meters win on Saturday.
As a freshman at The University of Wisconsin, Tegenkamp ran to a fifth place finish at the World Junior Cross Country Championships. He and US teammate Dathan Ritzenhein’s 3rd place made for one of the best US duo finishes at the World XC Championships.
After an All-American though injury filled beginning to his collegiate career Tegenkamp and Coach Jerry Schumacher tried more frequent shorter distance runs that seemed to keep the injury bug away. In 2004 Tegenkamp ran a pr 13:30 5k outdoors and finished third at the outdoor NCAA championships. In 2005 he won the Big 10 1500 in 3:39, ran a pr of 13:25 for 5,000 and went on to take sixth in 5k at the USA Championships. Tegenkamp graduated form Wisconsin in 2005 and signed with Nike to pursue a professional career. In 2006 Teg was the US runner-up in the 5000 in 13:15, later that year he lowered his pr to 13:04 to move to #4 on the All-Time US performance list. Showing his speed his pr’d in the mile in 3:56.38, becoming the first runner to break the four minute barrier in the State of Wisconsin. He also set personal records of 7:34.98 in the 3000 and 3:35.96 in the 1500 that summer.
In 2007 “Teg” set the American Record in the 2 mile with his 8:07.07 third place finish at the Prefontaine Classic. Later that year at his first World Championships, Tegenkamp missed a medal in the 5,000 by 3/100ths of a second. In 2008 Tegenkamp was runner-up at the Olympic Trials in the 5k making his first Olympic team. After winning his prelim at the Olympics he finished 13th in the final.
Coach Schumacher accepted a job with Nike to start a training group Tegenkamp moved to Portland Oregon in 2009 to join the Oregon Track Club. Matt won his first US Outdoor title in 2009 in the 5,000. He went on to place 8th at the 2009 World Championships. Before the 2009 season was Tegenkamp joined elite company. He became just the fourth American to break the 13 minute barrier for the 5k, running 12:58.56.
2010 included some struggles with injuries for Matt and with no Olympics or World Championships he moved down to the 1500 at the USA Championships. He finished 8th in the final with most runners bunched up the last 150 meters. He went on to have season bests of 3:36 1500 and 13:25 for 5k.
This season saw something new for the 29 year old, his first venture running the 10,000 meters on the track and fatherhood. In early spring came a World Championships 5k qualifying time race in Australia. He and training partners Chris Solinsky and Andrew Bumbalough all broke 13:20s to earn the championships A standard. Then came a great first 10k at Stanford: sub 28 minutes. There was even an internet video of him erasing parts of a chalkboard that said: Tegenkamp doesn’t run the 10k, to suddenly saying “Tegenkamp does run the 10k”. At USATF Nationals he decided to run both the 10k and 5k at USA Nationals in June. For some reason they were scheduled the first two days of the four day meet. In the 10k on day 1, he and Galen Rupp pulled away from the field the final 600 meters with Rupp winning and Teg second in 28:39. The following day he took the lead in the 5k midway through the race but couldn’t hold off the likes of Lagat, Solinsky, and Rupp. He took fifth in 13:44. Since then Solinsky has scratched from Worlds with an injury and has been replace by Bumbalough.
It’s hard to imagine Tegenkamp could pull a huge upset and win a medal in just his third 10k, but it’s possible. We’ll hope for the best. In 2007 with the World Championships in Osaka Japan I got up to watch online as Matt raced the 5k final at 4:30am Missouri time. I remember being tired and watching with my laptop on my chest as I lay on the couch. But as the lap marker got closer to 1 I began sitting up anxiously peering into my screen eagerly watching events going on half a world away. And on that final stretch I was screaming at Matt to “GO!” through my computer. It was exciting. Hopefully he can provide us with another great moment and one he won’t ever forget, for a good reason.
Good Luck and God Bless Matt! Tear it up!!!