Friday, July 25, 2014

Husky redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert finishes ninth in 5000m at world juniors...

EUGENE--University of Washington redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished ninth in the finals of the men's 5000 at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships Friday night at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Gilbert ran 14:09.98, just off of his personal best of 14:07.13, run this spring at the Stanford Invitational.

The Skyview/Vancouver standout started conservatively, running in a second group of about seven athletes, then picked off several runners in the latter stages of the race.

"I wanted to finish strong. In the last mile, we were rolling," said Gilbert.

On his decision to redshirt this season and point to the world junior championships, he said the plan was to be here.

On what he learned from being here at the world championships, he said that running against the Africans showed him how much better they are, and that you can't be satisfied with being a national junior champ.

"I wanted to finish on a high note; I wanted to PR, but that's a solid time."

Incoming University of Washington freshman Jacopo Spanò ran the second leg on Italy's 4 x 100 meter relay.  The Italians were disqualified for a pass out of the zone between Spano' and third leg Roberto Rigali.

Spanò remained upbeat, and said that the biggest thing that he learned from competing the last two days in two rounds of the 200 and the 4 x 100 relay is how to stay relaxed and in the moment, noting that this was his first major international competition.

Saturday, the University of Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale (Great Britain) and Eastern Washington's Paula Gil Echervarria  (Spain) will run in the finals of the women's 3000 steeplechase at 4:55 pm.


Following the conclusion of day 5 of the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships Saturday, TrackTown USA will host the Run TrackTown high performance meet featuring several leading American pros, including triple jumper Christian Taylor, and hurdlers Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in the meet include Spokane native Britney Henry in the women's hammer; Erica Moore and Phoebe Wright of Seattle in the 4 x 800 meter relay, as they'll team up with Oiselle athletes Kate Grace and Lauren Wallace;  Garrett Heath and Riley Masters of the Brooks Beasts, and Auburn/Riverside grad Jordan McNamara in the men's 1500.

Alexa Efraimson easily advances to Sunday's 1500m finals at world juniors...

EUGENE--Camas HS standout Alexa Efraimson (left/photo by Paul Merca) easily advanced to Sunday's 1500 meter finals of the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon Friday afternoon with a comfortable fourth place finish.

Staying on the outside of lane 1 for most of the race to avoid getting boxed in, Efraimson clocked a relaxed 4:16.87.

Efraimson was always near the front to cover any moves, letting heat winner Guidaf Tsegay of Ethiopia (4:15.62) and runner-up Sheila Keter of Kenya (4:16.13) do most of the work.

Great Britain's Bobby Clay (4:16.87) finished third as Efraimson eased up over the last 100, knowing that she was one of the top four automatic qualifiers.

"I wanted to make sure that I wasn't in lane two, but at the same time, ensure I wasn't caught on the rail.

On how she feels going into Sunday's 3:55 pm finals, she said that she's ready and excited to roll with the best in the world.

At 8:45 this evening, the University of Washington's Colby Gilbert will run in the finals of the men's 5000 meters.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Incoming Husky frosh Jacopo Spano gets second PR at world junior championships...

EUGENE--Incoming University of Washington freshman Jacopo Spano (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth in the third of three semifinals of the men's 200 meters Thursday night at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Positioned in lane 6, Spano set his second personal best of the day, running 20.98 to eclipse the mark of 21.04 he ran in the quarterfinals this morning.

His mark was the 14th best out of the three semifinals.

"I didn't feel as good as I did this morning because I was tired.  I 'm very happy to run a PR, though I think I could have run faster.  The conditions were much better this morning."

On whether or not he will run on the Italian 4 x 100 meter relay team, he said that he is awaiting a decision from the coaching staff on his status.

Friday, Camas HS sensation Alexa Efraimson runs in the semis of the women's 1500, while University of Washington redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert runs in the finals of the men's 5000 meters.

Neale, Gil-Echevarria advance to steeple finals; Spano qualifies for semis in 200m at world juniors...

EUGENE--University of Washington redshirt freshman Amy-Eloise Neale (above/photo by Paul Merca) advanced to the finals of the women's 3000 meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Neale was comfortably in sixth for the first half of the race, then moved up one spot to get the final automatic qualifying spot for Saturday afternoon's final, as she ran 10:17.88.

Weynshet Ansa of Ethiopia won the heat in 9:56.06.

In the other semifinal, Paula Gil-Echevarria set a personal best of 10:17.17 to finish ninth in her heat and also qualify for the finals, as all five of the non-automatic qualifiers came from that heat.

Gil-Echevarria's time is the second fastest time in school history.

Incoming University of Washington freshman Jacopo Spano (below/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in his heat of the 200 meters, and advanced to this evening's semifinals.

Spano ran a personal best of 21.04 to get the automatic qualifying spot

"I't s big PR for me!  Came out of the blocks and kept my composure coming out of the turn . I didn't expect to run that fast!"


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seattle University's Shaddye Melu finishes seventh in heat of 400 at world juniors...

EUGENE--Seattle University junior Shaddye Melu (left/photo courtesy Chad Pharis, Seattle University) finished seventh in his heat of the men's 400 meters as the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships opened at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Competing in the fifth of seven heats, Melu, a graduate of Auburn Mountainview HS representing Zambia, finished in a time of 48.74, the 39th fastest time of the day.

Tyler Brown of Team USA won the heat in 46.45, the second fastest time of the day.

The top three in each heat plus the three fastest times advanced to Wednesday's semifinals.


No Washington athletes will be in action Wednesday.  The University of Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale (Great Britain) and Eastern Washington University's Paula Gil-Echevarria (Spain) will run in the 3000 steeplechase Thursday morning at 10:05 am.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site beginning Thursday.

NOTE:  Seattle University contributed to this report.

Monday, July 21, 2014

World junior championships begin Tuesday at Hayward Field...

The eyes of the track & field world will once again focus on Eugene beginning on Tuesday as the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships begins a six-day run at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

For the first time since Boston hosted the 1992 World Cross Country Championships, the United States will host an IAAF championship, and it does so in the venue known as the Carnegie Hall of track and field.

The meet features the world's best 19-and under athletes who've met qualifying standards, and picked by their respective national federations to compete in Eugene.

There are five athletes with Washington ties competing in the meet--Camas High's Alexa Efraimson and the University of Washington's Colby Gilbert; fellow Husky Amy-Eloise Neale; Seattle University's Shaddye Melu; and Eastern Washington's Paula Gil-Echevarria (above/photo illustration courtesy Eastern Washington University).

Efraimson won the USA national title in the 1500, while Gilbert won the 5000 title.  Neale finished second in the English U20 steeplechase in Bedford last month, while Gil-Echevarria won the Spanish junior title.

Melu kicks things off Tuesday night at 5:35 pm, when he runs in the first round of the 400 meters, with the semis Wednesday night at 6:45pm, and the finals Thursday at 7:45 pm.

Neale and Gil-Echevarria will compete on Thursday at 10:05 am, with the goal to advance to Saturday's finals that will be contested at 4:55 pm.

Efraimson, who was third at last year's IAAF World Youth Championships in the 1500, runs at 12:15 pm on Friday, with the goal to advance to Sunday's final at 3:55 pm.

Gilbert's 5000 meter race will be a straight final that will be contested at 8:45 pm on Friday night.

In advance of the start of competition Tuesday, IAAF president Lamine Diack spoke to the media Monday.

“It has been my dream to have an IAAF event in the USA. All through the time I have been president I have been desperate to have an event here."

“With the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland in 2016 and Eugene bidding for the 2019 World Championships, the World Junior Championships this week mark an important moment for the future of track and field in the USA, the most powerful athletics nation in the world.

“These Championships are set to be one of the biggest ever (World Junior Championships), 167 IAAF Member Federations have entered. With a total of 1540 athletes - 829 men and 711 women – Eugene will be the largest ever age-group championship held outside Europe"

TrackTown USA president and former Oregon head coach Vin Lananna said the 1540 athletes will perform in front of the most passionate and knowledgable fans in America. "Hayward Field (the Championships stadium) has often been referred to as the Carnegie Hall of track and field, a place where special things happen and, because it is the first World Junior Championships held in the United States, we expect history to be made."

If you can't make the drive down to Eugene, Universal Sports and USATF.tv will provide coverage of the meet.


paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site beginning Thursday.

EFRAIMSON TO SKIP SENIOR SEASON AT CAMAS

According to a post by Nick Daschel on The Oregonian's web site, Alexa Efraimson will skip competing for Camas.

Efraimson has college offers from Washington, Oregon and Stanford on the table, and she tells Daschel that she's leaning towards either the Ducks or Cardinal.

However, she could forego all those offers and do what Mary Cain did, and turn pro.  

Bottom line?  "I'm going to choose the route that's going to allow me to develop the most, whether it's running with a team, or individually."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

WSU alum Bernard Lagat & Garrett Heath of Brooks Beasts go 1-2 in 2 mile in London...

LONDON--Competing in the shadows of Buckingham Palace, Washington State University hall of fame member Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the two mile road race at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games Sunday over the streets of London.

The Sainsbury's Anniversary Games is one of the most unique track & field events on the pro circuit, as it takes the sport outside of the stadiums and into the streets.  For this year's event, a temporary track was laid out on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guard Parade venue, along with a shot circle, pole vault, high jump, and horizontal jumps pits.

In the men's invitational 2 mile race, Lagat took the lead from Emmanuel Bett of Ethiopia and Seattle resident Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts with 200 meters to go, crossing the line in 8:27.

Heath was second in 8:29, with Bett third in 8:31.  Former Bellingham resident and 2012 US Olympian in the steeplechase Donn Cabral finished fourth in 8:33.

In the men's pole vault, reigning world and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France took the win with a clearance of 18-8 1/4 (5.70m), while University of Washington alum Brad Walker finished in a tie for third with a leap of 18-0 1/2 (5.50m).

The British Athletics recap of the meet is available here, while the complete results are available here.

OREGONIAN'S KEN GOE ON MATT SCHERER

As a follow up to our post Saturday on Brooks Beasts member Matt Scherer's retirement from the sport, here's a post from friend of the blog Ken Goe in Sunday's Oregonian, which is worth a read.

NOTE:  British Athletics contributed to this report.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Matt Scherer of the Brooks Beasts tweets his retirement as top middle distance pacer...

Matt Scherer (far left) runs with Brooks Beasts teammates
Angela Bizzarri & Katie Mackey during a January
training session at Seattle's Green Lake (Paul Merca photo)
The tweet said it all:


And with that tweet, Matt Scherer of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts announced his retirement as one of the sport's top middle distance pacers.

Scherer, who ran collegiately at the University of Oregon, where he was a nine-time All-American, and the Pac-10 champion in the 400 in 2006, began pacing full-time in 2011, with many of the sport's top meet directors putting him in their fields in the 800, 1500 and mile runs to ensure fast times in their races.

As a professional, he was part of the Oregon TC Elite's distance medley relay team that set a world best of 9:17.77 at the Dempsey Indoor in 2010, and placed third in the 800 indoors at the 2009 USA indoor championships.  

Scherer competed in the 2008 US Olympic Trials in the 800, where he advanced to the semi-finals.


Among the other top middle distance talents he's paced include Norway's Henrik Ingebrigtsen, Kenya's David Rudisha, and Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia.


Kitum, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and the silver medalist at the IAAF world junior championships in 2012, ran 1:43.65 for the victory.

Scherer moved to the Puget Sound area from Eugene at the end of September 2012 and began training with former Oregon TC Elite teammate Mark Wieczorek, who also coaches at Gig Harbor HS.  Both were added to the Brooks Beasts squad in 2013.

Berry finishes sixth in 400 in Madrid; Mackey places eighth in 3000...

MADRID, Spain--Rainier Beach HS graduate Michael Berry (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished sixth in the 400 meters at the Estrenamos Pista Meeting Madrid Saturday in the Spanish capital.

Berry, the 2014 NCAA runner-up in the 400 for the University of Oregon and finalist in the USA championships in this event, ran 46.07.

Latoy Williams of the Bahamas, a three-time member of his country's world championships team, took the win in 45.17.

In the women's 3000, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished eighth in 9:07.75, as Stacy Ndiwa of Kenya won in a time of 8:48.30.



Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat is one of the featured athletes, as he'll run the two mile on the streets of London.

The meet is one of the most unique on the circuit, as athletes compete on a specially laid out track on the ground of the Horse Guards Parade.

Events include the 100, 100 hurdles, 110 hurdles, shot put, pole vault, high jump, long jump, the men's road 2 mile, and a women's road mile.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Patterson finishes seventh at Meeting Herculis in Monaco...

Two time US Olympian Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Vancouver finished seventh in the javelin at the Meeting Herculis in Fontvielle, Monaco Friday night. 

Patterson threw a best of 189-1 (57.64m) as Barbora Spotakova, the two time Olympic champ and current Diamond Race leader in the javelin won the event with a best of 219-8 (66.96m).


Botswana's Nijel Amos set a 2014 world-leading time of 1:42.45, with Pierre-Ambroise Bosse setting a French record of 1:42.53 in second place in the men's 800.

Colombia's Caterine Ibarguen, the reigning world champ in the triple jump, set a national record of 50-2 3/4 (15.31m) to highlight the women's competition.



Track Town USA announced the high jump and triple jump fields for the High Performance meet next Saturday following day 5 of the IAAF world junior championships at Hayward Field.  

Oregon TC Elite and 2011 world champ Jesse Williams highlights the high jump field, where he'll go against Arizona alum Nick Ross, and Tacoma native Dakarai Hightower, who attends Lane CC in Eugene.

Hightower won the high jump at last weekend's USATF National Club Track & Field championships at Mt. Tahoma HS in Tacoma with a best of 7-4 1/2 (2.24m), easily the best quality performance of the meet in a national championship meet that quite frankly was mediocre.

2011 world triple jump champ Christian Taylor headlines the field in that event.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kara Patterson looks to bounce back in Monaco at Meeting Herculis...

Five time USA national champion Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) will throw in Friday night's javelin at the Meeting Herculis in Fontvielle, Monaco as the IAAF Diamond League series visits the home of the sport's international governing body.

The Vancouver native will face five of the top six leading scorers in the season-long Diamond Race in the event, including 2014 leader and two-time Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic, and 2014 world leader Linda Stahl of Germany, who has thrown 220-10 (67.32m).

Patterson finished fourth on Tuesday in Luzern, Switzerland with a toss of 194-11 (59.42m).

The tenth stop of the IAAF Diamond League tour features one of the best fields assembled this season, with world leaders galore in almost every event offered on the program.


British Athletics announced that Washington State hall of famer Bernard Lagat will compete in a two-mile road race on The Mall in London at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games on Sunday.

In perhaps one of the most unique events, the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games in London will be contested on a temporary track on Horse Guards Parade at St. James Park in the middle of the city

Husky alum Brad Walker is also expected to compete in the pole vault, according to a tweet from his agent, Karen Locke.


Finally, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry and UW alum Katie Mackey are entered in Saturday's Meeting Madrid 2014 in Madrid, Spain.

Berry, the runner-up in the 400 at the NCAA championships for the University of Oregon, is entered in the 400, while Mackey, the third place finisher in the USA championships last month in the women's 1500, is entered in the 3000 along with Gabe Grunewald, the USA indoor 3000 champ.

This meet is the eleventh stop on the IAAF's World Challenge series.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yogi Teevens named assistant track coach at Washington State...

PULLMAN--In a move that was not unexpected, Washington State University announced the hiring of Yogi Teevens (left/photo courtesy WSU Athletics), formerly the sprints, horizontal jumps & relay coach at Utah State University as well as its recruiting coordinator.

With the Aggies, Teevens mentored 28 competitors to Mountain West Conference titles, 118 student-athletes to All-MWC first team honors, 28 participants to NCAA West Region Preliminary Rounds, four to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and saw eight school records broken. This past season, Teevens’ sprinters swept conference championships in the 100m, 200m, 400m and both relays. 

Teevens spent 15 seasons at the University of Idaho (1996-2010), starting as the women's head coach but was promoted to co-head coach of the men’s and women’s program with Wayne Phipps for 11 years. Teevens focused on the sprints, jumps and multi-events areas during her Moscow coaching stint, and Vandal student-athletes broke school records 38 times, including some records multiple times.

Teeven’s tenure at Idaho was marked with continual success including: two women’s team and two men’s team Big West Conference titles, 51 individual conference champions, four conference champion relays, six conference Athlete of the Year honorees, one conference Freshman of the Year award. Additionally, Vandals qualified for NCAA Championships 33 times and earned 16 All-America honors including Idaho’s first woman NCAA champion (Katja Schreiber, discus, 2000), and Olympian (Angela Whyte). Teevens garnered Big West Women’s Track & Field Coach of the Year honors in 2001 and 2003.

Teevens joins holdover Matt McGee, along with 2013 Idaho assistants Julie Taylor, and Allix Potratz-Lee on the staff of WSU head coach and director of track & field/cross country Wayne Phipps. There is one coaching vacancy left at WSU.


EFRAIMSON NAMED GATORADE NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR

Camas HS standout Alexa Efraimson was named the Gatorade national cross country runner of the year for the 2013-14 season.

Efraimson won the Washington 4A cross country title, as well as the Nike Cross Nationals crown, as well as the Nike BorderClash, and the Bill Dellinger Invitational, where she beat NCAA cross country runner-up Emma Bates of Boise State, who went on to win the national title last month in the 10000m.

Efraimson was also named the Gatorade girls' track & field athlete of the year for Washington state this season.

Efraimson was honored along with all of Gatorade's national high school athletes of the year at the ESPYs in Los Angeles.

She is preparing for next week's IAAF world junior championships in Eugene, where she'll run the 1500.


PRO ROUNDUP

In Liege, Belgium, Mark Wieczorek of the Brooks Beasts finished fifth in the B section of the 800, running 1:48.22.

In the A section paced by Matt Scherer, Cas Loxsom was a disappointing tenth in 1:50.16, as UC Santa Barbara alum Ryan Martin won in 1:45.72.


From a few days ago, the folks at Track Town USA announced the fields for the 4 x 800 relay teams competing in the High Performance meet on July 26th following the conclusion of that's day's events at the IAAF world junior championships.

Training partners Phoebe Wright and Erica Moore from Seattle's Brooks Beasts will run on a Pacific NW team along with Oiselle's Kate Grace and Lauren Wallace.

They'll go against teams from Canada, an All-Star team featuring Ajee Wilson & Maggie Vessey, a New Jersey/NY squad, and a Nike All-Star team featuring Laura Roesler.

This meet will also have a women's hammer throw, men's 110-meter hurdles, women’s 100 meters, men’s mile, men’s triple jump and men’s high jump.

Confirmed participants include Olympic champion and the World Record holder Aries Merritt, Jamaica's Dwight Thomas, and 2011 World Champion Jason Richardson.  Oregon alum English Gardner and Olympic triple jump champ Christian Taylor is also competing in the meet.

A note from Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey confirmed that several of his athletes will also be in the men's mile field.

In that same note, Mackey noted that Garrett Heath and Riley Masters will run the mile at the Spokane Summer Games meet on August 2nd at Spokane Falls CC.

According to the Spokane Summer Games web site, they are looking for the first sub-4 minute mile ever run in Spokane.

Like the High Performance meet in Eugene, the Spokane Summer Games will have a compressed, fan friendly schedule.

Ex-Bellingham resident Donn Cabral third in Luzern...

LUZERN, Switzerland--Former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral (left/photo by Paul Merca) was third in the 3000 steeplechase at the Spitzen Leichtathletik Luzern meeting Tuesday.

Cabral, the 2012 US Olympian who trained and lived in Bellingham after graduating from Princeton University, ran 8:22.40, just off of his season best of 8:20.04 set at the USA national championships in late June.

Clement Kemboi of Kenya won the race in 8:21.50.

In other events, Washington alum Martin Bingisser won the hammer with a best of 215-2 (65.58m). 

Vancouver native Kara Patterson finished fourth in the women's javelin with a best of 194-11 (59.42m).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anita Campbell returns to UW as newest track/cross country assistant coach...

The University of Washington announced the hiring of alum Anita Campbell (left/photo by Paul Merca) as an assistant track & field and cross country coach, according to a release from the school Monday.

Campbell, a 2010 graduate, competed at the NCAA cross country championships her first two years as an individual, then earned All-America honors in the 2007 season as part of the team that finished eighth before the team broke through in that magical 2008 season and won the national title.

“I am thrilled to bring Anita Campbell back into our program,” said Husky head track & field/cross country coach Greg Metcalf. “Anita helped set a standard of excellence at Washington, and the program improved every year she was on our campus. As a member of our 2008 national championship team she brings instant credibility. In her own words this is a dream job for Anita. She shares the same goals I do for our program; she wants to be a part of another NCAA title and help to build the next generation of Husky distance runners.”

Campbell was the 2009 Pac-10 champion at 10,000-meters, and went on to finish third at the 2009 NCAA outdoor championships to earn All-America honors on the track. She made the NCAA outdoor meet all four years, and scored a total of 30 points at the Pac-10 track & field championships. She ranks in the UW top-10 in five events and was the indoor school record-holder in the 5,000-meters for three years.

Campbell will be inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in October along with the other members of the 2008 national championship cross country team.

Campbell, a native of Vancouver, B.C., also competed for her country at the 2006 IAAF world cross country championships in Fukuoka, Japan in the junior women's race.

She replaces Lauren Denfeld, who chose to pursue opportunities outside of coaching after four years at Washington.


NOTE:  The University of Washington sports information office contributed to this report.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Garrett Heath of Brooks Beasts runs season best in Glasgow; Wright wins in Dublin...

GLASGOW, Scotland--Garrett Heath (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished tenth in the 1500 meters at the Sainsbury's Glasgow Grand Prix meeting at Hampden Park Saturday as the two-day meet concluded.

Heath ran a season best 3:35.89 as Kenya's Silas Kiplagat (3:32.84), Morocco's Abdelaati Iguider (3:33.20) and US champ Leo Manzano (3:34.40) took the top three spots.

Heath was the only athlete with Washington ties competing Saturday, with Ingvill Måkestad Bovin, Brad Walker, Jax Thoirs, and Bernard Lagat having competed Friday.


MORTON GAMES

In Dublin, Ireland Friday night, Seattle's Phoebe Wright, a Nike sponsored runner training with the Brooks Beasts, won the 800 meters at the Morton Games at Morton Stadium.

Wright won in a season best time of 2:01.91 to narrowly defeat Australia's Selma Kajan (2:01.96).

Riley Masters of the Beasts, who broke four minutes outdoors in the mile Tuesday night in Cork, finished fifth in the 3000 in 7:53.85

Mark Wieczorek of the Beasts was seventh in the men's 800 in 1:46.96.

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