SACRAMENTO--Different age, same results.
Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (above/photo by Paul Merca) won yet another USA national championship in the 5000 meters, using his patented sit-let the other guys do the work-and kick tactic to win going away in 13:31.41 Friday night at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Cal State Sacramento.
The 39-year old was in a group of about six at the front as the pace started off moderately, then gradually picked up as the race went on.
With about a mile to go, Andrew Bumbalough decided he'd had enough of the slow pace and took to the front, going with laps of 65-66 seconds, before dropping to 61 seconds on the penultimate lap.
As everyone who's raced Lagat has found out the hard way, 61 seconds isn't going to cut it, as he answered with a 54.76 last 400 to take the victory.
“I feels so good. I came over here and have been training really well. I didn’t run really well at the Prefontaine so I vowed to come back and had to races before here because I needed the races.
“The training I’ve done, if it had been 64–64 (seconds) it would have been okay, but it was 66–67. It was slow. I knew it was going to be a tactical race. I had to know where everybody was and stay out of trouble. I felt really good going into the last 800 meters.”
In other action Friday night:
--WSU alum Jeshua Anderson qualified for the semis of the 400 hurdles, running 50.54;
--Former Bellingham resident and 2012 Olympian Donn Cabral had the second fastest time in the 3000 steeple, running 8:34.77;
--In one of the most anticipated head-to-head matches of the meet, Camas HS junior Alexa Efraimson was a non-factor in the same heat as Mary Cain, with Cain finishing third in 4:09.08, and Efraimson seventh in 4:12.89.
Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts was second in the other heat of the 1500, running 4:09.89 to move on to the Sunday finals;
--Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon qualified for the finals in the men's 400, running 45.43;
--Brooks Beasts Jessica Tebo and Angela Bizzari were 10th and 11th in the 5000 in 15:43.84 and 15:59.02;
--In the men's 800 semis, Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts had the second fastest time in 1:45.80, with teammate Mark Wieczorek finishing fifth in his heat in 1:48.16.