After a relatively mild first half of the race that went through in 16:11.99, Kenya’s Sally Kipyego, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at this distance who trains with the Eugene based Oregon TC Elite, took the lead with Kenyan teammates and Iowa State alum Betsy Saina lurking along with former world champion Vivian Cheruiyot.
Also in that pack of ten were Infeld, teammate and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, Huddle, and former NCAA champ Susan Kukijen of Florida State and the Netherlands.
Cheruiyot shot past Huddle and into the lead with Ethiopian Gelete Burka in tow, but appeared not to have the extra gear needed to pass Cheriuyot, who took the win in 31:41.31 to Burka’s 31:41.77.
With those two medals locked up, it became a battle between Notre Dame grad Huddle and Georgetown grad Infeld for the last podium spot, but Infeld snuck past her with less than five meters to go to take the bronze in a time of 31:43.49 to Huddle’s 31:43.58.
Kipyego was fifth in 31:44.42, followed by Flanagan in 31:46.23. Betsy Saina was eighth in 31:51.35, while Susan Kuijken was tenth in 31:54.32.
Infeld said, “I honestly have no idea. I was just to run through the line and give it everything I had. I feel like the last lap I felt really good and I just want to hang with it. I feel like i can medal. I just ran through the line. I feel a little guilty because I feel like Molly let up a little. I don’t think she realized how close I was. I was just trying to run through the line. I’m really thrilled.”
Flanagan, who won the bronze medal in this event at the 2008 Olympics at this venue said, “It was a pretty modest pace, I knew it would be fast at the end. With two laps to go, I literally got chills thinking there’s three Americans right here that could medal. I just thought this is a phenomenal position to be in. I don’t think I believed as much in myself and my ability to close. I wish I had a little bit more faith in myself. I think I was just feeling sorry for myself. I’m proud of sixth tonight. Most importantly, three Americans in the top six tonight is a phenomenal performance. My coach told us that we were capable of things like that tonight.”
True to Flanagan’s words, the 3-4-6 by Team USA in the 10000 is the best finish by an American squad at the world championships.
In other finals Monday night, American record holder Evan Jager of the Bowerman TC, who was one of the favorites to break up the Kenyan stranglehold in the 3000 steeple, was sixth in 8:15.47, while his club teammate Dan Huling, who stayed back of the pack in the early going, was one spot ahead of him in 8:14.39.
Former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral was tenth in 8:24.94.
Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won his third straight world title at this distance, running 8:11.28 to lead a 1-2-3-4 Kenyan sweep.
Akron’s Shawn Barber of Canada was an upset winner of the pole vault, clearing 19-4.25 (5.90m), as reigning world and Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie of France ended up in a three-way tie for third at 19-0.5 (5.80m).
Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia successfully defended her world title in the triple jump with a leap of 48-10.75 (14.90m), and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica won the women’s 100 in 10.76, as American Tori Bowie took third in 10.86.
NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.