EUGENE—Despite dropping out of the 10000 on Friday, there was no loss of confidence in Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) as he went through the semi-finals of the men’s 5000 at the US Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon Monday afternoon.
The man affectionately known by friends as Kip, was lurking in the middle of the pack, as the pace in the second semi-final started significantly slower than the first heat.
After a 64 second lap was thrown in at the 2000 meter mark by Brian Shrader, the field pulled him back slightly and the pace slowed.
With 800 to go, the pace picked up to 62 seconds, and then Lagat came through with the usual pop on the last lap, running 53.64 to win the heat in a time of 13:48.36.
“My coach (James Li) told me that if you’re number 7, you might not get in. I understood that very clearly so I was using my calculation to make sure that I don’t go crazy at the beginning. I don’t want to burn out like in the 10k before the final lap.”
“(Li said) ‘it’s good that we did that 10k. 17 laps was really good training which I’ve not given you in a year’”
He feels like the experience from the 10k will set himself up nicely for the finals on Saturday.
In the first semi-final, Riley Masters and Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts advanced to the finals as time qualifiers, with Masters finishing seventh in 13:49.75, and Heath one spot behind in 13:50.63.
In a very rough and tumble women’s 800 meter final that saw both Cal alum Alysia Montano and Brenda Martinez fall down, Kate Grace, who is sponsored by Seattle-based Oiselle, became the company’s first track athlete to qualify for an Olympics, winning in 1:59.10. Seattle’s Phoebe Wright finished sixth in 2:02.55.
The men’s 800 finals saw Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts finish a disappointing ninth in 1:49.18, as NCAA 1500 meter champ Clayton Murphy from Akron win in 1:44.76.
Washington’s rising redshirt senior Carson Fuller (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished twelfth in the men’s javelin finals, throwing 226-2 (68.94m), as Oregon alum Cyrus Hostetler won with a mark of 273-1 (83.24m).
Washington alum Mel Lawrence advanced to the finals of the women’s steeplechase, as she finished fourth in heat 3 in 9:42.05. In the first heat, Washington State alum Collier Lawrence was not a factor, finishing 12th in 10:29.42. Seattle resident Jamie Cheever of Oiselle and Club Northwest was eighth in heat 2, running 10:01.46.
In the women’s triple jump, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle had the fifth furthest jump of the day, with a mark of 45-5 (13.84m), while April Sinkler, who represents Seattle-based Club Northwest, jumped 44-9.75 (13.66m) to also advance with Geubelle to Thursday’s finals.
Not advancing in the triple jump was Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama,who managed a mark of 43-6.5 (13.27m).
Geubelle, who is one of two Americans that owns the Olympic qualifying standard of 46-5.25 (14.15m), is trying to manage a slight bruise in her heel, but feels that it won’t affect her.
Tuesday is an off day here in Eugene, while on Wednesday, the men’s and women’s hammer throw competitions will be contested. Spokane native Britney Henry and Seattle resident Caressa Sims will throw in the qualifying round at 1 pm Wednesday, with the finals held two hours later.