Galen Rupp defeats Bernard Lagat to take the US 5000m title (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 29 June 2012 – Eugene, USA

Rupp completes distance double in Eugene – US Olympic Trials, Day 5

Eugene, USADay Five of the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday (28) featured a packed program, with five finals and continuing qualification rounds in eight other events.

One of the most dramatic decisions of the day came in the men’s discus, as the leader of the qualifying round, Lance Brooks, was seeking the needed A-standard of 65.00. With 64.13m on his first throw in today’s final, Brooks held the lead throughout the competition, but frustration was building as he improved only to 64.15m and 64.44m. Entering the ring for the final throw of the event, and with the Hayward Field record crowd in excess of 22,000 clapping lustily, Brooks let loose with a PB 65.15m throw that achieved his goal. The audience responded with a cheer of a decibel level normally reserved for Oregon athletes.

Jarred Rome (63.35m) and Jason Young (62.15m) took the other two Olympic spots. Falling victim to Brooks’ sudden Olympic qualifier was fourth-place Ian Waltz (61.33m) who would have gone to London had Brooks failed.

Threatening to outdo the discus for a gripping finish was the women’s 5000m, won by Julie Culley in a PB 15:13.77.

At the bell, Julia Lucas had a 15-metre lead on the field, but little did she know that she would come up empty-handed. With 250 left, Molly Huddle and Culley suddenly had canceled all of Lucas’ advantage, and they became the front runners although Lucas seemed to have third place well in her grip. Down the final stretch, Huddle ran wide and unwittingly gave Culley the space she needed to snare the win at the last moment, as American record holder Huddle finished second with 15:14.40.

Meanwhile, Kim Conley eyed the sauntering Lucas on the final stretch. Realizing that the big prize was within reach, she sprinted hard to clip Lucas at the tape in a PB 15:19.79 to Lucas’ 15:19.83. Lucas’ final lap of 73.80 was her undoing, as Conley covered the same distance in 68.78. Not only was the placing important to Conley but the time was as well, since it brought her under the required A-standard by a scant 0.21 seconds. Abbey D’Agostino also had a fast finish in fifth with 15:19.98.

Rupp adds 5000m title

Not to be outdone by the women, to end the evening the men came up with an even more magnificent show in the 5000m. It was again an episode of the Galen Rupp Show, as the 26-year-old added the title to his 10,000 metres victory from last weekend with a stunning overhaul of double Osaka gold medallist Bernard Lagat in the final 20 metres. In winning with 13:22.67, Rupp moved another step closer to full 'Oregon sainthood’ by breaking the US Olympic Trials 5000m record of 13:22.8 established forty years ago on the same track by Steve Prefontaine.

Lagat was timed in 13:22.82 while Lopez Lomong clocked 13:24.47 to gain the third ticket for London.

With 700 metres left, Lagat was in front with Rupp on his shoulder, as Lomong and Andrew Bumbalough were within three metres of the leading pair. At the bell, Rupp slid ahead, followed by Lomong and Lagat. On the back stretch of the final lap, Lagat started his kick, moving first past Lomong with 200 left and then overtaking Rupp with 120 to go. Down the final stretch, Lagat was eyeing the tape, but he was as surprised as was the rest of the record crowd when Rupp zipped past to claim the win. Rupp and Lagat covered the last 400 metres in 52.54 and 52.46, respectively.

Evan Jager sprinted away from his closest pursuers off the final water jump and took the men’s steeplechase title in 8:17.40, a PB by 3½ seconds. He was followed into the finish by erstwhile US leader Donn Cabral with 8:19.81 as Kyle Alcorn took the final Olympic spot with 8:22.17 after he and Cabral had exchanged advantages at several points during the last lap.

Dan Huling held a small lead at the bell, but soon he dropped back and ultimately fell while hurdling the final water jump. Never regaining his composure, he faded to seventh in 8:30.76 as he was passed during the last 150 metres by Don Cowart (8:27.49), Ben Bruce (8:29.61), and Max King (8:30.54).

Former World Pole Vault champion Brad Walker won that event’s title with a 5.67m leap as light rain invaded Eugene partway through the competition. There was a four-vaulter cluster at 5.60m but countbacks resulted in clean placings as the world’s tallest vaulter, Jeremy Scott, took second and Scott Roth ended in third. Roth had passed 5.67m to attempt the A-standard of 5.72m which he lacked. Unsuccessful in his quest, Roth yielded the final Olympic nomination to fourth-place Derek Miles who already had the standard.

Action in the prelims

Elimination rounds made up the balance of Thursday’s programme.

The qualifying round in the women’s 1500m did little to eliminate competitors (only four exited) but did give the runners a warm-up race prior to tomorrow’s semifinals.

The three heats were won in similar times by defending Olympic Trials champion Shannon Rowbury (4:16.17), US season leader and last year’s top-ranked 1500 runner Morgan Uceny (4:14.07), and Alice Schmidt (4:15.70). Others marching ahead included reigning world champion Jenny Simpson (4:16.70), Gabriele Anderson (4:14.23), Katie Mackey (4:14.28) and Anna Pierce (4:15.96).

In the men’s 1500 opening round, heats were won by Craig Miller (3:41.89), Will Leer (3:40.79) and Jordan McNamara (3:40.78). Berlin finalist Leonel Manzano (3:40.91) stayed in contention as did his training partner David Torrence (3:41.99). US year leader Russell Brown qualified in 3:41.13 as did his Eugene flatmate and Beijing Olympian, Andrew Wheating (3:41.14) plus Daegu bronze winner Matthew Centrowitz (3:42.02). Other notables returning in tomorrow’s semifinals include Jeff See (3:42.03), A.J. Acosta (3:40.98), and Garrett Heath (3:41.02).

After missing out on an Olympic long jump nomination earlier in the week, Christian Taylor made his point early on his only triple jump attempt of the day in the elimination round. His 17.27m mark was almost a half metre ahead of Will Claye’s 16.80m as those two are the only competitors currently holding an A-standard (17.20). Beijing Olympian Aarik Wilson (16.66m) and former World champion Walter Davis (16.57m) held the next two spots.

To no great surprise, Daegu bronze medallist Jill Camarena-Williams had the best effort in the women’s shot put qualification with 19.30m on her only throw. Michelle Carter (18.44m) and Sarah Walker (18.3m1) were the only other competitors over 18 metres. Two others with the A-standard—Tia Brooks (fourth at 17.64m) and Alyssa Hasslen (sixth at 17.06m)—also advanced to the final on Friday.

The elimination rounds of both 400m Hurdles races began on Day 5.

Reigning World champion and current-year US leader, Lashinda Demus, ran hard from lane eight throughout the first heat of the women’s event to win in 55.29. Other races were won by Georganne Moline (55.53), defending Olympic Trials champion Tiffany Williams (55.76), and T’Erea Brown (56.25). Other notable times were recorded by Turquoise Thompson (55.96), Dominique Darden (56.07), and Christine Spence (56.28).

Light rain was beginning to fall as two-time Olympic champion Angelo Taylor ran an unchallenged 49.53 in the opening heat of the men’s qualification. Beijing bronze winner Bershawn Jackson (50.59), Michael Tinsley (49.55), and Beijing silver medallist Kerron Clement (49.37) won the other heats. Others advancing were Justin Gaymon (49.56 behind Tinsley), Johnny Dutch (49.69 behind Clement) and Michael Stigler (50.02 behind Taylor).

The opening round of the women’s 200m yielded no notable casualties. Tianna Madison’s 22.57 was the fastest heat winner, with Carmelita Jeter (22.63), Sanya Richards-Ross (22.67) and Kimberlyn Duncan (22.69) also showing strength in their heat victories. Allyson Felix (22.82) and Janeba Tarboh (22.90), the two protagonists in last Saturday’s dead-heat in the women’s 100m, were also section winners.

It only took two bar placements—1.80m and 1.83m — to sort out the top competitors from the field of 22 in the women’s High Jump. Among those advancing with clean slates were Chaunte Lowe, Amy Acuff (who is looking for her fifth Olympic nomination), and Brigetta Barrett. Inika McPherson, who held the London A-norm (1.95m), no-heighted at 1.80m, leaving only three bearers of the A-standard advancing to the final. Barring another entrant jumping 1.95m or higher on Saturday, Lowe, Acuff and Barrett will represent the US in London.

Ed Gordon for the IAAF

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