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Huddle, Estrada Sprint to Victories at USA 5 km Championships


PROVIDENCE -- Molly Huddle won her third straight USA 5 km title, as she pulled away in the late stages of Sunday’s race, while Diego Estrada used a furious kick to the finish to run to his first USA title at the USA 5 km Championships in Providence, Rhode Island, hosted by the CVS Health Downtown 5k.


The USA 5 km Championships are the tenth stop on the USA Running Circuit, which concludes this fall with the .US National 12K. The top ten finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the 2014 .US National 12k which takes place Sunday, November 16 in Alexandria, Virginia.


In usual style, Huddle jumped to the lead Sunday morning, as the energy from her hometown Providence crowd fueled the USA 5,000m record holder to push a strong opening pace. While Huddle led the early stages, she was closely followed by teammates Jordan Hasay and Mary Cain, along with 2013 runner-up Emily Infeld.


The large pack started to thin out around the halfway point, as Huddle continued to push the pace. While Cain slipped back into the chase back, Hasay and Infeld stuck with Huddle until the two-mile mark, when Infeld started to fall off the pace and the race became a two woman race.


With just over a half mile to go, Huddle shifted into another gear, establishing a gap on Hasay she would never let go. In the end, Huddle continued her magnificent 2014 campaign, pulling away from Hasay and cruising to her third consecutive victory at the USA 5 km Championships in 15:10.0.


Huddle’s victory gives her another 15 points in the USA Running Circuit standings, as she now sits in second place with 45 points, just behind points leader Sara Hall with 47 points.


While Huddle won her third straight USARC race of the season and continued her winning streak in her hometown of Providence, Hasay’s finish was equally as encouraging. Despite Huddle pulling away in the end, Hasay hung tough, holding off third place finisher Infeld, 15:25.0 – 15:32.5.


Behind Hasay and Infeld, new pro Emily Sisson ran a terrific pro debut to finish fourth overall in 15:44.0. The former Providence College runner used the energy of the hometown crowd to hold off fifth place Katie Matthews, who put up another strong performance in 15:50.0.


Slightly behind Matthews, Cain held tough and crossed the line sixth overall in 15:53.4, while Liz Costello, Olympian Jen Rhines, Sarah Pagano and Hall finished 7-10.


In the men’s race, a moderate early pace kept upwards of twenty men packed together for much of the first half of the race. As the group came through the first mile in 4:35, USA 7 Mile champion Sean Quigley and USA 20 km champion Girma Mecheso led the way, which kept to form until the two-mile mark.


With a mile left to go in the race, German Fernandez and Trevor Dunbar established themselves at the front of the field, grinding down the pace, as the field started to string out. While Dunbar eventually dropped off the lead, Fernandez continued to charge.


As the pack rounded the final turn towards the finish, Diego Estrada made a valiant move, slipping past Fernandez and using one final push to break away from the rest of the field on his way to his first USA title in 13:56.4, slightly ahead of Fernandez, who finished second in 13:57.0.


Young professional talent made names for themselves Sunday, as well, as Maverick Darling and Brian Shrader finished 3-4 in 13:57.5 and 13:58.3, while Jimmy Spisak and Dunbar finished fifth and sixth in 13:59.7 and 14:00.7.


World Championship medalist and Olympian Matthew Centrowitz placed seventh overall in 14:03.2, as Mecheso finished strong in 14:07.3, while Julian Saad and Craig Forys finished ninth and tenth respectively. Mecheso’s eighth place finish moves him into sole second in the USA Running Circuit standings with 30 points, far behind leader Christo Landry’s 76 points, and a single point ahead of third place Quigley.


The USA Running Circuit now moves ahead to the second to last stop of the season, as the USA Marathon Championships take place on October 5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


About the USARC

The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money. A total of $30,000 in prize money was awarded at the USA 5 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with those earning the most points receiving prize money at the end of the series.


The mission of the USARC is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.


Contributed by Scott Bush

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