INDIANAPOLIS – 2012 Olympian Evan Jager has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week following his American record performance in finishing third in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the Monaco Diamond League meet Friday.
In just his fifth time ever competing in the event, the 2012 Olympic Trials champion cruised through the finish in 8:06.81, dropping more than two seconds off Daniel Lincoln’s previous record of 8:08.82 he set in 2006.
In his first international race in the steeplechase, Jager was well aware of the American record, but made it a point to not pay attention to the time until the final lap.
“I thought it would be a possibility, but it wasn’t something I was expecting,” Jager said of the record. “I wasn’t sure how I would be able to handle a hard pace. I heard lap splits being called out the first two laps, but after that I was oblivious to everything else. With one lap to go I glanced at the clock and saw I was at 7:02 or 7:03 and I knew I needed to run the last lap in 65 seconds to run 8:08.”
Jager will now look to carry momentum from his victory at the Olympic Trials and being named USATF Athlete of the Week into the Olympic Games. Heats for the men’s 3,000m steeplechase are slated for the first day of track and field competition on August 3rd and the final August 5th.
“This is awesome,” Jager said of being named Athlete of the Week. “Especially seeing the other results from Monaco. Aries Merritt had a PR (personal record) in the (110m) hurdles and Duane Solomon had a big personal best in the 800m.
“This gives me confidence to know I can put myself in position to run anywhere at the Olympics whether it’s a fast pace or a slow tactical race. It gives me a lot of tools to work with.”
Now in its 11th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2012 Winners: January 5, Landon Peacock; January 11, Kirubel Erassa; January 18, Shalane Flanagan; January 26, John Nunn; February 1, Gunnar Nixon; February 8, Jenn Suhr; February 14, Jillian-Camarena Williams; February 22, Brycen Spratling; February 28, Chaunte Lowe; March 7, Eric Broadbent; March 14, Ashton Eaton; March 21, Jeanne Daprano; March 27, Wallace Spearmon; April 3, Trevor Barron; April 9, Kevin Castille; April 18, Brittney Reese; April 25, Amy Sproston; May 2, Leo Manzano; May 9, Stephanie Brown-Trafton; May 16, Allyson Felix; May 23, Nick Hartle; May 30, Kimberlyn Duncan; June 6, Jessica Cosby and Meghan Vogel; June 13, Jesse Williams; June 20, Shelby Ashe; June 27, Ashton Eaton; July 4, Allyson Felix; July 11, Christian Cantwell; July 18, Gunnar Nixon; July 25, Evan Jager
Daprano sets milestone
Jeanne Daprano made history Saturday at the USATF Western Regional Masters Championships when she became the first American W75 athlete to break the seven-minute barrier in the mile in running 6:58.44. The performance was also good enough to surpass Mary Harada’s W75 1,500m American record.
The performance for Daprano comes as she prepares for the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships August 2-5 at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.
Daprano was named USATF Athlete of the Week on March 21 after setting three age-group world records at the USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships.