Eugene, Ore. - Galen Rupp thrilled the Oregon crowd as he broke the Trials record held by Steve Prefontaine and added the 5,000m title to the 10,000m crown from the first day of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. More than 22,602 fans were in the stands to witness Rupp’s win, with another 6,349 watching from the festival.
Rupp broke the 40-year-old Trials record of 13:22.8 held by the legendary Prefontaine, with a dramatic run down the homestretch to beat American Record holder Bernard Lagat by .15 seconds in 13:22.67. Lopez Lomong grabbed the third London berth with a time of 13:24.47, and Andrew Bumbalough was fourth at 13:26.67. Only four men in the 5,000m had the A standard coming into the final, and they took the top four places. Mo Trafeh made a valiant run early, leading through more than 10 laps, but couldn’t hold the pace and ended up 10th.
Needing to meet the Olympic A standard of 65.00m on his final attempt to make the London team, Millikin University graduate Lance Brooks came through with a marvelous clutch performance to sail the discus 65.15m/213-9 and capture his first national title in dramatic fashion. Brooks dominated the competition with four throws over 64m, but until the last throw of the competition it appeared he would yield the Olympic berth to one of the four men who already had achieved the A standard. Jarred Rome nabbed his spot on the team with a sixth-round blast of 63.35/207-10, and Jason Young took the third slot with a final-round 62.15/203-11.
Lowering his lifetime best by more than three seconds with a stellar 8:17.40, Evan Jager raced to a convincing win in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. Jager moved strongly over the final 600 meters to clinch his first Olympic berth. Princeton’s NCAA champion Donn Cabral overcame a near-disaster on a hurdle near the end of the penultimate lap to claim the second spot with an 8:19.41, while Kyle Alcorn was third at 8:22.17. Daniel Huling was in contention in the lead group until the final water jump, but had trouble and faded to seventh.
Julia Lucas had an almost two-second lead heading into the final lap of the women’s 5000m, but over the final circuit Julie Culley (15:13.77) and American Record holder Molly Huddle (15:14.40) powered to the front and went on to finish 1-2 on the strength of sub-67 second laps. Behind them the drama came as Kim Conley sprinted down the home stretch to catch Lucas for the third spot, outleaning the fading Lucas 15:19.79-15:19.83. It was a five-second PR for Conley and met the Olympic A standard of 15:20 to give her a spot on the London team.
Variable winds and damp conditions hampered the men’s pole vault, which was won by Brad Walker at 5.67m/18-7.25. Five times a World Indoor and Outdoor medalist, including golds in ‘06 and ‘07, this is Walker’s second Olympic team. Joining him in London will be runner-up Jeremy Scott and fourth-placer Derek Miles, the ‘08 Trials winner. Scott Roth placed third, but did not have the Olympic A standard. The winning height was the lowest at the Trials since 1980.
Reigning World Indoor and Outdoor champions Will Claye and Christian Taylor topped the qualifying round of the men’s triple jump, as Taylor needed only one jump to pop a 17.27m/56-8 to meet the auto advancement standard. Claye’s second attempt yielded a 16.80m/55-1.5 effort that was good enough for him to pass his final try. 2005 World Champion Walter Davis was the fourth-best qualifier and NCAA champ Omar Craddock of Florida also advanced with an eighth-place finish.
All the major players moved on to the semifinals of the women’s 200, including 100m champ Carmelita Jeter (22.63) and 400 winner Sanya Richards-Ross (22.67). The fastest time was turned in by 100m runner-up Tianna Madison, who clocked 22.57 to win the fifth heat. LSU’s NCAA champion Kimberlyn Duncan strided to a 22.69 to win the opening section, while three-time World champion Allyson Felix cruised to a 22.82 win in heat three.
American Record holder Lashinda Demus romped to an easy win in heat one of the women’s 400m hurdles, clocking the fastest time of the day at 55.29. Other top finishers included 2008 Trials champion Tiffany Williams, who won heat three in 55.76, and Arizona’s Georganne Moline, the winner in the second section at 55.53. 2008 Olympian and 2011 World Championships semifinalist Queen Harrison was the final time qualifier for the semifinals with a 57.05.
Three women topped the automatic qualifying standard in the women’s shot put, led by American Record holder Jill Camarena-Williams at 19.30m/63-4. Defending Trials champion Michelle Carter and Sarah Stevens-Walker also had throws beyond the 60-foot mark, with NCAA winner Tia Brooks of Oklahoma finishing fourth behind that trio.
Two-time Olympic champion Angelo Taylor and two-time World champion Kerron Clement were the fastest heat winners in the men’s 400m hurdles, an event that went according to form in the first round. Clement had the best time at 49.37, 0.16 ahead of Taylor. 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and ‘05 World champion Bershawn Jackson jogged to victory in his section at 50.59, and Michael Tinsley took the remaining heat in 49.55.
Less than two seconds separated the 24 men who qualified for the semifinals of the 1500m, with former Oregon star Jordan McNamara the swiftest at 3:40.78. Former NCAA Division III ace Will Leer won his section at 3:40.79 after Craig Miller took the opening heat at 3:41.89. The biggest name failing to advance was Columbia’s Kyle Merber, who clocked 3:45.87 after entering the meet with a season best of 3:35.59.
Running to eliminate four people on the way to the semifinal, the women’s 1500 had no major casualties. Last year’s world No. 1, Morgan Uceny, was the fastest woman of the day at 4:14.07. 2011 World Champion Jenny Simpson easily moved on, as did Alice Schmidt, who earlier this week earned a berth on the London team in the 800m.
In the women’s high jump, seven women cleared the final height of 6-feet even (1.83m) to advance to the final, with five more advancing with clearances of 1.79m/5-10.5. 2011 World University Games champion Brigetta Barrett, American record holder Chaunte Lowe and four-time Olympian Amy Acuff advanced with ease. The only casualty of the field was 2011 World Championships competitor Inika McPherson.
In the first race of the day, representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines who were wounded in combat competed in the Warrior 100m. Bryden Keller of the Army clocked the fastest time of the day in 14.07.
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