Thursday, June 30, 2016

8 KIMbia Athletes Seek Olympic Spots at U.S. Trials

Evan Jager celebrates after making the 2012 Olympic team in the steeplechase. The defending champion is one of eight KIMbia runners competing at the U.S. trials in Eugene.

KIMbia will be out in force when the U.S. Olympic Trials get underway Friday in Eugene, Oregon. Eight runners will try to earn a spot on the team for Rio. If they do, they’ll join the three KIMbia runners already booked for the Games: Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan on the U.S. marathon team and Tom Farrell on the British 5,000-meter squad.

Below are the eight KIMbia runners who will compete in Eugene, listed by when their first race of the meet is. The complete meet schedule is here.

German Fernandez, 10,000 meters final, July 1
German debuted at the distance earlier this year and has a lot of upside in the event.

Emily Infeld, 10,000 meters final, July 2
Last year’s world bronze medalist seeks another global berth. Emily has also declared in the 5,000.

Evan Jager, 3,000-meter steeplechase qualifying round, July 4
The defending Trials champion is a heavy favorite to repeat.

Courtney Frerichs, 3,000-meter steeplechase qualifying round, July 4
This year’s NCAA champion will make her pro debut on Independence Day.

Colleen Quigely, 3,000-meter steeplechase qualifying round, July 4
Colleen finished 12th at Worlds last year and won last week’s Stumptown Twilight 1500.

Lopez Lomong, 5,000-meter qualifying round, July 4
Lopez is seeking his third Olympic spot. He ran the 1500 at the 2008 Olympics and the 5,000 in 2012.

Jess Tonn, 5,000-meter qualifying round, July 7
Jess is the 10th fastest qualifier in the event and has the Olympic standard.

Izaic Yorks, 1500-meter qualifying round, July 7
The NCAA runner-up will face a wide-open field.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Courtney Frerichs Joins Bowerman Track Club

Courtney Frerichs, winner of the steeplechase earlier this month at the NCAA championships, has signed a contract with Nike and will be a member of the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon. BTC coach Jerry Schumacher and 2000 steeplechase Olympian Pascal Dobert will guide her transition from collegiate to professional runner.

“I am very excited about continuing my running career with Nike and the Bowerman Track Club,” Courtney said. “I believe the opportunity to work with Jerry and Pascal will help me reach my goals as a runner. Working with the amazing women of the BTC will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more. I can’t wait for the Olympic Trials and to start this new chapter in my career.”

Among Courtney’s training partners will be Colleen Quigley, last year’s NCAA steeple champion and the 12th finisher at last year’s World Championships.

Courtney won the NCAA steeple title in 9:24.41, a new NCAA record and a time that makes her the sixth fastest steepler in U.S. history.

Courtney will make her professional debut on July 4 in the qualifying rounds of the steeplechase at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. The final will be held on July 7.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shalane Flanagan Betters Her U.S. 10K Road Record

On Sunday, for the second time this month, training partners Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg set road PRs while deep in their build-up for August’s Olympic Marathon. On June 5, the distance was the half marathon. Today, it was 10K, and because Shalane started the race as the American record holder for the distance, a new PR meant a new American record.

Shalane won this morning’s B.A.A. 10K in Boston in 30:52, 11 seconds faster than the record she established in The Netherlands last September. She broke free from two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat in the final two kilometers.

“You have to really seize these kind of moments,” Shalane, who was born in nearby Marblehead, said after the race. “Here I am at home, my dad’s out here, I have family around, and it just seemed like a really special way to do my last race right before Rio. It kind of gives me chills just thinking about it. From here, it’s just really meaningful.”

Amy finished third in 31:31, more than a minute under her old road PR. Among those she beat were defending champion and world half marathon medalist Mary Wacera and world marathon medalist Aselefech Mergia.

“I am absolutely thrilled. For a shorter road race, that was the most competitive I’ve felt in an international field,” Amy saidadded Cragg. “I felt incredibly strong, and I train with the best girl that just broke the American record. That’s a big boost of confidence as well. I couldn’t be happier.”

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Evan Jager Confident But Not Cocky Heading Into the Olympic Trials

American steeplechase record holder Evan Jager will defend his Olympic Trials title in the event next month in Eugene, Oregon. Although Evan is a heavy favorite to make his second Olympic team, he’s taking nothing for granted. Evan’s qualifying round in Eugene is scheduled for July 4, the date on which last year he set his American record of 8:00.45.

You said earlier this year you really care about only two races this year, the Olympic Trials final and the Olympic final. What are your takeaways from the build-up races you’ve done?

Evan Jager: I feel really good about where my fitness is at right now going into the Olympic Trials. I was able to win the steeple that I ran at Oxy against most of my competitors that I will be racing at the Trials, which is obviously a good thing. What I was most happy about with that race was that I was able to win by kicking fast over the last 400 meters, which is a tactic that isn’t my greatest strength.

In the 1500-meter and mile races that I ran, I was able to run 3:38 and 3:54, respectively, while not feeling totally sharp. I believe that I will have the ability to run faster in the later stages of the season.

As the American record holder, what percent fitness do you think you need to be in to make the team?

I don’t discredit the strength of my American competitors in the steeplechase, especially when an Olympic team spot will be on the line. My teammate Dan Huling placed higher than me at the World Champs last year, for example. I will definitely be bringing my best on the day to ensure that I make that team.

More broadly, what are the keys for you in making the team?

I think that in order to make this team I will need to come into the Trials healthy, strong and mentally prepared to compete at the highest level. I will also be doing my best to not stress out too much and keep mentally and emotionally steady over the course of the week.

Your Trials qualifying round will be only your second steeple of the year. Will you use it to practice tactics/technique?

No. Most likely the only thing I will try to focus on in the prelim will be staying relaxed and conserving energy for the final while being technically sound over the barriers and water jump.

At the Trials four years ago, you were new to the event. What are three important things you know now about steepling you didn’t know then?

  1. I know how my body handles different racing situations like a fast early pace or a slow tactical race with a kick.
  2. I know my competitors and their strengths/weaknesses much better after racing them for the past four years.
  3. I know myself as an athlete better, both mentally and physically.

Did you feel more, or a different kind of pressure than before the 2012 Trials, given the difference in your experience then and now?

It’s definitely a different kind of pressure. In 2012 I was much more nervous going into the Trials for a few reasons. First, it was my first Olympic Trials and my first opportunity to make an Olympic team. Also, the steeplechase was still so much of an unknown event for me that I still didn’t know completely what my potential was or how good at the event I was going to be.

This time around, I am much more confident but there is also more pressure to make the team because I have had so much success and my goals have grown to be so much greater the last four years. It would be a much bigger letdown if I didn’t make the team this year compared to 2012.

Who will make the women’s team?

I don’t know who will make the women’s team. I could make an educated guess but that doesn’t really matter. There is a reason we have the Olympic Trials. Nothing is given, you have to earn your spot on that team.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

NCAA Stars Courtney Frerichs, Izaic Yorks Join KIMbia

We’re pleased to welcome 2016 NCAA steeplechase champion Courtney Frerichs and NCAA 1500-meter runner-up Izaic Yorks to the KIMbia family of athletes. Both have just finished stellar college careers and will now work to make their mark as professionals.

On Saturday, in her last race for the University of New Mexico, Courtney ran 9:24.41 to not only win the NCAA title but break the NCAA record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The old mark of 9:25.54 was held by Jenny Barringer (now Simpson), a former U.S. record holder in the event. Courtney is now the sixth fastest American steepler in history.

Courtney is currently third on this year’s U.S. steeple list. She’ll return to the site of Saturday’s victory, Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, to run next month’s Olympic Trials.

On Friday, Izaic closed out his college career by running 3:38.06 to place second in the 1500. In February, the University of Washington star ran an indoor 3:53.89 mile, the fastest ever by a U.S. collegian. Last month Izaic beat a field of pros at the Payton Jordan Invitational to win the 1500 in a personal best of 3:37.74.

Izaic will also run the Olympic Trials next month.

Stay tuned for details on Courtney’s and Izaic’s pro plans, including where they’ll be training.

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