Friday, June 29, 2012

Jager Books Olympics in Steeple, Lomong in 5k

In only their fourth and second races in their respective events, Evan Jager and Lopez Lomong qualified to London on Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. In addition to Jager and Lomong, Andrew Bumbalough, Elliott Heath and Brent Vaughn also represented KIMbia Thursday. Evan Jager was the lone runner from that group to run the steeplechase and provided one of the best races of the day, if not the Trials as a whole. Running tactically for most of the race, Jager took over with a little more than a lap to go and passed Dan Huling to pull away for the win. Jager won in a time of 8:17.4, in front of Donn Cabral (2nd, 8:19.8) and Kyle Alcorn (3rd, 8:22.1) rounding out the trio which earned spots to London. With only three previous steeples under his belt, Jager’s 8:17.4 puts him 15th all time in the United States in the steeplechase and was a three second PR.

In the 5k, four KIMbia athletes raced,with one making the Olympic team. Lomong finished third in a time of 13:24.47 edging out fellow KIMbia athlete Andrew Bumbalough (13:26.67) for the final 5k Olympic spot. The race turned into a four man competition near the end with Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat pulling ahead of Lomong and Bumbalough near two hundred to go. Both Lomong and Bumbalough hung gamely and were within striking distance of the leaders, but, in the end, Lomong pulled away from Bumbalough to qualify to London. In fourth,¬†Bumbalough’s time would have placed in the Top 3 in each of the previous two Olympic Trials, while¬†Lomong made to the Olympics in only his second professional 5k. This will be Lomong’s second Olympic Games after being the national flag bearer and running in the 1500 in Beijing. Also competing in the 5k were Elliott Heath (7th, 13:28.2) and Brent Vaughn (13th, 13:51.49).

Unlike the 5000, Jager had locked up his Olympic position as soon as he cleared the final water jump cleanly, with 150m still to go. Like a true Chicagoland native, he celebrated in the style of Michael Jordan: tongue wagging as cameras captured his triumph.

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