Huddle Punches Ticket to Rio with 10,000 Win

By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

OR (02-Jul) — Metronome Molly Huddle was at it again, magically
clicking off kilometer after kilometer to dwindle down the women’s
10,000m field and win her second straight national title and her first
USA Olympic Trials gold medal. Proving again that she is the most
consistent American distance runner below the marathon distance, Huddle
qualified for her second Olympic team after pulling away from Emily
Infeld and Marielle Hall in the final laps. Infeld finished second
today with Hall third. Both will be first-time Olympians.

the gun Huddle went to the front and controlled the pace, the most
experienced tactician in the field. Leading a train of contenders with
consistent 76-second laps, Huddle got into a rhythm and kept the pace
honest, but reasonable. All in tow waited for the next move to be made.

were calm until the unthinkable happened 2.25 miles in, when someone
stepped on Kim Conley’s New Balance spike and dislodged her shoe.
Stopping to adjust the shoe, Conley tried to quickly slip it on; yet it
simply wouldn’t go.

Sitting and pulling it tight, she lost
perhaps 50 meters (roughly 20 seconds) on the field. Though she tried
to catch up, Conley would never reach the lead group and ultimately
dropped out while in sixth position after 8000m.

Up front,
Huddle passed 5000m in roughly 16:09 before hitting 8000m in 25:38.16.
By that point only four women were with her: Infeld, Hall, Aliphine
Tuliamuk, and Kellyn Taylor.

Huddle continued to squeeze the
pace down even further in the subsequent laps, putting pressure on
those that followed. First Taylor dropped off, then Tuliamuk faded.
Finally there were only three: Huddle, Infeld, and Hall. With that, the
Olympic team was set.

“I tried to just keep pressing. It’s hard
up there alone. When you’re following someone it’s always just a little
bit less stressful. But when I looked up and saw that there were four
of us who’d broken away I thought ‘You just have to trust that this is
hurting them. Don’t get weak now,'” Huddle described, sporting her
medal, American flag earrings and nail polish.

Huddle and
Infeld have a tumultuous history dating back to last year’s IAAF World
Championships when Infeld nipped Huddle at the line for the 10,000m
bronze medal. Here today, Huddle made sure that Infeld would not steal
her glory, unleashing a 68-second final lap to solidify the title in
31:41.62. Infeld was second in 31:46.09, with Hall third in 31:54.77.

a lap to go I just put everything I had into it and tried to stay calm.
It felt hard. I know it wasn’t a fast time but I wanted to make sure I
didn’t take any risks,” she said. “I think we have a great team going
to Rio.”

Huddle said that the plan all along was to get out
front and control the tempo, working to see if anyone could keep up
once it came to the race’s later stages. Using the stadium video boards
to her advantage, she gauged how the field was doing.

“I felt
like if I couldn’t break away in the first 5-K I wanted to wait until
the last 1200m [to really push the field] and that’s just kind of what
happened,” she said. “I tried to stay on the inside, but as long as I
was in the top three I think that took a lot of stress off of me.”

having run any outdoor races this year prior to today, Infeld put any
injury talk to rest by staying up front. Smiling from the time she
crossed the line until the press conference’s conclusion, Infeld was
visibly giddy.

“I am just so happy,” she said. “Jerry
[Schumacher], this morning, we were having a chat before the race and
he said you’ve dreamed of this since you were a little girl. I was like
‘I know,’ but I didn’t even want to think of that cause I wanted to
think this was any other race. It’s crazy, cause I feel like I got into
that race mode and doing that, across the finish line, it was like it
really happened. We’re all going to Rio!”

All three athletes
said their intention is to return to the track for the 5000m prelims on
Thursday. Huddle ran both events in Beijing last year.


Berian wasn’t leaving anything to chance in the men’s 800m semi-final,
going out hard in 49.73 for the first lap. Keeping the lead down the
backstretch, around the curve and into the homestraight, the Big Bear
Track Club star held his own despite tying up in the final strides.
With a time of 1:45.72, he was easily the fastest finisher of the round.

didn’t really want to go out THAT fast, but when I see that on the time
I just said keep going, don’t slow down and use that momentum. It
wouldn’t be smart to lose that spot so keep going,” Berian said. “I was
[tying up] a little bit, but if anyone came up then I had a little bit

If the race had been another five meters, Erik Sowinski,
Cas Loxsom, and Isaiah Harris may have caught Berian. The trio all
broke 1:46 with times of 1:45.82, 1:45.93, and 1:45.95, respectively.

overlooked entering these Trials, Sowinski is comfortable where he’s
at. He is the reigning World Indoor bronze medalist.

“I feel
like I’m in the same position as last year,” he said, referencing when
he made the World Championships squad. “I don’t really pay attention to
anything outside of my race plan. Coach will sit me down and we’ll go
through the same plan, be top three at 600, 700 and the last 100 we’ll
see what happens.”

Clayton Murphy won a tumultuous second
section, biding his time before striking 150 meters from the line. The
former Akron Zip put himself in good position before sprinting away to
the victory in 1:46.97, avoiding a tangle-up that involved Joseph
White, Craig Engels, and Shaq Walker. Engels fell, got up and finished
sixth in 1:55.40, but was advanced to the final by officials.

still adjusting to going out in 24 but I felt a lot better than I did
yesterday,” said Murphy. “I just kept pushing to see what happened.

feel like if I’m there, I don’t like to get beat the last 100 meters.
As long as I’m there with 200 to go I give myself a decent shot.”

Martinez sent a message to the women’s 800m field that she’s not
messing around, winning her heat in 1:59.64 ahead of Molly Ludlow
(1:59.81) and Alysia Montano (2:00.20). Though Ludlow and Montano led
at the bell, Martinez moved hard on the backstretch and shifted into
the pole around the curve.

“Any time I do the rounds I race to
win just to be safe. You don’t want to take the last couple spots
because someone can just take it,” said Martinez, the clear winner. “I
know I have to be aware of where they are at. I didn’t want to be too
far away from the front and I wanted to be on the outside, not break my
rhythm, and felt good with 250 and that’s where I wanted to be
aggressive and push.”

Martinez knows that it’ll take a fast
time to make the top three in the final, and wanted to get the legs
moving today. She feels confident in her ability to close and seeks her
first Olympic spot.

Ajee’ Wilson and Kate Grace went one-two in
the first section, running 2:00.81 and 2:00.94. Chrishuna Williams was
third in 2:01.29, while Chanelle Price was sent packing after her fifth
place spot (2:01.94).

PHOTO: Marielle Hall, Emily Infeld and
Molly Huddle on their way to the podium at the 2016 USA Olympic Trials

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