CRANNY, MONSON AND ROGERS COME BACK TO SWEEP 5000M PODIUM AT USATF CHAMPIONSHIPSBy David Monti, @d9monti (c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
EUGENE (09-Jul) — It may sound like the name of a law firm, but Cranny, Monson and Rogers are actually America’s three best distance women on the track. And just like they did on Thursday night here in the 10,000m at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, Elise Cranny (Nike Bowerman TC), Alicia Monson (On Athletics Club) and Natosha Rogers (Puma Elite Running), finished one-two-three in the 5000m here tonight on the fourth and final day of these championships. Running 14:52.66, 14:55.10 and 14:55.39, respectively, the trio enjoyed a comfortable gap over the field and earned additional team spots for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest next month.
Elise Cranny wins the women’s 5000m title at the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
“I’m very tired,” said a smiling Cranny, the first American woman to win both the 5000m and 10,000m national title in the same year since Molly Huddle in 2016.
For Cranny, 27, who lives and trains here in Eugene, tonight’s win represented her third straight national title at the distance. She timed her effort perfectly tonight, allowing Monson to lead most of the race and notch-up the pace lap-by-lap to shake off the rest of the field. Cranny did not take the lead until 14:04 was showing on the clock, and from there she ran uncontested to the finish. As a bonus, her finish time was well within the World Athletics Championships entry standard of 14:57.00, meaning that she locked-up her spot on Team USATF for that event should she decide to take it.
“Thank you to Alicia for making it a fast, honest race,” Cranny said. She continued: “I was hoping that the race would be at standard pace so I didn’t have to chase it. So, I’m very grateful for her for making the race honest.”
Cranny can now choose to do either the 10,000m, the 5000m, or both in Budapest. She said tonight that she was not sure and would discuss it with her coach, Jerry Schumacher. However, she did say that she was leaning towards the shorter event.
“I’m not sure, yet,” she told reporters. “I will talk to Jerry. The five is definitely where my heart is, and the ten being first (in the schedule) I’m leaning towards going into the five fresh. But, I’ll talk to him. I’ll talk to the boss man.”
Monson approached tonight’s race with workman-like efficiency. She was leading by the 600-meter mark, and squeezed the pace down from 76 seconds per lap, to 73, then 71, and held that 71-second tempo right through 4000 meters. The former University of Wisconsin star said that was her best approach.
“I’m going to make it honest, see what happens,” Monson told Race Results Weekly. “Obviously, Elise did well and out-kicked me at the end. But, you know, that’s what I do best. I think my strength is my strength.”
For Rogers –who came into these championships with the World Athletics Championships entry standard for the 5000m, but not the 10,000m– tonight’s result assures her a spot on a starting line in Budapest. It is not clear yet whether she will get a start in the longer race because she doesn’t have the standard of 30:40.00 and she is ranked 23rd in the World Athletics points system for the event. However, 13 women above her in the points ranking are there because of cross country performances and at least some may not be headed for Budapest. The situation will not fully sort out until July 30 when the qualification process has ended.
In the men’s 5000m the early slow pace seemed to be playing perfectly into the hands of Thursday night’s 10,000m champion Woody Kincaid (Nike) who has the fastest kick in the field. But when the pace finally heated up with three laps to go Kincaid couldn’t go with the break which was led by his training partner, Abdihamid Nur (Nike), who ran 57.8 seconds for the penultimate lap, then blazed the final circuit in 53.7 seconds. Veteran Paul Chelimo (American Distance Project), a two-time Olympic medalist, was the only man who could get close to catching Nur in the homestretch, but Nur won by half a second, 13:24.37 to 13:24.90. Third place went to Sean McGorty (Nike/Bowerman Track Club), the same position he achieved in Thursday’s 10,000m.
Abdihamid Nur wins the men’s 5000m title at the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
Nur trains under Northern Arizona University coach Mike Smith in Flagstaff, Ariz. Smith also coaches Kincaid and Nikki Hiltz (who won the 1500m in the women’s division).
“I just went for it and believed in myself,” Nur told reporters. “It shows the strength of our squad. We have the best coach in the world, we train in the best place in the world. It feels good for all of us to come out with the win.”
Chelimo, like Nur, has the World Athletics Championships qualifying standard of 13:07.00 so both men locked in their team places.
“The big goal is to get a medal,” said Chelimo, 32. He continued: “My goal was just to make the team. There are a lot of young bucks coming up.”
McGorty will likely need to run the 13:07.00 standard by the July 30 deadline if he wants to claim his team spot in this discipline. He does not have a World Athletics ranking in the 5000m. However, his ranking in the 10,000m is likely good enough for him to claim his team berth in that discipline.
Kincaid finished ninth in 13:30.84. He said that he felt the effort he had made in the 10,000m in his legs tonight.
“It just wasn’t in the legs,” Kincaid told Race Results Weekly. “What are you going to say? I’m still going to Budapest and I think now it’s like OK, I’m focused on the 10-K. Like now, I have to forget about it.”
Nia Akins wins the women’s 800m title at the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
The other two distance finals tonight, the 800m for both men and women, were highly anticipated. The women’s race saw a first-time national title for Nia Akins of the Brooks Beasts Track Club. The former Ivy League star for the University of Pennsylvania ran a patient race, holding back after reigning NCAA champion Michaela Rose of Louisiana State University scooted to the lead from the gun and brought the field through halfway in a quick 58.4 seconds. At 600 meters 2021 Olympic bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers (Nike/Union Athletic Club) passed Rose and Sage Hurta-Klecker (On Athletics Club) and was the leader on the bend. Akins got up behind Rogers, then passed her in the final 20 meters to get the win in 1:59.50. Rogers got second in 1:59.83, and Kaela Edwards (adidas) –in the race of her life– sprinted to third in 2:00.52. Hurta-Klecker, who hoped to join husband Joe in the national team after he qualified in the 10,000m, was fourth in 2:01.19.
“To be honest, I don’t remember anything after 100 meters,” Akins told reporters, looking a little stunned. “It’s just a blur. It just went by so fast, I couldn’t be happier with the result.”
Edwards, 29, who was the NCAA indoor mile champion in 2016 for Oklahoma State, does not have the World Athletics Championships entry standard of 1:59.80 (11 Americans do), but she is 20th overall in the World Athletics rankings points, well inside the event quota of 56 athletes. So, she should make the team even if she doesn’t run the standard.
Bryce Hoppel wins the men’s 800m title at the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
The men’s 800m final was a rough and tumble affair, and a yellow card was shown by officials just 200 meters into the race after the field finished moving to the inside and C.J. Jones (Under Armour) and Isaiah Jewett (Nike) squeezed Bryce Hoppel (adidas) at the front of the race. Isaiah Harris (Brooks Beasts Track Club) and Clayton Murphy (Nike) were also caught up in the incident.
“I was a little frustrated that we didn’t get to run our race,” said Hoppel, who hoped for a faster and smoother opening 400 meters which only went at 51.9 seconds.
On the backstretch, Jewett still led approaching the 600-meter mark, but Hoppel, Harris and Murphy were coming for him. Jewett held the lead to the top of the homestretch, but Hoppel got past him with about 80 meters to go and ran to the line to win in 1:46.20, his second consecutive national outdoor title.
“It was a little physical and luckily I got out of there without falling down,” said Hoppel of the first 200 meters. He added: “We made it work, came down the homestretch and got the job done.”
Both Harris and Murphy were able to pass Jewett in the final 30 meters and took second and third in 1:46.68 and 1:46.82, respectively. Neither Harris nor Murphy have the qualifying standard of 1:44.70, but both are high up in the World Athletics points ranking (14th and 9th, respectively), so they are assured of team spots in Budapest. Harris, 26, last made an outdoor World Championships team in 2017 when he was still a collegiate athlete at Penn State.
“Yesterday, or two days ago, someone asked me if I was disappointed after coming so close so many times,” Harris said. “This sport is so up and down like, you know, it’s all about how you bounce back. I knew this year was my most consistent training. I’m healthy this year. So, I just went out there and ran my own race. It was a bloodbath of a race.”
– – – – – – The official ticketed spectator count for today was 7,404, bringing the four-day total to 27,462.