In an exciting and fascinating 20 minute span Monday morning, the Bowerman Track Club earned four top six finishes at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships, with the biggest Team USA medal surprise happening, as Emily Infeld grabbed bronze in the women's 10,000m, out-leaning U.S. teammate Molly Huddle at the finish.
Infeld ran top 12 in a crowded field from the gun, keying off of Huddle and BTC teammate Shalane Flanagan early on. As the pace picked up, Infeld moved into the top six and eventually the top five as the bell lap sounded.
With 200 meters to go, Infeld sat fourth, as Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) and Gelete Burke (ETH) battled for the win. In the final 100 meters, it looked as if Huddle would run to her first international medal, but as the finish line neared Infeld refused to lose contact, scrambling up to Huddle with 10 meters to go and leaning just ahead of Huddle, who had raised her arms in what she thought was a medal-winning finish.
As the results were posted, Infeld and Flanagan huddled, and as the results popped up, Flanagan turned to her young teammate and the two embraced in victory. Flanagan finished sixth, happy with the performance and setting herself up well as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon now comes into focus.
After the women's 10,000m, the men's 3,000m steeplechase took the track. As Infeld left the track, she received a hug from teammate Evan Jager, who lined up and blasted off the line, settling near the front, while BTC teammate Dan Huling put himself out of trouble at the back of the field.
Jager took the lead a few times, but in the final 200 meters, as the Kenyan quartet started to really hammer the pace, Jager simply didn't have the gear to go with them, fading hard off the final water jump. As Jager ran backwards, Huling charged home in an impressive final 800 meters, nipping Jager at the line, as the two finished fifth and sixth. Huling pumped his fist with joy, while Jager shook his head in frustration, but for the two training mates, this was a fine performance that lends momentum to both as the season moves on and the Olympics become the focus.
As if the Bowerman Track Club didn't have enough success in Day 3 of the World Championships, in the morning session (Sunday evening in the United States), new BTC member Colleen Quigley ran five seconds off her personal best to qualify for the women's 3,000m steeplechase final. Talk about a nice 24 hours for the Portland-based team!