re: "it'll be a slow race, because, well, umm, ya know, Championship races tend to be slow" must've really been sleeping through Logic 101"
There are plenty of ways to run a 'slow race' that don't simply leave everything to the last lap. It is incredibly rare for someone to try and crush it from the gun in a championship race. This race will turn into a '5k' at most. Rupp has no interest in jeopardizing his shot at a back to back 5/10k double at USAs by hammering from the start just so Ritz can qualify to jog around at world's. I have a hard time seeing Ritz run away from either True or Derrick from a long way out (he tried that USA XC, and it didn't work on Derrick... and essentially at Pre). Ritz will not PR (even with his 'soft' 27:22) or attempt that kind of sustained effort.
Albeit, having Teg and Puskedra likely running the race in team-mode is a wildcard... I see Ritz et al closing in ~ 13:35 after a slowish start [I'm not so quick to assume they're in sub 27 shape, as many other posters seem to be].
re: "I see the four of them together, broken away from the rest of the field, at 8K.
From there on, most likely, a modest gap for Rupp, and a full-on Pre-style death march for the other three."
-Agreed, accept True and Derrick pull clear on the last lap/200m