W 1500/M Steeple Prelims: Alexa Efraimson Goes Home While Mary Cain Advances; Evan Jager & Donn Cabral Look Great in Steeple

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EUGENE, Ore. — With today’s 800, women’s 1500 and men’s steeple semis being run, every distance final is now set at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships, setting the stage for Sunday’s finals. We discuss the 1500 and steeple below, with the 800 coverage in a separate article.

Women’s 1500
The biggest shock in today’s women’s 1500 prelims at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships was that 18-year-old high school record holder Alexa Efraimson (4:03.39 sb, #4 U.S.) won’t be running in Sunday’s final after she was just fourth in heat 3. Efraimson ran 4:15.21, .69 behind Sarah Brown, who took the third and final auto spot. U.S. #13 Stephanie Brown (4:07.55 sb) and #16 Becca Addison were the next two fastest not to make it, but with only 12 women supposed to make the final, it wasn’t a total shock to see them miss. There will actually be 13 women in Sunday’s final after Hannah Fields petitioned her way in. The Oklahoma Baptist grad lost her balance after Addison went down on the homestretch and made contact with Fields.

Results, quick thoughts and interviews below. Shannon Rowbury did not come through the mixed zone after losing a shoe during the race so we don’t know for sure whether she will scratch from Sunday’s 5,000 final (the 5,000 is at 10:20 a.m. and the 1500 final is at 2:40 p.m.).

Heat 1

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Place Name Affiliation Time 300m 700m 1100m 1500m
1 Shannon Rowbury Nike / Nike Or P 4:18.89 Q 52.39 [52.39] 2:08.49 [1:16.10] 3:18.86 [1:10.38] 4:18.89 [1:00.04]
2 Mary Cain Nike / Nike Or P 4:19.26 Q 52.04 [52.04] 2:08.14 [1:16.10] 3:18.89 [1:10.76] 4:19.26 [1:00.37]
3 Shelby Houlihan Arizona St. 4:19.51 Q 52.27 [52.27] 2:08.26 [1:15.99] 3:19.30 [1:11.04] 4:19.51 [1:00.22]
4 Amanda Mergaert Brooks / Beasts 4:19.59 52.47 [52.47] 2:08.52 [1:16.06] 3:19.06 [1:10.54] 4:19.59 [1:00.53]
5 Stephanie Brown NIKE 4:20.04 52.11 [52.11] 2:08.11 [1:16.00] 3:18.82 [1:10.72] 4:20.04 [1:01.22]
6 Hannah Fields Unattached 4:20.48 q 52.22 [52.22] 2:08.32 [1:16.11] 3:19.16 [1:10.84] 4:20.48 [1:01.33]
7 Morgan Uceny adidas 4:21.20 52.76 [52.76] 2:08.65 [1:15.90] 3:19.08 [1:10.43] 4:21.20 [1:02.12]
8 Angel Piccirillo Villanova 4:21.79 52.69 [52.69] 2:08.77 [1:16.08] 3:19.34 [1:10.57] 4:21.79 [1:02.45]
9 Stephanie Schappert Villanova 4:23.56 52.58 [52.58] 2:08.61 [1:16.04] 3:19.48 [1:10.87] 4:23.56 [1:04.09]
10 Rebecca Addison Unattached 4:28.06 52.52 [52.52] 2:08.82 [1:16.30] 3:19.01 [1:10.20] 4:28.06 [1:09.05]

Heat 2

Place Name Affiliation Time 300m 700m 1100m 1500m
1 Jennifer Simpson New Balance 4:08.55 Q 50.65 [50.65] 1:58.30 [1:07.66] 3:05.61 [1:07.32] 4:08.55 [1:02.94]
2 Treniere Moser Nike / Nike Or P 4:08.70 Q 50.87 [50.87] 1:58.42 [1:07.55] 3:05.71 [1:07.30] 4:08.70 [1:02.99]
3 Kerri Gallagher Oiselle /N Y A C 4:08.70 Q 51.21 [51.21] 1:59.06 [1:07.86] 3:06.22 [1:07.16] 4:08.70 [1:02.49]
4 Heather Kampf ASICS / TUSA Mn 4:09.02 q 50.52 [50.52] 1:58.20 [1:07.69] 3:05.57 [1:07.37] 4:09.02 [1:03.45]
5 Rachel Schneider Under Armour 4:09.12 q 51.01 [51.01] 1:58.62 [1:07.61] 3:05.94 [1:07.32] 4:09.12 [1:03.18]
6 Cory McGee New Balance 4:09.65 q 50.77 [50.77] 1:58.45 [1:07.68] 3:05.77 [1:07.33] 4:09.65 [1:03.88]
7 Amanda Eccleston Unattached 4:13.33 51.31 [51.31] 1:59.04 [1:07.73] 3:05.90 [1:06.87] 4:13.33 [1:07.43]
8 Stephanie Charnigo Saucony 4:18.37 51.18 [51.18] 1:58.83 [1:07.66] 3:06.65 [1:07.82] 4:18.37 [1:11.73]
9 Lianne Farber North Carolina 4:19.41 51.37 [51.37] 1:59.22 [1:07.85] 3:08.44 [1:09.23] 4:19.41 [1:10.97]
10 Lauren Paquette Unattached 4:21.74 51.02 [51.02] 1:58.92 [1:07.91] 3:07.59 [1:08.67] 4:21.74 [1:14.16]
DNS Katrina Coogan

Heat 3

Place Name Affiliation Time 300m 700m 1100m 1500m
1 Lauren Johnson Nike / Nike OTCE 4:13.68 Q 53.82 [53.82] 2:04.50 [1:10.68] 3:12.68 [1:08.19] 4:13.68 [1:01.00]
2 Gabriele Grunewald Brooks / TUSA Mn 4:13.79 Q 53.62 [53.62] 2:04.25 [1:10.63] 3:12.57 [1:08.32] 4:13.79 [1:01.22]
3 Sarah Brown New Balance 4:14.52 Q 53.87 [53.87] 2:04.67 [1:10.80] 3:12.81 [1:08.15] 4:14.52 [1:01.71]
4 Alexa Efraimson NIKE 4:15.21 53.65 [53.65] 2:04.29 [1:10.65] 3:12.55 [1:08.26] 4:15.21 [1:02.66]
5 Heather Wilson N J N Y T C 4:16.97 53.73 [53.73] 2:04.51 [1:10.78] 3:12.77 [1:08.26] 4:16.97 [1:04.21]
6 Rebecca Tracy Oiselle 4:20.61 53.31 [53.31] 2:04.09 [1:10.78] 3:12.49 [1:08.41] 4:20.61 [1:08.13]
7 Sara Sutherland Colorado 4:22.65 54.03 [54.03] 2:04.51 [1:10.48] 3:13.02 [1:08.52] 4:22.65 [1:09.63]
8 Melissa Salerno Furman Elite 4:25.65 53.46 [53.46] 2:04.39 [1:10.94] 3:13.09 [1:08.70] 4:25.65 [1:12.56]
DNS Dana Mecke Unattached
DNS Lauren Wallace

Quick Thought #1: Alexa Efraimson struggled to understand why she missed out on the final

Efraimson said that she may have moved a little too hard with 400 to go but that other than that she didn’t really know why she could only manage fourth today.

“We had a bunch of good workouts but it just didn’t come together this year,” Efraimson said.

We’ll offer one explanation for why she didn’t make it: the women’s 1500 has never been more competitive in the United States. 11 women have broken 4:06 this year, including two of the women who beat Efraimson today — Sarah Brown (4:03.20) and Gabe Grunewald (4:04.26). The other woman ahead of Efraimson was heat winner Lauren Johnson, who has been on fire recently, PR’ing in her last two races, most recently a 3-second PR of 4:07.33 in Portland on June 14. Beating one of those three was going to be tough and Efraimson couldn’t quite do it today. There’s no shame in that.

We have another reason – the way the heats are set up with 3 getting in automatically and three getting in on time. Consistently at NCAAs and USAs, you see a decent number of time qualifiers in the 1500. We think that should be changed. 1500 heats are almost never run for time. So tonight, 6 people from heat 2 make the final and three from the other two. Does Cory McGree, who was sixth in her final, really more deserving to be in the final than Efraimson who was 4th? According to the rules yes, but we’d prefer to just see four auto qualifiers from each heat.

Quick Thought #2: Efraimson empathizes with Mary Cain’s struggles to begin the season

Efraimson and Cain will forever be linked for taking high school running to a new level. Cain’s 4:04.62 national record was a mark that seemed destined to last for years, until Efraimson broke it in May with her 4:03.39 at the Pre Classic. The comparison between the two is very interesting when you look at the 2015 outdoor season. Cain started slowly but has been running better recently and put together her best race of the year in today’s semifinal (she only ran 4:19 but looked comfortable doing it). Efraimson, meanwhile, had been running terrifically heading into USAs only to fall short today. Efraimson said she empathized with Cain’s earlier struggles and said senior year has been tough.

Quick Thought #3: Mary Cain was in good spirits after making the final but admitted “this past season has been a long road”

Cain invoked the classic academic/social/athletic triumverate that collegiate athletes face and said she was trying to balance all three but in the end couldn’t handle the athletic end. Now that classes are over for the summer and Cain is back in New York, she’s running better and today’s performance was another encouraging step.

Cain said she wants to make the team just as badly as in 2013, if not more, but she’s also excited to see what she can do in Europe and where her progression this season will take her.

We wanted to ask Cain about whether it’s been difficult training with allegations swirling about her coach Alberto Salazar but a USATF staffer ushered her away after two minutes and 43 seconds. Cain did say she would talk more after the final so we’ll try again on Sunday.

Interview with Treniere Moser

Kerri Gallagher Makes Final

Gallagher has only run 4:12.94 this year but she made the final two years ago and finished 5th so she has some confidence:

Jenny Simpson Interview :

Heather Kampf interview:

Men’s 3,000 steeplechase

The top men all made it through with ease to Sunday’s final as Donn Cabral led all qualifiers with his 8:36.80 winning time in heat 2. The biggest casualty was Cabral’s NJ*NY TC teammate Travis Mahoney (8:27.08 sb, #8 U.S.), who missed out on the final time qualifier by just .06 of a second.

Results, video interviews and quick thoughts below.

Heat 1

Place Name Affiliation Time 200m 600m 1000m 1400m 1800m 2200m 2600m 3000m
1 Evan Jager Nike / Bowerman 8:40.13 Q 37.57 [37.57] 1:46.21 [1:08.64] 2:55.84 [1:09.64] 4:04.99 [1:09.15] 5:13.60 [1:08.62] 6:22.18 [1:08.58] 7:31.24 [1:09.07] 8:40.13 [1:08.90]
2 Stanley Kebenei NIKE 8:41.16 Q 38.12 [38.12] 1:46.54 [1:08.42] 2:56.56 [1:10.03] 4:05.56 [1:09.01] 5:14.53 [1:08.97] 6:23.03 [1:08.51] 7:32.19 [1:09.17] 8:41.16 [1:08.97]
3 Matt Cleaver Adidas/Rogue 8:42.12 Q 38.52 [38.52] 1:46.95 [1:08.44] 2:56.77 [1:09.83] 4:06.06 [1:09.29] 5:15.42 [1:09.37] 6:25.62 [1:10.21] 7:36.73 [1:11.11] 8:42.12 [1:05.40]
4 Craig Forys New York A C 8:42.13 Q 37.91 [37.91] 1:47.12 [1:09.21] 2:57.21 [1:10.10] 4:05.85 [1:08.64] 5:14.77 [1:08.92] 6:23.54 [1:08.77] 7:33.24 [1:09.71] 8:42.13 [1:08.89]
5 Tabor Stevens ASICS 8:42.53q 37.52 [37.52] 1:46.82 [1:09.31] 2:57.00 [1:10.18] 4:06.86 [1:09.87] 5:15.25 [1:08.39] 6:24.34 [1:09.10] 7:34.13 [1:09.79] 8:42.53 [1:08.40]
6 Carl Stones Unattached 8:47.25q 38.62 [38.62] 1:47.86 [1:09.25] 2:58.02 [1:10.16] 4:08.04 [1:10.02] 5:18.18 [1:10.15] 6:29.43 [1:11.26] 7:40.88 [1:11.45] 8:47.25 [1:06.38]
7 Austin Bussing Adidas/Rogue 8:48.28q 38.40 [38.40] 1:47.46 [1:09.07] 2:57.74 [1:10.28] 4:07.90 [1:10.17] 5:17.70 [1:09.81] 6:28.93 [1:11.23] 7:41.07 [1:12.14] 8:48.28 [1:07.22]
8 Travis Mahoney N J N Y T C 8:50.39 37.24 [37.24] 1:46.49 [1:09.25] 2:56.54 [1:10.06] 4:06.54 [1:10.00] 5:17.39 [1:10.86] 6:27.30 [1:09.92] 7:40.64 [1:13.34] 8:50.39 [1:09.76]
9 Brandon Doughty Oklahoma 8:53.69 37.87 [37.87] 1:47.34 [1:09.47] 2:57.47 [1:10.13] 4:07.18 [1:09.72] 5:16.22 [1:09.04] 6:27.46 [1:11.25] 7:41.68 [1:14.22] 8:53.69 [1:12.01]
10 Benjamin Bruce Hoka / NnAz El 8:55.74 36.86 [36.86] 1:46.03 [1:09.17] 2:56.45 [1:10.43] 4:07.51 [1:11.07] 5:19.88 [1:12.38] 6:32.11 [1:12.23] 7:44.64 [1:12.54] 8:55.74 [1:11.10]
11 Jackson Neff Ohio St. 9:06.81 38.68 [38.68] 1:47.76 [1:09.08] 2:57.98 [1:10.23] 4:09.45 [1:11.47] 5:23.56 [1:14.12] 6:38.09 [1:14.54] 7:53.50 [1:15.41] 9:06.81 [1:13.32]
12 Henry Sterling NE Distance 9:11.05 37.58 [37.58] 1:47.49 [1:09.91] 2:58.17 [1:10.68] 4:08.33 [1:10.17] 5:18.43 [1:10.11] 6:30.44 [1:12.02] 7:46.23 [1:15.79] 9:11.05 [1:24.83]
DNF Hillary Bor

Heat 2

Place Name Affiliation Time 200m 600m 1000m 1400m 1800m 2200m 2600m 3000m
1 Donald Cabral NIKE 8:36.80 Q 37.95 [37.95] 1:45.87 [1:07.92] 2:55.92 [1:10.05] 4:06.69 [1:10.78] 5:16.74 [1:10.05] 6:23.74 [1:07.00] 7:31.15 [1:07.41] 8:36.80 [1:05.66]
2 Daniel Huling NIKE 8:38.39 Q 38.26 [38.26] 1:46.24 [1:07.99] 2:56.28 [1:10.04] 4:07.04 [1:10.77] 5:16.37 [1:09.33] 6:23.32 [1:06.95] 7:30.61 [1:07.30] 8:38.39 [1:07.78]
3 Andrew Bayer Nike / Bowerman 8:38.68 Q 38.55 [38.55] 1:46.51 [1:07.97] 2:56.59 [1:10.08] 4:07.28 [1:10.69] 5:17.06 [1:09.79] 6:24.25 [1:07.20] 7:31.43 [1:07.19] 8:38.68 [1:07.26]
4 Darren Fahy Georgetown 8:39.04 Q 38.43 [38.43] 1:47.49 [1:09.06] 2:56.85 [1:09.36] 4:07.38 [1:10.54] 5:17.41 [1:10.03] 6:24.50 [1:07.09] 7:32.19 [1:07.70] 8:39.04 [1:06.85]
5 Cory Leslie NIKE 8:39.54q 38.13 [38.13] 1:45.94 [1:07.82] 2:55.97 [1:10.03] 4:06.77 [1:10.80] 5:16.83 [1:10.06] 6:24.00 [1:07.17] 7:31.89 [1:07.90] 8:39.54 [1:07.66]
6 Donnie Cowart Saucony 8:44.29q 39.08 [39.08] 1:47.12 [1:08.04] 2:56.64 [1:09.52] 4:07.02 [1:10.39] 5:16.98 [1:09.97] 6:25.24 [1:08.26] 7:33.75 [1:08.51] 8:44.29 [1:10.55]
7 Mason Ferlic Michigan 8:50.33q 38.81 [38.81] 1:47.85 [1:09.04] 2:57.33 [1:09.49] 4:07.70 [1:10.37] 5:17.68 [1:09.98] 6:25.59 [1:07.92] 7:36.68 [1:11.09] 8:50.33 [1:13.65]
8 Ryan Gil Georgetown 8:55.26 38.91 [38.91] 1:47.72 [1:08.81] 2:57.22 [1:09.50] 4:08.20 [1:10.99] 5:18.76 [1:10.57] 6:30.29 [1:11.54] 7:43.59 [1:13.30] 8:55.26 [1:11.68]
9 James Hurt Furman 8:55.32 38.32 [38.32] 1:46.88 [1:08.57] 2:56.70 [1:09.82] 4:07.69 [1:11.00] 5:18.32 [1:10.63] 6:30.67 [1:12.35] 7:44.42 [1:13.76] 8:55.32 [1:10.90]
10 Dylan Lafond Illinois 9:05.07 38.09 [38.09] 1:47.21 [1:09.12] 2:56.93 [1:09.73] 4:07.85 [1:10.93] 5:18.28 [1:10.44] 6:30.87 [1:12.59] 7:48.21 [1:17.35] 9:05.07 [1:16.86]
11 David Goodman NE Distance 9:08.82 39.23 [39.23] 1:48.27 [1:09.04] 2:57.49 [1:09.23] 4:08.60 [1:11.11] 5:20.08 [1:11.49] 6:34.84 [1:14.76] 7:52.62 [1:17.79] 9:08.82 [1:16.21]
12 Jesus Romo Brooks / Strava 9:09.89 39.33 [39.33] 1:48.51 [1:09.18] 2:57.94 [1:09.44] 4:09.10 [1:11.16] 5:21.42 [1:12.33] 6:36.31 [1:14.89] 7:53.96 [1:17.66] 9:09.89 [1:15.93]
13 Mark Parrish Florida 9:20.73 38.73 [38.73] 1:47.55 [1:08.82] 2:57.72 [1:10.18] 4:11.35 [1:13.64] 5:24.52 [1:13.17] 6:42.70 [1:18.19] 8:03.25 [1:20.55] 9:20.73 [1:17.49]

Quick Thought #1: Donn Cabral is very confident heading into Sunday’s final

Cabral said he got everything he wanted out of the heat, as he was able to practice leading and running a variety of paces and capped it off with an easy victory. Cabral has been running very well in 2015, clocking an 8:19.24 at Pre and following that up with an 8:19.07 (.07 PR) in Oslo on June 11. Cabral said after 12,000 miles in the last three years, he’d like to think he’s improved by more than .07. He said if he can run near the front of a race that isn’t rabbitted at sub-8:00 pace, he thinks he can get a big PR. That makes Sunday afternoon’s final a great opportunity for a PR, though given the hot temperatures in the forecast and the championship nature of the race, Cabral may have to wait one more race.

Still, his confidence level was clearly high going into the final. Last year, Cabral ran 13:22 for 5,000 (an 18-second PR) and finished third in the steeple at USAs but missed a ton of training and “was still having a lot of issues that were kind of inexplicable.” This year, Cabral has only had to take six days off since the start of the year (all for minor issues) and that’s helped him put together some great results.

Quick Thought #2: Running in Eugene has always been difficult for Dan Huling, who has battled grass allergies for some time

Huling said he’s had a severe grass allergy for some time and that he’s never felt quite comfortable competing in the high-pollen environment of Eugene. In the past, he had never taken any medication for it but after running 8:25 at Pre this year, he decided to do something about it. Now he’s using an inhaler and Albuterol in addition to Allegra twice a day, though he said he wasn’t planning on using it beyond Sunday once he leaves Eugene as it’s allergy-related.

Huling’s USA finishes
2014 (Sacramento): 2nd
2013 (Des Moines): 2nd
2012 (Eugene): 7th
2011 (Eugene): 2nd
2010 (Des Moines): 1st
2009 (Eugene): 2nd
2008 (Eugene): 5th

Huling said even with the allegations about Alberto Salazar and Galen Rupp swirling, it didn’t change how he viewed his own condition.

“I had always just tried to stray away just out of pride, mostly,” Huling said. “I kind of made fun of kids in college and stuff, ‘You’re using your inhaler, you can’t even breathe’ without ever having really experienced it. It’s not like I’m having an incredible year.”

Huling didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about him, though.

“The last two weeks I’ve just felt super guilty about it. I don’t know why, there just seems to be a stigma. But there are people that need it and I hope no one thinks I’m trying to gain any advantage.”

Speaking about Sunday’s race, Huling said he needs to have an A day as the field is stronger this year than in years past. But he said he’s drawn confidence from working out with Jager and that he’s done almost everything Jager has (albeit Huling has had to work slightly harder to do it).

Quick Thought #3: This was Craig Forys’ first race of 2015 after he developed a stress reaction in his metatarsal in April

Forys said he felt a little flat today and wanted to conserve energy for Sunday’s final — a sensible approach given that he’s going from zero races in 2015 to two in three days. Forys missed three weeks of running and then spent a week on the Alter-G before logging five weeks of training before USAs. He thinks he has an outside shot at the team as there might be a spot or two up for grabs but knows it will be difficult.

Evan Jager Talks Supplements and About People Who Think He Might Be Doping

We asked Jager about his supplements and what he thinks about people who say he is doping because of his big 1500 PR. As for the 1500 PR, he pointed out people can have big breakthroughs noting Kyle Merber ran 3:35 a few years ago out of nowhere. Message board thread on Jager’s comments here.


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