2017 Oxy Preview: Centro Runs His First 1500 Since Rio Vs. Mo Farah; Jenny Simpson (800), Brenda Martinez (800) & Donavan Brazier (800) Also Entered

By LetsRun.com
May 17, 2017

Believe it or not, USAs are only five weeks away. Many of the U.S.’s top distance talents have barely raced outdoors in 2017, but with the USATF Distance Classic (you know this meet better as “Oxy”) on Thursday and the Prefontaine Classic next week, by the end of the month we’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect in Sacramento in June.

The marquee event figures to be the men’s 1500, with the Nike Oregon Project entering Olympic champs Matthew Centrowitz and Mo Farah plus rising star Eric Jenkins. On the women’s side, the 800 could be interesting as Jenny SimpsonBrenda Martinez and British Olympic finalist Lynsey Sharp are all entered. NCAA record holder Donavan Brazier leads the way in the men’s 800 against the Brooks Beasts’ Brannon Kidder, while Shannon Rowbury will run her first 1500 since winning last year’s Diamond League final in Zurich.

Meet details are below, followed by a preview of each event.

Article continues below player.

What: 2017 USATF Distance Classic

Where: Jack Kemp Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.

When: Thursday, May 18. First event starts at 6:15 p.m. PT (9:15 p.m. ET).

Update: Heat sheets are now out. They appear in the preview below. Note that the schedule has also been updated.

How to watch in the US: We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is our favorite American play-by-play man, Bill Spaulding, who has been doing the Ivy League championships with LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson the last two years (and did the Rio Olympics on NBC’s experimental 4k broadcast), is doing the broadcast. The bad news is it will cost you $69.99 to watch. Yes, $69.99. The only way to watch it live is via the NBC Sports Gold Track & Field Pass. This requires a subscription ($69.99 for one year), which can be purchased here but somehow in the year 2017 there is no way to purchase just one meet or even get a monthly pass to make sure you like an untested product. Next Friday’s Prefontaine Distance action (Genzebe Dibaba world record attempt at 5,000m) will also only be on the Gold Pass. Many of the meets that are on Gold (Diamond League) are also on TV for free (if you get NBCSN and Universal HD). The pass also gets you more coverage of the World Championships in London.

How to watch for non-U.S. viewers: If you live outside the U.S., you can watch the meet through AthleticsCanada.TV, or USATF+, though it requires signing up for a RunnerSpace +PLUS subscription. Those with foreign IP addresses are in luck as it only requires a $12.99 subscription.

If you don’t want to pay, you can follow it live on our live discussion thread: Official 2017 Oxy Live Discussion Thread.

Schedule/streaming information  *Heat Sheets *Live results *2016 LRC coverage

For each of the events, we put the athlete in green if they have the 2017 World Championship standard. We put athletes in the blue if they have hit the 2017 USA standard this year, but for USAs they are taking times starting on July 1, 2016, and we didn’t look back at last year’s times to see who has the USA standard from last year. For Worlds, you have to have run the time after October 1, 2016, which means this year for all practical purposes.

Blue = Has Hit USA Standard This Year
Green = Has World Standard

Download (PDF, 63KB)

Women’s 800 (9:05 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 2:01.00; USATF Championship standard: 2:02.00

Event 1  Women 800 Meter Run
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 6:05 PM
        Meet:  1:59.48  2011        Alice Schmidt, USOC                        
     Stadium:  1:59.21  2017        Brenda Martinez, New Balance               
      Worlds:  2:01.00                                                         
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Landen, Shanie                   Slo middle d                
  2  Malasarte, Megan                 Atlanta Trac                
  3  Leinert, Shannon                 Brooks ID                   
  4  Whelan, Elizabeth                University o                
  5  Wiebe, Devan                     Brooks                      
  6  Billings, Sarah                  Sydney Runni                
  7  Hermansson, Hanna                CalCoast Tra                
  8  Brown, Alisha                    Oiselle                     
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1  Crofts, Helen                    Unattached                  
  2  Iyevbele, Kenyetta               Hoka One One                
  3  Kajan, Selma                     Melbourne Tr                
  4  Jackson, Dominique               Oiselle / SR                
  5  Smith, Jessica                   NIKE                        
  6  Murphy, Samantha                 Unattached                  
  7  Saunders, Claudia                Brooks                      
  8  Westaway, Jenna                  Brooks Canad                
  9  Annear, Grace                    Vic City Eli                
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1  Mires, Baylee                    Brooks                      
  2  Brown, Ce'Aira                   Hoka Njnytc                 
  3  Storey, Lora                     Sydney Runni                
  4  Fields, Hannah                   Brooks                      
  5  Griffith, Georgia                Sydney Runni                
  6  Butterworth, Lindsey             Coastal Trac                
  7  Silvander, Anna                  New Balance                 
  8  Rubie, Anneliese                 Puma / Wolfp                
Section 4  Timed Finals
  1  Price, Chanelle                  NIKE                        
  2  Simpson, Jennifer                New Balance                 
  3  Martinez, Brenda                 New Balance                 
  4  Chambers, Kendra                 Texas Elite                 
  5  Petty, Angela                    New Zealand                 
  6  Sharp, Lynsey                    Great Britai                
  7  Tracey, Adelle                   NIKE                        
  8  Barowski, Cecilia                Hoka Njnytc

The battle for the win here should come down to 2013 World Championship medallist Brenda Martinez and 2016 Olympic finalist Lynsey Sharp of Great Britain. Sharp has a marginally faster PR (1:57.69 vs. 1:57.91) and was definitely the better runner in 2016 (she was 6th in Rio and we ranked her 7th in our world rankings). However, this will be her outdoor opener as she hasn’t raced since running 2:01.14 at Millrose on February 11. Meanwhile, Martinez has looked great so far in 2017. She opened up by taking second in the Drake Relays 1500 in 4:16.40, and though the time was slow due to horrible conditions, she beat a who’s who of U.S. middle distance running Kate Grace (2016 U.S. 800 champ), Shelby Houlihan (2017 U.S. mile/2-mile champ) and Charlene Lipsey (2017 U.S. 1k champ). The only woman Martinez couldn’t beat was Jenny Simpson, but considering Simpson may be the 1500 runner in U.S. history, we’ll let that one slide. Then on May 6, Martinez soloed a 1:59.21 at Oxy, her fastest 800 in almost two years. She starts as the favorite in this race.

2014 World Indoor champ Chanelle Price, who helped the U.S. win 4×800 gold at the World Relays and ran 2:00.38 at Mt. SAC should also be a factor here. Plus we’ll get a look at Simpson in her annual crack in the 800 (she’s run it at this meet in six of her eight years as a pro). At her best, we know Simpson is capable of running under 2:00 — she closed the Olympic final in 1:59.0 last year — but her open PR remains 2:00.45 from 2013, largely because she rarely runs the 800 and never when she’s in peak shape.

[gravityform action=”polls” id=”534″ mode=”poll” cookie=”1 month” show_results_link=”false” display_results=”true” percentages=”true” counts=”false” ajax=”true”]

Men’s 800 (9:30 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 1:45.90; USATF Championship standard: 1:47.50

Event 2  Men 800 Meter Run
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 6:30 PM
        Meet:  1:44.71  2011        Cory Primm, UCLA                           
     Stadium:  1:44.64  1996        Johnny Grey, SMTC                          
      Worlds:  1:45.90                                                         
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Cohen, Mason                     Australia                   
  2  Low, Christopher                 Brooks                      
  3  Giesting, Chris                  Hoka Njnytc                 
  4  Yorks, Izaic                     Brooks Beast                
  5  Barber, Lachlan                  Melbourne Tr                
  6  Martinez, Bryan                  Mx Internati                
  7  Gilreath, James                  Team Green R                
  8  Kitur, Felix                     Santa Monica                
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1  Rimmer, Michael                  Puma                        
  2  Kidder, Brannon                  Brooks                      
  3  Mathews, Luke                    Melbourne Tr                
  4  Brazier, Donavan                 NIKE                        
  5  Jock, Charles                    Nike / Nike                 
  6  Abda, Harun                      Nike / Nike                 
  7  Torrence, David                  Hoka One One                
  8  Osagie, Andrew                   Nike Oregon                 
  9  Langford, Kyle                   NIKE

Brazier's only race as a pro was a disaster

20-year-old Donavan Brazier is the headliner here, and he’s looked better and better as the 2017 outdoor season has worn on. After losing his opener at the Texas Relays on March 30 (he still ran 1:46.11), he clocked 1:44.63 in Tempe on April 8 before heading to the Penn Relays and destroying Cas Loxsom on the anchor leg of the sprint medley relay, splitting 1:44.14 with most of the second-and-a-half gap to Loxsom coming in the final 200. Brazier clearly has the fitness to make the U.S. World Champs team next month, but his tactics are still a work in progress. Obviously, it’s a good thing if he can blast a 1:43 from the front on Thursday, but this could also be an opportunity for him to work on positioning in a race where the stakes aren’t as high as USAs.

Former Penn State star Brannon Kidder is among Brazier’s top competition here — he beat Brazier when the raced each other in the 1k at Millrose back in February and Kidder went on to take 2nd in the 1k at USAs behind Clayton MurphyLuke Mathews, winner of the last two Aussie titles, is the top non-American and should factor here as well.

The Oregon Track Club has Charles Jock and Andrew Osagie going in this one, both of whom are talented but enter with question marks. Jock ran an incredibly clutch race to make the Olympic team last year but outside of that, he hasn’t broken 1:47 since May 2015. He only ran 1:49.98 in his 2017 opener on April 29, losing to UC Irvine sophomore Isaiah Jewett by 1.76 seconds. Osagie is a 1:43 guy, an Olympic finalist in 2012 and two-time World Indoor medallist, but he missed almost all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to injury. Can the 29-year-old return to top form under coach Mark Rowland after joining OTC in the offseason?

[gravityform action=”polls” id=”535″ mode=”poll” cookie=”1 month” show_results_link=”false” display_results=”true” percentages=”true” counts=”false” ajax=”true”]

Women’s 3000 steeplechase (9:45 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 9:42.00; USATF Championship standard: 9:50.00

Event 5  Women 3000 Meter Steeplechase
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 6:45 PM
        Meet:  9:37.12  2016        Jaime Cheever, UNA                         
     Stadium:  9:37.12  2016        Jaime Cheever, UNA                         
      Worlds:  9:42.00                                                         
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Garry, Kira                      Unattached                  
  2  Sango, Misaki                    Unattached                  
  3  Teschuk, Erin                    Asics Furman                
  4  Rolland, Megan                   Oiselle                     
  5  Waite, Lennie                    Great Britai                
  6  Nelson, Alicia                   Boulder Trac                
  7  Lawrence, Mel                    Oiselle                     
  8  Talbert, Madelin                 Team Run Eug                
  9  Bernard, Maria                   Saucony Hurr                
 10  Landwehr, Katie                  Unattached                  
 11  Wilson, Alexina                  Oiselle                     
 12  Butterworth, Alycia              Unattached                  
 13  Barr, Erika                      Sra Elite                   
 14  Johnson, Rachel                  Asics                       
 15  Cheever, Jamie                   Unattached                  
 16  Howard, Marisa                   Oiselle                     

The United States is flush with steeple talent right now, and to make a U.S. team, you need to be able to run in the low 9:20s. That’s something that no one in this field has been able to do so far in their careers (Jamie Cheever, at 9:29 has the top PR). Canadian Olympian Erin Teschuk has the top season’s best in this field, running 9:49 at Payton Jordan two weeks ago. Knocking out the Worlds standard will be on several athletes’ minds, particularly Teschuk and Brit Lennie Waite, who won’t have to deal with women like Emma Coburn or Colleen Quigley to make their national team.

Men’s 3000 steeplechase (10:00 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 8:32.00; USATF Championship standard: 8:40.00

Event 6  Men 3000 Meter Steeplechase
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 7:00 PM
        Meet:  8:15.26  2016        Evan Jager, Nike BTC                       
     Stadium:  8:15.26  2016        Evan Jager, Nike BTC                       
      Worlds:  8:32.00                                                         
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Lagat, Haron                     U.S. Army                   
  2  Goodman, David                   Unattached                  
  3  Hardy, Mike                      Unattached                  
  4  Thibeault, Antoine               Math Sport Z                
  5  Cotter, Tomas                    Asics Furman                
  6  Nelson, Aaron                    Reebok Zap F                
  7  Miller, Bryce                    Unattached                  
  8  Hesselbjerg, Ole                 Sparta                      
  9  Updike, Isaac                    Team Run Eug                
 10  Mullett, Rob                     Atlanta Trac                
 11  Edwards, Jacob                   Columbus Run                
 12  Van Halen, Aric                  Unattached                  
 13  Bor, Hillary                     Unattached                  
 14  Gay, John                        British Colu                
 15  Mahoney, Travis                  Hoka One One                
 16  Mann, Jordan                     Providence                  
 17  Shrader, Brian                   Saucony                     
 18  Blomberg, Emil                   Hasselby

2016 Olympian Hillary Bor of the U.S. is clearly the top guy in this field. Despite frequent training interruptions since graduating from Iowa State in 2012 (Bor took a year off from running and later joined the Army), he dropped almost 20 seconds off his PR last year (8:32 to 8:13) and finished 7th in Rio, where he told us his goals would be much bigger in 2017. Bor was a solid 4th at USA Indoors in the 2-mile (just behind Ryan Hill and two spots ahead of Ben Blankenship), but this will be his first steeple of the year. He opened up in 8:30 last year at Stanford on April 1; given the proximity to USAs, he’ll probably be looking for faster than that on Thursday.

One other guy worth watching is Brian Shrader, who finished just behind Bor in the 2-mile indoors. More of a distance type in college — he won the US 12K champs during his senior year at Northern Arizona — he’s taken up the steeple in 2017 and is so far 2-for-2, with a pair of low-key wins in Phoenix (8:58) and Princeton (8:50). This will be his first serious test of how fast the 25-year-old Shrader can go — and how he navigates traffic at high speed.

Women’s 1500 (10:15 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 4:07.50; USATF Championship standard: 4:09.50

Event 3  Women 1500 Meter Run
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 7:15 PM
        Meet:  4:04.60  2013        Katie Mackey, Brooks                       
     Stadium:  4:04.60  2013        Katie Mackey, Brooks                       
      Worlds:  4:07.50                                                         
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Findley, Kristen                 Big Bear Tra                
  2  Cote, Laurence                   Caul                        
  3  Granados, Ayla                   Strava TC /                 
  4  van der Wyk, Tracee              Unattached                  
  5  Pomfret, Kendra                  Vancouver Th                
  6  Takahashi, Hina                  Nike Tokyo T                
  7  Stafford, Lucia                  University o                
  8  Tsolis, Tori                     Strava TC /                 
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1  Kelly, Mariah                    New Balance                 
  2  Farber, Lianne                   New Balance                 
  3  Fulton, Eleanor                  Skechers Per                
  4  Roesler, Laura                   Nike / Texas                
  5  Lipari, Emily                    Boston Athle                
  6  Stafford, Gabriela               Brooks/Unive                
  7  Yee, Regan                       Langley Must                
  8  Grunewald, Gabriele              Brooks                      
  9  Macpherson, Sarah                Vic City Eli                
 10  Piliusina, Natalja               Brooks Beast                
 11  Vaughn, Sara                     Brooks                      
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1  Lagat, Violah                    Adidas                      
  2  Conley, Kim                      New Balance                 
  3  Gollish, Sasha                   Oiselle/Skec                
  4  McGee, Cory                      New Balance                 
  5  Mecke, Dana                      Brooks/Texas Eli            
  6  Reid, Sheila                     Nike Oregon                 
  7  Rowbury, Shannon                 Nike Oregon                 
  8  Schappert, Stephanie             Hoka Njnytc                 
  9  Efraimson, Alexa                 NIKE                        
 10  Schneider, Rachel                Under Armour                
 11  Sutherland, Sara                 Saucony                     
 12  Pen Freitas, Marta               Portugal                    
 13  Seccafien, Andrea                University o

Former NCAA runner-up Cory McGee has the top SB in the field thanks to her 4:09 in Shanghai, but former Villanova super star Sheila Reid, who is finally healthy after battling a stress reaction and calf injury last year, could also contend after running 4:10 in Eugene on May 5. Lagat ran 4:11 at Payton Jordan but at her best, she’s closer to Rowbury than anyone in this field; after all, she was an Olympic semifinalist last year for Kenya.

20-year-old Alexa Efraimson was 6th in the Drake Relays 1500, running 4:17. She gets a pass on that one because of the foul weather, but she’ll be looking to improve on her 4:03 PR after failing to PR last year. Two-time Olympican at 5000 Kim Conley will be joining the PR hunt after stepping down from the 10,000 (she ran 31:35 at Payton Jordan; her best 1500 is 4:07), as will Laura Roesler (4:17 pb), stepping up from the 800, where she’s already run 1:59.54 this year.

UPDATE: Brenda Martinez was initially entered in both the 800 and 1500 but will only be running the 800.

Men’s 1500 (10:40 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 3:36.00; USATF Championship standard: 3:39.00

Event 4  Men 1500 Meter Run
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 7:40 PM
        Meet:  3:34.66  2012        Mo Farah, Nike OPJ                         
     Stadium:  3:34.66  2012        Mo Farah, Nike OPJ                         
      Worlds:  3:36.00                                                         
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Ramsden, Matthew                 Melbourne Tr                
  2  Hunter, Charles                  Melbourne Tr                
  3  Robinson, Paul                   Melbourne Tr                
  4  Snow, Scott                      Forest Fire                 
  5  Shaw, Reilly                     Deakin AC                   
  6  Godwin, Adam                     Team Green R                
  7  Estrada, Daniel                  Mx Internati                
  8  Verdugo, Alexis                  Mx Internati                
  9  Phillips, Andy                   Roots Runnin                
 10  Martinez, Jose                   Mx Internati                
 11  Abdi Sr., Bashir                 Mudane Group                
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1  Masters, Riley                   NIKE                        
  2  Manzano, Leonel                  Hoka One One                
  3  Lancashire, Tom                  New Balance                 
  4  Soratos, Cristian                Adidas                      
  5  Jenkins, Eric                    Nike Oregon                 
  6  Denault, Robert                  Newmarket Hu                
  7  Casey, Patrick                   Nike / Nike                 
  8  Fleet, Mac                       NIKE                        
  9  Hunter, Drew                     Adidas                      
 10  Herrera, Daniel                  High Perform                
 11  Vining, Edward                   Sydney Runni                
 12  Plummer, Adrian                  Sydney Runni                
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1  Burkstrand, Travis               Brooks ID                   
  2  Crocker, Will                    District Tra                
  3  O'Hare, Christopher              Boston Athle                
  4  Mead, Hassan                     Nike / Nike                 
  5  Centrowitz, Matthew              Nike / Nike                 
  6  Winn, Daniel                     Boston Athle                
  7  Wheating, Andrew                 NIKE                        
  8  Penzenstadler, Sam               District Tra                
  9  Castle, Daniel                   Unattached                  
 10  Farah, Mo                        Nike / Nike                 
 11  Everard, Eoin                    Ireland                     
 12  Noelle, Chad                     Asics Furman
Jenkins got the better of Centro at the 2016 Fifth Avenue Mile Jenkins got the better of Centro at the 2016 Fifth Avenue Mile

This will be Matthew Centrowitz‘s first 1500 since winning Olympic gold and doubles as the first outdoor track race for his NOP teammate Mo Farah since he won Olympic 5,000 gold. Considering Centrowitz and Farah are two of the biggest distance stars on the planet, that automatically makes this one worth watching. But we expect that this race will serve as more of a tuneup for Centro than as a means in and of itself considering he’s running the Bowerman Mile nine days later against the likes of Asbel KipropElijah ManangoiNick Willis and Clayton Murphy.

Centrowitz has had a rocky start to his 2017 campaign, shutting down his indoor season early, battling a hamstring issue this spring and getting outkicked by little-known Aussie Jack Rayner in the 5,000 at Payton Jordan (Centro ran 13:48). But remember: Centro didn’t debut outdoors last year until June 12 due to a stress reaction. The World Championship final isn’t until August 13. He’s got plenty of time to peak, and we expect him to win here on Thursday.

Farah’s personal best is 3:28.81, significantly faster than anyone else in this field has ever run. Even though Farah is 34 years old and hasn’t raced since February, he remains the world’s top 5k/10k man. He almost never has a bad race, so we expect him to battle Centro for the win in this one. The third NOP guy in the field, Eric Jenkins, has been running great in the 1500/mile in 2017 (most recently winning Payton Jordan after doubling back from the 800) and if Centro isn’t 100%, he could steal the victory. A 1-2-3 finish for Alberto Salazar‘s charges is not out of the question.

For the rest of the field, save Hassan Mead, who. like Farah. is stepping down in distance, the goal is the Worlds standard of 3:36.00. (Side note: We’re not saying Mead, who won the fast section of this meet last year, is a bad 1500 runner; we’re saying there’s no way he runs the 1500 at USAs). Right now, Kyle MerberJohnny Gregorek and Jenkins are the only Americans who have it, and while that’s likely to change, most of the guys running at Oxy will want as many cracks at 3:36.00 as possible. In particular, we’ll be looking to see if Cristian Soratos can keep rolling after a stellar indoor season and what 2012 Olympians Leo Manzano and Andrew Wheating have left in the tank. Manzano, 32, has been awful so far this year — he ran 3:52 for 1500 in his last race at Drake. Wheating, 29, who left the Oregon Track Club earlier this year, ran 1:49.37 for 800 last week in his outdoor opener at the Oregon Twilight meet. Both men will be looking for something significantly better at Oxy.

Brit Chris O’Hare, an Olympic semifinalist who was 2nd at Payton Jordan behind Jenkins, is another man to watch.

[gravityform action=”polls” id=”536″ mode=”poll” cookie=”1 month” show_results_link=”false” display_results=”true” percentages=”true” counts=”false” ajax=”true”]

Women’s 5000 (11:05 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 15:22.00; USATF Championship standard: 15:25.00

Event 7  Women 5000 Meter Run
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 8:05 PM
        Meet:  15:05.56  2013        Molly Huddle, Saucony                     
     Stadium:  15:05.56  2013        Molly Huddle, Saucony                     
      Worlds:  15:22.00                                                        
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Cridebring, Alycia               rabbit / Sra                
  2  Eccleston, Amanda                Brooks                      
  3  Macumber, Cally                  Hansons-Broo                
  4  Weightman, Laura                 Nike Uk                     
  5  Spencer, Kate                    Sydney Runni                
  6  Pagano, Sarah                    Boston Athle                
  7  Cliff, Rachel                    Unattached                  
  8  Flores, Brenda                   Corre Ac                    
  9  O'Connell, Jessica               Canada                      
 10  Lopez, Sandra                    Mx Internati                
 11  Bates, Emma                      Boston Athle                
 12  Rogers, Natosha                  New Balance                 
 13  O'Connor, Leah                   Adidas                      
 14  Silva, Samantha                  Btc/Nike                    
 15  Balouris, Elaina                 Unattached                  
 16  Digby, Erica                     Vancouver Th                
 17  Paquette, Lauren                 Brooks                      
 18  Flanagan, Rosa                   New Zealand                 
 19  LaBeaud, Natasha                 Skechers/rab                
 20  Sachtleben, Bethany              Saucony Hurr                
 21  Larsson, Maria                   Melbourne Tr

The biggest names here are all stepping up from other events: Amanda Eccleston (4th Olympic Trials) and Brit Laura Weightman (11th Olympics) from the 1500, Leah O’Connor from the steeplechase. Weightman, who hasn’t raced at all in 2017, and O’Connor, who hasn’t raced since February, will be making their outdoor openers and it will be interesting to see how they do from both a fitness perspective and a new event perspective. Weightman, who owns a 1500 pb of 4:00, has never run a 5,000 before. O’Connor has only run one outside of conference meets in college (where she was only running for team points, not time): last year in Charlottesville, she clocked 15:38. Eccelston (15:44 pb) has raced a bunch already this year, most recently taking 9th at Drake, but unless she does something incredible on Thursday, the 1500 should remain her focus.

The standard is important in this race as in recent years the women’s 5,000 has been the weakest event for American distance runners. Consider Eccleston’s situation. She came agonizingly close to making the Olympic team last year in the 1500. But say she runs 15:20 on Thursday. She’d have to think about at least entering the 5,000 at USAs (the 5,000 final takes place the day between the 1500 prelims and final). First, it’s an insurance policy in case she bombs out of the 1500. Second, if only a few women get the standard and/or the top women opt for the 10,000 only, it could be a way to make it onto the Worlds team. That’s a lot of hypotheticals, and we wouldn’t advise Eccleston to switch from the 1500 anytime soon after her tremendous 2016 season. But it’s something to think about.

Right now Lauren Paquette (15:20 at Payton Jordan), Molly HuddleEmily Sisson and collegian Karissa Schweizer are the only Americans with the World Champs standard. Among that group, only Paquette is racing at Oxy, and she should contend for the win in the 5,000 if she runs it (she’s also entered in the 1500). We’ll also be looking out for Natosha Rogers, who has had a resurgent year with a 23rd place finish at World XC and a win at the US Half Marathon Champs. 10,000 is her stronger event, but it’s also going to be the more competitive event at USAs, so things could get interesting if she runs fast here.

Men’s 5000 (11:25 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 13:22.60; USATF Championship standard: 13:32.00

Event 8  Men 5000 Meter Run
Thursday 5/18/2017 - 8:25 PM
        Meet:  13:12.87  2012        Mo Farah, Nike OPJ                        
     Stadium:  13:12.87  2012        Mo Farah, Nike OPJ                        
      Worlds:  13:22.60                                                        
     Name                        Year Team                                  
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1  Tessema, Josef                   American dis                
  2  Buchanan, Reid                   Mammoth Trac                
  3  Legesse, Frezer                  Under Armour                
  4  Stilin, Joe                      Reebok Zap F                
  5  Kipchirchir, Shadrack            U.S. Army                   
  6  Erassa, Kirubel                  Atlanta Trac                
  7  Ziensellassie, Futsum            Hoka One One                
  8  Fernandez, German                NIKE                        
  9  Hehir, Martin                    Hoka One One                
 10  Lutz, Craig                      Hoka One One                
 11  Bruchet, Luc                     Asics/Canada                
 12  Simbassa, Abbabiya               American dis                
 13  Asaoka, Mitsunori                Hitachi Tran                
 14  Muta, Yuki                       Hitachi Tran                
 15  Yanagi, Toshiyuki                Hitachi Tran                
 16  Trouard, Andrew                  The Rebel Al                
 17  Ichikawa, Takanori               Hitachi Tran

Shadrack Kipchirchir, who just ran a 10,000 PR of 27:32 at Payton Jordan, is clearly in monster shape right now; the only worry with him is that 13 days may not be enough to fully recover from 25 hard laps on the track. His American Distance Project teammate Abbabiya Simbassa was also in that race and ran 27:45. It’s been a breakout season for Simbassa, whose PRs at the start of 2017 were 14:07 and 28:42. Like Kipchirchir, we don’t know how recovered he is to run fast, but we can bet he’ll run a lot faster than 14:07 on Thursday. Futsum Zienasellassie, who ran 27:52 last year at Northern Arizona, is also entered, as is his NAZ Elite teammate Martin Hehir (formerly of Syracuse), who ran 28:08 at the Stanford Invite. There is another runner on the list who is very familiar to LetsRun fans with the initials of GF, but he hasn’t broken 14:00 on the track since 2014, and it’s our new unofficial official policy not to mention him by name any more.

Talk about the meet on our fan forum / messageboard. MB: Official 2017 Oxy Live Discussion Thread.

Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free LetsRun.com Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards