Men’s steeple Prelims: Dan Huling’s streak of World Championship teams is over, but the other big names advance

June 22, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There was some modest upheaval in this evening’s steeplechase prelims as five of the 12 fastest men this year failed to advance to Sunday’s final. Of those five men, the biggest name by far was Dan Huling, who was fifth at Worlds two years ago and had made the last four U.S. World Champs teams – every team since 2009 (but neither the 2012 or 2016 Olympics).

Huling stepped off the track after just two laps in heat one and we didn’t catch him coming through the mixed zone. Huling’s training partner Evan Jager told us that Huling took a weird water jump a week ago which bothered his knee and hamstring, so it’s possible he reaggravated that injury.

The 12 Fastest Steepler in the US This Yr
1 8:11.82 Hillary Bor
2 08:14.46 Andy Bayer
3 08:18.55 Stanley Kebenei
4 08:30.28 Donnie Cowart
5 08:30.36 Dan Huling
6 08:30.86 Michael Jordan
7 08:31.08 Darren Fahy
8 08:31.17 Dylan Blankenbaker
9 08:32.23 Mike Hardy
10 08:32.34 Isaac Updike  DNS
11 08:32.38 MJ Erb
12 08:32.48 Brian Barraza

In terms of the very best guys, the two heat winners were no surprise as Jager and Hillary Bor were the U.S.’s top two finishers in Rio last year and both won their heats. Jager’s heat 1 was markedly slower than Bor’s heat 2, which meant that all four time qualifiers came from the second heat.

Quick Take: After being “embarrassed” by his 3:43 at Payton Jordan, Evan Jager has been able to reset mentally and is ready to roll

Jager has only raced once this year, and by his own admission, it went poorly as he only ran 3:43 at Payton Jordan on May 5 — over 10 seconds off his personal best. Jager said that the indoor season came up on him quickly, and with conditions poor for training in Portland over the winter, he didn’t have as many quality workouts under his belt by the time he debuted outdoors.

Jager could have decided to stay in Portland and race some more, but felt it was better if he went to altitude in Park City to boost his fitness and start locking in mentally. What is altitude camp like for Jager?

“You just sit on the couch all day and eat and sleep and everyone’s just tired all the time. So you’re just doing everything right with everyone else and it just makes training really hard a lot easier.”

Jager is back to where he wants to be now and ready to go for his sixth straight U.S. title on Sunday, but he said that there are still gains to be made between now and Worlds — assuming he makes the team.

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Quick Take: Hillary Bor says he’s “way ahead” of where he was at the Olympic Trials

Early last year, Bor was still working a full-time job in the army (now that he’s in the WCAP, his Army assignment is essentially to train full-time) and as a result, he feels that he’s way ahead of where he was in 2016.

Bor, who ran 8:11 in Rome to move to #5 on the all-time list, is the most likely candidate to end Jager’s win streak at USAs, but Bor did not want to overlook anyone else in Sunday’s final.

“I can only say Jager is a silver medalist,” Bor said. “That is the guy to beat. But again, you have everyone else who made the final. You have 14 guys in the final. Everyone is tough. You can’t just underestimate anyone.”

Quick Take: Michael Jordan makes his first US final after joining the American Distance Project

Jordan, a 2013 graduate of DII Southern Indiana University, made USAs in 2013 and 2016 but did not advance to the final either time. This year, however, he’s PR’d twice (from 8:35 to 8:32 to 8:30) and will run his first US final on Sunday.

Jordan used to run with NJ*NY Track Club but did not follow the club when it relocated from New Jersey to New York this year and instead hooked up with Simmons, whom he knew from his DII running days. Jordan said that it’s been helpful training with a bunch of studs in Colorado Springs and that more tempo runs have made him stronger in 2017.

Quick Take: Don’t underestimate Donn Cabral

Cabral didn’t look quite as comfortable as Jager and Jordan in heat 1, but he said that was by design as he wanted to be conservative because of the heat and some “hiccups” that he had this spring (he missed some training but did not say why).

Cabral didn’t have a good race in Rome (8:33) but he’s made three of the last four U.S. teams. With that said, Cabral doesn’t take any of those teams for granted and knows Sunday’s final will be tough.

“[When I’ve made teams], I’ve put in really good preparation and things were really perfect,” Cabral said. “So I don’t think of it, as like, ‘Oh, I’ve made teams before, that’s what I do, I come here and make teams.’ It’s a fight every year. The steeple is deeper than ever.”


1 (10) Evan Jager
Nike / Bowerman TC
8:38.19 Q 3
2 (11) Michael Jordan
American Distance Proj.
8:38.65 Q 15
3 (12) Mason Ferlic
8:38.68 Q 7
4 (13) Donn Cabral
8:38.91 Q 2
5 (14) Travis Mahoney
8:39.18 Q 14
6 (15) Brandon Doughty
ZAP Fitness Reebok
8:39.48 6
7 (17) Jordan Mann
8:41.07 4
8 (20) Mike Hardy
8:44.34 10
9 (21) Mark Parrish
Pure Athletics
8:48.45 12
10 (24) David Goodman
8:49.86 1
11 (25) Aric Van Halen
8:51.19 11
DNF Dan Huling
DNF Scott Carpenter
DNS Josh Thompson
Nike / Bowerman TC
DNS Isaac Updike
Team Run Eugene


1 (1) Hillary Bor
U.S. Army
8:32.68 Q 12
2 (2) Stanley Kebenei
NIKE / American Dist. Proj.
8:32.80 Q 15
3 (3) Michael Erb
Ole Miss
8:32.93 Q 4
4 (4) Andy Bayer
8:32.94 Q 6
5 (5) Brian Shrader
Saucony Freedom TC
8:32.94 Q 2
6 (6) Donnie Cowart
8:32.97 q 5
7 (7) Haron Lagat
U.S. Army
8:36.97 q 14
8 (8) James Hurt III
Team Run Eugene
8:37.92 q 11
9 (9) Dylan Blankenbaker
8:37.94 q 13
10 (16) Bailey Roth
8:39.56 1
11 (18) Brian Barraza
8:42.95 10
12 (19) Caleb Hoover
ASICS Furman Elite
8:43.48 16
13 (22) Darren Fahy
8:49.45 7
14 (23) Troy Reeder
8:49.48 3
15 (26) Bryce Miller
8:55.36 8
16 (27) Kent Pecora
8:58.07 9


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