July 16, 2019
The late entry deadline for the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships came and went last night and there are some interesting names not currently entered in the meet, which begins next week in Des Moines.
Chief among them is Evan Jager. The 30-year-old, who has won the steeplechase at USAs every year since debuting in the event in 2012, has not raced at all in 2019 due to a foot injury but earlier this month told LetsRun that he was still planning on defending his title at USAs. But Jager’s plans may have changed as he is not listed among the entries in the men’s steeplechase, even though he has the fastest time by an American during the qualifying window at 8:01.02 from last year’s Monaco Diamond League (the qualifying window runs from June 1, 2018, through July 21, 2019).
UPDATE, Wednesday a.m.: A source close to Jager has confirmed that he will not be competing at USAs next week.
Jager’s absence would fundamentally alter an event that he has dominated for the last seven years. Hillary Bor, who ran a US-leading 8:08 in Doha in May, would become the clear favorite to win, with Stanley Kebenei (8:15) and Andy Bayer (8:16) the two men likely to claim the other two spots on Team USA. But four more men — Jordan Mann (8:26), Mason Ferlic (8:27), Obsa Ali (8:28), and Travis Mahoney (8:28) — have the World Championship standard, and while none of them have run within 10 seconds of the top three this year, all will be dreaming of Doha.
Two athletes who we can definitively say will not be running in Des Moines are Robby Andrews and Eric Jenkins. Andrews, the 2017 US champion at 1500 meters, has made the last three US World/Olympic teams but has struggled mightily in 2019 after battling Lyme disease and having surgery to remove bone spurs from his foot. Though he had a qualifying time in the 1500 from last year, Andrews chose not to enter USAs after running 1:54 for 800 meters at the Adrian Martinez Classic and 4:10 in a road mile (plus a DNF at Princeton) in June.
Jenkins, who made the US team at 5,000 meters in 2017, will not be running after tearing his plantar fascia. He had raced twice in 2019, running 13:21 for 10th in the 5,000 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May and 8:22 for 11th in the 2-mile at the Prefontaine Classic in June.
Jenkins was listed on the entries for the 10,000 meter race in Hengelo tomorrow that will serve as the Ethiopian Trials but we have been told he is not running that meet or USAs.
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