2014 USATF Outdoor Championships day 2 recap: Bernard Lagat wins seventh national title

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Pac-12 athletes dominated at every corner of the track at day 2 of the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium. Former Washington State standout Bernard Lagat claimed his seventh U.S. title with a crushing win in the final of the men's 5,000m, and 22 Pac-12 athletes and alums qualified for the next round of competition. 

Here's a full breakdown of Friday's action in Sacramento featuring athletes with Pac-12 connections:

Washington State

He may be 39-years old, but Bernard Lagat shows no signs of age whatsoever. The former Washington State standout and American distance legend defended his title in the final of the men’s 5,000m in style with a killer finishing kick to take his seventh U.S. crown in 13:31. The American-record holder cruised past Andrew Bumbalough and Hassan Mead for his second-straight 5k title.

After coming off of a disappointing performance in the 5k at the Prefontaine Classic a few weeks ago, Lagat was on a mission to make a comeback.

“I didn’t run well at Prefontaine, I felt really bad, but I vowed to come back so I went back, trained very well, had two races before here because I knew that in order to do well here I had to have two races so I did one in the Netherlands, then I did one in the Czech Republic, then I had a wonderful week of training and was confident coming here,” Lagat said.

Former Coug and now Nike athlete Jeshua Anderson solidified his spot in the next round of the men’s 400m hurdles after finishing third in heat one. Anderson is the 2011 USA outdoor champion in the event. While at Washington State, Anderson was a three-time NCAA outdoor champion and four-time Pac-10 champion.

Oregon

Oregon alum and now Asics athlete Becky Holliday completed the women’s pole vault with a third-place finish behind Olympian Jenn Suhr and Arkansas’ Sandi Morris. Holliday was an NCA champion while at Oregon.

Phyllis Francis made her way into the final of the women’s 400m after finishing second in heat two behind Olympian Dee Dee Trotter. Francis ran a blazing 50.99 to claim her spot. Mike Berry will also toe the line of the 400m final after finishing fourth in heat two in 45.43.

NCAA 800m champ Laura Roesler continues to show her dominance in the event with a win and automatic qualifying spot into the final. She took heat one easily in 2:02.37.

Former Oregon great and now Oregon Track Club athlete Elijah Greer also qualified to the final of the men’s 800m after winning heat two in 1:47.50.

Former Oregon All-American and now Oregon Track Club athlete Alexi Pappas competed for a seventh-place finish overall in the final of the women’s 5,000m in 15:28.

Oregon All-American Trevor Dunbar completed his career as a Duck with a sixth-place overall finish in the final of the men’s 5,000m in 13:34.96, the highest finish by any collegian in the race. After finishing 2-3-4 with teammates Edward Cheserek and Erik Jenkins in the 5k final at the NCAA outdoor championships weeks ago (Dunbar third), the Oregon grad was ready to run with the best Friday night.

“I just told myself I’m ready, ya know just, no fear,” Dunbar said.

Arizona

Former Wildcat and now Nike athlete Georganne Moline ran an easy runner-up finish in heat three of the women’s 400m hurdles to advance to the semifinals. Since graduating from Arizona, Moline has earned a runner-up finish at the 2013 U.S championships and represented Team USA at the 2013 world championships as well as the 2012 London Olympics. She remains under the guidance of college coach Fred Harvey, who has led her through success in college and beyond.

“I just listen to my coach, he’s a scientist so whatever he puts together and has me do, I trust him fully.” Moline said, “I don’t feel as burned out as I was in college because I did so many races, but yeah I’m here to win my first national title so that’s the goal.”

Nnenya Hailey competed for a fourth-place finish in heat two to advance on time to the semifinal of the women’s 400m hurdles. She earned All-America honors at the NCAA championships a few weeks ago in Eugene.

Arizona State

NCAA 1500m champ Shelby Houlihan continues to show her versatility on the track after earning a spot on the line in the final of the women’s 800m. She finished fourth in heat two in 2:02.55.

Former Sun Devil and now Chula Vista Elite athlete Chris Benard earned a third-place finish in the men’s triple jump today with a mark of 56-1 ¼. While at Arizona State, Benard was the runner-up at the 2012 NCAA outdoor championships.

California

After failing to qualify in the final of the men’s 1500m yesterday, former Cal great David Torrence returned with a vengeance to gut out a fifth-place overall finish in the men’s 5,000m final in 13:34.

“This race was run off of pure emotion. I was nowhere near prepared for a 5k, even coming into these championships I felt like I was even more prepared for an 800 than a 1500 so that kind of tells you where my focus was, but I just couldn’t walk away like that,” Torrence said.

Colorado

More Buffs will toe the line of the steeplechase final after Colorado alums Arik Van Halen (son of the drummer of Van Halen), and Billy Nelson each finished sixth and seventh, respectively, to qualify based on time. Van Halen is the 2013 Pac-12 steeplechase champ and 2012 cross country All-American. Nelson is a 2008 Olympian and was the runner-up at the 2008 NCAA championships while at Colorado.

World gold medalist and former Buff great Jenny Simpson crushed heat two of the women’s 1500m with an easy win and automatic spot in the final. Her time of 4:08.36 was the fastest time of the day. Simpson was a three-time NCAA steeplechase champion and 2009 indoor 3k champion while at Colorado. She has never won an outdoor title in the 1500m, and will look to win her first in Sunday’s final.

Joe Bosshard closed out his college career with a seventh-place overall finish in the men’s 5,000m final in 13:38, the fastest effort by a Buff runner in the 5k this season and the fastest by a Buff since Bosshard ran 13:34 in the NCAA prelims as a sophomore in 2011.

Former Colorado All-American Jessica Tebo competed for a 10th-place overall finish in the final of the women’s 5,000m in 15:50.

Stanford

Stanford alum and now Nike athlete Kori Carter crushed heat one of the women’s 4000m hurdles with a winning time of 56.56 for the third-fastest time of the day. While at Stanford, Carter broke four school records, earned nine All-America honors, including an NCAA title in 2013, and broke the collegiate record in the event.

Junior Aisling Cuffe ends her college season on a high-note with a fourth-place finish in the final of the women’s 5,000m. After finishing second to Marielle Hall of Texas at the NCAA outdoor championships weeks ago, the duo finished one-two once again in 15:12 and 15:13, respectively.

Cuffe shocked the running world earlier this season after running the third-fastest 5k time ever run by a collegian (15:11), but the breakthrough was no surprise to her.

“I never really stopped believing in myself, I guess some people might have questioned why I still did it at some points, but I just always believed in myself, that part wasn’t hard. I just had to keep waiting and just keep doing what I was doing everyday,” Cuffe said.

Stanford All-American Jessica Tonn followed her teammate in the 5k final with a ninth-place overall finish in 15:48.

Former Stanford standout and now Brooks Hansons athlete Brendan Gregg returned for a tough double after finishing seventh in the 10k final last night to earn a 13th-place finish in the final of the men’s 5,000m.

UCLA

Former Bruin MacKenzie Hill is on her way to the semifinal of the women’s 400m hurdles after posting a 56.96 for third place in heat two. While at UCLA, Hill was a contributor on the 4x100m and 4x400m relay at the NCAA championships her senior year.

Former UCLA hurdler Dawn Harper easily qualified for the semifinals of the women’s 100m hurdles with a win in heat three. Since graduating, Harper has earned an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Former Stanford standout Kori Carter was recently added to her training group, making a positive addition to the former Pac-12 training group.

“She is hilarious because she always gives you a hug when she sees you and I joke with her, but man she is a hard worker,” Harper said, “and when she first came to the group she was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m talking to Dawn Harper!’ and I’m like, ‘I’m talking to Kori Carter!’ so she’s just a really great person added to the group and I think Nike did a good job adding her.”

Sophomore Nick Hartle would have finished third in heat two of the men’s 800m semifinal, but was disqualified after pushing Elijah Greer and Erik Sowinski at the finish line. It would have been the Bruins' first USATF outdoor final of his career.

USC

Trojan alum and now Nike athlete Reggie Wyatt easily qualified for the semifinal round of the men’s 400m hurdles after finishing second in heat three to qualify with a time of 51.04. Wyatt captured an NCAA title in the event at last year’s NCAA outdoor championships and finished sixth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Former USC hurdler Nia Ali finished third in heat one of the women’s 100m hurdles for an automatic spot in the next round tomorrow. While a Trojan, Ali captured an NCAA title in the event at the 2011 NCAA outdoor championships and has since earned a national title in the 60m hurdles at the 2014 USATF indoor championships.

Lauren Blackburn will be in the semifinal of the women’s 100m hurdles as well after finishing seventh in heat one to qualify based on her time of 13.25. It will be a test of redemption for the Pac-12 champion after falling at the NCAA west regionals this year and missing the finals.

Former Trojan Josh Mance will toe the line in the final of the men’s 400m after finishing second in heat two, just behind Kyle Clemons.

Former Trojan standout Duane Solomon easily clinched the win in heat one of the men’s 800m semifinal to earn a spot in the final. Solomon’s time of 1:45.61 was the fastest time of the day.

Utah

Stephanie Jolley got the job done today in heat one of the women’s 400m hurdles with a fifth-place finish in heat five to advance on time. A two-time NCAA qualifier for the Utes, the senior completed her eligibility during the indoor season after running in the record-breaking 4x400 relay team at the MPSF championships.

Washington

Former Husky standout and now Brooks Beast Katie Mackey safely made her way into the final of the women’s 1500m after finishing second in heat one behind Adidas’ Morgan Uceny. Mackey was an eight-time All-American while at Washington and earned Pac-10 titles in 2008 and 2009. This year has been a breakout season that has included a personal best of 15:04 in the 5k at the Payton Jordan Invitational and an American record as a member of the 2014 U.S. 4x1500m world relays team.

“I’m in a really good situation with my team, the Brooks Beasts Track Club in Seattle and just having my teammates around me day in and day out,” Mackey said, “I’m just running everyday and enjoying what I’m passionate about.”

For full results of the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships visit USATF.org.

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