The action continued at the U.S. Olympic trials on Thursday, with several more athletes punching their tickets to Tokyo, and many more leaving disappointed. Among the many results posted, high-school phenom Hobbs Kessler won his heat in the preliminary rounds of the men’s 1,500m, Paul Chelimo won the first round of the 5,000m and Emma Coburn took the win in the final round of the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.
The women’s 3,000m steeplechase final was the highlight of the day, with Coburn winning in a meet record 9:09.41. It’s worth noting that Coburn has never lost a U.S. steeple final, bringing her up to nine wins on home soil. Behind her were Courtney Frerichs in 9:11.79 and Val Constien in 9:18.34. That result is a personal best time for Constien, who, unlike her competitors, fits her training in around a full-time job. Those three women will represent the U.S. in Tokyo in the steeplechase.
The true drama came from Leah Falland, who was poised to make the team with 800m to go, only to clip her toe on a barrier and fall. She managed to pick herself up and remained in medal contention, but was unable to hold it. After a rough final water jump, her competitors sped past her and she faded to 9th in 9:27.06.
Preliminary round winners
In the preliminary rounds of the men’s 1,500m, the top spot went to Sam Prakel, in 3:39.02. To no one’s surprise, Yared Nuguse also advanced to the final in the second spot in 3:39.09, followed closely by Henry Wynne and Eric Avila. Other notable athletes who have advanced to the finals include Johnny Gregorek, Cole Hocker, Craig Engels and Matthew Centrowitz.
Gabby Thomas led the women’s 200m in a personal best and world-leading time of 21.98 seconds, followed by Jenna Prandini and Kynnedy Flannel in 22.14 and 22.31, respectively. Channelle Price led the women’s 800m in 1:59.86, followed by Sage Hurta in 2:00.08 and Ajee Wilson in 2.00.55. NCAA superstar Athing Mu advanced to the next round in fourth position in 2:00.69. Transgender athlete Nikki Hiltz missed out on the semifinals by a hair, finishing in 17th by 0.001 seconds (the top 16 athletes move on to the semifinals; the final spot was taken by Rebecca Mehra).
The men’s 5,000m preliminary was led by Paul Chelimo in 13:36.66, followed by Nico Young in 13:36.74 and Hassan Mead in 13:36.80. Emmanuel Bor, Woody Kincaid and Cooper Teare have also advanced to the final.
Next up at Hayward Field are the women’s 800m semis, the men’s 1,500m semis, the women’s 200m semis and the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final, among many others on Friday night. The weekend will be jam-packed with exciting finals, so track fans will have plenty of action to keep up with Saturday and Sunday.