June 29, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - Though the sun peaked out for much of the morning, Oregon's infamous clouds cascaded over Hayward Field by the time the first event hit the track today at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and they stayed through the entire night. Today was the seventh of the 10-day event where the difference between Olympic dreams realized and the eventual acceptance that those dreams would be put on hold for another four years was determined by mere seconds. The Georgetown track & field program was a big part of the day, competing in five of the nine events on the track today.
Though everyone who comes to Eugene for the Trials longs to wear the red, white and blue and represent the United States in London, only three in each event will get that chance. For those who do not get that opportunity, one can only hope that they have another shot in four years or at least have the silver lining that they did everything they could that day. Georgetown's Emily Infeld (University Heights, Ohio/Beaumont), an NCAA Champion and 11-time All-American, certainly walks away from today's women's 5,000-meter finals with her head held high. The recent graduate, who will compete her final year of eligibility on the Hilltop while pursuing a master's in sports management, set a new school record tonight and was one of just two collegiate athletes to even appear in today's final - and she ran the best collegiate time of the two. Infeld ran 15:28.60, knocking off more than five seconds from her previous 5,000-meter PR set early in the 2012 outdoor season at Stanford, and finished eighth in a field of the best competition the United States has to offer. Infeld kept herself in the top eight by making a strong move on the outside with 1,200 meters to go and held on for the remainder of the race.
"I thought I had it in my legs with 600 to go," Infeld said. "It was rough but it was a good experience and fun overall. You can't complain about a PR. I gave it all I could at the end and I was happy with it.
"I did what I could," Infeld continued. "The field had so many talented women - it was a good experience for my first Trials. I'm just going to keep training hard, keep improving and hopefully in four years it will be a different story."
Former Hoya Elizabeth Maloy, now competing with New Balance, finished seventh with a time of 15:24.85. The race was the second 5,000-meter race the finals field had to run in three days with the prelims occurring on Monday. The format is not customary for an event of this distance but was also necessary for the strong field of distance runners the United States boasts. Maloy was in the top six for much of the race and seemed to feel the pace increase over the final three laps but held on through much of the race to secure the seventh-place spot.
"When the pace went with three or four laps to go, I didn't have as much as the lead group," Maloy explained. "It's disappointing because it was really anyone's race. I felt a lot better on Monday than I did today but that happens. I tried to keep my head in it as much as I could. I just had an off day and it's just disappointing that it had to happen today."
Just as the women's final finished up, the men's 5,000-meter run started to line up on the track and former Hoya Andrew Bumbalough was announced. Bumbalough, now running for Nike, spent much of his race exactly where he was supposed to be and with 800 meters to go, it was clear that there was a distinction for the top four and he was in that group with the likes of fellow Nike distance specialists Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong. At the bell, Bumbalough seemed to wince and would later explain that his legs started to tighten up on the bell lap as the trio all put in impressively strong kicks over the last 400 and especially down the home stretch. Bumbalough finished fourth (13:26.67) behind Rupp (13:22.67), Lagat (13:22.82) and Lomong (13:24.47). Rupp had already earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for this summer's London Olympics in the men's 10,000-meter run last Friday night on the first day of Trials.
"If you look at [today's race], the guy who got second place today could win the gold medal in London - that just shows you how far we've come as a country in this sport," Bumbalough said following the race. "It makes it tough for up-and-coming guys to make team. It's a little discouraging because with that type of race, I should have been right there like I was in the prelim. It's the type of race I know I can run really well. The middle laps stung a little today so it was obviously a little harder than the prelim effort. It's a step forward but, at the same time, it wasn't the step I wanted to make today."
The day started off with solid performances as Hoyas, current and former, continued to step out on the track. Hoya alums Maggie Infeld and Treniere (Clement) Moser were the first to hit the track in the second of three preliminary heats of the women's 1,500 meter. The race seemed to favor Moser's positioning as she was more on the outside over the last 200 meters while Infeld, now competing for New York Athletic Club (NYAC), seemed a little too tucked inside to thread the needle into the top six. However, a little bit of room was all Infeld needed as she maneuvered herself into a fourth-place finish in her heat (4:14.60) and subsequently overall while Moser, now with Nike, finished right behind in fifth place (4:14.79).
"I'm happy to get through," Infeld said. "There are so many talented women here so I cannot take any round for granted. Each day I have to focus on each race. It's a really stacked race so it will be tough but I'm excited to be here and I'm up for the challenge."
GU alum Renee Tomlin competed in the third and final heat of the women's 1,500, a heat that had the most dramatic ending. Tomlin, now with Nike, was accustomed to running the 800 throughout high school (attending New Jersey's Ocean City) and most of college and has only post-collegiately taken on the 1,500. However, Tomlin exuded a certain maturity and patience in a race that could have frazzled others. Over the home stretch, the field spread up the track extending well through lane six. Tomlin finished seventh in her heat and qualified on time (4:16.36) to tomorrow's semifinals. She will join Infeld and Moser in the semifinals of the women's 1,500-meter run at 3:45 p.m. PT / 6:45 p.m. ET.
"It was great - I saw Maggie made it through and I thought to myself that's my teammate, we can do this together," Tomlin commented. "[That last lap] was nerve-wracking. I knew I had to go for it but I knew that the girls charging behind me were no joke either. This was it, this was my shot. It was a battle down the home stretch but it was fun.
"It's really special to have so many Hoyas here," Tomlin continued. "I'm not sure how many programs can say they have as many athletes here, especially with athletes in the 100 through the 5,000. It shows what kind of program Georgetown is and who they go for. It's very unique."
Liam Boylan-Pett, who spent his fifth year of eligibility on the Hilltop following an undergraduate career at Columbia, competed in the third and final heat of the men's 1,500-meter run today. The men's heats were fairly straightforward and went out with little hesitation in making moves and Boylan-Pett was perfectly suited for it. He ran a smart prelim race (3:41.17) to finish fourth in his heat and ninth overall and is now one step closer to attaining his goal of reaching a final round at the USA Track & Field Championships - it just so happens that it is also an Olympic year.
"I felt okay," Boylan-Pett said. "Last week when I ran the 800 I felt flat and I think it was because I have been training for the 1,500 so it was good to get out there today. The goal has always been to make the final so hopefully tomorrow I can get out there and achieve that."
Boylan-Pett will continue in the men's 1,500-meter semifinals tomorrow at 4:25 p.m. PT / 7:25 p.m. ET.
Recent GU graduate London Finley (Los Angeles, Calif./St. Mary's Academy) competed in the women's 400-meter hurdles preliminaries. Competing in the third of four heats, Finley ran 59.16 to finish sixth in her heat.
Full coverage of current and former Georgetown student-athletes at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be available daily on www.GUHoyas.com.
CANADIAN OLYMPIC TRIALS
Rising senior Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) advanced to the finals of the women's 1,500-meter run at the Canadian Olympic Trials today. She ran 4:28.96, placing seventh in her heat to advance to the finals on time. She will compete tomorrow in the finals at 4:20 p.m. ET at the Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary.
"We went out really slow," Kasper explained during an interview over the phone. "The first lap we went out in 73 and we came in at 2:23 through 800. After that, the pace picked up significantly and I just tucked in against the rail. I felt really good today. I was really relaxed through the first 300 ... Running the 5,000 all season ensured I had the endurance and we've been doing a lot of speedwork to get ready for the 1,500 ... I'm so happy I made it to the final and I feel no pressure."
DAY 8 / FRIDAY ON THE TRACK
3:45 p.m. PT / 6:45 p.m. ET: Women's 1,500m Semifinals (Treniere (Clement) Moser, Maggie Infeld, Renee Tomlin)
4:25 p.m. PT / 7:25 pm. ET: Men's 1,500m Semifinals (Liam Boylan-Pett)
Friday, June 29: 6-8 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Saturday, June 30: 9-10 p.m. ET/PT (NBC)
Sunday, July 1: 7-8 p.m. ET/PT (NBC)