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Olympic Trials Day 7 Preview

Olympic Trials Day 7 Preview

Day 5 of the Olympic Trials is for fans of the distance races, as there will be finals in the men's and women's 5000 meters and men's steeplechase, along with the men's discus and pole vault.

For more on the Olympic Trials and track and field, be sure to visit my website at TrackSuperfan.com.

Live results
TV coverage is from 9:00 to 11:00 ET on NBC Sports Network

Today's Schedule

6:50 PM ET Women's 1500 meters Prelim
7:20 PM ET Men's 1500 meters Prelim
7:30 PM ET Men's Triple Jump Prelim
8:00 PM ET Women's High Jump Prelim
8:05 PM ET Men's Pole Vault Final
8:30 PM ET Women's 400m Hurdles Prelim
8:40 PM ET Women's Shot Put Prelim
  TV Coverage Begins
9:00 PM ET Men's 400m Hurdles Prelim
9:05 PM ET Men's Discus Throw Final
9:30 PM ET Men's Steeplechase Final
9:45 PM ET Women's 200 meters Prelim
10:15 PM ET Women's 5000 meters Final
10:38 PM ET Men's 5000 meters Final

Men's Pole Vault

Start lists | All-time Olympic Trials stats

The Favorites:
Brad Walker (Nike / Mountain Terrace, WA)
Jack Whitt (Oral Roberts / Norman, OK)
Jordan Scott (unattached / Lawrence, KS)
Walker is a pretty strong favorite, having won the US indoor and bronze at the World indoor with big heights, and backing it up in the early outdoor season. Whitt and Scott are listed as favorites because they have achieved the Olympic 'A' standard and have no injury problems. Whitt just won the NCAA Championship. Scott is known for wild hair, and just recently hit the 'A' standard at a street vault competition.

Guys who are hurt:
Derek Miles (Nike / Tea, SD)
Jeremy Scott (Nike / Brookland, AR)
Both of these vaulters have achieved the Olympic 'A' standard, but both are hurting. Miles is suffering from Achilles tendonitis and Scott has tendonitis in his knee. In a one-off competition they wouldn't be in that bad of shape, but a final just two days after a q-round doesn't help them. Look for them to make as few attempts as possible while trying to beat two of the three favorites listed above.

Guys without the 'A' standard:
Mark Hollis (Nike / Elkhart, IN)
Scott Roth (Nike)
You figure these two, who are healthy and capable but haven't hit the necessary mark to gain entry into the Olympics, would take enough attempts to be really ready and then just pass until 5.72 meters. If they don't make that height, whatever else they do won't matter.

Men's Discus Throw

Start list | All-time Olympic Trials stats

The Favorites:
Jason Young (Oregon TC / Lubbock, TX)
Russ Winger (Asics / San Diego, CA)
These two throwers have both achieved the Olympic 'A' standard and Track and Field News picks them for first and second. Young is looking for his first-ever US championships win, and was tenth at last year's Worlds. Winger just barely squeaked into the final.

The other guys with an 'A' standard:
Jared Rome (Nike / Chula Vista, CA)
Ian Waltz (New York AC / Chula Vista, CA)
These are the elder statesmen of the event in the USA and train together at the Olympic Training Center in southern California. Between them, they have won five of the last eight national titles.

Men's Steeplechase

Start list | All-time Olympic Trials stats

The Favorites:
Evan Jager (Oregon TC / Portland, OR)
Dan Huling (Reebok / Columbus, OH)
Donn Cabral (Princeton / Glastonbury, CT)
Jager recently took up the steeplechase and looks like a natural at the event. Still, he's raw and unrefined and barriers are a bit of an adventure for him at this point. It's hard to predict what he'll do; he could break the meet record or he could go swimming and be totally out of it. Huling, first or second at each of the last three national championships, has two training mates in the final in Brian Olinger and Cory Leslie. Cabral was best known for heroics at the Penn Relays until he ran a fantastic steeplechase time in May; he's tough and resilient and a tremendously smart racer.

The Defending Champion: Billy Nelson (New Balance / Longmont, CA)
The emergence of Jager and Cabral makes it such that the defending national champion may have an uphill battle just to make the team.

The Self-Coached Runner: Kyle Alcorn (Nike / Mesa, AZ)
At this level, being a self-coached runner is highly unusual; in fact, the only such American to have earned an Olympic berth so far is Ryan Hall. It seems to be working, though, as he broke his PR at this year's USATF High Performance meet in May.

The Other Guy with an Olympic 'A': Ben Bruce (McMillan Elite / Flagstaff, AZ)
Unlike the other post-collegians above, Bruce does not limit himself to just racing the steeplechase. He runs the 3,000 meters during indoor season and recently ran a road 15k, and just two years ago he took 4th at the US cross country championships.

Women's 5,000 meters

Start list | All-time Olympic Trials stats

The Favorite:
Molly Huddle (Saucony / Providence, RI)
Questions surround Huddle's health, but she is the American Record holder in this event. She looks like a very safe bet to make the Olympic team.

Pick Two:
Liz Maloy (New York AC / Washington, DC)
Julia Lucas (Oregon TC / Eugene, OR)
Julie Culley (New Jersey-New York TC / Clinton, NJ)
These are the only other finalists who have achieved the Olympic 'A' standard, so two of these three will complete the Olympic team--unless, of course, someone else runs under 15:20.00, but that's highly unlikely.

Leading Collegians:
Abbey D'Agostino (Dartmouth / Topsfield, MA)
Emily Infeld (Georgetown / University Heights, OH)
Neither of these two have achieved the Olympic 'A' standard and the race is not likely to help them get it, but both are the cream of the crop of this year's collegiate runners. D'Agostino's improvement curve has been remarkable, winning an NCAA title at 5k as a sophomore and coming less than four seconds from hitting that 'A'. Infeld is less experienced at 5k, having spent most of her college years running the 1500, but she's a very fast closer.

Men's 5000 meters

Start list | All-time Olympic Trials stats

The Favorites:
Bernard Lagat (Nike / Tucson, AZ)
Galen Rupp (Oregon Distance Project / Portland, OR)
Lopez Lomong (Oregon TC / Beaverton, OR)
Lagat is among the favorites to win the Olympic title, and when healthy he borders on being unbeatable in a championship (non-rabbited) race. He has tremendous speed and can accelerate on a dime, and is possibly the smartest racer on the planet. Rupp recently broke 13 minutes and has developed a withering kick himself. Lomong is new at 5k--so new that he famously miscounted laps and still ran 13:11--but he too possesses amazing speed. This might be the most fun race to watch in the entire Olympic Trials meet.
Note: Blogger Paul Merca is giving away the shoes Lagat will wear in this race.  Go to his site to see how to enter the contest.

The Other Guy with an Olympic 'A': Andrew Bumbalough (Oregon TC / Portland, OR)
"Bumbi" is a very good runner, but doesn't possess the finishing speed of the three above. But if one of them makes a mistake and Bumbi capitalizes, he has what it takes go get on the Olympic team.

The Locals:
Trevor Dunbar (Oregon / Kodiak, AK)
Ian Dobson (Oregon TC / Eugene)
Brent Vaughn (Oregon TC / Portland, OR)
There will be six athletes in this race with Oregon connections: Rupp, Lomong, Bumbi, and these three. The place will be going nuts. Dobson's wife, Julia Lucas, could make the Olympic team just minutes before he takes to the track.
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