NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships 2013

Can Hasay or Saina stop Abbey D'Agostino tonight?

Can Hasay or Saina stop Abbey D'Agostino tonight?

Jun 5, 2013 by Christopher Chavez
Can Hasay or Saina stop Abbey D'Agostino tonight?

Oregon senior Jordan Hasay made her Hayward Field debut as a seventh grader competing in the USATF Junior Olympic Games. Nine years later, Hasay has become the most decorated Duck in school history after countless cross-country, indoor, and outdoor titles. Friday evening, she steps on the track for the women’s 5,000-meter run still hunting for that individual outdoor title eluding her all four years. 

Attaining it will not be easy. Dartmouth junior
Abbey D’Agostino is favored as the indoor 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter champion. She holds the NCAA’s best time on the year over 5,000-meters with her 15:11.35 solo effort at Mt. SAC Relays.

She returns to Hayward Field after just missing making the United States Olympic team in 2012. She hit the Olympic “A” standard at the Olympic Trials, but placed fifth in a race where .19 seconds separated her from a trip to London at the age of 20. 

D’Agostino appears poised for another NCAA title after breezing to a 16:05.21 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. She ran 16:15.35 in last year’s preliminary round and won last year's national title in 16:11.34.

Unlike like last year, she will be challenged by Hasay and senior Betsy Saina of Iowa State. Last fall, Saina defeated D’Agostino and Hasay at the NCAA Cross-Country National Championship in Louisville. 

Saina redshirted the 2012 outdoor track season and returned with a personal best of 15:12.05 at the 2013 Stanford Invitational. In her interview after the race, she expressed her disappointment from indoor nationals and knew she was in better shape than her second and fourth place finishes in the 5,000-meter run and 3,000-meter run respectively.

She regained some of that confidence back on Wednesday with her 10,000-meter title victory in 33:08.85. Although she felt comforable all throughout her run, she understands the bigger fight takes place on Friday.  

"Abbey is tough. She's as good as I am," Saina said after her win on Wednesday. "Running 15:11 and 15:12 is like the same thing. So when you combine the two, it's going to be a sick race."

For her 10,000-meter run, Saina sat in the front of the pack through 5,000-meters before taking off for the win. Saina would not reveal whether she will take a similar approach against D'Agostino or lead from the start. 

While a fairy tale ending would have Hasay victorious in her final race as a collegiate athlete, D'Agostino and Saina may play the role of editors to that story. Hasay ran faster than D'Agostino and Saina at the NCAA West Regional, but still only has the 31st best time in the NCAA with her 16:01.54 at Oregon Relays. Expect her to put up a fight for team points in the standings to try and complete the three-season sweep as a senior. 

Hasay was in a similar title conversation before the NCAA Cross-Country National Championship, where D'Agostino, Saina and her ran close together in the final 100-meters. Saina took the victory in October and expects 5,000-meters on the track to be much tougher. 

"In cross-country, it was a flat course and isn't as fast as the track. When it comes to cross-country, it can be like 16 minutes for the 5K or 15:55. Then at the track it can go really slow, but the last 1K can be 2:41." Saina said. "It's going to be really tough. I know (the time) is something I'm not expecting. I'm a little bit nervous, but I know I'm going to be fine."

Prediction: 1. D'Agostino 2. Saina 3. Hasay

Chris Chavez is a staff writer for Flotrack and a journalism major at Marquette University. He once beat Joey Fatone of NSYNC in a half-marathon. Feel free to to reach him with any questions, comments, or feedback on Twitter or by email.