Evan Jager, Hillary Bor, Donn Cabral Make Olympic Team in Wild Steeplechase

EUGENE, Ore. - Evan Jager led the whole way, and Andy Bayer and Stanley Kebenei looked the best behind him. But a wild last five barriers put Jager on top once again, Donn Cabral on his second straight Olympic team and Bor on his first ever Team USA in the Olympic Trials steeplechase. Cabral was an NCAA champion at Princeton, while Bor is a Kenyan-American who gained his citizenship by joining the U.S. Army. Jager's performance marks his fifth-straight U.S. title in the steeplechase. 

Jager's Bowerman Track Club teammate Andy Bayer filed a protest claiming that Bor impeded him before the water barrier. 

After the race, Jager called it "probably the toughest U.S. championship that I've won."


What a wild race for the last two Olympic spots. Stanley Kebenei was the only one to cover Jager's searing move, and as he hit the bell a meter behind Jager, it looked like the team would be Jager, Kebenei, and Bayer in some order. Cabral was fading hard and Bor was fighting just to catch Cabral for fourth.

Coming into the last water barrier, though, Kebenei had started to fade, while Bor looked great and the gap back to Cabral had stopped growing.

Watch exactly what happened courtesy of NBCOlympics (http://liveextra.nbcsports.com) and USOC:


As Bayer passed Kebenei, Bor went with him. While Bayer and Bor passed Kebenei, Bayer stumbled. It's unclear whether Bayer A) tripped on the rail B) was clipped and slowed by Kebenei or C) was clipped and slowed by Bor.

Either way, the other two-thirds of the Olympic team was determined in that moment. Bor came out looking fresh and actually began closing in on Jager. Kebenei fell in the water pit. And Bayer completely ran out of juice--impeded or otherwise--which opened up the third spot for Cabral.

That's not to frame Cabral as an undeserving Olympian who cashed in when Kebenei and Bayer crapped out. In person, it was clear that Cabral was in a ton of pain from 600 meters out, and ran hard in the last lap.

This is the third Team USA of the last four editions that has included Jager and Cabral. Jager has won five straight U.S. titles, while Cabral was second at the 2012 Trials and 2015 U.S. Championships.

Bor has improved tremendously to make this team. He and Cabral were in college at nearly the exact same time. While steepling for Iowa State, Bor finished third at outdoor NCAAs in 2010 and twelfth in 2011. Cabral finished second and first in those races in a Princeton uniform.

Behind the Olympians, Bayer staggered home for fourth in 8:28. Early leader Mason Ferlic--the 2016 NCAA champ from Michigan--closed hard to take fifth in 8:30 ahead of Furman Elite teammates Craig Forys and Cory Leslie. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Jager's BTC teammate Dan Huling (who we all picked to make the team) finishing ninth in 8:39. It was later reported that Huling suffered from a foot injury earlier in the season. 

Huling and Jager were fifth and sixth in the world last year, behind only four Kenyans. Jager ran 8:00 last year, and no one in the world has broken eight minutes this year. With only three Kenyans allowed to run in the Olympics, he's a serious contender for a medal.

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