|Photo finishes aren't reserved for the 100 hurdles|
You're not supposed to cheer from the press box. I wouldn't necessarily say I was cheering, but providing words of encouragement for a cramping Julia Lucas as she gutted out a painful last 50 meters of the Women's 5000 final Thursday night, eventually getting out-leaned by a hard charging Kim Conley. Julie Culley outkicked American Record Holder Molly Huddle before the drama for third. You've likely seen it by now, but if you haven't, here's the link to watch the race. Keep in mind, if it would have been a tie, like in the 100 hurdles, there could have been a 5000 runoff. That would have been worth a pay per view special to me.
Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer, as she went to NC State in Raleigh. I've never met Julia, as she's five years younger, but it's not hard to pull for someone that has been through so much and lays it out like that, only to fall .04 seconds short of an Olympic berth.
And as tough as it was to watch, she handled it with class. "I completely went underwater" said an exhausted Lucas afterwards. "I gave that race away." No one would have blamed her if she would have walked through the mix zone, without taking interviews, but she didn't. She talked for at least 15 minutes about the tough ending she faced.
Lucas' personal best going into this season was 15:33, a time run in 2008. Her 15:08 earlier this year at Payton Jordan was a major, major breakthrough. To be so close and to fall so short. "I didn't sense her until the last few meters. I thought this day I would be the best athlete. You can't fake it." No you can't. This one's tough to swallow, but Lucas has been facing adversity for years. She'll press on.
|Rupp leads the field and Hills lurks|
"I'm on cloud nine right now" were Rupp's first words at the press conference. "It's a huge confidence boost for sure," he claimed in reference to outkicking Lagat.
Lagat's reaction was a little different "Our mission as a team is to bring back a medal, whether it's me, Lopez or Galen. I'm at 90% right now. I'll be at 100% in London."
In somewhat of a surprise, recent NC State graduate, Ryan Hill, had an excellent race and a strong last lap, where he went from seventh to a strong fifth in a personal best time of 13:27.49. "I'm still trying to decipher in my mind if I'm happy with that or not. You can always get fourth and third. Hopefully four years from now, it will be more like third," said a slightly surprised Hill at how well he closed on the leaders over the final 400 meters. "It's to Europe from here to go after that A standard for the World Championship next year." A great race by a guy with a bright future. Watch the race here.
|The future of the Men's Steeple|
The Women's Steeple final concludes the evening tonight and if Emma Coburn doesn't win, I'll be shocked. She's extremely smooth and is likely a year away from challenging Jenny Simpson's American Record of 9:12.50. There's a big group behind her that will contend for those last two spots, including her Colorado teammate, 2012 NCAA National Champion Shalaya Kipp, 2010 NCAA Champion Bridget Franek, Delilah DiCrescenzo, Sara Hall, Stephanie Garcia and a steadily improving Ashley Higginson. The easy money would be on Kipp and Franek, but anything can go wrong in the steeple. We'll see later. Buckle up!
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