(PHOTO) Galen Rupp (right) defeats Bernard Lagat to win the 5,000m, meet record 13:22.67 to 13:22.82, during the 2012 U.CS. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
“I’m on cloud nine,” said Rupp. “We have two great guys, incredible finishers. I was just trying to get in there and I’m just happy I was able to hang on.”
Running before a record crowd of 22,602 fans, Rupp watched Bernard Lagat surge to the lead on the final lap, only to run him down at the finish line and win in 13:22.67. Lagat was second in 13:22.82, while Lopez Lamong took third in 13:24.47.
“A win is a win whether you do it from the front or the kick in the home stretch,” said Rupp. “In London, I’m going to have to beat people in the last 100. Bernard Lagat is one of the best closers of all time. I’m happy with the way I’m progressing, but you don’t win medals by not closing in the last 100.”
Rupp, a 2009 Oregon alum, broke Prefontaine’s 1972 meet record of 13:22.8.
“Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Pre is a huge compliment, but I was thinking about making the team first and foremost,” said Rupp. “Just to be a part of history here and finish it off at Hayward, my home track, is phenomenal. The crowd is amazing.”
Rupp also became the first American to win both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in the same Trials since Penn State’s Curtis Stone in 1952.
Also Thursday, all five current or former Ducks advanced through the opening rounds of the in the men’s and women’s 1,500 meters.
In the women’s 1,500, Oregon’s Jordan Hasay was fourth in her heat in 4:16.06 to advance to Friday’s semifinals.
“I felt comfortable the first 800 meters,” said the junior from Arroyo Grande, Calif. “It’s exciting to have the whole town behind me.
“It’s an honor to be out there representing Oregon.”
In the men’s 1,500, Duck alums Andrew Wheating, Jordan McNamara, A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz all advanced to Friday’s semifinals.
McNamara had the fastest preliminary time, winning heat three in 3:40.78.
“I found myself a little farther back than I wanted to be with 350 to go,” said McNamara. “My coach wanted me to move earlier, but it was nice to get out there and it feels good. I just had to wake myself up.
“I’m running angry. I feel like one of the best three in the country. Things finally have come together. I want to put on a show.”
Wheating was fourth in that heat in 3:41.14 and also advanced.
“There was pushing and shoving the final lap,” said Wheating. “I bumped into a couple people.”
Acosta and Centrowitz also moved on. Acosta took second in heat two in 3:40.98, while Centrowitz was third in heat one in 3:42.02.
Duck freshman Chancey Summers no heighted in the women’s high jump.