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At USA Track and Field 10,000m Champs, a 10-year wait and a trip and fall

Natosha Rogers

May 27, 2022; Eugene, OR, USA; Natosha Rogers (USA) and Emily Infeld (USA) place third and fourth in the women’s 10,000m in 31:29.80 and 31:30.04 during the 47th Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Olympians Karissa Schweizer and Joe Klecker won U.S. 10,000m titles to earn spots on the world track and field championships team, but what happened behind them caused a bigger stir in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday night.

Schweizer, 12th at the Tokyo Games, pulled away from Alicia Monson in the last 200 meters to win the women’s race in 30:49.56. Schweizer, still working her way back from Achilles surgery in October, was just 1.57 seconds off her personal best. Video is here at the 48-minute mark.

Monson, who was 13th at the Olympics, finished 1.53 seconds back to grab the second spot on the team for worlds in July, also in Eugene.

The third and last spot went to 31-year-old Natosha Rogers, who made her first national team on the track. In 2012, Rogers was second in the Olympic Trials 10,000m but didn’t have the time standard to be put on the team.

Rogers had to fight until the very end. She surged past Emily Infeld, a 2015 World bronze medalist bidding for her first national team since 2017.

“I was nervous with, like, five yards left. She almost got me there. Just my head, I was like, no, this is mine today. So I was able to dig a little bit deeper, barely,” Rogers said. “It’s been a lot of heartache, failure, losing sponsorship at one point in time and crawling my way back.”

The race lacked Olympic Trials winner Emily Sisson, who has been focusing on road racing, and Elise Cranny, the Olympic Trials 5000m winner who withdrew Thursday saying she hasn’t been feeling like herself in training. Cranny will target the 5000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships next month, also in Eugene, to make the world team.

The 10,000m races were an addition to the Prefontaine Classic weekend. NBC Sports airs live coverage of the main program on Saturday. Information is here.

Later Friday, Olympians Klecker and Grant Fisher went an unsurprising one-two in the men’s 10,000m to earn world spots. Klecker crossed in 28:28.71, just one tenth ahead of Fisher, who was the top American in Tokyo in fifth place. Video is here at the 89-minute mark.

Behind them, Emmanuel Bor appeared on his way to the third and last world spot. But he started struggling, faded out to lane two and eventually crashed to the track four strides from the Hayward Field finish line. Bor, 34, was trying to make his first outdoor world team.

“Once I tripped, I knew it was over,” Bor told LetsRun.com.

As he fell, he was passed by Sean McGorty, a steeplechaser last year who went from sixth coming around the last curve to grab the last world spot.

Woody Kincaid, the third Tokyo Olympian, stopped two-thirds through the race after grabbing at his side and grimacing.

Three other races Friday night billed as world-record attempts -- Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba in the women’s two mile, Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey in the women’s 5000m and Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei in the men’s 5000m -- ended with zero records.

In the featured field event, Olympic gold medalist Mondo Duplantis won a men’s pole vault duel with silver medalist Chris Nilsen with a 5.91-meter clearance.

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