Olympic Trials Women’s 5000 — A Bowerman TC 1-2

Elise Cranny beat teammate Karissa Schweizer for the 5000 title, with Rachel Schneider 3rd. (KEVIN MORRIS)

TWO OF THE TOP CONTENDERS intended to work together, but Bowerman TC teammates Elise Cranny and Karissa Schweizer had hoped it would be a threesome. The suspension of AR holder Shelby Houlihan, however, quashed those dreams.

Seven finalists had achieved the Olympic standard of 15:10.00, the most recent being Abbey Cooper with a solo 15:07.80 in the heats three days earlier. Cooper was the only finalist with Olympic experience, having famously touched hearts around the world by helping a fallen competitor to her feet in the Rio heats (when she was known as D’Agostino). Cooper’s 15:07.80 shattered the meet’s previous non-final best of 15:32.22, set in ’08 by Kara Goucher.

A day after summer’s official beginning, the 12½-lap race went off under 94-degree (34.5C) heat. Everyone started slowly but Taylor Werner wasn’t slow enough and earned the honor of leading the pack. Her pace of 75-second laps slowed to 79s in the second mile but still no one offered to help lead.

“The plan was really just to stay out of trouble and make sure you had room to run,” Cranny said afterwards.

Schweizer added, “With a mile to go we were going to make it hurt.”

Right on cue, with 4 laps to go Schweizer took over and led her teammate with a 71-second lap that saw the lead group go from an original 15 to 7. The next lap of 70 seconds reduced the pack to its final 4 with Rachel Schneider and Cooper the only others willing to hang on with 2 circuits remaining.

Among the leaders, all but Cooper owned a 1500 PR of 4:02 or better. And of course, all but Cooper were much fresher having run conservatively in the heats. But Cooper didn’t give up.

Schweizer turned up the heat with a 67-second penultimate lap as the four stretched their lead even more.

Then it really heated up. Cranny took control with a finish that Schweizer couldn’t match. The winner’s last lap of 63.73 held off Schweizer’s 64.11 for the win, 15:27.81–15:28.11. Schneider followed with a 65.35 final lap to nab the third Tokyo spot at 15:29.56, while Cooper hung on for 4th in 15:31.05 with a 66.41 last lap.

Cranny, a 25-year-old Stanford alum, spoke about the closeness of the Bowerman group and missing its leader, saying, “It was definitely a tough week leading up to the trials, just with Shelby finding out, super devastating. Karissa, Shelby and I have been doing a lot of workouts together. She’s the reason I’m here, and has elevated the team to a whole new level.”

Schweizer was thankful for running with Cranny. “It helped having Elise there to squeeze down the last mile together,” Schweizer said. “We truly made it a team sport.”

All but Cooper are declared in the 10K (10 of the field’s 15 are, in fact). Cranny acknowledged she’s planning on doubling, while Schweizer and Schneider weren’t committing. Schweizer was intending to celebrate: “Have a bunch of sweets, and who knows.”

WOMEN’S 5000 RESULTS

(June 21)

1. Elise Cranny (NikBowTC) 15:27.81

(pace—36.02 [36.02], 75.37 [1:51.39], 75.16 [3:06.55], 75.95 [4:22.50], 76.29 [5:38.79], 77.85 [6:56.64], 79.07 [8:15.71], 79.60 [9:35.31], 79.29 [10:54.60], 71.66 [12:06.26], 70.04 [13:16.30], 67.78 [14:24.08], 63.73)

(finish—63.73, 2:11.51, 4:33.21);

2. Karissa Schweizer (NikBowTC) 15:28.11

(64.11, 2:12.01, 4:33.31);

3. Rachel Schneider (Hoka) 15:29.56

(65.35, 2:13.10, 4:34.49);

4. Abbey Cooper (NBal) 15:31.05

(66.41, 2:14.36, 4:35.89);

5. Allie Buchalski (BrkB) 15:47.52

(70.98, 2:28.93, 4:52.13);

6. Elly Henes (NC) 15:47.73

(68.39, 2:23.33, 4:52.15);

7. Lauren Paquette (HokaNAZ) 15:48.10

(71.28, 2:26.49, 4:52.60);

8. Josette Norris (ReebB) 15:48.70

(76.08, 2:31.19, 4:53.76);

9. Gwen Jorgensen (NikBowTC) 15:50.62

(71.00, 2:26.46, 4:54.97);

10. Carrie Verdon (TracksmTB) 15:54.04

(71.79, 2:28.65, 4:58.82);

11. Taylor Werner (Puma) 15:56.83

(76.03, 2:32.02, 5:01.71);

12. Maddie Alm (Tracksm) 15:58.40

(73.54, 2:32.19, 5:03.05);

13. Vanessa Fraser (NikBowTC) 16:02.92

(81.82, 2:39.03, 5:07.14);

14. Millie Paladino (NBal) 16:06.52

(75.23, 2:34.26, 5:10.61);

15. Erika Kemp (BAA) 16:22.27

(84.10, 2:48.10, 5:26.26).

HEATS (June 18)

I–1. Cooper 15:07.80; 2. Schneider 15:23.45; 3. Alm 15:31.43; 4. Buchalski 15:32.35; 5. Verdon 15:32.87; 6. Werner 15:39.98; 7. Kemp 15:42.76; 8. Sammy George (Tracksm) 15:48.09; 9. Katie Izzo (Ar) 16:04.35; 10. Dana Giordano (BAA) 16:06.18.

II–1. Norris 15:32.58; 2. Schweizer 15:32.63; 3. Cranny 15:32.71; 4. Henes 15:32.75; 5. Fraser 15:33.54; 6. Jorgensen 15:34.84; 7. Paquette 15:36.59; 8. Paladino 15:38.23; 9. Taylor 15:40.29; 10. Katrina Coogan (NBalB) 15:45.23.

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