U.S. Men’s 5000 Scene: The Kids Are Alright

Aussie Morgan McDonald won the Drake 5000, but Nico Young claimed the American Junior Record. (CHRIS DONAHUE)

A PAIR OF YOUNGSTERS delivered a bright promise for U.S. 5000 running in races more than 1700M apart on Friday night as they produced the two fastest times ever by American 19-year-olds (see chart).

Northern Arizona’s Nico Young produced an American Junior Record 13:24.26 in finishing 3rd at the Drake Relays. Some 4½ hours later, Oregon’s Cole Hocker won a dazzling Oregon Relays race at Hayward Field in 13:19.98.

Young’s race represented a 20-second reduction on his prep PR and came as a result of aggressive running in the final mile. For two-thirds of the race he played it conservatively as steepler Dan Michalski led the field through 7 laps. Northern Arizona’s Abdihamad Nur took over through 4K before Wisconsin alum Morgan McDonald made his move to the front. Young followed him to the front and at the bell was on his shoulder.

But the Aussie’s superior kick showed on the last lap, a 55.35 that gave McDonald a 13:21.39 win. That left Young in his wake, to be nipped at the line by Canada’s Kieran Lumb, 13:24.25–13:24.26 as 7 broke 13:30. Young broke German Fernandez’s AJR of 13:25.46 set in ’06.

In Eugene, Hocker and teammate Cooper Teare took on the powerful Iowa State duo of Edwin Kurgat and Wesley Kiptoo. Oregon’s James West towed the field through 2600 and Kiptoo led the crowded pack through 3K in 8:04.68, followed by Teare and Hocker.

Eventually Kiptoo gestured for Teare to take over, he stayed there until the final straight, when Hocker moved wide to finish off a 56.84 final circuit for the win in a collegiate leader. Behind him, both Teare (13:20.24) and Kurgat (13:20.48) PRed, with Kiptoo 4th at 13:21.02.

The Oregon runners admitted they hoped for an early pace that would deliver an Olympic standard 13:13.50 or better. That didn’t happen.

Said Teare, “Every race I’m in with Cole, I always figure it’ll be down to me and him. Obviously, there’s a bunch of really talented guys, but I can always count on Cole pushing me that last lap, and it was no different today.”

Hocker added, “I just know when he’s there, I’ve been doing the same training and there’s no reason I shouldn’t be there too. It’s nice to have him there, and then in the final stretch we’re both just giving it our all.”

Oregon Relays 5000 Results

1. ***Cole Hocker (Or) 13:19.98 PR (CL) (8, x AmC);

2. *Cooper Teare (Or) 13:20.24; 3. Edwin Kurgat’ (IaSt-Ken) 13:20.48 PR; 4. **Wesley Kiptoo’ (IaSt-Ken) 13:21.02 PR; 5. Euan Makepeace’ (Butler-GB) 13:30.55 PR; 6. *Simon Bedard’ (Butler-Fra) 13:34.83 PR; 7. **Barry Keane’ (Butler-Ire) 13:35.00 PR;

8. **James Mwaura (Gonz) 13:36.18 PR; 9. Jack Yearian (Or) 13:44.76 PR; 10. ***Ezekiel Kibichii’ (IaSt-Ken) 13:45.85 PR; 11. *Colton Johnsen (WaSt) 13:46.90 PR; 12. Paul Ryan (WaSt) 13:47.94; 13. Jackson Mestler (Or) 13:47.99; 14. Jonas Gertsen’ (Den) 13:51.37 PR; 15. **Yacine Guermali (Gonz) 13:52.54 PR.

Drake Relays 5000 Results

1. Morgan McDonald’ (Aus) 13:21.39; 2. Kieran Lumb’ (Can) 13:24.25 PR;

3. ***Nico Young (NnAz) 13:24.26 AJR (old AJR 13:25.46 German Fernandez [OkSt) ’09);

4. Ben Flanagan’ (Can) 13:25.39 PR; 5. ***Abdihamid Nur’ (NnAz-Som) 13:26.74 PR; 6. Leonard Korir (USAr) 13:28.04; 7. Girma Mecheso (USAr) 13:28.61 PR; 8. Blaise Ferro (NnAz) 13:31.54 PR; 9. Frank Lara (RootsR) 13:36.40 PR; 10. Sam Parsons’ (Ger) 13:38.15; 11. Dillon Maggard (Hoka) 13:42.92. ◻︎