June 23, 2013
• Video: Darling, Byrne address 5000m situation
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The best American steeplechase will again take a run at the world’s best in the event.
Former Wisconsin athlete Evan Jager lived up to his role as the favorite in the 3000 steeplechase Sunday at the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships, defending his national title in the event with a run of 8 minutes, 20.67 seconds inside Drake Stadium.
Jager, the American record-holder and 2012 Olympic finalist, will compete alongside teammate Daniel Huling, who was second in 8:22.62, and former Indiana runner De’Sean Turner, who was third in 8:25.56, for the 2013 IAAF World Championships in August.
“I wasn’t supposed to take the lead any time before 1K to go,” Jager said. “Like every single time that I have taken the lead in a race, it just kind of naturally happened, over a barrier or a water jump. With just over three laps to go I came off the water jump and I must have had a really good one because I shot out right in front of him (Huling).
“I felt really good and was able to hold everyone off.”
Fellow UW alumnus Chris Solinsky, a World Championships qualifier at 5000 meters in 2009, fell short of a repeat bid Sunday. He finished eighth in the 5000 in 15:09.47 as he works his way back from injury that derailed his entire 2012 season.
Bernard Lagat won the U.S. title in 14:54.16, with Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp second in 14:54.91 and Ryan Hill third in 14:55.16.
Noticeably absent from the field was Badgers senior Maverick Darling, who was the first man out of the field when declarations were announced earlier this week. Darling’s 13:30.34 ranked 19th among those who declared, with USA Track & Field electing to run a field of 18 athletes.
The governing body then chose to not add entries to the field and only nine runners came to the line for Sunday’s race. That left Darling, Texas product Joe Stilin and Indiana alum Andy Bayer -- all of whom were among the top declared athletes not accepted -- on the outside looking in. Darling and Stilin joined with UW assistant coach Mick Byrne to address the situation prior to the start of competition Sunday. Video of the session is available here:
"USA Track & Field are taking away their opportunity to compete,” Byrne said.
Darling was especially frustrated after spending the week in Des Moines awaiting word from USATF on whether or not additional entries would be allowed in the event that entered athletes scratched from the competition. He was the top American-born finisher at the NCAA cross country championship, as well as in the indoor 5000 meters and outdoor 5000 meters.
Junior Danny Block competed in the shot put but failed to record a legal throw.