The Sports Examiner

ATHLETICS: Sisson crushes women’s 10,000 m field in 85-degree heat as Christie and Stevens win morning walks

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Saturday’s morning session of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon featured the men’s and women’s 20 km walk and the women’s 10,000 m, moved to 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. due to a heat wave that was expected to reach 101 degrees (F) in the afternoon.

In the men’s 20 km Walk, 2018 national champion Nick Christie led wire to wire, finishing I 1:30:48, trailed by Daniel Nehnevaj – who was second almost the entire race – in 1:31:59. Emmanuel Corvera was third (1:34:38).

The women’s 20 km Walk was also a clear victory, also from the start, for Robyn Stevens, in 1:35:13, followed by nine-time national outdoor champion Maria Michta-Coffey (1:39:25) and Miranda Melville (1:40:39).

No U.S. walker has met the Olympic qualifying standards of 1:21:00 for men or 1:31:00 for women, or is higher than 68th in the World Athletics World Rankings, making Olympic selection unlikely.

The women’s 10,000 m was held at 10 a.m. in about 85 degree heat, with 41 starters in a waterfall start, including a brand-new “American” in Weini Kelati, whose application for a change of allegiance from Eritrea was approved on Friday. She was the NCAA 10,000 m champ for New Mexico in 2019.

Lauren Hurley led the first four laps, then two-time World Championships finalist Emily Sisson took over and strung out the field with laps of 74-75 seconds instead of 78-79 for the first four. By 4,000 m, Sisson created a front group of 14, with five straight laps in the 75s (31:28 pace).

Sisson turned it up to 74.7-74.1-74.2 through 6,000 m and the lead pack was down to eight. She moved to 73.8 and 74.2 to 6,800 m and Sisson, Elise Cranny, Karissa Schweizer and Alicia Monson were breaking away from Natosha Rogers, Rachel Schneider and Sara Hall.

By 8,000 m, Sisson, Cranny, Schweizer and Monson were five seconds clear of Schneider and then Sisson started to break away with a 72.6 lap that Monson matched best with Cranny and Schweizer falling back. Sisson poured it on, running 72.4 to take control by 25 m with less than three laps to go. Cranny fell behind Monson and Schweizer, making it clear who was going to make the team.

Sisson increased to pace to 71.5, then 71.3 at the bell, with a 50 m lead over Monson and Schweizer, with Cranny well back in fourth. Sisson won in a stunning 31:03.82, a Trials record, and her second-fastest ever … amazing in the heat.

Schweizer – who was already on the team in the 5,000 m – came on for second with a 68.81 final lap and finished in 31:16.52 in only her fifth 10,000 m ever. Monson got third in 31:18.55 and Cranny was fourth in 31:35.22. All have the Olympic standard and are headed for Sapporo, where it is expected to be cooler than in Tokyo.

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