BEIJING -- A pair of American women competing in their first IAAF World Championships turned in bronze medal-winning performances Monday night in Beijing.
Tori Bowie (Sandhill, Miss.) and Emily Infeld (Cleveland, Ohio) each placed third at opposite ends of the running-event spectrum, with Bowie placing third in the 100 and Infeld grabbing bronze in the 10,000m to highlight Team USA’s best-ever showing in that event.
Rookie Infeld claims 10k bronze
The Team USA trio of Infeld, Molly Huddle (Providence, Rhode Island) and Shalane Flanagan (Marblehead, Massachusetts) turned in the best overall women’s 10,000m performance for the U.S. in World Championships history. Perhaps more eyebrow-raising that the overall team performance was that the top performer was the least-heralded of the three … until Monday.
All three stayed in the lead pack for the entirety of the race, which saw slow lap splits ranging from the mid-to-high 70 seconds, often hitting 79. The pace started to pick up at 6,000 meters as Huddle, the American record holder at 5,000 meters, stayed reliably near the front end of the pack, sitting just off the lead in the final four laps. At the bell, Huddle moved to the front of the pack and looked to be in medal contention with seconds remaining in the race. However, a surging Infeld edged Huddle at the line to claim a spot on the podium in her first World Championships appearance, crossing in 31:43.49, matching Kara Goucher (2007, bronze) as the only woman to win a medal in the 10,000m. Huddle finished fourth in 31:43.58 and Flanagan, the American record holder and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, was sixth in 31:46.23. It marked the first time three American women finished in the top six of the 10k at World Outdoors.
Bowie brings home 100m bronze
The winner of the women’s 100 was seemingly settled at the gun, as Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won her third World Outdoor gold to accompany her two Olympic golds. Running two lanes to the right of Fraser-Pryce, Bowie was in medal contention throughout the race, finishing third in 10.86 behind Fraser-Pryce’s 10.76 and a national record of 10.81 for The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers.
In the semifinal, Bowie was out well and had an early lead which she never yielded, cruising to an easy win in heat 1in 10.87.English Gardner (Voorhees, New Jersey) had a fair start in the first semi but never appeared to get to her top speed, finishing sixth in 11.13 to miss the final. Jasmine Todd (Chandler, Arizona) was never in contention in the final heat, placing eighth in 11.21.
Men’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase - Final
A slow early pace kept the field packed closely for the first kilometer, with Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya leading in 2:49.50 and American record holder Evan Jager (Algonquin, Illinois) hanging close to the front. Jager and Donn Cabral (Glastonbury, Connecticut) kept pace over the next kilometer, with Daniel Huling (North Kingstown, Rhode Island) also in striking distance as Kipruto again passed the split first in 5:36.77. Going into the final lap Jager appeared to be in great position to contend for the win, but four Kenyans burst down the back straight, and Jager could not respond. Heading down the final stretch, Huling overtook Jager to finish fifth in 8:14.39, with Jager just behind in fifth (8:15.47) and Cabral 10th in 8:24.94. It was the first time since 1987 that the U.S. had two men finish in the top six in the steeplechase.
Tate, Little advance to final in debut appearances in 400m hurdles
Cassandra Tate (Loranger, Louisiana) ran a controlled but quick first 200m in the first semifinal and was in the top three coming into the last turn. Hurdling well around the bend she gained ground over the final hurdles and ran away to win in 54.33. Shamier Little (Chicago) was stuck in lane two in the second semi and made the best she could of it. Down the backstretch she was in third with some ground to make up, and she kept that position over the last half of the race to take third in 54.86, securing the final time qualifier spot. Kori Carter (Claremont, California) had trouble over the second hurdle and fell over the third and did not finish the third semi.
Defending champ Merritt continues title defense in men’s 400
LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Virginia) showed his experience a confident run in the third semifinal to advance to a title defense in the 400. Merritt stayed with South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk through the first 300 and then watched the in-stadium video screen down the final straight to ensure his spot in the final as he was second in a season-best 44.34 to automatically advance. David Verburg (Lynchburg, Virginia) and Vernon Norwood (New Orleans, Louisiana) were part of a loaded first semifinal. Verburg stayed in the top four coming off the curve and pushed hard to finish third in 44.71, while Norwood was sixth in 45.07. Neither advanced to the final. Bryshon Nellum (Los Angeles) was chasing world-leading Isaac Makwala in the second semi and was fourth at the midway point. He lost one place on the run in to finish fifth in 44.77 and did not advance.
Kendricks ninth in MPV
Another young athlete competing at his first World Championships, USATF champion Sam Kendricks (Oxford, Mississippi) had second-attempt clearances at both 5.50m/18-0.50 and 5.65m/18-6.50 before missing all three attempts at 5.80m/19-0.25. Kendricks finished tied for ninth at 5.65m/18-6.50.
Men’s Javelin Throw - Qualification
All three Americans saved their best for last in men’s javelin throw qualifying, but it was not enough to advance to the finals. Riley Dolezal (Stanley, North Dakota) was the top American in the qualifying round with his mark of 77.64m/254-9, finishing 11th in his group and 24th overall. Sean Furey (Methuen, Massachusetts) was 15th in his flight and 29th overall with his 75.01m/246-1, while NCAA champion Sam Crouser (Gresham, Oregon) was 15th in his flight and 31st overall with his best throw of 73.88m/242-5.