Buchanan High grad Kyle Alcorn qualifies for Olympics in steeplechase
Soon after crossing the finish line at Thursday’s U.S. Olympic trials, Kyle Alcorn collapsed.
There would be no immediate celebration for the former Buchanan High star and Arizona State All-American.
Alcorn had spent the final 300 meters of the 3,000-meter steeplechase chasing after a couple of other runners while also trying to distance himself from the rest of the field.
“My legs were toast,” Alcorn said. “I literally gave it my best and all I had out there.”
Turns out, Alcorn’s best was just enough to make the Olympics next month in London.
Alcorn secured the final spot on the U.S. team in the event after taking third in the final, clocking out in 8 minutes, 22.17 seconds in Eugene, Ore.
Evan Jager won in 8:17.40 and runner-up Donald Cabral crossed in 8:19.81. Only the top three qualified for next month’s London Games.
Alcorn held off Daniel Huling after the two got caught up in a heated battle for third over the final 400 meters.
“You get down to the end and you realize there’s four guys left in the pack and one of you is not going to make the team — it’ll motivate you to keep pushing like you’ve never been motivated,” Alcorn said when reached on his cell phone. “There was a lot of battling. It was an energy-packed race. I was exhausted.
“But obviously, it was worth it. It’s something I can carry with me the rest of my life, saying I’m an Olympian.”
Alcorn never led and actually ran the first few laps in about ninth place. But with 2-1/2 laps remaining, Alcorn made his move to join the top five and there were only four in the front pack on the final lap. He said his legs started burning during the final two laps, and he also landed a little awkwardly and his legs felt wobbly on the final water jump.
But his usual strong closing kick came into play down the stretch. Huling tailed off to finish seventh in 8:30.76. Donald Cowart was fourth in 8:27.49.
“I couldn’t be happier to be part of this Olympic team,” said Alcorn, who was able to celebrate the moment with his wife and 4-month-old son, his parents, Buchanan track coaches Brian Weaver and Marty Simpson, Clovis Unified administrator Carlo Prandini and former Fresno State coach Red Estes in attendance.
“I fought hard to get this. I feel really proud to represent Fresno and Clovis in the Olympics.”
Felix, Tarmoh easily win 200-meter heats
Looking so smooth and exerting little effort, Allyson Felix glided to an easy heat win in the 200 meters.
Minutes later, as smooth and expending just as little energy, Jeneba Tarmoh won her heat on a drizzly Thursday night.
If controversy was weighing them down, they didn’t show it on the track.
Five days ago, the training partners crossed the finish in a tie for the third and last Olympic spot in the 100.
Now, everyone is waiting to see what they will choose to break the dead heat — a runoff, coin flip or if one of them simply gives the spot to the other.
After the race, Felix and Tarmoh might have gotten more of a workout than they did on the track — as they tried to make it through the media without saying a word.
First was Felix, who followed her coach, Bobby Kersee, through the corral and into the restricted area reserved for athletes. The only thing she muttered on her way out was a simple “after the final” comment.
Kersee, who also coaches Tarmoh, doubled back around and met up with Tarmoh, escorting her through the same circus. Tarmoh apologized on her walk, politely declining interview requests with a “No, I’m sorry.”
Felix and Tarmoh have said they won’t announce any sort of decision on the 100 until after Saturday’s final.
In a thrilling finish to end the night, Galen Rupp held off Bernard Lagat in the 5,000 final. Rupp also won the 10,000 last week.
Julie Culley (women’s 5,000), Lance Brooks (discus) and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Brad Walker (pole vault) also won.
Felix looked stylish in her black two-piece suit with neon green trim. She looked just as stylish blasting out of the blocks and finishing in 22.82 seconds.
Tarmoh also couldn’t be caught, clocking in at 22.90.
The 100-meter flap seemed hardly a concern.
USA Track and Field was caught off guard by the third-place tie and had no protocol in place.
The organization had to make one up in a hurry, resulting in all sorts of criticism.
The 200, though has long been Felix’s specialty, with Olympic silver medals in 2004 and ’08. She’s said that if she doesn’t get a gold, it will be a “failure.”
- Ethan DeJongh (Fresno Pacific) placed 15th in the triple jump prelims at 52-9.5. The top 12 advanced to the finals.
By Bryant-Jon Anteola / The Fresno Bee