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Saturday, June 28, 2014
Lagat continues dominance at U.S. outdoors

By Christopher Chavez

Bernard Lagat
Bernard Lagat now has seven national titles at 5,000 meters.
The U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships continued at Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State on Friday, with several national titles awarded and plenty of noteworthy accomplishments.

Best male performance: Bernard Lagat captured his seventh U.S. title at 5,000 meters. The 39-year-old closed in 54.76 seconds for his final 400 meters and took the title with an overall time of 13:31.41.

Lagat, who passed Andrew Bumbalough of the Bowerman Track Club with 100 remaining, is coming off an indoor season in which he captured a silver medal at 3,000 meters distance at the IAAF World Championships. He will turn 40 in December.

Best female performance: American record holder Molly Huddle out-kicked Shannon Rowbury to win her second U.S. national title at the 5,000 meters in 15:01.56. Huddle led the majority of the race, but had to hold off several attempts by Rowbury to pass her in the final 50 meters.

Most surprising moment: Camas (Wash.) High School junior Alexa Efraimson knew only the top four finishers in her section of the women’s 1,500-meter semifinal would advance to the next round. Halfway through the race Efraimson ran on the heels of world championship finalists Jenny Simpson and Mary Cain. The teenager would finish seventh in her section and fail to advance, but her race tactics will serve her well as she competes at the U.S. Junior Championships for a chance to represent America in the IAAF World Junior Championships.

Comeback stories
Trey Hardee won the decathlon with a world-leading total of 8,599 points. Hardee scored 8,518 earlier in the year at the Hypomeeting in Götzis, Austria.

Sanya Richard-Ross continues her comeback season after a toe injury sidelined her for a majority of 2013. Her 50.03 in the 400-meter semifinals matches a world-leading time. It is her fastest race since the Stockholm Diamond League Meeting after the Olympics, where she ran 49.89 seconds for the one-lap race.

Scratches yield new champions
Michael Rodgers has yet to run under 10-seconds in the the 100-meter dash in 2014, but his time of 10.09 was enough to claim the title in Sacramento. Justin Gatlin and Baylor freshman Trayvon Brommell are the two fastest 100-meter runners this year, but they opted not to compete this weekend, and Dentarius Locke pulled up with an injury in the semifinals.

Olympian Ryan Bailey took second behind Rodgers in 10.23. Rodgers will face stiffer competition as he takes on Gatlin and Tyson Gay, returning from a doping suspension, at the Lausanne Diamond League meet next week.

On the women's side, defending national champion English Gardner did not react well out of the starting blocks in the 100 meters, but Tianna Bartoletta took off quickly and captured the title in 11.15.

Bartoletta was fourth at the 2012 Olympics and dabbled in bobsled before refocusing on track. She capitalized Friday on the withdrawal of Olympic champion Allyson Felix and Tori Bowe, the fastest American woman in 2014