September 21, 2019
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Mainers miss out on world championship berths

Charlie Neibergall | AP
Charlie Neibergall | AP
Donavan Brazier, right, celebrates as he wins the men's 800-meter run at the U.S. Championships athletics meet Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa. Two runners from Maine failed to qualify for the world championships scheduled for September in Qatar.

Bangor High School graduate Riley Masters and Ben True of North Yarmouth finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the men’s 5,000-meter final at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships on Sunday evening at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

Neither runner qualified for the upcoming world championships that begin in Doha, Qatar, in late September — in fact, none of the runners in the race finished under the world championship standard of 13:22.50.

Lopez Lomong, who last Thursday won the men’s 10,000-meter championship, outsprinted reigning Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo to win the 5,000 in 13:25.53, with Chelimo second in 13:25.80. Willie Kincaid finished third.

Those three runners raced out to a big early lead, completing the first mile in 4 minutes, 7 seconds. But Chelimo slowed the pace midway through the race, and that allowed the lead pack to grow to nine runners, including both Masters and True.

The two Maine natives ran side by side for several laps in sixth and seventh place before Masters followed True to the outside in a bid to challenge the leaders.

Masters, the former University of Maine and Oklahoma University standout who now lives in Boulder, Colorado, and runs professionally for Nike, moved up to fifth place briefly with two laps to go, but the top five runners eventually pulled away, with Masters finishing sixth in 13:31.39 and True seventh in 13:33.13.

Masters had finished fourth in this race a year ago at 13:30.23.

Isaiah Harris’ bid to return to the world championships also fell just short Sunday as the Lewiston High School graduate finished fourth in the men’s 800-meter final.

Harris led for the first 500 meters of the race before being passed by race winner Donovan Brazier, who pulled away to finish in 1 minute, 45.62 seconds.

Harris fell back to sixth place heading into the final corner, with a late surge leaving him in fourth place in 1:46.45 — but only the top three finishers qualified for the world championships.

Clayton Murphy finished second in the eight-man final with a time of 1:46.01, with Bryce Hoppel outlasting Harris for the final world championship team berth in 1:46.31.

Harris, the 2018 NCAA Division I 800-meter champion at Penn State who now runs professionally for Nike, finished second behind Brazier at the 2017 USATF championships to qualify for that year’s world championships in London.

He has been rounding into shape this year after being sidelined by a hip injury, and competed in his first pro race in the United States last month.

Harris won his first-round heat of the 800 at the nationals Thursday, then finished third in Friday’s semifinals to earn his berth in Sunday’s final.

Kate Hall of Casco narrowly failed to qualify for the finals of Saturday’s women’s long jump.

Hall, a former two-time NCAA Division I national champion at the University of Georgia and the reigning U.S. indoor champion, had a best effort of 21 feet, 6 inches, which was 1 ½ inches short of qualifying for the final.

“One of those tough days yesterday on the track, with big jumps from behind the board and [a] toe foul. Some tricky wind and great competition we came up short of our goal,” Hall’s coach, Chris Pribish, wrote in a Facebook post.


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