Andy Bayer, Indiana University, Leo, 1,500 meters (qualifying Thursday)
Alissa McKaig, Indiana Tech, Concordia, 5,000 meters (failed to qualify Monday)
Lauren Johnson, Huntington University, Huntington North, 1,500 meters (qualifying Thursday)
EUGENE, Ore. — Eventually, no matter how good you are, all that racing has to catch up with you.
Concordia graduate Alissa McKaig has put in a lot of miles this year – well, for several years – in her quest for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team.
That quest ended – at least for 2012 – with an 11th place finish Monday in her 5,000-meter semifinal at the Olympic Trials in Eugene.
She clocked 16 minutes, 3.9 seconds, far off her best. But following an 11th place finish in the women’s 10,000-meter final on Friday, and an all-out effort to take eighth in the marathon trials in January, you have to wonder just how much could be left in her legs.
“It takes more out of you mentally, than physically,” said McKaig, who needed to place among the top six for an automatic trip to Thursday’s final. “I took a good chunk of time off after the marathon, but it did take a little bit longer than I anticipated to come back.”
Notre Dame grad and American record holder Molly Huddle controlled the pace from the start, though she didn’t really break the race open until two laps remained. McKaig, who ran with the leaders through the first 10 laps, was unable to hang on over the final 2 1/2 .
“My legs were pretty heavy today from (the 10K race) Friday,” she said. “I just didn’t have another gear to go.”
McKaig felt she had a better chance to make the U.S. team in the 10,000, so she knew Monday’s race was a long shot. “I’m actually more disappointed with what happened Friday,” she said. “I just thought I would be farther up.”
Perspective is all-important, and afterward, McKaig was keeping her relative youth in mind.
“I’ll be back four years from now,” she said. “And next year, there’s the World Championships. Making that team will be my next goal.
“You can’t downplay the effect of racing at (the University of Oregon’s) Hayward Field,” McKaig said. “And I think the marathon made me stronger.
“This is all going to help in the long run.”
Olympic teams were decided Monday in the women’s 800-meter run, where Alysia Montano finished first in 1:59.08 and in the men’s 800, where Nick Symmonds defended his title.
Sam Humphreys of Texas A&M won the men’s javelin, Jamie Nieto cleared 7-5 3/4 to win the high jump, and Amanda Smock leapt 45-9 to claim the women’s triple jump.