David McNeill looks poised to fill the final 5000m spot on the Australian Olympic team after recording an A-qualifier at the Mt SAC Relays in Walnut, California.
McNeill slashed six seconds off his personal best to move to eighth on the Australian all-time list with a run of 13:19.31. The 25-year-old was involved in a sprint finish for line honours, with Cameron Levins (13:18.47) and Lawi Lalang (13:18.88) prevailing ahead of him.
McNeill was astonished with his performance in the race, which he was using as a preparation for racing over 10000m at next week’s Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford.
“I just can’t believe that,” he told FloTrack following the race.
“A month ago I ran 14:40… It’s just a shock.”
Craig Mottram and Collis Birmingham have already been nominated to the Australian Olympic committee for selection in the 5000m, with McNeill the only other Australian under the 13:20.00 A-qualifying standard during the selection window.
Eloise Wellings finished second in the women’s 5000m in 15:20.67 – narrowly outside the A-qualifying standard of 15:20.00 – but the performance will likely be enough to demonstrate her form and secure selection in the 10000m, for which she obtained an A-qualifier last year.
National champion Emily Brichacek was tenth, in a new personal best of 15:31.65. In another race, Lara Tamsett finished fourth in 15:47.90.
Also in action were Jordan Williamsz (1500m, 3:41.93), Bridey Delaney (Mile, 4:34.14; 4:14.91 through 1500m) and Heidi Gregson (1500m, 4:21.55).