Prefontaine Classic: Schweizer, Klecker qualify in 10K for World Championships

·4 min read

The 2022 Prefontaine Classic began Friday night with the men's and women's 10,000-meter race, a qualifying event for July's World Athletics Championships.

Both races were close but were won in entirely different ways.

Karissa Schweizer won the women's 10,000 meters with a time of 30:49.56. Alicia Monson and Natosha Rogers came in second and third.

Joe Klecker was the winner in the men's 10,000 meters as he registered a time of 28:28.71. Grant Fisher and Sean McGorty followed to finish second and third.

The top three finishers in each race all qualified for the World Athletics Championships being held at Hayward Field in July.

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Schweizer runs 'great last lap' to capture women's 10,000 meters

In the women's race, Weini Kelati Frezghi was in the lead to begin the 10,000 meters.

But after 10 laps, Monson and Schweizer separated themselves from the rest of the runners.

The two competed until the end when Schweizer, who had Achilles surgery in October and just returned to competition last month, took the lead for good as she recorded a time of 30:49.56, which was close to her personal best of 30:47.99.

Karissa Schweizer, left, Alicia Monson and Natosha Rogers gather after their finish in the women’s 10,000 meters at Prefontaine Classic Friday, May 27, 2022.
Karissa Schweizer, left, Alicia Monson and Natosha Rogers gather after their finish in the women’s 10,000 meters at Prefontaine Classic Friday, May 27, 2022.

Schweizer, who runs with Portland's Bowerman Track Club, says it's relaxing knowing that she not only finished in the top three in the 10,000 meters, but she won't have to travel far for the World Athletic Championships in July.

"It is nice to have that done with and focus on training," Schweizer said. "To come back for the 5K and to be able to make another team in July.

"Just coming back to home field kind of and being in Oregon, it is just going to be really exciting to have a real chance on U.S. soil."

In July, joining Schweizer in the World Athletic Championships will be Monson, as she finished with a time of 30:51.09, which was a personal best for her in the 10,000 meters.

Karissa Schweizer crosses the finish line to win the women's 10,000 meters at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic Friday, May 27, 2022, at Hayward Field.
Karissa Schweizer crosses the finish line to win the women's 10,000 meters at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic Friday, May 27, 2022, at Hayward Field.

Monson said it was great to have a much better result than the last time she participated in a race in Eugene.

Last year, Monson participated in the Olympic Trials in Eugene. She raced on a day when the temperatures were near record highs and she struggled to finish the race. After finishing third in the 10,000 meters, Monson later ended up in the hospital with what she categorized as a heat stroke.

"I was just trying to make it an honest race," Monson said. "I knew Karissa was sticking to my shoulder; it would come down to us in the finish.

"She had a great last lap, so at the end of the day, we had a great race. I've been waiting to get a PR, so that was pretty cool."

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Klecker's race plan leads to success

Joe Klecker, right, edges out Grant Fisher to win the men’s 10,000 meters at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic Friday, May 27, 2022, at Hayward Field. In the background, Emmanuel Bor falls and misses capturing third place, which went to Sean McGorty.
Joe Klecker, right, edges out Grant Fisher to win the men’s 10,000 meters at the 2022 Prefontaine Classic Friday, May 27, 2022, at Hayward Field. In the background, Emmanuel Bor falls and misses capturing third place, which went to Sean McGorty.

While the women's 10,000 meters was a two-person race, the men's was much closer as it came down to the final lap. After everyone remained at the same pace, Klecker opened up a lead as he made a last-lap surge to hold off Fisher and McGorty for the victory.

Emmanuel Bor appeared to have one of the three guaranteed spots for the world championships in July, but he fell before the finish line. That allowed McGorty to finish third in the race. Bor finished eighth.

After finishing 16th in the 10,000 at the Summer Olympic Games, Klecker said he had a strategy going into Friday night, which was the key to his victory.

"My race plan going in was to be engaged during the entire race and be engaged with what's happening up front," Klecker said. "After Tokyo, I was pretty upset with how I raced, so going into races this year, I want to be engaged with what's happening up front and not let anyone run away.

"I really didn't have an expectation of what the race was going to be, it was just paying attention to what was going on and don't let anyone get by you."

Contact Register-Guard sportswriter Antwan Staley at astaley@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Prefontaine Classic's 10,000 winners qualify for World Athletics Championships