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Huddle, Torrence kick to victory at USATF 5 km Championships

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – Olympian Molly Huddle and David Torrence kicked to victory Sunday morning at the USATF 5 km Championships in Providence, Rhode Island, hosted by the CVS Downtown 5k.
The USATF 5 km Championships are the ninth stop on the 2015 USATF Running Circuit. The top 15 finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the 2015 .US National 12K, which takes place Nov. 15 in Alexandria, Virginia.
As the gun sounded, three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein (Belmont, Michigan) shot to the lead of the men’s race, determined to set a fast pace with hopes of taking the kick out of some of his faster competitors. Through the first mile, Ritzenhein led a large pack of runners at 4:30, as a number of top competitors were still in contention.
Throughout the second mile, Ritzenhein continued to push the pace, as the men’s pack started to thin out. Ritzenhein led Torrence (Malibu, California), Daniel Huling (Portland) and Sam Chelanga (Tucson, Arizona) at the front, coming through the second mile in 8:55.
As the final few turns of the race approached, Chelanga started to drop off the back, leaving Ritzenehin, Torrence and Huilng to fight to the finish. All three tried valiantly to pull away from the others, but it was Torrence putting in one final surge with less than a quarter mile to go, pulling away to victory in 13:56. Huling finished second in 13:59, while Ritzenhein placed third in 14:03.
Chelanga held off Jason Witt (Lake Oregon, Oregon) for fourth in 14:07, while Witt ran a tremendous race to finish fifth in 14:12.
Rounding out the rest of the men’s top ten, 2014 USATF Marathon champion Tyler Pennel (Blowing Rock, N.C.) ran to a sixth place finish in 14:14, while Paul Chelimo placed seventh in 14:19, just ahead of eighth place German Fernandez (Portland) in 14:20. Reed Connor placed ninth in 14:21, while defending champion Diego Estrada (Flagstaff, Arizona) ran to a 10-place finish in 14:22.
While the men ran as a large pack for much of the first two miles, it was Huddle and fellow Olympian Shalane Flanagan (Portland) pushing the pace early and dropping most of the field by the half way point. Huddle led the early pack through the first mile in 4:50, while running a nearly identical split for mile two.
As Huddle and Flanagan pulled away, Gabriele Grunewald (Minneapolis) and Emily Sisson (Providence, R.I.) fought it out for third, while Olympian Kim Conley (Sacramento, California) battled to try and break into the top five.
Huddle and Flanagan ran stride for stride much of the final two miles, but it was with a half mile to go that Huddle, the three-time defending USATF 5 km champion, who used her knowledge of the course to put a surge on Flanagan and sprint home to the finish, a move Flanagan ultimately could not cover.
Into the final home stretch, Huddle used the energy of her hometown crowd to push her across the finish, winning her fourth consecutive title, this time in 15:12.0. Flanagan hung on gamely, finishing second in 15:17. Sisson broke away from Grunewald late to take home a strong third place finish in 15:48, while Grunewald and Conley finished fourth and fifth respectively in 15:55 and 15:58.
Rounding out the top ten, Rachel Ward (Charlottesville, Virginia)
ran well over the final mile to finish sixth in 16:03, while Elaina Balouris (Brighton, Massachusetts) edged Lauren Paquette (Memphis, Tennessee) for seventh, as both finished in 16:07. Sarah Pagano (Brighton, Massachusetts) placed ninth in 16:15, while Mara Olson (Boulder, Colorado) ran to a tenth place finish in 16:22.
About the USATF Running Circuit
The USATF Running Circuit is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USATF championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money. A total of $30,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 5 km Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race and the top 15 finishers qualify for the .US National 12K. For the USATF 5 km Championships, scoring is set as 15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, with those earning the most points receiving prize money at the end of the series.
The mission of the USATF Running Circuit is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USATF Running Circuit and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush

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