USA Track and Field Olympic Trials: Jacobs graduate Evan Jager takes 4th in 3,000 steeplechase

While outside top three, Jager still may make his third Olympics

Evan Jager did not finish in the top three of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at Sunday’s USA Track and Field Olympic Trials, but he still may have a shot at his third Olympic Games next month in Paris, France.

Jager, a 2007 Jacobs graduate, finished fourth at Oregon’s Hayward Field, which normally would mean he did not make Team USA for the Olymics. However, none of the USA runners have run the 8:15.00 Olympic-qualifying standard this season, so the world rankings could decide who goes.

Because of this, Jager, 35 and ranked 46th in the World, may make the team over third-place finisher James Corrigan, who is ranked outside the top 100.

Kenneth Rooks won the men’s steeplechase in 8:21.92, followed by Matthew Wilkinson in 8:23.00 and James Corrigan in 8:26.78. Jager was next in 8:28.73. Rooks (24th) and Wilkinson (36th) will be on the team.

The track and field website had a post on X that read: “Jager finishes fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials steeplechase in 8:28.73, but with third-placer James Corrigan outside the ranking quota, Jager is currently in line to represent Team USA in his third Olympic Games.”

The Paris Olympic Games run from July 26 through August 11. Jager, the fastest steeplechaser in American history, finished sixth in the 2012 London Olympics and was silver medalist in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Many of the younger runners in the steeplechase likely were inspired to take up that race because of Jager, who has the eight fastest steeplechase times in American history. He missed the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 with an injury, finished sixth in the 2022 World Track and Field Championships, then missed the Worlds last year because a foot stress fracture had not healed in time for him to qualify at the USA World Trials.

Jager’s kick in the final 200 meters may prove vital to him making Team USA again. In the final 200 meters, he passed three runners, and while he could not catch Corrigan for third, his fourth place may prove to be good enough.

Jager ran for one year at Wisconsin after graduating from Jacobs, then joined former Badgers cross country and distance coach Jerry Schumacher and turned professional for Nike. Jager ran out of Portland for most of his career and competes with Bowerman Track Club, still under Schumacher’s tutelage.

In 2011, Jager started to become known when he began running the steeplechase, a grueling event with four barriers and one water jump in each of the seven laps. It was an event for which he was perfectly suited and he made it to London the next year.

Jager owns the eight fastest steeplechase times ever by an American.

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