Olympics: Evan Jager advances to steeplechase finals
From Staff Reports August 3, 2012 10:08AM
Jacobs graduate Evan Jager and and France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad compete in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase heats Friday at the London Olympics. | Olivier Morin~Getty Images
Updated: August 5, 2012 8:08PM
Jacobs High School graduate Evan Jager passed his first test at the London 2012 Summer Olympics on Friday by finishing second in his preliminary heat in the opening round of the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The second-place finish means Jager advances to compete in Sunday’s finals, which are scheduled to begin at 3:25 p.m. Chicago time.
Jager finished his heat in 8:16.61, which was good for second behind France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who finished in 8:16.23. Mekhissi-Benabbad and Jager posted the two fastest times among the three heats.
The top four finishers from each of Friday’s three heats plus the next three fastest times qualified for Sunday’s finals. Jager will be joined in the finals by fellow American Don Cabral, who took fourth in his heat.
A trio of Kenyans — Abel Kiprop Mutai, Brimin Kiprop Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi — are considered the favorites going into Sunday’s final, but Jager can’t be counted out from earning a spot on the medal stand after setting the American record in the steeplechase last month in Monaco at the IAAF Track and Field Diamond League Meet with a time of 8:06.81.
Jager, from Algonquin, began competing in the steeplechase this past April after moving over from other distance events. While at Jacobs High, Jager became one of the most decorated distance runners in state history, earning five state track medals and three state cross country medals.
Jager, 23, now lives in Portland, Ore., where he runs professionally with the Oregon Track Club.