Eric & Andrew Punch Tickets to Olympic Trials

With their backs against the wall Eric van der Els and Andrew Colley delivered huge performances over 5,000m in Portland Sunday night. 

On the last day to qualify for the Olympic Track & Field Trials, Eric ran a 10 second personal best of 13:21 to break the ZAP record and secure an automatic qualifying spot. A mere 2 seconds behind him Andrew Colley was rewarded with an automatic qualifying time and 12 second personal best for his push to the front of the chase pack over the final mile of the race.

After going through 2 miles on 13:34 pace Andrew ripped off laps of 1:03, 1:04, 1:04, 1:02 to pull the group back to within sub-13:25 contention heading into the bell. Eric followed Andrew’s move and blitzed a 58 second final 400m (3:04 final 1200m) to finish 4th place, just .01 out of podium position. Andrew finished in 59 seconds to dip under the qualifying standard by less than 2 seconds.

The race broke apart early with a pace setter schedule to run at the Olympic qualifying mark of 13:05. 4 athletes went with the pace and a large chase pack developed quickly. After coming through the mile in 4:21 and slowing, Ryan Ford made a bold move to take on the pace and pull the group back into rhythm, breaking the breezy air for the field and his teammates.

Ryan held the lead of the chase group for the entire middle mile, and would pay a steep price for setting the pace. He would drop out shortly after Andrew went to the front to pull things forward after 2 miles.

Thanks to final miles of 4:09 and 4:11, Eric and Andrew will join Ryan and Amanda Vestri at the Olympic Trials in 2 weeks time. Based on current entires it appears Andrew is also secured a spot in the 10k field alongside Ryan on the opening day of the Trials – Friday evening, June 21. He will come back later the following week to join Eric in the 5k. 

Earlier in the day, Dan Schaffer concluded his 2024 track campaign with a valiant effort in the men’s 1500m, walking away with a 3:43 finishing time, short of the 3:37 qualifying mark for the Trials.

We will have a full Olympic Trials preview next week. But for now, you can view the full results of Sunday’s race here. And you can watch a full replay of last night’s race below.