Henry Lelei of Texas A&M claimed the men’s 5000 meter win at the USC Trojan Invitational on Friday evening in a time of 13:50.03.
Lelei, the ninth place finisher at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, took the lead at the 3000 meter mark after rabbit John Carley dropped out but did not made his move until 600 meters left in the race. He proceeded to pull away for a nine second win.
Runner-up Steve Murdock finished in 13:59.30, the first sub-14 minute performance of his career. Murdock is a Syracuse graduate who is now competing for the adidas Movin Shoes club based in San Diego.
Forest Braden, the head cross country coach at UCLA, competed unattached and finished third in 13:59.46.
San Diego native Molly Grabill of Oregon made her return to racing in Southern California, running 16:40.08 to win the women’s 5000 meters.
Katja Goldring of UCLA was second in 16:50.59.
USC’s Zsofia Erdelyi pulled away from Alexandra Leptich of Michigan in the late stretches of the race to win the women’s 3000 meters in 9:36.21.
Erdelyi will represent her native Hungary at this summer’s London Olympics on the basis of her 2:36:57 marathon achieved in January at the Houston Marathon.
The action on the track kicks back off on Sunday at 9:30 am. Find live results from the meet here.