Winning points for her team was a top priority.
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NEW YORK — After a long discussion between USA Track & Field officials, Rose Wetzel was awarded the 5000m title here at the USA National Club Championships presented by the New York Road Runners, the end to what was a thrilling discipline. After winning the 800m title less than 24 hours before, Wetzel took to the blue Icahn Stadium track hoping to score another ten points for Club Northwest. That she did, but it took a disqualification of another athlete, Rolanda Bell of Central Park Track Club New Balance, to do so.
“It’s fun to win but it’s more important to get points for the team,” said Wetzel, still trying to catch her breath. With the win, she retains her 2012 title.
In the opening laps of the women’s 5000m, it was Bell and New Balance Boston’s Karen Roa breaking away from the field before hitting the kilometer point. Trading the lead back and forth, it looked as if it would be a two-woman race for the next two miles.
Choosing to run conservatively behind through the opening half, Wetzel — at one point more than 10 seconds back — gradually worked her way up to Bell and Roa, finding herself along their shoulders with four laps to go.
“The last couple years in the 5000m I went out slower and kicked in at the end,” said Wetzel. “I let them go thinking I can tactically catch up with them.”
Surging down the backstretch with 300 meters remaining was Bell, trying to shake the tough Wetzel. Instead of succumbing to the move, Wetzel injected a burst of her own with a straightaway to go. The move forced Bell to block her into lane three.
The block worked, and Bell went on to cross the finish first by a step. But, after much discussion and review of the race video, officials decided that Bell interfered with Wetzel’s progress, thus disqualifying her.
“I tried to work the same magic as yesterday,” said Wetzel, referencing her finishing kick from Saturday that helped her win the 800m. “She really kicked in hard; we finished in a 66 [second lap] after starting out with 85’s.
“I feel bad for her being disqualified,” said Wetzel, acknowledging that Bell beat her to the line. “It’s a bittersweet win.”
Wetzel wasn’t done for the day, though. In the afternoon, she anchored Club Northwest to the distance medley relay crown and runner-up finishes in the 4x400m, 4x800m and sprint medley relays.
“She’s Wonder Woman, she really is,” said teammate Jordan Carlson. In total, Wetzel helped score 54 points between individual and relay events.
Despite missing out on the women’s 5000m win, Central Park Track Club New Balance did take the men’s title, as Carlos Jamieson, Jr. won in 15:03.73. After taking the lead at the sound of the bell, Jamieson, Jr. held off a hard charge by Kenneth Goglas in the final meters to secure the win.
“I felt it was just right to go at that point, make it a little longer drive than just 200m,” said Jameison, who finished fifth in yesterday’s 1500m.
Central Park Track Club New Balance won the women’s 4x800m relay, while Garden State Track Club took both the men’s 4x800m and distance medley relay titles.