Wardrobe not the only thing changing for Messner

G. Sean Kelly
GSPI Sports Editor

Carrie Messner got fitted for a new track uniform Sunday. Not just any uniform, but one emblazoned with the letters “USA.”

The Carbondale resident bettered her previous personal best by eight seconds to take third place in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. track and field championships Sunday in Carson, Calif. With the finish, Messner will represent the United States at the world championships Aug. 6-14 in Helsinki, Finland.

“It feels pretty friggin’ great. Good stuff,” said Messner, who pointed out this will be the first year for the women’s steeplechase at the world championships.

“I felt really good about my capabilities,” said Messner of her mood at the starting line. “I’ve worked hard, been running for 15 years and know how fit I am. You know when you’re ready to run and to run well.”

The top four finishers were separated by just over six seconds.

Elizabeth Jackson won the event with a time of 9 minutes, 39.78 seconds, followed by Lisa Galaviz in 9:40.58 and Messner in 9:41.37.

“I knew I wanted to get out and hang,” Messner said. “I sat in fourth probably through five laps, and from there started to push a little bit into third. With about 11⁄2 laps to go I started to push up and was neck-and-neck with Liz, but I didn’t quite have the drive over the last water pit.

“Then my friend Lisa just blew right by me with about 50 meters to go. I was so happy because I knew I was on the team, so I wasn’t really stressed about it.”

Messner was primarily a 1,500-meter runner until about two years ago when she decided to try the steeple.

Sunday was just her 12th race. She also took third at the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer.

Messner plans to return to Carbondale and continue training ” on her homemade steeple ” for a few weeks before heading to Finland for her first world championships.

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