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Teamwork Results in an American Record for Karissa Schweizer

The Bowerman Track Club was on a mission to set a national record for 3,000 meters. They all came in under the mark, but the winner was a surprise.

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Karissa Schweizer delivered a shock on Thursday night at the Boston University Last Chance Invitational by out-kicking Bowerman Track Club teammate Shelby Houlihan in the 3,000 meters to set an American record of 8:25.70.

The previous indoor record for the distance was 8:33.25, set in 2007 by former BTC athlete and current coach Shalane Flanagan. Schweizer’s time also eclipsed Mary Slaney’s 35-year-old outdoor 3,000-meter record of 8:25.83. Schweizer is now the fifth-fastest woman in history for the indoor event. Genzebe Dibaba’s world indoor record is 8:16.60.

The 23-year-old’s previous personal best in the 3,000 meters was 8:41.60, set two years ago at the Millrose Games.

Houlihan and Colleen Quigley, an Olympic steeplechaser, also ran under Flanagan’s standard in 8:26.66 and 8:26.71, respectively.

Kate Grace, a 2016 Olympian, paced her three BTC teammates through the 1600-meter split in 4:31 and the 2K in just over 5:40, which is 8:30 pace. As Grace backed off the gas, Houlihan led Schweizer and a slightly slowing Quigley with metronome-like precision to keep the record within sight.

But with three laps to go, Schweizer charged to the lead and attempted to run the wheels off Houlihan, one of the top 1500-meter runners in the world. Houlihan launched her signature kick at the bell lap, but Schweizer was able to go wide on the final curve and blast past her teammate in the home straight thanks to a 31.58 closing lap. Houlihan’s closing 200 meters was 32.53.

Schweizer joined the Bowerman group in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri, where she was a six-time individual NCAA champion across cross country and track and field. Houlihan, 27, is a 2016 Olympian in the 5,000 meters and owns the American record for 1500 meters (3:54.99) and 5,000 meters (14:34.45).

On Thursday, the women’s invitational 5,000 meters also produced impressive performances, as the top three finishers all ran under 15 minutes. Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany won the race in 14:30.79, a new European record that makes her the fourth-fastest woman indoors in world history.

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Behind her, BTC’s Vanessa Fraser finished in 14:48.51, which is just one second off Flanagan’s American indoor record. The 24-year-old, whose previous best was 15:07.58, is now the second-fastest woman in U.S. indoor history and ninth-fastest in world indoor history.

In her post-hip surgery comeback, Emily Infeld ran 14:51.91, which ranks No. 3 all-time for U.S. indoor women. Courtney Frerichs and Gwen Jorgensen clocked big personal records of 15:02.91 and 15:10.98, respectively.