Athletics News

On Track Fest Women — Andrews Back Under 15:00

On Track Fest Women — Andrews Back Under 15:00

Josette Andrews came hunting for a 5K PR and bagged it by 8.06 seconds with a flying finish. (BILL LEUNG)

WALNUT, CALIFORNIA, May 06 — After running her first sub-4:00 in the 1500 and an inaugural sub-15:00 in the 5000 in a barrier-breaking ’21, Josette Andrews expected a stellar ’22. That didn’t happen.

That year began with great expectations — the Georgetown alum finishing 2nd at the USATF Indoor in the 1500 and then taking 5th at the World Indoor. But she couldn’t get close to cracking 4:00. In fact, her best race was a 4:19.7 road mile in July. She had one 5000 and that was at the USATF Outdoor, where she finished a distant 12th in 16:06.83.

Enter ’23. Running just a single indoor mile in February and claiming an outdoor 1500 victory at the Penn Relays, Andrews came to the Mt. SAC oval to attack the 5000 ready to pounce on anybody that was in her way at the On Track Fest.

Entering the race, there were 8 with PRs under 15:00, the most notable Americans being Emily Infeld, Elly Henes and Andrews. The field also included NC State’s Katelyn Tuohy, who had her eyes focused on Jenny Simpson’s Collegiate Record of 15:01.70.

The race began with pacing duties from Micaela DeGenero and Whittni Orton-Morgan. DeGenero led the field through 1600 in 4:43 before being relieved by Orton-Morgan, who led Jessica Judd, Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Andrews, Henes, Joselyn Brea, Infeld, Laura Galván, Tuohy and Edna Kurgat.

The pack dwindled to 7 through 3200 when Orton-Morgan stepped off the track, with the order now being Andrews, Henes, Brea, Infeld, Courtney-Bryant, Galván and Tuohy.

It was down to 5 with 2 laps to go with Andrews leading the way, followed by Brea, Galván, Infeld and Henes. Andrews increased her tempo from 71 to 68 for the penultimate lap, dropping Henes, but the others were still in contention at the bell.

It was really no contest after that, as Andrews opened up a huge lead and won going away, finishing her final lap in 64.42, clocking a world-leading 14:43.36 that moved her to No. 7 on the all-time U.S. list. Brea was 4-plus seconds back in a Venezuelan Record 14:47.76, followed by Galván (Mexican Record 14:49.34), Infeld (14:50.90 PR) and Henes (14:54.20).

Tuohy came home 7th in a PR 15:03.12 that rates as the No. 2 collegiate performance ever (and as the fastest ever outdoors).

Talking about her strategy in the post-race interview, Andrews said, “Dathan [Ritzenhein] said to wait until the last mile if I felt good. But…

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