Only 0.44 seconds separated Algonquin native Evan Jager from his American steeplechase record time. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist won the steeplechase at the International Association of Athletics Federations’ Diamond League event Friday in Monaco.
Jager beat second-place finisher Jairus Kipchoge Birech of Kenya by six seconds.
Jager’s 8:01.29 time Friday almost matched his American record of 8:00.45, which he set at a Diamond League event in 2015 in Paris. Jager now holds nine of the top 10 all-time American steeplechase times.
American Stanley Kebenei finished sixth in the race at 8:08.30. Kebenei’s time snuck in as the ninth-best American time ever – the only top 10 time not owned by Jager.
Jager, a 2007 Jacobs graduate, has been in Europe since winning the U.S. steeplechase title June 25. He is gearing up for the IAAF World Championships in August in London.
"We are keeping our options open for the best possible tactical plan for the worlds," Jager said in an Associated Press report. "But one thing is clear: I'm going for gold."
The Diamond League was Jager’s first competitive event since the U.S. championships.
The event was his first since hacked IAAF documents surfaced listing Jager among a number of athletes as “likely doping.” After the release of those documents, Jager denied ever taking banned substances.