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Track and field: Elise Cranny secures finals spot in 5,000m at Tokyo Olympics

Cranny finishes second among Americans at 14:56.14

USA's Rachel Schneider (L) and USA's Elise Cranny react after competing in the women's 5000m heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
USA’s Rachel Schneider (L) and USA’s Elise Cranny react after competing in the women’s 5000m heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
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Elise Cranny, the supernova distance runner from Niwot, punched her ticket in the 5,000-meter finals at the Tokyo Olympics Friday.

Evening time over in Tokyo, the area’s long-mileage juggernaut climbed into the front pack of her heat midway through the race at around 4:30 a.m. local time, then pushed the leaders with her traditional late-race kick to finish fourth.

Cranny, who attended Stanford after high school before joining the professional team of Bowerman Track Club, made a nice push with two laps to go and soared down the final stretch to finish in 14 minutes and 56.14 seconds.

The top time in the opening round came in the heat before, with Netherland’s Sifan Hassan going 14:47.89. Cranny’s time was 13th-best overall.

Next up, Cranny will be joined in the 15-runner 5,000-meter final by American and club teammate Karissa Schweizer, who secured a spot in 14:51.34. That race is expected to go Monday at 9:40 p.m. Tokyo time, 6:40 a.m. local.

So no, there’s not much time to soak it in.

Even so, Cranny’s latest finish crossed off another remarkable accolade for the 25-year-old in the running world.

Last month, she won the U.S. Olympic Trials in mid-90-degree temperatures in Eugene, Oregon.

Before that, she won a pair of Class 4A cross country titles, using her well-known kick to rally past former Air Academy standout Katie Rainsberger in 2012, and won it going away in 2013. From there, she won six individual track titles — outkicking Rainsberger again in the 2013 4A 800 — and set the third-fastest run by a high school female in the 1,500 meters (4:10.95) and the fifth-fastest indoor mile (4:40.62).

At Stanford, she was a 12-time All-American and had four runner-up finishes at the NCAA track and field championships.

Among all-time best personal times, per her Bowerman TC bio, include a 4:02.62 in the 1,500 (2021), a 4:34.48 in the mile (2018) and a 14:48.02 in the 5,000 (2020).