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WILLIAM A. IRVIN 5K: Tucker's win was a change of pace

Jordan Tucker isn't accustomed to winning races. "I find myself starting out a lot slower and getting pushed around a lot," said the 21-year-old runner from Omaha, Neb. "I get stuck in the back and boxed in. Winning a race is different for me." T...

Jordan Tucker isn't accustomed to winning races.

"I find myself starting out a lot slower and getting pushed around a lot," said the 21-year-old runner from Omaha, Neb. "I get stuck in the back and boxed in. Winning a race is different for me."

Tucker got a change of pace in Friday's 15th annual William A. Irvin 5-kilometer road race. He led from start to finish and won in 16 minutes and 22 seconds, edging runner-up Mike Kramer of Cloquet by one second.

Michelle Oman of Mankato, Minn., won her third women's title in four years in 18:35.

Tucker has been competitive in many races, but that top spot has routinely eluded him. The three-time NAIA national championship qualifier at Concordia University in Seward, Neb., won Friday for the first time in more than two years.

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Tucker, a senior-to-be, said his specialty distance of 800 meters propelled him to victory over Kramer.

"I knew if anyone was close to me, I could outkick them [to the finish]," said Tucker, who has qualified for the national indoor meet in the 800 and 1,000, but hasn't reached the finals.

Kramer challenged Tucker for the lead as they made the final turn around the DECC on Harbor Drive in front of the permanently docked William A. Irvin ore boat.

"People were cheering for [Kramer]," said Tucker of his first Irvin. "I knew he was on my heels."

Based on last year's Irvin times, Tucker didn't believe he would finish better than the top five on Friday.

Greg Liebl of Montevideo, Minn., won the 2007 Irvin in 15:17, with four runners under 16 minutes. Liebl will run in today's 18th Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon.

Tucker's 16:12 is the slowest winning time in race history.

Oman regains top spot

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After a one-year hiatus, Michelle Oman is again queen of the Irvin.

"I wanted to be on top again," said the 34-year-old who won the 2005 and 2006 Irvin races before finishing second to Laura Hughes a year ago.

Oman and Hughes were co-leaders for the first 1ยฝ miles, before Grand Rapids' Raynee DeGrio caught up and Mankato's Hughes faded.

"I was with [Oman] for the second mile, but she pulled out [ahead]," said DeGrio, who will be a sophomore track athlete at St. Thomas in St. Paul this fall. "[Oman] put a lot of ground between us the last mile."

DeGrio, 19, was second in 19:14, while Hughes, 16, was third in 19:29.

Oman, who coaches track at Minnesota State-Mankato, joins Katie Koski of Duluth as the race's only three-time winners. Koski won from 1994-96.

WHeeler gets in a practice run

Wheelchair racer Jacqui Kapinowski of Point Pleasant, N.J., used Friday's 3.1-mile race as a tune-up for today's marathon. Kapinowski, 45, finished the race in 18:33.

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Record edged by one

In its 15th year, the Irvin posted a record number of finishers at 1,128.

The race, which starts the Grandma's Marathon weekend, had 1,127 finishers in 2006.

15th William A. Irvin 5K

Friday's Results

MEN

1. Jordan Tucker, Omaha, Neb., 16:22; 2. Mike Kramer, Cloquet, 16:23; 3. Adam Zais, Hudson, Wis., 16:36; 4. Joshua Klawitter, Hutchinson, Minn., 16:53; 5. Keagan Marble, Waseca, Minn., 17:03; 6. Michael Niemi, Duluth, 17:16; 7. Scott Behling, Duluth, 17:19; 8. Alex Tuttle, Duluth, 17:27; 9. Kyle Donovan, Beloit, Wis., 17:27; 10. Bob Garcia, Lavista, Neb., 17:58.

WOMEN

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1. Michelle Oman, Mankato, Minn., 18:35; 2. Raynee DeGrio, St. Paul, 19:14; 3. Laura Hughes, Mankato, Minn., 19:29; 4. Brooke Kirkham, Minneapolis, 20:29; 5. Hannah McRaith, Waseca, Minn., 20:32; 6. Hannah McAllister, Brainerd, Minn., 21:05; 7. Lori Anne Peterson, Richfield, Minn., 21:18; 8. Taylor Gibson, La Crescent, Minn., 21:44; 9. Robin Tedlund, Duluth, 22:00; 10. Amy Wicker, Duluth, 22:09.

WHEELCHAIR

1.Jacqui Kapinowski, Point Pleasant, N.J., 18:33.

Complete William A. Irvin 5K results will appear in Sunday's special Grandma's Marathon section.

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