THANKS FOR VOTING!! AND THE WINNER IS…KRISSY GEAR’S USATF STEEPLECHASE WIN!!!
Krissy’s race now joins the winners of the Men’s Track, Road Races/XC, and Marathons categories in our 2023 Performance of the Year Finals.
NOMINEES FOR OUR 2023 HOKA NAZ ELITE WOMEN’S TRACK PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Krissy Gear Wins the Terrier Classic Mile
Coming off early season victories at 800 meters and 1k at the Nebraska Graduate Classic, Krissy traveled to Boston in late January to take advantage of the fast track at BU against a solid field at the Terrier Classic. She hung just a touch of the pace early before storming home over the final 400 meters to take the win in a new PB of 4:29.67—setting the tone for an awesome season that would eventually culminate in a trip to the World Outdoor Championships.
Abby Nichols and Katie Wasserman break 8:50 at the Terrier Classic 3,000
Knowing they would need a fast time to guarantee their spot in the 3,000 meters at the USATF Indoor Championships, Abby and Katie went to the Terrier Classic and set out at a pace way faster than either had ever run before. Slowly moving their way through the pack, they found themselves in a position to win the race with 400 meters to go. A hard move vaulted them into the first and second positions, but perhaps it was a touch too early. Regan Yee snuck by both of them just before the line to get the victory, but Abby (8:48.58) and Katie (8:49.65) were rewarded with huge PBs and qualifying marks for the Indoor Champs.
Abby Nichols Wins the Scarlet and White Mile
One week after setting a monster PB at 3,000 meters, Abby returned to the Boston University track for the mile at the Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invite. Despite never having broken 4:40, Abby followed right along as the pace hummed along close to 4:30 rhythm. Having taken the lead with 400 to go the week before, only to be kicked down on the final straight, she waited until the final lap this time and blasted away for the win—stopping the clock at 4:29.12. The giant PB broke the NAZ team record that Krissy Gear had set one week prior.
Krissy Gear Wins a Medal at the USATF Indoor 1500
Krissy came into USA Indoors having won every race/heat of her indoor season to that point. The USATF Indoor Championships would pose a bigger challenge, but it was one that she was ready to take on. A predictably tactical race ensued, and Krissy produced a big kick to finish third behind only Nikki Hiltz and Sage Hurta-Klecker. That kick would come in handy later in the year as well.
Krissy Gear Wins the Sound Running Track Meet Steeplechase
Krissy hadn’t run the steeplechase a whole lot in college, but she had certainly shown promise in the event. In fact, she had made the World Junior Team as a freshman while at Furman University. Still, the plan wasn’t to run the steeple as a pro…until it was. She decided to give it a shot at the Track Meet on May 6 up against a field that included 2022 World Team member Courtney Wayment. Three seconds back at the bell, Krissy unleashed a ferocious kick to storm by Wayment en route to victory in 9:3.55—a huge PB.
Abby Nichols Win The HOKA Festival of Miles
Abby, Krissy, and Katie all lined up in Saint Louis for the Women’s Mile at the HOKA Festival of Miles—a meet that generated more buzz than ever this year when seven high school girls broke 4:45 and four high school boys went sub-4. Crazy!! In the women’s mile Abby and Krissy were in second and third with a lap to go and slowly made their way to the shoulder of the leader, Alex Tuebel, before charging into the lead down the home straightaway. With 50 meters to go, Abby surged to the front and never looked back, breaking the tape in 4:26.08—yet another PB, and yet another team record.
Krissy Gear Wins the USATF Steeplechase Title
In the summer of 2021, HOKA NAZ Elite made a concerted effort to expand its roster so that it could be a bigger force on the track. Over the next two years, the team signed Alex Masai, Katie Wasserman, Wesley Kiptoo, Olin Hacker, Abby Nichols, Adrian Wildschutt and Arkansas standout Krissy Gear. Krissy crushed it in the 2023 indoor season, setting PBs at 800, 1k, and the mile. Outdoors she decided to run the steeplechase at the USATF Championships where she faced off against 10-time USA champion Emma Coburn. As Coburn tightened the screws with 1k to go, Krissy fell all the way back to sixth place at one point before making her own move with 600 meters left. By the end of the backstretch on the final lap, she trailed only Coburn, and on the final straight she moved into the lead, capping off a 66-second last lap by breaking the tape and becoming the U.S. champion in a blazing time of 9:12.81.
Abby Nichols Wins the Sir Walter Miler
Having already scored mile wins at the BU Scarlet and White Invite (4:29.12) and the HOKA Festival of Miles (4:26.08), and a big 1500 meter win at the Victoria Track Classic (4:07.47), Abby continued her winning ways in front of a packed house at the Sir Walter Miler in North Carolina. Lining up alongside teammates Krissy Gear and Katie Wasserman, Abby positioned herself near the front of the race from the gun. As was now becoming a habit she waited until the final straight to drop the hammer and pull away (just barely) from Krissy to get the win in 4:26.80. All three NAZ athletes broke the 4:30 barrier in the same race that night.
Katie Wasserman Finishes Fourth at Falmouth
It’s always nice to finish a season on a high note and Katie did just that at the Falmouth Mile on August 18. Her campaign to that point had included PBs at the 1500 (4:08.40), mile (4:28.89), and 3,000 (8:49.65). Falmouth gave her one more shot at an even faster time in the mile and she pulled it off, running 4:27.73 en route to a fourth-place finish in a very good field.