Bernard Legat, left, blows past the field to claim victory in the 5,000 meters and gives himself a chance to win a third straight world championship medal. (STEVE DYKES/REUTERS)

Two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat won a chance to earn a third straight world championship medal in the 5,000 meters after blowing past Chris Solinsky in the home stretch of that event at the U.S. track and field championships Friday night at Hayward Field.

Lagat claimed first in 13 minutes 23.06 seconds, beating Solinsky (13:23.65) and Galen Rupp (13:25.52) in a slow, tight race until the last three laps.

“Chris, of course, didn’t make it easy,” Lagat said. “I followed him really close . . . I was working hard.”

Like he did when he won the 10,000 title Friday night, Rupp wore a black mask over his nose and mouth to filter pollen from the air, throwing it off about halfway into the race. Matt Tegenkamp led the tight field early on, but Solinsky took off with Lagat and Rupp just behind him with about 1,200 remaining.

Lagat waited on Solinsky’s shoulder until the last turn to bring out a huge kick. Solinsky, the American record holder in the 10,000, ran out of steam.

“I hit it with 100 [left] and I thought I had one more gear,” Solinsky said. “When I hit 50 or 60 to go, it just wasn’t there . . . [Lagat], he’s got gears beyond gears.”

Rupp faded with about 200 remaining. All three qualified for the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, in August.

“Obviously I was a little tired after last night,” Rupp said. “All in all, it went really well. My goal was to make the team and I accomplished that. I’m really happy.”

In the women’s 5,000 final, Molly Huddle got first in 15:10.01; Amy Hastings claimed second in 15:14.31; and Angela Bizzari got third in 15:16.04.

Injured Clay pulls out

Reigning Olympic champion Bryan Clay fell over a hurdle in the decathlon 110 hurdles Friday morning, straining his calf and forcing him to pull out of the competition after struggling through five events.

Ashton Eaton, a University of Oregon graduate who last year broke Dan O’Brien’s 17-year-old NCAA indoor heptathlon world record, went on to claim his first U.S. title.

Eaton dominated, amassing 8,729 points with Jon Harlan a distant second place with 8,011. Reigning world champion Trey Hardee, who has a bye into the world championships, did not officially compete here, though he entered a pair of events.

Clay, who has been troubled by injuries since his Olympic victory, trailed Eaton by more than 400 points entering Friday’s events. He came back to throw the discuss but could not contend; he said he would petition for a spot in the world championships if the United States could not produce three other athletes with qualifying times for the meet.

“I hope he’s healthy,” Hardee said. “I hope he can bounce back. He was out there for every single pole vault, every single jump out there. That just shows you what kind of person he is.”

Oliver advances in hurdles

Howard graduate David Oliver advanced easily in Friday’s first-round heats of the 110 hurdles, winning his heat in 13.08 seconds, the fastest time of the day. Jason Richardson, who ran alongside Oliver, posted the next best time of 13.15.

“I can do the same thing over and over and make the team,” Oliver said. “I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Williams comes up short

Lauryn Williams, who always seems to drop great times when it’s least expected, failed to advance to the final of the women’s 100, finishing just fifth in her heat in a time of 11.23. Williams, the 2004 Olympic and 2007 world silver medal winner, had been trying to return after sitting out the 2010 season. She has another shot to make the world championship team in Sunday’s 200.

“I’m very disappointed,” Williams said. “I’m trying to keep it in perspective. I don’t know whether 10 minutes from now or two hours from now that I won’t be in tears. . . . I’m going to get ready for the 200. Maybe I will shock the world there.”