Long post ahead as I try to chronicle the last 3 days of competition.
Thursday: National DMR semifinals- finished 7th to qualify for the final. Almost botched the handoff, pretty much had to come to a full stop to grab it. We were in heat 2 of 2 though and still in position to qualify fairly easily. Split 4:20 on the anchor in no mans land to get us into the final and 4th in the heat.
Friday: Mile semifinal- I was in heat 1 of 2 and thankfully someone made sure the pace was decently fast. There’s always 2 moves in these mile races, 1 at 800 or 900 and 1 at 400 or 500. I covered the first one well, the leaders got away a little on the second one but I was able to outkick 1 guy for 4th in the heat in a 4:18 SB which was enough to make the final.
Saturday: Mile Final- 10 made the final and top 8 score and go all-American. I knew I wasn’t one of the top guys in the field, but I needed to be able to cover those two moves well enough to keep myself in a position to outkick a couple guys to score. Covered the first move we’ll and the second just well enough. I was sitting in 8th most of the race until someone passed me with 600 to go, but he didn’t look comfortable. Outkicked him and ran one more down at the line for 7th place in 4:16 PR to earn my first individual NAIA all American.
DMR Final- I made it 3 races in 3 days without feeling fatigued and running a little faster each day, but 4 miles in 3 days is a tall task. Our 800 leg had a huge run splitting 1:53.0 to take us from 7th to 5th. I got the baton in 5th a little too far behind a fresh anchor in 4th and pretty far out of 3rd. Didn’t have the legs to make a big move and catch them. But I held off everyone else and split 4:22ish for 10:17 and 5th place. 2nd All-America of the weekend and 3rd ever.
Obviously the relay was awesome and I’m very proud of that team. However, the really special part about this meet was the individual mile all-American and PR. This is my last season of collegiate running and I’ve wanted that result for a long time. It just feels great to know everything was worth it and paid off. The lack of regret I know I would have felt had I finished 9th again is relieving. Just another reminder of why I love this sport.