Brunnette finishes eighth in 3000 meter run at National Championships
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Plymouth State University junior Sam Brunnette (Newport Center, Vt.) finished eighth in the 3000 meter run at the NCAA Division III Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Friday afternoon to earn All-American status.
Brunnette crossed the finish line in 8:22.64, the third fastest time of his career. Brunnette posted an 8:20.96 last weekend at the Tufts National Qualifying Meet, and his personal record time of 8:20.92 was accomplished at the Tufts Final Qualifier in March of 2017.
The top eight finishers in the field of 15 earned All-American status. For Brunnette, it was his second All-American award of the year after achieving the same feat at the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships.
Brunnette took an early lead in his group before sliding into the middle of the pack through the opening two laps. He slipped a bit further back through the middle of the race before making a push to get back into the top eight.
"I wanted to get a spot in the middle of the pack on the rail," said Brunnette. "I knew guys would be going by me but I just tried to use as little energy as possible. I was always counting. I knew every moment where eighth place was. When the race split in half I didn't think, I just made a move to get to the top of the second pack."
It was the second straight National Championship appearance for Brunnette, who finished 14th in the same event at last winter's championships.
"Sam succeeded this year where he faltered last year," said head coach John Ostler. "He wasn't passive in the race. Sam stayed aware through the entire 3k and made an aggressive move at the key moment."
Junior Dylan Gearinger of Haverford College won the race with a time of 8:16.77. Brunnette posted the fastest time among New England competitors, topping juniors Cosmo Brossy of Amherst College, Scott Mason of Connecticut College, Aidan Gilson of MIT and senior Liam Simpson of Williams College.
"I kept telling myself, 'Don't waste this opportunity,'" added Brunnette.
Brunnette was the second Panther to compete at the National Championships after teammate Warren Bartlett (Loudon, N.H.) finished 13th in the preliminaries of the mile run on Friday afternoon.
PSU finished tied for 60th in the men's team standings, with the University of Mount Union narrowly holding off North Central College (Ill.) by a single point to win the team title.
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