Brunnette to compete for national championship on Saturday
GENEVA, Ohio – The top runner on the Plymouth State University men's outdoor track and field team is moving on to the finals of the 3000-meter steeplechase after advancing during the preliminaries at the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship hosted by Mount Union College at the SPIRE Institute on Thursday night.
Senior Sam Brunnette (Newport Center, Vt.) survived a competitive field and will run for a national title in the finals of the event on Saturday (May 25) after nabbing the final qualifying spot in a field of 20 athletes.
The group was split into two heats of ten runners each, with the top five from each heat plus the next four fastest times all advancing to Saturday's final. Brunnette finished eighth in heat two with a time of 9:17.36 to secure his spot in the finals.
2019 NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships – No Team Score
How it Happened:
* Following his trademark strategy, Brunnette went straight to the back allowing him to conserve energy, avoid any jostling and let the lead runners block the wind.
* He ran even splits while remaining in the back through the first four laps.
* He made an extended move over half a lap to slide into third, but the field remained bunched behind him.
* Brunnette maintained the third/fourth spot for the next lap-and-a-half.
* The field rallied at the bell lap, with Brunnette dropping a couple spots with 300 meters to go before giving way to two more over the final 200 meters.
* Coming down the homestretch he took a peak over his shoulder to ensure he didn't have any other runners right on him, before coasting into the finish to secure a spot as the last qualifier into the finals.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"He got the job done," said head coach John Ostler. "Sam is a veteran of many prelims and he knows exactly what he needs to do to move on. His barriers looked great for the vast majority of the race and he ran very good even splits. He'll have a little extra for a faster final lap when he runs the big one on Saturday."
* Brunnette will run in the finals on Saturday (May 25) at 11:45 a.m. A top-eight finish would make him a five-time All-American.
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