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Posted: June 13, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Rupp Completes NCAA Distance Double

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

The University of Oregon's Galen Rupp made his last race as a collegian a memorable one, winning the NCAA Division I 5000m title last night in Fayetteville, Ark., and becoming the first athlete since Stanford's Brad Hauser in 2000 to take the 5000m/10,000m doube at these championships. Moreover, he became the first NCAA distance runner ever to capture five national titles in a single collegiate season, winning the cross country crown last November, the 3000m and 5000m indoor titles, and the distance double at these outdoor championships.

"It was tactical to say the least," said Rupp of his 14:04.12 victory over Northern Arizona's David McNeill. "I was pretty tired but I knew if I slipped, even one position, that's two points that could cost us the team title. I wanted to make sure I held up my end for the team."

The race wasn't decided until the final two laps. Rupp, McNeill, Stanford's Chris Derrick, Arizona State's Brandon Bethke, and Stanford's Elliot Heath were all still in contention, and the race was lolling along at a 14:30 pace. Then Rupp dropped the hammer, ticking off a 57.10 lap. McNeill was nearly able to match him (57.50), but Rupp's 57.21 final circuit was too much for the rest of the field, delivering a relatively comfortable 1.67 second advantage at the finish. McNeill clocked 14:05.79 and Derrick 14:07.34 to get third.

Angela Bizzarri's win in the women's 5000m was less dramatic. The University of Illinois junior won by nearly nine seconds over Rupp's Oregon teammate, Nicole Blood, in 16:17.94 to Blood's 16:26.58. Villanova's Frances Koons, a kidney cancer survivor, took third (16:28.36), edging Michigan State's Lisa Senakiewich.

"The pace was slow at the beginning and I think that really worked in my favor," said Bizzarri who finished second in this event at these championships last year. "My original plan was to, no matter where I was, run that last mile under 4:50. I don't know how well that would have worked out with a quicker pace, but it favored me the way it turned out. National champion—wow."

Colorado's Jenny Barringer broke her own NCAA championships record by defending her title in the 3000m steephechase in 9:25.54, a 2009 world leader. Her mark was also the fastest-ever achieved on U.S. soil, displacing her own 9:26.20 run at the NCAA Division I MidWest Regional Championships in Norman, Okla., on May 30.

"This was an exciting win," said Barringer whose race marked her last NCAA outdoor track contest (she still has eligibility for cross country in the fall). "I'm happy to have it behind me. It's tough to come in and be a heavy favorite. I just had to keep my mind right and go out there and take care of business. It felt great."

The men's steeple title went to Brigham Young's Kyle Perry in 8:29.24. He won by a wide margin over Iowa State's Hillary Bor (8:35.12).

The meet concludes today.

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