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Blowing Rock’s Colley surges to personal best in the Men’s 10,000 Meters at U.S. Trials

By David Rogers. EUGENE, Ore. — With under six laps to go in the Men’s 10,000 Meters final at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 21, Blowing Rock-based ZAP Endurance’s Andrew Colley decided the pace was much too slow. His long, flowing locks sweeping back and forth behind him, the veteran marathoner and cross-country runner surged to the front of the star-studded field of U.S. athletes, pushing the pace faster.

Grant Fisher, the pre-race favorite from Michigan, the veteran and 2-time national champion Woody Kincaid, and the 21-yearold NCAA champion at 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters, Nico Young, went with Colley, eventually overtaking him and finishing 1-2-3 to secure positions on the U.S. Olympic Team going to Paris. While the slow early pace meant that none of the runners crossed the finish line under the Olympic standard of 27 minutes, all three of the top runners had already beaten that mark in earlier races this season.

For his part, Colley faded to a No. 8 finish but still established a personal best for the 10,000 meters distance. Of interest: Colley was the only runner in the field to record a pers

ZAP Endurance had two of the top 10 U.S. runners in the 10,000 Meters finals, including Andrew Colley’s personal best.

For much of the early half of the race, the field broke into two groups, with Colley coasting at the back of the 6-man lead group and ZAP Endurance teammate Ryan Ford positioned near the rear of the second group.

Ford, however, was among the second pack runners who helped reel in the lead pack to form what amounted to a “peloton,” if put in cycling terms. At one point, Ford rallied to run among the top three athletes on the track before tucking in behind Colley in about sixth place.

But with six laps to go, Colley pushed to the front, perhaps hoping to run away from the field and take away any last lap finishing kick opportunities harbored by the pre-race favorites. Fisher and Kincaid, both running under the NIKE banner, as well as Young (Northern Arizona University) and adidas athlete Drew Hunter were up to the challenge.

“In a field featuring 24 of the nation’s best runners at the 10,000 meters distance, for ZAP Endurance to have two athletes in the top 10 is pretty special,” ZAP Endurance head coach Pete Rea said after the race. “I am really proud of our guys, especially Andrew’s personal best. Both of them continue to get better and better.”

ZAP Endurance still has three opportunities to send a High Country athlete to the Paris Olympics as a member of the U.S. team. Colley and Eric van der Els compete in the first round of the Men’s 5,000 Meters on Thursday, June 27, with the Final set for Sunday, June 30, and Amanda Vestri toes the line in the Women’s 10,000 Meters Final on Saturday, June 29.

Also of High Country interest among the events run on June 21 at the Olympic Trials, Boone’s Abby Cooper just missed advancing to the semifinals of the Women’s 5,000 Meters, finishing No. 7 in a slow-paced Heat 2. The top six finishers of each heat advanced, plus the three fastest of the other runners. All three of the auto-qualifiers came from the faster-paced Heat 1.

Elle St. Pierre (New Balance Boston) ran away with Heat 1, challenged by veteran Karissa Schweizer (NIKE/Bowerman Track Club) and recent NCAA champion Parker Valby (University of Florida). Elise Cranny took top honors in Heat 2, which also featured former NC State runner Katelyn Tuohy, now running for adidas. Heat 2 was also a debut of sorts for Elizabeth Leachman, who just completed her sophomore year at Boerne Champion High School, a suburb of San Antonio, Texas. Leachman finished No. 13 in the heat but the 16-yearold gave notice that the running world may be hearing more from her in the future.

RESULTS: Men’s 10,000 Meters Final

PLACE ATHLETE AFFILIATION TIME
1 Grant Fisher NIKE 27:49.47
2 Woody Kincaid NIKE 27:50.74
3 Nico Young Northern Arizona Univ. 27:52.40
4 Drew Hunter adidas 27:53.35
5 Casey Clinger Brigham Young Univ. 27:59.71
6 Conner Mantz NIKE 28:00.90
7 Sam Chelanga Saucony 28:04.36
8 Andrew Colley ZAP Endurance 28:05.05
9 Ryan Ford ZAP Endurance 28:08.72
10 Paul Chelimo American Distance Project 28:18.31
11 Chandler Gibbens Kansas University 28:31.63
12 Futsum Zienasellassie HOKA NAZ Elite 28:32.43
13 Wil Smith Gonzaga University 28:33.30
14 Alex Phillip University of North Carolina 28:35.15
15 Zach Panning Hansons-Brooks Distance Project 28:36.82
16 Aidan Reed Tracksmith/Roots Running Project 28:59.54
17 Creed Thompson Brigham Young University 29:06.38
18 Afewirki Zeru McKirdy Trained 29:06.77
19 Ryan Johnson Unattached 29:30.13
20 Aidan O’Gorman University of North Florida 29:55.42
21 Ben Perrin Montana State University 30:09.11
22 Evan Jenkins University of Washington 30:33.47
DNF Dillon Maggard BROOKS Beasts Track Club
DNF Alex Maier Oklahoma State University
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