BOSTON — It’s only December, but the Montana State track and field record board already needs an update.
Highlighted by Duncan Hamilton’s school record in the 5,000 meters, the MSU duo of Hamilton and Matthew Richtman ran new indoor personal bests in the 5,000 meters performances at Boston University’s Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener on Saturday evening.
Hamilton’s time of 13:34.45 was the seventh-fastest in his heat and the 29th-fastest time overall in a meet that featured over 200 entries in the men’s indoor 5K.
The record was previously held by Hamilton’s teammate, Ben Perrin, who ran a 13:39.56 at the Husky Classic last year. Richtman’s 13:51.07 time from Saturday wound up being the third-fastest time in program history. With the duo’s performances in Boston, Montana State now has five men who have gone sub-14 in the indoor 5,000 meters and, remarkably, three of those runners are current teammates.
“Knowing that I’m already in 13:30-5K shape with basically no track workouts so far is pretty exciting,” Hamilton said. “I started out a little bit further back than I liked, but I’ve been learning how to be patient and stay out of trouble in these indoor races.”
Hamilton’s first big move of the race occurred in the fifth lap, when he used a 31.76-second lap to move up six spots. As the race unfolded. Hamilton hung onto the front pack as the field dropped the last seven runners. The leaders gained some separation, yet Hamilton hung on the long train of runners and gradually worked his way up.
“It kind of became a game of looking ahead, waiting for a gap and then taking that opportunity right away before someone else did,” Hamilton said. “That was basically what I was doing the entire time: moving up slowly towards the front of the pack.”
Former Campbell University All-American Athanas Kioko and Wake Forest’s Zach Facioni broke off at the third kilometer, leaving a pack of six and Hamilton to give chase. The senior from Bozeman was two strides off of the chase pack, yet he used a big surge at the 3,800-meter mark to rocket into fourth. He would pass Adams State’s Awet Biraki to move into third, then he was caught in no man’s land as the lead duo separated themselves from the field.
“I thought I had enough gas to bridge up to them, but I didn’t quite have it,” Hamilton said. “I was hoping for a little bit faster of a finish, but I got to a point where my legs were pretty spent. I’m still happy with my finish; I stayed poised and I finished well.”
As Kioko gapped the rest of the field in the last 400 meters, Hamilton would be challenged by BYU’s Christian Allen and the aforementioned Facioni on the home stretch. He ran the final 800 meters in 2:12.01 — including a 32.02-second last lap — to place seventh in his heat and 29th overall.
“Somewhere around halfway through the race, I knew I was going to get the record,” Hamilton said. “I was running pretty much the exact same splits as my outdoor 5K and I really wanted sub-13:30 today. That was the biggest goal I had my eyes on today.”
Two heats later, Richtman worked his way from the back of the pack in a race that was mostly run in a 30-meter-long single-file line. He started making his first move at the 800-meter mark, where he moved up eight spots and tucked in at the rail by the first kilometer. As the middle of the pack slowed down, Richtman moved into ninth place at the start of the 12th lap. The top three runners broke away from the field at the third kilometer, while Richtman remained in ninth place midway through the chase pack.
Ten minutes through the race, Richtman was in eighth place as the front pack of four led by Boise State’s Ahmed Ibrahim broke away. The race thinned out over the span of the last kilometer, and Richtman would run a closing lap of 31.23 seconds to place 10th in his heat and 66th overall.
The Bobcats will be back in action this week, as they host the Bobcat Preview meet on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.