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Montana State's Duncan Hamilton sprints to first-team All-American finish at NCAA Championships

Duncan Hamilton
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-12 09:32:22-04

EUGENE, Ore. -- Duncan Hamilton used a late kick to secure a first-team All-American finish in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday.

Hamilton, a Bozeman native in his sophomore season at Montana State, placed fifth with a time of 8 minutes, 31.55 seconds at Hayward Field. He guaranteed himself All-American status with his performance on Wednesday but further acquitted himself on Friday. Hamilton hung with the lead group for the first four laps of the race before falling to the back of the pack in the sixth and seventh laps.

He began the eighth and final lap in ninth place, one spot out of first-team All-American territory, but used a strong kick to finish out the race and finish fifth and re-break the school record he set on Wednesday.

"The plan was to stick with the front pack for as much of the race as I can and then really cut down those last couple of laps," Hamilton said. "I was there for the first two or three laps, but then people just started passing and there wasn't anywhere I could go and then I got spit out at the back which is really not what I wanted. I tried to make a move and bridge my way back up to the front once, but I was expending more energy than I'd like to for not a whole lot of time, so I settled in again.

"The last 800 it started to string out a little bit more, so I thought it was now or never to make my move."

Kigen Chemadi of Middle Tennessee State pulled away on the last lap to get the win in a time of 8:28.20. Minnesota's Alec Basten (8:29.03), Oklahoma State's Ryan Smeeton (8:30.70) and BYU's Garrett Marsing (8:31.54) were the other runs to finish ahead of Hamilton.

"I really got in focus, sped up and passed a bunch of people," Hamilton said. "Coming around that last water barrier I was in fifth, fourth was in range, third place fell on the last barrier and I gave it everything I could to get on the podium.

"I ended up fifth which I'm super happy with. To end up fifth in my first NCAA outdoor meet is amazing, I'm so happy."

Hamilton is the second Treasure State product to garner All-American status at the NCAA Championships, joining Glasgow native Benji Phillips, who placed eighth in the men's javelin on Wednesday. Phillips is athletically a sophomore at North Dakota State.

Christina Aragon, a Billings Senior graduate now at Stanford, will run in the women's 1,500-meter final on Saturday, and Lucy Corbett, another Bozeman native at Montana State, will compete in the women's high jump.