Terrier 5,000 Preview

MATT BAXTER
BU Terrier Invite (5,000)
Boston, MA
Friday, January 24th | 8:30pm EST

THE FIELD (in order of PB): 

Paul Tanui, 12:58.69 – The 12:58/26:49 performer is rumored to have joined the as of now unnamed training group that includes Eric Jenkins, Craig Engels and others in Portland, Oregon. Tanui has world class credentials that include a Silver Medal at the 2016 Olympics and Bronze Medals at the 2013, 2015 and 2017 World Championships—all over 10,000 meters. One would have to believe Tanui will be going after the Olympic A Standard.

Eric Jenkins, 13:05.85 – The New Hampshire native and University of Oregon grad enters 2020 looking to improve upon his fourth-place finish at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials at 5,000 meters. His 13:05.85 personal best over the distance was set on the BU track in 2017.

Tyler Day, 13:25.06 – Day, who was out of cross country eligibility this fall, had to watch as his Lumberjacks settled for second at the NCAA Championships in November. He and his ‘mates will no doubt be looking to ease the sting of that result with big performances on the track in 2020. A fifth-year senior, Day has been as high as third at an NCAA Championship (2018 Cross Country) and will have chances both indoors and outdoors to finally take home a title.

Matt Baxter, 13:31.00 – Baxter ran his personal best in 2018 at the Bryan Clay Invite. Last year, his chances at 5,000 meters were limited due to a couple of small injuries, but he still managed to win the New Zealand National Title at the distance and finish second at the Oceania Championships. Now fully healthy, he is coming off a 4:08.93 mile at 7,000 feet last week in Flagstaff. BU will be an opportunity to take a shot at a personal best and to test himself against the Olympic Standard, a mark he will want to hit before this summer.

Geordie Beamish, 13:31.58 – The surprise (to some) winner of last year’s NCAA Indoor Mile, Beamish has established himself as one of the best distance runners in the NCAA from the Mile to Cross Country. He bested Baxter, Day and Grijalva in the Mile at last week’s Lumberjack Team Challenge with an altitude converted 3:58.17—so he’s clearly in good form.

Luis Grijalva, 13:37.11 – Grijalva, an NAU standout since the day he arrived on campus, has run 7:55.26 for 3,000 meters and 13:37.11 for 5,000. Grijalva showed his talent at the 5,000 meter distance as a freshman when he ran 13:49.75 at the Stanford Invitational. He lowered that mark to 13:37 last year and could lower it again on Friday night.

Blaise Ferro, 13:50.16 – Ferro is a huge talent who showed that ability last year over 10,000 meters when he ran 28:22.76, beating teammate Day in the process. Though stalled by injuries off and on throughout his career, he is healthy now and that means he could run very fast.

THE PLAN:

Up front, Connecticut College alum Ben Bosworth is scheduled to take the field through the first 1200 and then USATF 1500 meter champion, Craig Engels, will take over through 3,000 meters. The scheduled pace is 64 seconds per 400 (13:20) up to that point. From there, if all goes well there will be an effort to squeeze down the pace to go after the Olympic A Standard (13:13.50). NAU fans–be aware that Ferro may lead out Beamish and Grijalva at a slightly more conservative pace.

WHAT’S AT STAKE:
The Olympic Standard is number one. This race is set up to try and hit it. For Baxter and Beamish, the New Zealand National Indoor 5,000 meter record is in play. That mark (13:44.27) was set in 2001 by Michael Aish. Rod Dixon ran 13:26.56 indoors in 1980, but that was on an oversized track. NCAA qualifying marks are also on the line for Beamish, Day and Grijalva. In 2019, the cutoff time was 13:41.21. To get into the top 10 all-time on the NCAA Indoor list would take a time faster than 13:24.04 for the NAU trio. Finally, for that same trio, the NAU school record is 13:29.01 set by Diego Estrada in 2011.

HOW TO WATCH: LIVE on Flotrack HERE (subscription required)

 

Photo courtesy Richie Bertand

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