NCAA Men’s Steeple — Fast Times Galore

Jaziri (No. 2), Hamilton (No. 3) & Stokes (=No. 3) all moved into the steeple’s all-time Top 10 collegians. (MIKE SCOTT)

ONE COULD UNDERSTAND if Duncan Hamilton secretly wished he competed in the 2950 steeplechase. After all, that’s approximately how many meters the Montana State junior led. But, no, it’s 3000 and Eastern Kentucky’s Ahmed Jaziri used the homestretch to sprint past Hamilton to win a race where the first 8 set PRs.

Jaziri, who had only run a few steeples this spring, dropped his PR by more than 5 seconds to 8:18.70. Only Washington State’s legendary Henry Rono has ever run faster as a collegian (5 times).

In the final stretch, Georgetown soph Parker Stokes followed Jaziri past Hamilton for a moment but was edged out of 2nd at the line, 8:18.878–8:18.880. Their official times of 8:18.88 left them sharing the American Collegiate Record. The old mark of 8:19.14 was set by Princeton’s Donn Cabral a decade ago.

“It was my plan to take it out from the beginning,” said Big Sky champ Hamilton, whose pre-NCAA PR was 8:26.44 for 4th at Stanford’s Payton Jordan meet. “I knew it would be a very strong field, so I wanted to crank it and open a gap. That’s a bunch of very fit runners.”

Hamilton might have had a race plan, but so did Tunisian Jaziri. Confidence was a big factor, based somewhat on that California race — he won it, beating Hamilton by 2.11.

“Confidence was a huge factor for me,” said Jaziri, who had only run a couple of steeples coming into the NCAA. During the early laps, he wanted to stay well back in the pack. In front of him were Princeton senior Ed Trippas, Minnesota senior Alec Baldwin (runner-up in ’21) and Oklahoma State senior Ryan Smeeton (3rd in ’21). They had ping-ponged up and back throughout, but never really challenged Hamilton.

But Jaziri, 10th last year, was prepared to challenge Hamilton, and he did just that. With some 600m to go, he picked up his pace and started passing people. He was on Hamilton’s hip as the two spanned the final liquid obstacle. “I knew that, on the final water jump, I had to go. I turned the corner and sprinted as hard as I could.”

So did Stokes. Over the final barrier and down the homestretch, Stokes was in 2nd. Somehow, Hamilton dug deep and furiously pursued him, narrowly edging him for 2nd.

Likewise, Smeeton sprinted past Trippas, 8:20.06–8:20.29, as BYU soph Kenneth Rooks took 6th in 8:22.56, ahead of Minnesota teammates Alec Basten (8:23.86) and Matthew Wilkinson (8:25.03).


MEN’S STEEPLE RESULTS

(June 10)

1. *Ahmed Jaziri’ (EnKy-Tun) 8:18.70 PR (CL) (2, 6 C; 2, 4 NCAA)

(60.04, 2:04.64, 3:10.64, 4:17.78);

2. *Duncan Hamilton (MtSt) 8:18.88 (8:18.878) AmCR (old AmCR 8:19.14 Donn Cabral [Prin] ’12) (3, 7 C; 3, 5 NCAA)

(60.35, 2:04.99, 3:11.70, 4:19.37);

3. **Parker Stokes (Gtn) 8:18.88 (8:18.880) =AmCR (=AmCR Hamilton ’22) (=3, =5 C)

(60.09, 2:04.40, 3:10.94, 4:18.11);

4. Ryan Smeeton’ (OkSt-Can) 8:20.06 PR (9, x C; 8, 10 NCAA)

(60.44, 2:05.45, 3:12.71, 4:19.85);

5. Ed Trippas’ (Prin-Aus) 8:20.29 (10, x C)

(61.15, 2:06.02, 3:12.66, 4:20.40);

6. **Kenneth Rooks (BYU) 8:22.56 PR (7, x AmC)

(63.43, 2:08.36, 3:14.36, 4:21.34);

7. Alec Basten (Mn) 8:23.86 PR

(64.98, 2:09.46, 3:16.13, 4:23.42);

8. *Matthew Wilkinson (Mn) 8:25.03 PR

(61.43, 2:08.99, 3:16.32, 4:23.48);

9. **Levi Taylor (MtSt) 8:33.37; 10. ***Estanis Ruiz’ (LMU-Spa) 8:36.02; 11. Colton Johnsen (WaSt) 8:37.38; 12. Bennett Pascoe (ArSt) 9:02.51.

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 2–9, 11)

SEMIS (June 08)

I–1. Rooks 8:24.88 (AmCL);

2. Stokes 8:26.04; 3. Jaziri’ 8:26.27; 4. Smeeton’ 8:26.64; 5. Ruiz’ 8:29.12; 6. Taylor 8:30.20; 7. Johnsen 8:31.64; 8. Ben Fleming (VaT) 8:37.79; 9. Alexander Korczynski (NEn) 8:43.00; 10. **Carson Williams (Furm) 8:44.27; 11. Garrett Marsing (BYU) 8:45.71; 12. Christian Hubaker (Mi) 8:48.91.

II–1. Hamilton 8:23.13(CL) (6, x AmC);

2. Trippas’ 8:29.86; 3. Basten 8:30.01; 4. Wilkinson 8:30.52; 5. Pascoe 8:34.93; 6. ***Yasin Sado (Va) 8:41.63; 7. ***Adam Bunker (UtV) 8:44.67; 8. ***Ahmed Kadri’ (EnKy-Tun) 8:45.69; 9. *Benjamin Nibbelink (VaT) 8:46.25; 10. ***Bryce Lentz (AF) 8:52.33; 11. *Tom Seitzer (NDm) 8:54.43; 12. Ben Garner (Samf) 8:55.49.

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