NCAA Men’s 5000 — Morgan McDonald Fills In The Hole

Morgan McDonald salted away his first NCAA Outdoor title by kicking away from Grant Fisher in the last half-lap. (ERROL ANDERSON/THE SPORTING IMAGE)

IN THE CONTEXT of his last season at Wisconsin Morgan McDonald had just one more box to check to complete a golden year: the Outdoor 5000 to go with his XC crown and Indoor 3K and 5K titles. In the context of the entirety of his résumé, that was a huge box to check because an outdoor title was the noticeable hole in it. His best finish coming in was 5th back in ’16. With a pro career looming, this was McDonald’s last chance to complete his trophy case. He took full advantage, beating his chief challenger Grant Fisher (runner-up to McDonald in cross and the indoor 3K, and now this outdoor race) with a lethal kick in the last 100.

“It’s hard to put into words,” the 23-year-old Aussie said. “I’ve been looking forward to this one for so long, and I’ve been at home for the last two, and I’ve been watching, being like, ‘I think I can win that.’ It’s been frustrating. This one’s been on my mind for so long, and it’s just amazing. There’s always the goal, but I didn’t know I was really going to get here. I was really nervous for this one.”

As expected on a muggy night, the pace was tactical and McDonald finally took the lead at the mid-point. Fisher, who had sat on McDonald’s outside shoulder for two laps, began his push with 500 to go and nudged past the Badger just in time to grab the rail with 400 left.

McDonald stalked, then caught the Stanford senior with 200 to go. With 100 left, McDonald unleashed a definitive kick that quickly settled the race, allowing him to coast across the finish in 14:06.01. His 52.91 last lap trumped Fisher’s 53.61. Fisher (14:06.63) was never challenged for 2nd and his teammate, soph Thomas Ratcliffe, made a move on the final curve to take 3rd in 14:07.92. His kick caught, among others, 10K winner Clayton Young of BYU, who was 3rd with 200 left but faded to 6th.

The way the last lap played out was just another chapter in the McDonald–Fisher rivalry. McDonald said he was OK, with Fisher passing at the bell, explaining, “I’ve raced Grant so many times, I thought that he might fight pretty hard for the lead before the last 100, because at Millrose that’s how he beat me, and then at Indoors, I had the lead and he wasn’t able to pass me. So I thought in his mind it was going to be a big thing to make sure he had the lead at 400 or 300.”



(June 07)

1. Morgan McDonald’ (Wi) 14:06.01

(pace—32.54, 75.27 [1:47.81], 69.20 [2:57.01], 69.22 [4:06.23], 69.83 [5:16.06], 71.22 [6:27.28], 70.83 [7:38.11], 67.78 [8:45.89], 67.48 [9:53.37], 68.33 [11:01.70], 68.09 [12:09.79], 63.31 [13:13.10], 52.91)

(finish—52.91, 1:56.22, 3:04.31, 4:12.64);

2. Grant Fisher (Stan) 14:06.63 (53.61, 1:56.74, 3:04.78, 4:12.98);

3. **Thomas Ratcliffe (Stan) 14:07.92 (54.25, 1:57.75, 3:05.15, 4:13.47);

4. Gilbert Kigen’ (Al) 14:08.12 (54.32, 1:57.63, 3:05.56, 4:13.72);

5. *Edwin Kurgat’ (IaSt) 14:08.26 (54.97, 1:58.18, 3:06.21, 4:14.47);

6. Clayton Young (BYU) 14:09.00 (55.80, 1:58.86, 3:06.58, 4:14.21);

7. **Conner Mantz (BYU) 14:09.20 (55.79, 1:59.21, 3:07.01, 4:15.22);

8. *Kyle Mau (In) 14:09.62 (56.13, 1:59.28, 3:06.69, 4:14.92);

9. *Robert Brandt (UCLA) 14:10.19 (56.60, 2:00.14, 3:08.25, 4:16.64);

10. *Geordie Beamish’ (NnAz) 14:13.18;

11. ***Ian Shanklin (NCSt) 14:13.57;

12. *Peter Seufer (VaT) 14:13.91;

13. **Morgan Beadlescomb (MiSt) 14:17.59;

14. *John Dressel (Co) 14:18.03;

15. **Luis Grijalva’ (NnAz) 14:20.86;

16. *Kigen Chemadi’ (MTn) 14:22.92;

17. Aaron Templeton (Furm) 14:24.41;

18. ***Brodey Hasty (NnAz) 14:25.54;

19. Azaria Kirwa’ (Lib) 14:27.38;

20. Brian Zabilski (Col) 14:29.13;

21. Zach Long (Tn) 14:52.83;

22. **Cooper Teare (Or) 15:04.51;

23. *Luke Landis (OhSt) 15:16.00;

… dnc—*Noah Perkins (NFl). ◻︎