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MSU's Hamilton falls short of NCAA outdoor title

Photo of Duncan Hamilton running in Friday night's NCAA Championship steeplechase by Jan Figueroa{p}{/p}
Photo of Duncan Hamilton running in Friday night's NCAA Championship steeplechase by Jan Figueroa

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MSU track and field star and Bozeman native Duncan Hamilton fell just short of a title in the men's 3000 meter steeplechase Friday evening in Austin, Texas.

Hamilton placed second for the second consecutive year with a time of 8:32.18 to claim a spot as a first team all-American.

Montana State’s Duncan Hamilton led the pack for most of the race.

With over a lap remaining, the Bobcat standout broke away from the group along-side BYU’s Kenneth Rooks. Rooks, who had the top time in the nation before Hamilton smashed the mark at the NCAA West Outdoor First Round in Sacramento, Calif., two weeks ago, pulled away with 600-meters remaining.

Down the stretch, Hamilton was unable to make up ground as Rooks captured the 3,000-meter steeplechase title with a facility record 8:26.17 on Friday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus.

Hamilton, running his final NCAA race, finished runner-up for the second straight year posting a time of 8:32.18 to claim First Team All-America honors.

“Duncan did a great job with his position, he got tucked in a little, then got out to the lead,” said MSU Dale Kennedy Director of Track and Field Lyle Weese. “He wasn’t necessarily pushing from the front, but he took control. He wasn’t stressed.

“The last 600-meters is what we anticipated, but not the way it played out,” Weese added. “It was incredible effort by Duncan, but I know he’s a little disappointed.”

Hamilton’s second straight runner-up finish at the national meet, coupled by a fifth place showing as a sophomore easily cements him as one of the top collegiate steeplechasers in history. His 8:16.23 at the NCAA West Region meet stands as the second fastest time in the history of the NCAA and is currently ranked ninth in the world.

The NCAA outdoor championship marks the end of the collegiate racing season for the Bobcats, which started in August and saw the men’s cross country team earn a spot in the NCAA meet for the first time in 20 years and concluded with five distance runners earning All-America status at the outdoor finale.

“What an incredible year for our program,” Weese said. “We were fortunate to have outstanding senior leadership for the entire year. We are certainly going to miss them, but they’ve given so much to the program and have built a foundation where we can keep having significant groups going to national championships.

“This year’s distance group was outstanding,” Weese added. “To have five different distance men earn All-America recognition in one year is incredible.”

For Hamilton, he expects to sign a professional contract in the coming weeks. He will compete in the US Nationals, July 6-9 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., in hopes of the making Team USA and a shot at the World Championships, Aug. 19-27 in Budapest, Hungary.

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