The SOJC Track Bureau has been writing 4 pieces on the NCAA a day for RunBlogRun. Lori Schontz is coordinating nine writers and two photographers, and with that large of a group, there are always challenges. I am enjoying their views of the events and their enthusiasm for reporting about the NCAA Outdoor Champs. This piece on the Men’s steeplechase was written by Aaron Heisen.
Duncan Hamilton, Ahmed Jaziri, Peter Stokes, and then there were three! Men’s Steeplechase, June 10, 2022, photo by Ken Neri/SOJC Track Bureau
By Aaron Heisen
SOJC Track Bureau
The men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday at the NCAA Championships was the fastest field since 1979.
Still, Ahmed Jaziri ran a patient race.
For the first 2,000 meters, he sat in the middle of the pack while Montana State’s Duncan Hamilton set the pace. As the race progressed, Jaziri slowly made his way up and moved into second with 600 to go.
He coupled a successful final water jump with a strong kick to pass Hamilton in the final 200 meters and win the race.
“I had been looking forward to this moment for a while, and today one of my dreams came true,” Jaziri said. “Nothing could go much better than today.”
The Eastern Kentucky product finished in a personal-best time of 8 minutes, 18.88 seconds — the fastest time since Henry Rono of Washington State ran 8:17.90 in 1979.
Not only did Jaziri finish quickly, but he also conquered a steeplechase field in which four other finishers hit the 8:22 World Athletics Championships standard — a feat made possible in large part due to the pace that Hamilton set.
“My game plan coming in was to make it fast so that I could hit that world standard,” Hamilton said. “I thought I’d be one of the guys who would benefit from the fast Wednesday and Friday. It almost worked.”
Jaziri edged Hamilton and Georgetown’s Parker Stokes by .18. Still, Hamilton and Stokes, along with Oklahoma State’s Ryan Smeeton and Princeton’s Ed Trippas, made that qualifying mark.