CLOVIS, Calif. – Under the lights at the Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, San José State distance runner Jose Piña finished eighth in the 5000m at the United States of America Track and Field (USATF) Junior Championships on Saturday evening.
“It was slow from the start as everyone was just waiting for the kick at the end,” said Piña, who just completed his freshman year at San José State. “I didn’t want to push as I knew it would come down to the final sprint.”
Piña finished in 15:34.83, six seconds behind the first place time.
“At a championship race, the runners focus on the place rather than the time as everyone was content to sit back," said Spartans head cross country coach Brad Wick. "It just crawled the first two-miles, then slowly things picked up as the last two laps were peddle to the metal. It came down to the kicks as Jose didn’t quite have the sub-60 second last lap to get in there.”
Piña finished the last lap in 61 seconds.
“The kick, for the last 100 to 300 meters, is something I can work on. I held on for most of the race as it came down to the final kick,” said Piña, identifying an area of improvement for the upcoming season.
The San Jose, Calif., native completed a strong first season at San José State, leading the team in three meets during the fall cross country season, including at the Mountain West Conference Championships and the NCAA West Regional.
Piña also finished third in the 5000m at the West Coast Last Chance meet in the spring season.
5,000 Meters 1. Zachary Snider, Wisconsin, 15:28.46; 2. Dajour Braxton, LSU, 15:28.80; 3. Olin Hacker, Wisconsin, 15:29.05; 4. Alex Ostberg, Stanford, 15:30.37; 5. Peter Seufer, Virginia Tech, 15:31.12; 6. Eli Moskowitz, Brown, 15:31.22; 7. John Nownes, Iowa State, 15:31.91; 8. Jose Piña, San José State, 15:34.83