Chris York completed his freshman year of college nearly two months ago as part of the University of Richmond track & field and cross country teams. Back in January as we sat in my office and put his race schedule together we talked at length about the United States of America Track & Field (USATF) Junior National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. As we discussed his schedule we also talked at length about the 10K, an event he and I both believed he would be good in. From the meeting we put his race plan into place and began the season with the A-10 10K and USATF Jr Nationals as the two keys races.
Chris had a good indoor season and a great outdoor season running 31:28.32 under perfect conditions in his first 10K on the track at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, VA back on April 2nd…His next 10K was scheduled to be the Atlantic 10K Conference Championships in Amherst, Massachusetts on May 1. He followed his teammates Matt Llano (1st) and Tim Quinn (3rd) to place eighth with a PR of 31:26.91 on a hot day for Amherst, MA. Both of his marks were well under the USATF Junior Qualifying Standard of 32:45.00.
As the summer began Chris continued his preparation for the National Championships hammering out workouts and keeping his focus on the race.
As race day drew near, Chris and Spider Assistant Coach, Jon Molz flew from Richmond to Des Moines on Wednesday for his race. They arrived at the meet headquarters, picked-up his race number and their credentials to enter all areas of the meet and headed to the hotel before going for a run and dinner.
Thursday was spent relaxing at the hotel for Chris after a prerace run while Coach Molz headed down the road for his 13 mile run. He was surprised to find a dirt road less than 3 miles from the hotel that headed out into the Iowa prairie. As he said, “Sweet 13 mile run on hilly dirt roads this morning.” As evening arrived it was time for dinner before heading to the track to watch the senior men’s and women’s 10k national championship races. Both events ended up being slow…a sign that the humidity was more brutal than most thought. No worries for Chris though…there is plenty of heat and humidity in Virginia this time of year. A good training aid when you have to race in similar conditions.
Today was race day… They arrived at the track at 7:15PM for his 9:00PM race. The conditions were hot and humid when they arrived but the temperatures started to drop once the sun set below the horizon…and continued to improve up through the start of the race. Cool temperatures compared to the last 2 weeks in Richmond…
The race had a large field compared to most USATF Jr men’s 10K races the past several years. 26 men stepped to the start line at 9:00PM when the starter called them to take their mark. The first mile York passed in 4:58 as he settled into 6th place with a swarm of 26 men...everyone together. No one had dropped off as they passed 3200M in 10:03 with Chris in 7th… By 3 Miles (15:14) the pack had dwindled to 12 with Chris in the middle of it…Then the racing began… A group of 6 threw in a move picking up the pace just after 3 miles. Chris passed 5K in 15:52…By 4 miles (20:34) he settled into 9th running in the shadow of the 7th and 8th place runners (Arquimedes DelaCruz and Michael Lilley). Gaps began to grow wider between the front pack and the pack behind Chris, DelaCruz and Lilley. At 5 miles (25:57) their pack of 3 remained in tack as Delacruz and Lilley pushed to get away from York. In the end they all 3 passed 2 of the runners that dropped from the lead pack as York finished 7th in 32:41.13 to secure All-America honors for his top 8 finish.
“I’m happy”, said York. “It is great experience and I’m pleased to earn a top 8 finish.
“He looked good out there in tougher conditions than most realized” said Coach Molz. “You can look at the senior race results in the 5K from just before Chris competed and know that it was deceptive. He did a good job out there tonight.”
These USATF National Championship Races are critically important for the growth and development of our athletes. Three years ago it was Matt Llano…Two years ago it was Tim Quinn and Chris this year. It can be a stepping stone to bigger things. I’m glad Chris wanted to compete and I’m glad he has the opportunity to see his hard work pay its dividends…and I’m glad we have alumni support that enables us to provide these opportunities. We never take that for granted.
Men 10000 Meter Run USA Junior National Championships
Name Year Team Finals
1 Parker Stinson Rogue Running 30:56.10$
2 Graham Bazell unattached 31:33.76
3 Robert Molke Syracuse 31:58.49
4 Benjamin Furcht Georgetown 32:13.22
5 Arquimedes DelaCruz Marist College 32:25.22
6 Michael Lilley Appalachian State 32:30.42
7 Chris York Richmond 32:41.43
8 Connor Callahan Marquette 33:00.98
9 Erik Anderson San Diego 33:06.18
10 Burk Staub Appalachian State 33:06.87
11 Ross Roberson Charlotte 33:30.65
12 Tyler Noble Saginaw Vall 33:33.01
13 Antonio Schafer Oakland 33:39.78
14 Oliver Bear Don't Walk Harrier TC 34:04.88
15 Brehanu Dagnachew Charlotte 34:15.12
16 Jonathan Krell Central Conn 34:32.12
17 Scott Ryan Washington & 34:56.61
18 Kevin Randle Saint Ambrose 35:01.15
-- Christopher Connelly Sacred Heart DNF
-- Tyson Christensen unattached DNF
-- Brendan Devlin unattached DNF
-- Jeffery Arnier unattached DNF
-- Craig Lutz Lake Cities TC DNF
-- Michael Nicoletti Marist College DNF
-- Andrew Coelho Adelphi DNF