(Photo of Peter Hale leading the 5,000m courtesy of Eph Athletics)
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Geneva, OH—Men’s Track and Field concluded competition on Day Three of the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championship. Co-captain Peter Hale ’17 competed in the 5000m, winning his second straight NCAA title over fantastic competition.
Although Hale had won the 3000m at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, his path to victory today by no means looked easy. Hale came into the meet with a seed time of 14:16.22, achieved at the Division III New England meet, a time which ranked just 8th in the nation. Competing against Hale were the 2017 Indoor 5000m champion, the 2017 Outdoor 10000m champion (and DIII record holder in that event), as well as a host of other competitors who had proven themselves on the national stage. But Hale came into the meet with confidence—no competitor other than Eph sophomore Austin Anderson ’19 had beaten him in the 5000m for over a year.
The race started rather quickly, but soon slowed into a race of tactics, with the first mile passed in 4:37 and the second mile reached in 9:23. Hale had been running comfortably in the middle of the pack, confident in the knowledge that he’d be there when the decisive moves would be made, not wasting any energy. At the 2-mile mark, however, Hale decided to pick up the pace, and moved into the lead, stringing out the pack with a quick lap.
After increasing the pace, however, Hale was content to let others continue pushing, letting 10000m champion Ian LaMere take the lead as he settled into 3rd place. The pace over the next three laps continually increased, with a pack of 4 breaking away with laps of 69, 67, and 64 seconds. In the home straightaway before starting the final lap, Hale decided that it was time to move, starting his finishing kick and moving into first place.
Over the last lap, other athletes made repeated surges, but Hale never once relinquished the lead. Running the last 400 meters in 57 seconds (with his last mile in 4:17), Hale crossed the finish line for his final time in a Williams uniform, again a national champion. Hale is the first 5000m national champion for the Ephs since Connor Kamm in 2010. He scored 10 points for the Ephs for his efforts. At the end of competition, the Ephs were 13th in the nation, far better than they had been seeded.
Head Coach Ethan Barron was very pleased with Hale’s performance and the team’s as a whole, saying “Peter ran a fantastic race. He had a smart and patient start, and coupled that with a courageous and passionate finish. What a way to end the year. All in all it was a great year for Williams T&F. Bringing home a national champion and national runner up is a great exclamation point. I truly believe we have more guys who should be eying Nationals as the end of their season. When they too see it. Look out.”