AUSTIN, Texas – In the sweltering humidity that is Austin, Texas, in June, Alabama senior Gilbert Kigen ran tough throughout the night before bursting from the pack over the last 400 meters to take second place in the 10,000 on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus.
“I’m really proud of the way Gilbert battled all the way to the finish,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “That was a great race and he really went after it. It was a gutsy performance for sure.”
Kigen ran with the front of the main pack throughout the 10,000 meters Wednesday night, keeping pace through a multitude of lead changes before positioning himself for the final push over the last 1,500. With one lap to go, he took off, bolting to the front and going stride-for-stride with eventual champion Clayton Young from BYU to the finish.
“My goal was to win, but I ran hard and gave it my all,” Kigen said. “I’m glad to have scored points for the team and I know that all my teammates were cheering me on, here and at home.”
Kigen, who was seventh in the 10,000 at last year’s NCAA Championships, posted a time of 29:18.10, less than two seconds off the win. His runner-up finish put the Crimson Tide on the board in the team race, sitting in ninth place with eight points.
The men’s championships continue Friday with Kigen in the 5,000 meters and senior Kord Ferguson in the discus as well as junior Shelby McEwen, who is looking to make it two national titles in a row in the high jump after winning the 2019 NCAA Indoor title in March.
In other day-one action for the Tide, junior Robert Dunning posted a career-best time of 13.60 in the 110-meter hurdles, taking ninth place, just one spot out of the championship final. Dunning came back later in the afternoon and finished 15th in the 400-meter hurdles after running a 50.71.
Bobby Colantonio Jr., the only freshman among the 24 throwers that made up the men’s hammer throw field, finished 16th, with a throw of 218-1 (66.47m).
Ferguson was 17th and freshman Santiago Basso was 21st in the shot put. Ferguson, who will compete again on Friday in the discus, posted a throw of 61-8.5 (18.81m), while Basso went 59-5 (18.11m).
Thursday sees the women’s championships get underway. The Tide has 17 women at the meet with 16 opportunities to score, the second most of any team at the meet, one behind Arkansas.