Canadian Ben Flanagan uses monster final lap to win 10,000m at NCAA championships
University of Michigan senior beat his personal best by 39 seconds
It was the final race of Ben Flanagan's career at the University of Michigan, and he waited until the final lap to make it count.
The fifth-year senior from Kitchener, Ont., used a huge kick to win the 10,000 metres at the NCAA track and field championships on Wednesday.
Flanagan hunted down Alabama's Vincent Kiprop over the final 150 metres at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., to win gold in 28 minutes 34.53 seconds, beating Kiprop by 46-hudredths of second.
BEN FLANAGAN WITH THE CRAZY KICK FTW & <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ncaaTF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ncaaTF</a> 10K 🏆! <a href="https://t.co/agTOqynodF">pic.twitter.com/agTOqynodF</a>—@NCAATrackField
He also beat his own personal best by 39 seconds.
Ben Flanagan's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NCAATF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NCAATF</a> 10,000m title BY THE NUMBERS:<br><br>2️⃣3️⃣ - Ben's pre-meet seed in the 24-man field<br><br>3️⃣9️⃣ - # of seconds Ben cut off his PR<br><br>2️⃣9️⃣ - Years since Michigan's last 10,000m NCAA title (Scherer, '89)<br><br>.4️⃣6️⃣ - Winning margin over Kiprop<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBlue?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBlue</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ti9aNGy833">pic.twitter.com/Ti9aNGy833</a>—@UMichTrack
Flanagan's reaction to winning the race was priceless. After the initial shock had worn off, he was caught by cameras saying, "where's my Mom?"
.<a href="https://twitter.com/UMichTrack?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichTrack</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/bennyflanagan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bennyflanagan</a> threw down a monster kick to win the <a href="https://twitter.com/NCAATrackField?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NCAATrackField</a> 10,000m title. <br><br>The ESPN cameras caught him asking "Where's my mom?"<br><br>So I got her perspective of his breakthrough race <a href="https://t.co/9vILBwq6FY">https://t.co/9vILBwq6FY</a> <a href="https://t.co/s9ODjSwdl1">pic.twitter.com/s9ODjSwdl1</a>—@ChrisChavez
Flanagan received considerable acknowledgement and support on Twitter after the race, including from fellow Canadian runner Justyn Knight.
Ben Flanagan has is my hero and National Champ!!!🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 <a href="https://t.co/VqOv5OYLBS">pic.twitter.com/VqOv5OYLBS</a>—@justyn_knight
Two other Canadians were in the field: Mike Tate, senior at Southern Utah from Antigonish, N.S., was 21st (30:14.75) and Calgary-born Rory Linkletter, a junior at Brigham Young University, was 24th (31:37.69).
Dillon Maggard of Utah State captured third in 28:38.36.
"This is the last race of my career, and it's common for that to be overwhelming for people by going in with a very high-pressure attitude," Flanagan said days before the race.
"That's not something I'm trying to do. I trust myself as an athlete, and I trust the training Coach Sullivan provided for me. And I'm just going to do my best out there, and I think that on the day I'm going to be able to perform at a high level, and give everything I have. We'll see what the result is on the scoreboard afterward."
The results don't lie; Flanagan is a national champion.
With files from The Canadian Press