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Olympic Update, Day #9: Cabral Runs an Impressive 8th in Gold Medal Race

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 08/05/2012
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
NCAA champion Donn Cabral competes in the men's steeplechase final at 4:25 pm EDT.
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DAY 1: Hendershot, Loch, Matheson, Prendes, Stone
DAY 2: Lind, Morin, Prendes, J Reinprecht, K Reinprecht, Wilkinson
DAY 3: Lawrence, Loch, Ochal, Scanlan
DAY 4: Matheson, Prendes, J Reinprecht, K Reinprecht, Stone
DAY 5: Hendershot, Loch, Thompson
DAY 6: Lind, Morin, Ochal, Prendes, J Reinprecht, K Reinprecht, Stone, Wilkinson
DAY 7: Cabral, Matheson
DAY 8: Lawrence, Ochal, J Reinprecht, K Reinprecht, Scanlan, Stone
DAY 9: Cabral

Donn Cabral '12 finished eighth in the gold medal race of the men's steeplechase on Sunday. It was an unbelievable performance by the recent graduate who led the race for more than three laps.

It's as impressive feat for an athlete who just doesn't stop. He hasn't stopped competing since September, going from cross country season (an All-America) to indoor track (an All-America) to outdoor track (a national champion), and then onto the US Trials and then the Olympics.

"I'm pretty happy with how it went," Cabral said after the race. "Eighth is good. I've got more to come. Next year, the rest of the summer and Rio down the line."

The race started and the runners bunched up along the rail. Cabral had to move to the outside after a slight tangle with Italian Floriani in the pack. He used the space to move into the lead and was leading the race by the first water barrier.

With six laps to go Cabral was sitting on the shoulder of Ethiopian Mesfin. It was on that lap that Cabral would take the lead in the race and hang on to it for the next three laps.

Fellow American Evan Jager joined Cabral up top and for a brief second it almost seemed like two former collegians were just out taking a jog together. You could also faintly hear the announcer inside Olympic Stadium say "... and the leader from Princeton University." Behind the pair were the Ethiopian duo of Mesfin and Gari.

With three laps to go Kenyans Mutai and Gari took over the lead. Fellow Kenyans Kemboi and Kirputo passed Cabral and Jager on the back corner with three laps remaining. Finland's Keskisalo bowed out of the race on the same lap.

Kirputo fell on the track and got back up and mightly re-joined the race and finished, impressively, in fifth place.

With two laps remaining Cabral was in sixth place and just as the bell sounded for the final lap he was in seventh.

Cabral is the first male athlete from Princeton to compete in a track event at the Olympics since 1924. He joins John Eisele as the only two Tigers to compete in the steeplechase at the Olympics. Incidentally Eisele competed in London at the 1908 Olympics winning the bronze in the 3200 steeplechase.

Final Results
1 Kemboi (Kenya) 8:18.56
2 Mekhissi-Benabbad (France) 8:19.08
3 Mutai (Kenya) 8:19.73
4 Gari (Ethiopia) 8:20.00
5 Kipruto (Kenya) 8:23.03
6 Jager (USA) 8:23.87
7 Ezzine (Morocco) 8:24.90
8 Cabral (USA) 8:25.91
9 Akdag (Turkey) 8:27.64
10 Luchianov (Moldova) 8:28.15
11 Taleb (Morocco) 8:32.40
12 Mesfin (Ethiopia) 8:35.12
13 Floriani (Italy) 8:40.07
Keskisalo (Finland) DNF
Kiplagat (Uganda) DQ

Three Princetonians will be in competition Monday, including Diana Matheson '08, who will lead the Canadian women's soccer team against Team USA at 2:45 pm. The game is the second semifinal of the day; the winner of the Canada-USA game will take on the winner of the France-Japan showdown for the Olympic gold medal.

Both Julia Reinprecht '14 and Katie Reinprecht '13 will lead the Team USA field hockey squad into their final game of pool play against South Africa at 5:45 am.

 

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