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EUGENE, Ore. (6/11/14) - Senior Chris Bendtsen and sophomore Adam Bragg both captured second-team All-America honors on Day 1 of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Bragg earned the honors in his first championship meet finishing 12th in the pole vault with a new personal best of 5.40 (17-8.5). Team captain, Bendtsen, who holds the school record in the 10k finished in ninth place at 29:14.86.
Bragg passed on the first height of 5.10 (16-8.25) and went right to the second height of 5.25 (17-2.75). He made it over the bar on his second attempt at that height. Bragg made it look easy as he cleared 5.40 on his first attempt. He was one of 16 that cleared the height as eight others failed to advance. Bragg didn’t get off the ground on his first attempt at 5.50 (18-0.5) and then just nicked the bar on his second attempt as it looked he made it over before the bar toppled down. His final attempt came up again just short. Looking over at Coach Fred Samara after his final attempt, he gave him a thumbs up, acknowledging an incredible effort for the sophomore in his first time in the finals.
Bendtsen was about 25 seconds off of his school record as he finished the 10k in 29:14.86 to finish ninth. He was just one spot away from the coveted eighth place - which earns first-team All-America honors, points for the team and a spot on the podium. It was bitter sweet for the team captain who had mixed feelings after the race.
"I was ninth so that's one place out of All-American, but I was 15 seconds away which actually is a lot," Bendtsen said "Ninth place - I'm super happy with. The guys that beat me are absolutely amazing. They are going to go on and do great things, be professional runners, so being in this field is enough for me and to get ninth is everything I could have hoped for to finish out my career at Princeton."
A lead pack of four quickly broke away from the group with Edward Cherserek (Oregon), Shadrack Kipchirchir (Oklahoma State), Kennedy Kithuka (Texas) and Mohammed Ahmed (Wisconsin) leading the way for the 25 laps. Cheserek gave the Duck fans a show when he put it into a different gear on the back stretch and blew by the other three to win in 28:30.18.
Bendtsen started to make his first move of the race after 2800 meters, on lap 7, as he moved from 16th into 12th. At 4000 meters he had positioned himself ninth and held that for the next 2000 meters. After dropped back a few spots around the 6000-meter mark he pushed back into ninth at 8000 meters. With four laps remaining, Bendtsen held steady in 10th place and was able to outkick another runner on the straight away with a 1:03.08 on the split to claim ninth.