GREENSBORO, N.C. — Adding to their long list of achievements, Stillwater runners Eric Colvin, Wayde Hall, Sean Bjork and Eli Krahn finished second in the 4×1,600-meter relay on Sunday at the New Balance Nationals outdoor track and field meet.
The Ponies — competing as the Stillwater Track Club — ran the fastest time ever recorded by Minnesota high schoolers with a clocking of 17:17.45, eclipsing the previous all-time best set by Willmar at 17:22.17 in 2007.
Stillwater led for most of the race on Sunday, but Brian Kettle surged past Wayde Hall late in the final leg to give Red Tide of Michigan the victory in a time of 17:16.12. Kettle’s anchor leg was 4:13.40 as he made up a nearly six-second deficit to capture the title.
“I think at first we were a little disappointed because we went out there wanting to win,” Colvin said. “But after we took it all in, we realized we had a good race and were second at nationals so we ended it on a happy note.”
Each of Stillwater’s four runners finished within two seconds of each other, led by Krahn with a 4:18.37 split and ranging to Hall at 4:20.29. Colvin finished in 4:18.53 and Bjork turned in a 4:20.27 time.
Colvin lost a few seconds on his run following a mishandled baton exchange from Krahn to start the second leg, though he said it did not impact the final result.
“We were in first and I just left a little early and underestimated where he would be,” Colvin said. “I took it back out and just got myself back in the race and it didn’t make too much of a difference. At first I was like, oh boy, but we were really lucky it didn’t bounce out of the track and we didn’t get anybody disqualified. You don’t really prepare for anything like that, but the key is to stay calm and get back into the race.”
The Ponies didn’t even decide to compete in North Carolina until about a week before the event.
“We weren’t actually planning on going until we looked at the sheets and saw a lot of the other good teams in the nation were going to be there,” Colvin said. “We got together and said we should do this and we were all in at that point.”
It was also a last hurrah of sorts for the seniors Colvin, Hall and Bjork and Krahn, a freshman who has run the fastest 1,600- and 3,200-meter times in the country for his age group this spring. The seniors have contributed to two state championships in cross country and two in track the past few years. Colvin and Hall will continue as teammates at the University of Minnesota while Bjork will run cross country and track at St. Olaf.
“We had a long time to sit down and talk about it afterward,” Colvin said. “We were reflecting on the race and the fast times we’ve had before and how awesome this whole journey has been, but also looking forward to the future. We’re all going to be friends and have so much to look forward to in the future. I’m happy that we ended up going out there and it’s a good last memory to have for the four of us. It’s sports and you’re going to have disappointments, but we just realized that and said we have a lot going for us and we’re not done yet.”
The second place finish resulted in NSAF All-America honors for the runners.
Hall will be competing in the 1,500 meters at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this week in Des Moines, Iowa.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at email@example.com