By now, Stanford senior Chris Derrick must be used to running great races and not winning. He was second at the NCAA Country Championships and second in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships -- all this school year.
Derrick was third in the Kim McDonald 10,000 at the annual Payton Jordan Invitational track and field meet on Sunday at Stanford's Cobb Track and Angell Field. However, Derrick accomplished quite a lot with that finish.
His personal-best time of 27:31.38 set an American Collegiate Record, broke the school mark and gave him the Olympic 'A' standard for the 2012 London Olympics. Now all Derrick needs is a top-three finish at the Olympic Trials in June to earn his first Olympic berth.
"It's always less good when you lose - especially to someone in college, but I'm pretty stoked and it just shows you what attitude and expectations can do," said Derrick. 'I saw that (Stephen) Sambu and (Leonard) Korir did it last year (got the "A" standard in the race) so I thought I can do it too.
"Obviously the goal was to run under 27:45 to give me some options for the Trials and such so I'm pleased with that. I felt pretty good in the race."
Derrick, one of 28 athletes to earn the Olympic 'A' standard in the meet, ran a smart tactical race hanging in the pack for the first 5K, before surging to the lead with six laps to go. He led for a few laps, before the elite field began to trade pace-setting duties as the tempo quickened. Cameron Levins of Southern Utah finished with a furious kick to win in 27:27.96, while collegiate recordholder Sam Chelanga was second in 27:29.82 was second and Derrick third.
"I got worried with like eight laps to go," Derrick said. "I was pretty far back and the pace was slowing so I went to the lead and I may have shot my (chances)."
Levins ran the fastest time in the world this year, but Derrick grabbed the ACR because Levins is Canadian. The top six finishers in the race now rank in that order on the 2012 world list.
Derrick's time broke the record of Oregon's Galen Rupp by just over two seconds and was also the Stanford record by a whopping 28 seconds. Previously, Ian Dobson had been the only Cardinal to break 28 minutes, running 27:59.72 in 2005. Derrick and Levins were two of eight to earn the Olympic `A' standard in 10k, meaning Derrick now has the `A' qualifying mark in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Despite the excitement of the 10K, the 5,000 might have been the most thrilling race of the night as 2008 Olympian Lopez Lomong won after coming to a complete stop before the final lap. Lomong kicked to the lead with 600 meters to go, thinking he was on his final lap. As came to the bell he stopped to celebrate what he thought was the end of the race, but really he still had one lap to go.
Photographers on the track urged him to restart and after a couple of seconds, Lomong realized his mistake and kept going. The U.S. flag bearer at the 2008 Olympics wasn't deterred, however. Lomong restarted and finished with another blazing lap to win the race in a world-leading time of 13:11.63.
Lomong was one of seven to reach the Olympic `A' standard in the race. Finishing ninth in a personal best of 13:27.07 was Stanford grad Garrett Heath. Heath likely will move down to his better event, the 1,500 meters, for the Olympic Trials.
The final men's `A' standard winner was Andy Baddeley of Great Britain, who won the 1,500 in 3:35.19. Alan Webb, the American recordholder in the mile, finished 10th in 3:38.36 in another attempt to come back from injuries that have stalled his career over the past four years.
On the women's side, Sally Kipyego stole the show with her dominating performance in the 5,000 meters. Kipyego ran a Cobb Track and Angell Field record and world-leading time f 14:43.11 to win by 25 seconds. Kipyego ran solo the entire race to smash the previous record. She was one of six to grab the Olympic `A' standard in the event.
In the women's 10,000, six more earned the `A' standard led by 23-year-old Kenyan Betsy Saina in a world-leading 31:15.97.
In the 1,500, Anna Pierce put on a strong finish with 200 left and won in a world-leading 4:07.00. It was Pierce's fastest 1,500 in almost two years.
Stanford grad Jill Camarena-Williams was the star of the field events as she broke the stadium record in the women's shot with a mammoth throw of 64-1 1/4. She overcame two early fouls to easily surpass the previous mark of 63-0. Camarena-Williams, who holds the American record of 66-2 1/2, already had the 'A' qualifying mark.
Aside from the elites, Stanford also had several top efforts. Tyler Stutzman continued his breakthrough season with a personal best in the 1,500 meters. Stutzman ran a time of 3:40.53, which ranks 10th in Stanford history. Michael Atchoo also ran well with a time of 3:42.36.
In the 5,000 meters, Stanford had a pair of nice efforts in the second section. Brendan Gregg ran a personal best of 13:48.49, while teammate Miles Unterreiner was not far behind in 13:50.90.
In the sprints, Amaechi Morton led the Cardinal with a personal best of 46.12 in the 400 meters. The 400-meter hurdles specialist now ranks third among collegians in the open 400 meters after Sunday's race.
In the field, Geoffrey Tabor led the Cardinal with a season-best toss of 187-1 in the discus.
Leading the Stanford women was Kathy Kroeger, who broke through with a huge personal best in the 5,000 meters, running 15:33.76 to finish second in her section of the event. The mark ranks sixth in school history, but more importantly qualifies Kroeger through to the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer.
In the 1,500 Jessica Tonn third in her section of the 1,500, running 4:23.77. Claire Collison also had a strong race, placing second in her section with a time of 4:33.08.
Justine Fedronic led the Cardinal in the 800 meters with a time of 2:05.42.
In the sprints, Shataya Hendricks won the 100 meters with a time of 11.50.
Katie Nelms ran a personal-best time of 13.24 to win the 100-meter hurdles. The time ranks second in school history to Kori Carter, who placed second on Sunday with a time of 13.30. Carter did come back to win the 400 hurdles later with a time of 57.62.
Next up for the Cardinal will be the Pac-12 Championships. Next weekend will be the heptathlon and decathlon competitions with the rest of the meet taking place in two weeks.