June 13, 2015
EUGENE, Ore. - On the third day of the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, two more Hoyas solidified their names in Georgetown history. Both competing at their first NCAA Outdoor Championships, Darren Fahy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) and Collin Leibold (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga) competed in the finals of their respective events, part of the four-day meet broadcast live on the ESPN family of networks.
Leibold competed in the highly-touted field of the men's 5,000-meter finals. With four laps to go, the pace picked up considerably and as some runners got left behind and others ran off the track, Leibold made sure he stayed with the lead pack.
"It was a really good race for the first two and a half miles or so, and then Patrick Tiernan from Villanova took the lead and started really pushing it hard and I found myself a little too far back," Leibold explained. "I made a couple of moves to try to get back in contact with the front pack but I wasn't able to quite do it. But I'm happy with the way that I was able to close on my own."
While fast times got all 24 competitors to Eugene, at this stage, it comes down to racing and getting through uncomfortable conditions. Leibold managed to hang on for as long as he could, sacrificing the energy he would have left for his final kick and it wasn't until about 600 meters to go that he fell off the ever-increasing pace of the lead pack, led by Oregon's Edward Cheserek.
"I'm proud of the way I was able to hang on as long as I did. I know that when I was hanging on, I was losing the kick just because I was getting so tired, but I figured with this type of race with the wind and the competition, you just have to stay on for as long as possible. If you fall off, you fall off, but if you're in it for as long as you can then you're able to finish higher."
In his first national competition for the Blue & Gray, Leibold finished 13th with a time of 14:10.21. This is the best finish for a Hoya in the 5,000-meter finals since former All-American and now Nike athlete Andrew Bumbalough's third-place showing in 2010.
Fahy clinched an 11th-place finish in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking 8:56.69, in his first time competing in Eugene for the Blue & Gray. Fahy already set himself apart from the rest as he was one of the 24 best steeplers in the country by even making it to the championships, but he continued to distinguish himself as he made the finals, a field of the 12 most elite athletes in the event, including three-time NCAA Champion Anthony Rotich from UTEP.
He was steady through the majority of the race, floating between the seventh and 10th spots through 2,200 meters. As the field accelerated over the final two laps, shaving as much as three seconds off the pace leading in to the bell lap, Fahy struggled to find his next gear. At the bell, Fahy had slipped to 12th but he continued to push through, eventually overtaking Michigan's Mason Ferlic for 11th place. Fahy's 11th-place finish matches All-American Max Darrah's 2013 performance.
Off the Track
Leibold has collected a considerable amount of gently-worn shoes and apparel for his trip to Kenya later this month. His longterm plan of returning to the Lare, a village in Nakuru County, following his fifth year of NCAA eligibility (the 2015-16 season) to start a sustainable running group out of the Mother of Mercy Girls Secondary School.
"The donations have been amazing," Leibold said with a smile. "I may have too much - I'm not sure I can get it all back. It has been great to see so many people doing what they can for this cause."
The top eight finishers from each event are named First Team All-Americans while second team recognition goes to those who finish ninth through 16th. Honorable mention accolades will go all other competitors who make it to the final site of the NCAA Championships.
Hoyas on the Track: Saturday, June 13
7 p.m. ET: Madeline Chambers, Women's 5,000m Finals
Live Broadcast Schedule
Saturday, June 13: ESPN2 starting at 5 p.m. ET
the entire championships will be streamed live on ESPN3