(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
Marc Scott stormed to a very significant win in the 10,000 meters on the first day of the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, drawing on a 55.44-second final lap. But that wasn’t the most startling fact of the Englishman’s victory: On Monday, the 23-year-old University of Tulsa student was hospitalized for 24 hours after suffering a seizure mid-training run.
“I’ve waited for five years for this moment,” said a poised Scott, cracking a small smile after discussing his medical scare and emphasizing how important the moment was.
Standing on the top spot of the podium was almost in jeopardy after Scott’s emergency on Monday. Four miles into a 10-mile run in Eugene, Ore., Scott suffered a seizure. After completing the run and consulting with team staff, Scott went to the hospital and spent a full 24 hours undergoing tests and being observed. He wasn’t released until mid-day Tuesday, roughly 30 hours before racing. He had a CT scan on his brain and an EKG on his heart, but neither test provided any concrete conclusions. Scott has suffered seizures before.
“I was always going to be on the start line unless I didn’t get the nod to go to get on the start line. If I was going to be held out, it was going to be a big shame,” he said. “I was determined to be on the start line and got the go ahead.”
After all, this may have been Scott’s best chance at an NCAA title, knowing three-time reigning champion Edward Cheserek had withdrawn last month due to injury and has since signed a professional management contract. The race was conservative from the start, with the entire field passing halfway in a leisurely 14:53. Not until single digits showed on the lap counter did the race begin to progress from a jog to a tempo run, and then to a race. Eight kilometers in, 18 men were still in contention. Middle Tennessee State’s Jacob Choge was the de-facto pacemaker, leading laps ranging from 68 to 72 seconds. The yo-yo’ing was non-stop.
But when the gears started moving and 400 meters remained, it developed into a three-man race. Scott, Butler’s Erik Peterson and Samford’s Arsene Guillorel had broken from the pack. Peterson led entering the bell, but Scott let loose a kick for the ages, gapping the pair on the backstretch before hitting the Bowerman Curve.
“I had been working on that all year at the end of workouts closing really hard,” Scott mused. “I knew it would come down to the last lap…I really tried to develop the final lap.”
While Scott seemed to be running away with the win, BYU’s Rory Linkletter was stirring the exuberant crowd. In tenth position with 800 meters to go, Linkletter used his 1500m speed—the BYU Cougar qualified for regionals in both the 1500 and 10,000m. Taking it one lap at a time, Linkletter let loose in the final circuit mowing down all but Scott down the backstretch.
Scott was simply too much to handle, and Linkletter couldn’t match the Brit’s speed. Scott would be the clear winner in 29:01.54, with Linkletter second in 29:02.96.
“Five years later I’m a national champion. I’m really, really happy,” said Scott after his first national crown. With team points in mind, he’ll return on Friday for the 5000m. “This was spot on for me.”
Linkletter was overwhelmed by his finish. As a 20-year-old sophomore, in just his third 10,000m, he took second in the NCAA. Crossing the line, Linkletter brought his hands to his head in shock.
“It’s surreal. I mean I had goals of being at least first-team all-American coming off regionals. I was in ninth with about 500 to go,” he recalled, shaking his head. “I kind of just went for it, had it, and it was good. I mean, dream come true, Hayward Field, everything. It’s just magical.”
Third went to Peterson in 29:04.74, while Guillorel was fourth in 29:05.27. Navy’s Lucas Stalnaker placed fifth (29:08.81), a great showing for the Midshipman.