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(Gulf Shores, Ala.) The day after coasting through the prelims in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Louis Falland nearly jogged into the finals of the 5,000 meters on the second day of the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Running in the second of two heats, Falland needed to finish in the top six or be one of four fastest runners not in the top six of either heat. The first heat started at a pedestrian pace and didn't get much faster. The winner ran 15:30.52 with sixth just six seconds behind.
The second heat started began much faster averaging just over 1:10 per lap. Falland positioned himself in around sixth place and waited. In the final laps, it was clear that ten men would qualify out of the second heat and Falland drifted further back in the pack, jogging to the finish in tenth place. His time of 15:17.65 was 23 seconds behind the winner, Sam Atkin of Lewis-Clark State.
"With the steeplechase finals nineteen hours away, there was absolutely no reason to run a second faster than necessary to advance," said CU men's distance coach, Nate Van Holten. "The real races are tomorrow."