NCAA track and field: SUU's Levins claims his second national title

Deseret News

Published: Friday, June 8 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

DES MOINES, Iowa — Cameron Levins' closing speed was on full display for a second night as the Southern Utah University senior distance runner out-kicked the competition over the final 150-meters to finish first in the men's 5,000-meter run on Friday night at the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The victory was his second of the week after finishing first in the men's 10,000 on Wednesday night.

Levins looked as though his approached changed from his 10K when he stayed among the leaders throughout that race, this time showing patience and lurking among the last five to six runners. The pace remained between 65 to 67 seconds per lap, allowing Levins to bide his time.

As the laps increased so did the Canadian's position, as he moved up among the top five with three laps to go. Joining him in the lead group were Arizona's Stephen Sambu, second in the men's 10K on Wednesday night, and Lawi Lalang, the 2011 NCAA Cross Country national champion and the 2012 NCAA 3,000- and 5,000-meter champion during the indoor season.

Also in the group were UNC-Greensboro's Paul Chelimo, 13th at the cross country national championships, and Minnesota's Hassan Mead, a seventh-place finisher in the 5K during the indoor season.

Levins moved to the front of the pack on the bell lap and was pushed by Chelimo at the 150-meter mark. The duo broke away from the leaders, but at 75 meters Levins looked as through he threw on the after burners and finished in 13:40.05 for his second national title. Chelimo finished second with a time of 13:41.04 with Lalang (13:42.20), Mead (13:42.53) and Sambu (13:43.76), rounding out the top five.

"I was just aiming to sprint, basically," he said of his final lap of 54.4 seconds. "I was waiting for someone to make a move on me. I didn't do it at 200, and then Paul Chelimo came up on me and I'm like 'Okay, I have to go', you know, he's going to be by me and have the advantage entering the final 100 meters, so I just held him off and gave whatever I could on the final 100 meters."

The 5K/10K double-title hadn't happened since the 2009 season with All-American Galen Rupp did it running for the University of Oregon. Rupp is currently considered one of the top distance runners for the United States and will likely face Levins this summer in London at the 2012 Summer Games.

"To win at any level in any field and then be consistently humble about the success and victories is what true humanity and sportsmanship is all about," said SUU head track and field/cross country coach Eric Hole. "This is what makes a great athlete's legacy endure throughout time."

"To have someone from Southern Utah win a national championships, let alone two national championships, is huge for him and his future, it's huge for the coaching staff and it's huge for the University. This speaks to all athletes in all sports at SUU, that you dreams can come true, you can win a national championship at Southern Utah and it inspires all of us in all arenas to believe in dreams and hard work."

BYU'S MACKIE WINS 800-METER TITLE: BYU's Nachelle Mackie won her second national championship this year as she claimed the women's 800-meter title at the NCAA meet on Friday. Mackie also won the 800-meter title at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

"It was such a great race," Mackie said. "I'm really excited. At the beginning of the race I knew I had to go out fast because it was such a strong field. Once I got the lead, I didn't want to give it up. I had the lead with 200 meters left and just the thought of losing my last collegiate race gave me the extra motivation to finish strong."

Mackie outpaced the competition with the top collegiate time of the season and the best of her career, 2:01.06. She was followed closely by Charlene Lipsey of LSU (2:01.40) and Chanelle Price of Tennessee (2:01.49).

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