Isaac Chavez’s trophy case is going to need some immediate rearranging. The junior distance runner from Barstow entered the NCAA Track & Field Championships with four All-America awards as a Wildcat – one for track and three for cross country – and Thursday he added a fifth national honor to his collection of hardware, finishing the opening night of action with an All-America performance in the finals of the 10,000-meter run at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl in Pueblo, Colo.
Chavez came in eighth place to grab the final All-America slot in Thursday’s last race of the evening, posting a time of 30:59.71 in the 10k. Chavez now has the chance to capture a second All-America award Saturday – and sixth overall – when he competes Saturday night in the men’s 5,000-meter run.
Chavez’ All-America run was just one of the many highlights turned in by members of the Chico State men’s track & field team Thursday. Defending national decathlon champion J Patrick Smith is halfway to his second win in as many years, leading the 16-man field through the first five events with 4,070 points.
Smith won the decathlon’s long jump with a leap of 24-feet-7.25 – the third best mark in the event in Chico State history. He also finished first in the 100-meter dash with a personal record time of 10.68 seconds.
Smith rounded out Thursday’s opening day action by coming in second in the high jump (6-feet-5), third in the in the 400-meter dash (49.33 seconds) and ninth in the shot put (38-feet-5).
Smith’s Wildcat teammate, Theodore Elsenbaumer, is also in contention for All-America honors, finishing Thursday in fourth place in the decathlon with 3,875 points. Elsenbaumer notched three personal records when he placed second in the 400-meter dash (48.65 seconds), the 100-meter dash (10.87 seconds) and the shot put (42-feet-00.75). Elsenbaumer finished sixth in the long jump (22-feet-3.5) and seventh in the high jump (6-feet-1.5).
The decathlon concludes Friday with the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.
The Wildcats’ Anthony Palermini is also still alive for All-America honors by qualifying for Saturday’s finals in the men’s 1,500-meter run. Palermini placed eighth in his preliminary heat Thursday and 12th overall with a time of 4:01.06.
Alex McGuirk, however, was unable to move on in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. McGuirk finished seventh in his preliminary heat and 15th overall with a time of 9:39.57, but it wasn’t enough to advance to Friday’s finals.
While Chavez came through with an All-America effort in the men’s 10,000-meter run, teammates Anthony Costales and Dayne Gradone came up short of national recognition. Costales finished 13th in the 10k with a time of 31:57.52, while Gradone was 14th overall, clocking in at 32:11.58.