March 12, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Air Force senior Justin Tyner clocked a time of 8:05.57 to place fifth in the 3000-meter race at the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, March 12, at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas. With the finish, Tyner claims his second All-America honor, in as many indoor championship meets.
Tyner, who entered the race ranked 16th in the national standings at that distance, finished fifth in the field of 19 with the second-fastest time of his career (8:05.57). The native of Baxter, Minn., finished ahead of four runners that were ranked among the top six in the final national standings.
The competitors remained tightly grouped from the starting gun, although the pace of the race changed depending on the leader. Tyner stayed near the front of the pack, swinging out in the final few laps to gain position. Sprinting to the finish line, Tyner crossed the stripe in 8:05.57 to claim his fifth-place finish.
It was the second race in as many days for Tyner, who anchored the Falcons distance medley relay team to a ninth-place finish last night, moving up several positions during the final 1600-meter leg.
He becomes just the third member of the Air Force men's team to earn indoor All-America honors in back-to-back years and the first to do so in different events, as he took third in the 5000-meter run last year. Tyner joins Paul Gensic (pole vault, 2004-05) and Doug Withers (440-yard dash, 1966-67) to claim top-eight finishes at the indoor national championships.
Stanford's Elliott Heath came out of the pack in the final half-lap to win the national title of the 3000-meter run, crossing the finish line in 8:03.71. Minnesota's Ben Blankenship finished second (8:04.65), while Indiana's Andrew Bayer (third, 8:04.70), Oregon's Matthew Centrowitz (fourth, 8:04.88) and Tyner rounded out the top five.
Air Force opens the outdoor season next weekend, when it travels to Irvine, Calif., for the UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational on Saturday, March 19.