By Ian Round | Staff Writer
Sam Lagasse ’16 felt he had a subpar warm-up before his 5,000-meter race at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers Classic this past weekend.
“The one thing I remember distinctly before the race was that when I was warming up, I couldn’t get my body to go fast,” Lagasse said.
Fourteen minutes and 53 seconds later, he had broken Kenyon’s men’s 5K record of 15:00; it was set in 2009 by Kaleb Keyserling.
“He killed it,” Head Coach Duane Gomez said. “He got with a really fast pack that’s a little faster than his usual pace and he just stayed with the pack.”
“It was the coolest moment of my racing career,” Lagasse said.
Jenna Willett ’14 ran the second-fastest 5K in Kenyon women’s track history and holds the third-fastest time in DIII. Gomez said Sierra DeLeon ’14 is ranked around 16th nationally in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, and that Alton Barbehenn ’17 was about a second away from breaking the school record in the men’s 400-meter hurdles.
For their performances, Willett and Lagasse earned the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Athlete of the Week awards for distance runners.
Lagasse said his goal was to break the Kenyon record, but that breaking 15 minutes was his biggest goal — one of the hardest goals to accomplish for most undergraduate runners. Gomez said Lagasse ran so well because he had to keep pace with his group rather than maintain the lead he often has in conference races. He has the fastest 5K time in the conference by far, and it can be hard to run that fast alone.
“It’s hard to, the longer the distance gets, to run a fast time if it’s you that has to dictate the pace,” Lagasse said.
The track teams race again this Saturday, March 30 at the College of Wooster Invitational.