Gustavus Adolphus senior Max Hanson highlighted the final day of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships by winning the 800-meter run with a time of 1:49.50. Hanson also joined Cole Carlson, Colby Citrowske, and Matt Leeb in a second place finish in the 400-meter relay (3:12.82) to cap off the 2010 NCAA Championships. Both Hanson and the 4×400 relay team earn All-American Status for their performances.
The Gustavus men’s team compiled 18 points to finish tied for 10th place, the highest finish at the NCAA Championships for a Gustavus men’s outdoor track and field team in school history. The previous best finish came in 2003 when the Gusties finished in 12th place with 16.5 points. North Central College became the 2010 NCAA Champions with 52 points. The Division III NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships were held on the campus of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.
“I went out there and tried to run with the leaders and not let them get too far ahead. With about 200 meters to go, I just thought I was fighting for second place. He was out there and pulling away. With 100 meters to go, I thought I should give it one more shot. With 50 meters, I was starting to edge closer and closer. With five meters to go, I thought I could give one final push, and it all worked out in the end,” said Hanson after the race.
Hanson’s time of 1:49.50 is a season best for him, and a new Gustavus school record. Hanson broke the over forty year old school record at the Meet of the UnSaintly with a time of 1:50.31 earlier this season. Hanson edged out two-time defending champion in the 800-meter run Emmanuel Bofa of Whitworth University by less than one second to become the 2010 NCAA Champion in the event. Max is the first male track and field athlete to become a national champion in a running event in Gustavus school history. Hanson was just recently name the 2010 Central Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on May 24.
“Any time you beat a defending national champion, you have something pretty special,” said Head Coach Dale Bahr. “Max and I talked about the race before and he asked me how he was supposed to beat that kid (Emmanuel Bofa). I told him that first of all you can’t be scared. Secondly, you are going to need to run within striking distance of him and be patient and let the race unfold. Finally, at some point, you are going to need to go after it. Max went out and stayed within striking distance the whole race and his patience paid off. Max ran the smartest race his career and it played out perfectly. You can’t coach desire, and to close the gap in the last 150-meters on a runner like Bofa really shows how much desire Max has.”
“The thought of being a national champion hasn’t really settled in yet. This whole year has just been so surreal, and to close it out like this is just amazing. I feel really fortunate and really lucky to have had so much success this season, ” said Hanson. It was only the second year that Hanson has competed in track and field at Gustavus, as he was hurt most of the year last season. Max will graduate with a degree in Communication Studies from Gustavus on Sunday, May 29.
The 4×400-meter relay team also turned in its best performance of the season. The 4×400 team from Wheaton College narrowly defeated the Gusties to take first place with a time of 3:11.73.