Kauai’s Pierce Murphy placed fourth in 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Wednesday.
In his final race for the University of Colorado, the 22-year-old Murphy finished in 29 minutes, 12.49 seconds. Edward Cheserek of Oregon won in 29:9.57 at Hayward Field.
The performance earned Murphy All-American honors for the eighth time of his career running with the Buffaloes that included two national cross country team titles.
Murphy, an Island School graduate, settled in the middle of the pack early in the race, than gradually worked his way to the six-man lead pack. When the bell rang for the final lap, Murphy was right there.
Cheserek used a strong sprint to pull away and hold off Northern Arizona’s Futsum Zienasellassie, who was second in 29:10.68, while Gabe Gonzalez of Arkansas was third in 29:11.09.
Murphy swept past the University of Portland’s Reid Buchanan with about 200 meters to go and charged home to claim fourth.
Kauai’s Basil Scott, who coached Murphy in high school, was in the stands Wednesday.
He said it was a tough race, with a lot of positioning going on, because the field was so tight until it broke up with five laps to go.
Murphy stayed inside, on the rail, as much as he could, to save energy.
“I thought he ran very smart,” Scott said.
He said it was an emotional race for Murphy, too, as it capped his college career, which made things even more tense for him to do well.
“It’s not easy to keep your composure,” Scott said.
His parents, Shawn and Doreen Murphy of Kauai, were there, screaming and cheering for their son, as was Scott.
Murphy was pleased with his performance.
“He was happy,” Scott said.