Five years ago, Pierce Murphy came to the University of Colorado as a recruited walk-on and on Wednesday night, at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships, he finished his storied career for the Buffs on a high note, placing fourth in the 10,000-meter run.
The finish earned the Hanalei, Hawai’i native his eighth career All-American honor, his second in the 10k as he was fifth in 2015. Murphy was a three-time All-American in cross country and recorded another three during his indoor track career, which included a pair this past March.
Murphy ran a very smart final race, finishing in 29 minutes, 12.49 seconds. He started off in the middle of the 24-person pack and after seven laps, had moved up to eighth. Just 800 meters later, Murphy was up to fifth.
He moved around a bit after that because the pack was tight until the last part of the race, but with just a few laps left, the top racers had pulled away from the pack, with Murphy running in the top five. He was fifth heading into the bell lap and down the back stretch, caught Kentucky’s Jacob Thompson, who would eventually take sixth (29:13.73).
Murphy kept accelerating down the home stretch and just about caught Arkansas’ Gabe Gonzales, who finished third in 29:11.09. Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won in 29:09.57 and Northern Arizona’s Futsum Zienasellassie was second (29:10.68).
Read the Denver Post’s take on Murphy’s chances to run as a professional post collegiately.