Last weekend, two Princeton Tigers competed for Team USA at the NACAC Under 23 Championships in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Recent graduate Chris Bendtsen earned two medals at the regional championships. On Day 1, he won the 10,000m race in 31:43.37. Bendtsen shared this with USATF about the race:
“[The race] was very similar to Sacramento. We were running together pretty much the whole way, helping each other out. It was just a ton of fun, feeling like Chris [Enriquez of Long Beach State and Team USA] was just my teammate. I felt like I had been running with him for years, but we’ve been here a weekend. It’s been a lot of fun and congrats to the Costa Rican athlete [Kenneth Robles] who ran a personal best time today. That’s fantastic! All three of us are really happy. We agreed that we would fight to the finish and we tried to put on a little show for the crowd. [Enriquez] made a strong move and I was hurting, so I was just trying to hold on. I just felt I had a little speed left in me for that final lap. It was just a ton of fun, coming in hard, battling it out and still feeling like we are teammates.”
That is Bendtsen pictured above with Enriquez and Penn State/Team USA coach John Gondack. Bendtsen raced again the next day, finishing 2nd in the 5,000m in 15:17.80. The race was won by Edgar Alan Garcia Quiroz of Mexico (14:35.00).
Rising senior Eddie Owens also raced well in Kamloops. He finished 3rd in the steeplechase in 9:18.87, as Christopher Dulhanty of Canada won in 8:56.60. This event was Owens’ 3rd time representing Team USA – he’s previously worn the uniform for the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge in January 2012 and at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Bendtsen summarized the experience to USATF after his 10,000m win: “It means the world to me. This kind of stuff is what you dream about when you’re in high school running. Just putting on that Team USA jersey it’s one of the best accomplishments that I could have ever dreamed of. I’m so incredibly happy, grateful and I thank God that I can have this opportunity.”
photo from Penn State Track/Cross Country twitter