Justyn Knight’s bid for NCAA gold fell just short on Friday evening at the NCAA Division One Outdoor Track Championships.

The Canadian who attends Syracuse University controlled the race for much of the final four laps of the American university championships and was at the front of the pack with 200m to go. Outkicking Knight was another athlete with a Canadian connection, Stanford University’s Grant Fisher, a dual citizen with the United States.

Photo series of an epic finish! And he's still smiling … 😁#gostanford🌲 #NCAATF

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Fisher, who was born in Calgary and moved to Michigan at a young age, passed Knight, who hails from Toronto, in the final stretch to win in 14:35.60. Jack Bruce of Arkansas too passed Knight in the final 100m as the junior settled for third. Knight was the heavy favourite going into the race having run a scorching 13:17.51 earlier this year. The St. Michael’s College School graduate ran 14:36.23 to reach the podium.

“I was getting ready to make my move and there was a bit of a tussle [that] threw off my whole stride,” Knight said in a post-race interview. “I tried to finish strong but the guys got the best of me.”

The NCAA Division One Championships are being held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. with the four-day championships concluding Saturday.

No other NCAA athlete who was competing had a seasonal best within 20 seconds of Knight, who on two previous occasions finished runner-up at the NCAA Championships this academic year. (He finished second in cross-country and second in the men’s 3,000m indoors in the winter.)

Though Fisher, a sophomore at the Palo Alto, Calif-based university, holds dual citizenship with Canada and the United States, he dons the American jersey at international competitions. During his high school career, he became one of the few athletes in history to have run a sub-4:00 mile.

With Friday’s win, Fisher completes a perfect spring having won three 5,000m races and one 1,500m.


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