Ryan Smeeton from Calgary, Alta. finished second in a wild steeplechase final on Friday at the NCAA championships. Smeeton was in fifth with only 150 metres to go but had the best kick of anyone in the field.

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The lead runner fell over the final water jump and was overtaken by Stanford’s Steven Fahy. Then Fahy fell over the final barrier but maintained his composure to capture the win. Meanwhile, Smeeton was making his way from fifth into second. Fahy finished in 8:38.46 and Smeeton was second in 8:39.10. Kigen Chemadi was third in 8:40.22.

Big 12 champs 2019

Smeeton ran his breakout performance at Payton Jordan earlier this year, an 8:27.90, with a final lap of 62 to win the race. The Alberta-native’s personal best has come down by almost 30 seconds this year and his performance at Payton also landed him under the Doha World Championship standard of 8:29.00.

Smeeton described Payton as a big surprise. “I totally exceeded my expectations. On a good day I thought I’d run 8:37 or 8:36.” The runner has no Canadian national medals at any level and no major NCAA accolades, but he’s looking to change that. “I’d say this [Payton] was my breakout race. I’ve never made any Canadian team, so I’m hoping to sneak onto a team this summer. We’ll see how I’m feeling following the NCAA season.”

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