The Newest Great American Distance Runner

This year another great American distance runner may be emerging. From an NCAA division two distance running powerhouse comes junior Scott Bauhs of Chico State. Last year Galen had his big moment by beating five-time NCAA champion Chris Solinsky in the 5,000 meters at the Oregon Invite last year. Last year Bauhs had his moment by defeating ten-time NCAA division II champion, Nicodemus Naimadu.

Naimadu, a senior at Abilene Christian, had never lost a collegiate race over a mile (he beat Division one champion Shadrack Songok earlier in the year) . Naimadu took off at the start of the race and Bauhs was in the chase pack. His coach had planned for Bauhs to take off with eight to ten laps left. Bauhs did that and with 600 meters to go caught and passed Naimadu. He just barely held off Naimadu in the homestretch and ran a final lap of 57.0 seconds for his pr of 28:54.55. "Distance running is pretty much pain management," Scott said. "The best distance runners can hold off their pain till the end." Bauhs came back in the 5,000 meters and had the lead with a lap to go but allowed his teammate, Senior Charlie Serrano to pass him. Bauhs knew his time in the 5k was good enough to make it to the US championships even though he just had the "B" standard with a best of 13:40.63. The officials didn't have him entered and at the last minute he was able to beg himself into the race. He didn't move on and had his third time under 14 minutes.

With Serrano and other top cross country runners graduating, Scott decided to redshirt this fall so the young runners on the team could mature and the team would have a shot at a national championship next year. The men finished sixth at the national championships and have a good shot to win the national championship next year with Bauhs as the favorite. Running unattached last fall, Bauhs won the Stanford Invite in 23:07, ahead of Aron Rono of Azusa Pacific in 23:13, David Torrence of Cal in 23:25 and the entire Stanford team. He also finished sixth in the San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon with a time of 63:04 (record for Americans 21 or younger). Former 10k Olympian Todd Williams became a believer. As head of the US team for the Ekiden relay he noticed the great time and was interested in knowing more about Bauhs. He put Bauhs on the relay after Bauhs contacted USA track and field to say he was interested in running for the relay. Scott tied with a Kenyan runner for the fastest 10k leg at 28:31 and moved the US team from sixth to second until a Russian runner edged him at the end of his leg. Williams said of Bauhs' Olympic chances, "I definitely think it's a possibility for 2012."

In February he was tenth at the US cross country championships. March 30th he finished 52nd at the World Cross country championships (fourth among Americans). Two weeks later he opened outdoors at the Chico State Distance Carnival Twilight Invitational. Gary Towne, his coach, has said about him "He's fearless. It's been a big part of his success."

Bauhs picked the school even though his high school resume (4:16 1600 and 9:01 3200) indicated he should be a Division I runner. He loved the family atmosphere and the distance program at Chico State was a powerhouse. Gary Towne of Chico State has been the distance coach at Chico State for twelve seasons. In twelve cross country seasons he has coached 50 all-Americans including two national champions both from 2007, Scott Bauhs (10k) and Charlie Serrano (5k). Sixteen of his cross country teams have finished in the top 10 at the NCAA division two cross country championships (nine men and seven women). In 2006, the men finished fourth (women were ninth) in the nation and three runners earned all-America honors. It was the team's fifth-consecutive top-five finish. The men have won six consecutive west region championships. Towne realized that Bauhs was going to be a very good runner during the summer after his freshman year. At the wharf to wharf race in Santa Cruz to Capitola he ran 29:00 for a 10k..

At the Chico State Distance Carnival Twilight Invitational (April 12th) the word was out that Bauhs would try to be the first Chico State runner ever to break the four-minute mile. 2,400 fans showed up to watch the attempt.. He and his coach admit that he is a 5k/10k guy and hadn't raced in anything shorter than 5k at the US championships. Last weekend at the Mt SAC invitational 5,000 meters he reached is first Olympic Trials "A" Standard by running 13:31.90. He was sixth overall and third among collegians, behind Jacob Korir of Eastern Kentucky and Sean Quigley of La Salle. He was deeply disappointed at his performance but realizes he can't stay in the back and must stay with the front-runners. He also ran that race after running twelve miles the day before.

His plan is to run the 1500 (fastest in DII by three seconds) and 5k (fastest in DII by 27 seconds) at the NCAA DII championships and run the 10k/5k double at the Olympic Trials. Earlier in the season he said after beating the Stanford Team at the Stanford Invitational that the difference from last year to this year is, "like top ten, top eight Pac-10 to getting close to winning Pac-10 and I know I'm a DII guy and I'm never going to race at Pac-10s but, I don't know, that's where I want to be." After finishing sixth at the half-marathon he has raised his expectations of himself.

In discussing expectations of him after the half marathon he told Flotrack, "I don't want to limit myself. I definitely want to be up there with some of the faster Americans but I don't want to focus on Americans, I want to beat anyone I go up against…. I got sixth today. Hopefully in the future I'd be looking at winning."

His next race is at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. Expect 10,000 meters run in under 28 minutes and if he is near the lead, he will very likely win. Stay tuned, Galen Rupp is not the only young distance star out there.

Note: As of 8:55 pm on Thursday there is no entry list for the elite meet. I will discuss results on Saturday morning and Saturday night/Sunday morning for the two days of the meet.

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