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Senior Dan Nunn charges past the competition during his come-from-behind effort.

In a crowded 28-person field in the 10,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational this past weekend, the commentators from Flotrack, an online track news Web site that posts race videos, had a hard time picking out Georgetown senior Daniel Nunn.

A little after 8,000 meters, Nunn, who had remained in obscurity at the back of the pack at the beginning of the race and had slowly moved his way up over the past 5, 000 meters, now was on the tail end of the lead pack, which had begun gapping the rest of the field. The commentators were surprised to see a new face among the leaders.

“Is that a Georgetown jersey?” they asked. “I’m not sure. Maybe. Could it be Nunn from Georgetown? We’ll see when he comes around.”

Yet, in short time there was no mistaking Nunn and his Hoya jersey, as he came right up on the leaders and then surged over the last 500 meters to run away from the field and win the race. When it was all said and done, Nunn had run 28:24.10, notched an NCAA nationals automatic qualifying time and shattered Rod Koborsi’s (MSB ’05) school record of 28:32.49., set in 2006.

En route to his victory, Nunn ran the first three-quarters of the race very conservatively, content to stay in the back of the pack and slowly work his way up the field. At the 2K mark he was 26th, at 5K he was 17th and by 7K he had worked his way into the top 10.

“I went out a little more conservatively than the guys in the first group; I had to move up the whole time and watch out for gaps,” said Nunn. “That was kind of a big deal because I didn’t want to get too far behind the leaders.”

Then, over the last 800 meters, Nunn matched every move made by the leaders and finally pulled himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Notre Dame senior Patrick Smyth at 500 meters. From there, Nunn took off and never looked back, building his lead over the last 400 meters of the race to come down the final stretch unchallenged.

“I thought I had a pretty good shot; I was feeling pretty good right there and I thought I could take it all the way home,” Nunn said. “It was a really aggressive move and I’m glad I made it there.”

The win comes at a great time for Nunn, who, despite having a great indoor season in which he won the 5000 meters at the Big East championships with a meet record, had a disappointing race at nationals, where he finished 13th.

“We were very disappointed at the NCAA indoor meet but I think he very quickly understood the mistake he made and he thinks he used that negative experience to motivate himself and realize, `Hey, I can run and complete with these guys,'” Head Coach Patrick Henner said. “I think he’s going to continue that trend for the rest of the season.”

Nunn couldn’t help but come to a similar realization.

“It was surprising, I kind of surprised myself over the last 400 meters,” Nunn said. “Coach Henner told me two weeks ago that I’m one of the best athletes in the country. It took me until this weekend to believe him. To do that, to beat that many people, is pretty special.”

Now that Nunn has already punched his ticket for Nationals in the 10,000 meters, he has a chance to work on the 5,000m, another distance at which he excels. The primary focus is running a fast 5K at the Penn Relays in order to qualify for regionals. Following that, Nunn will try to score some points in both events for the Hoyas at the Big East championships. After regionals, Nunn will have to choose between either the 5K or the 10K. Whichever he runs, the Hoyas can count on Nunn to finish his collegiate career with a bang.

Other Highlights:

– Sophomore Toby Ulm, who was banged up for most of the indoor season, had a brilliant weekend, running an NCAA regional-qualifying 52.04 in the 400 meters hurdles to place third. He also came back on the 4×400 meters relay and ran an impressive 46.8s split.

“Toby had a great opener,” Henner said. “I was very happy with his first weekend. He’s in great shape and I think ready to have a really good spring.”

– Sophomore Chris Kinney showed that he hasn’t missed a beat since an impressive indoor season, taking third in the 110 meters hurdles and running an NCAA regional-qualifying 14.10s.

– The women’s mid-distance depth was on display at the Raleigh Relays as they complied two 4×1500 meters relay teams and took both second and third.

– Senior Maggie Infeld, typically a 800 meters to 1500 meters runner, pleaded with Assistant Coach Chris Miltenberg to let her run the 5,000 meters this weekend. Infeld didn’t disappoint, placing second and running an NCAA regional-qualifying time of 16:33.

– Junior Lauren Gregory, who fell sick in the second half of the indoor season, showed that she’s returned to form, running a huge personal record of 10:24.98 in the 3,000m steeplechase and placing second.

“She competed really well,” Miltenberg said. “To come out and do what she did on Saturday just confirmed that she’s back to 100 percent now and just running really well.”

– Both the men’s and women’s 4×200 meters relay teams ran strongly this weekend, with the women running the fourth-fastest time in school history at 1:40.36, while the men ran the fifth-fastest of all-time, clocking in at 1:27.89.

– Senior Justin Scheid ran a personal record in the 5,000m, running 14:05.03 to place fifth in section two of the race. The mark also qualifies him for the regional championship.

“Justin looked great,” Henner said. “He was very under control the whole way. I think he’s even got more in him. He can definitely run quite a bit faster than that in the right situation.”

– Freshman Katie McCafferty, in only her second 5K ever, led the chase pack for most of the race and turned it up over the last lap, closing the last 200 meters in 34s to finish second in her section with an NCAA regional-qualifying time of 16:22.69. Her time now stands as the second-fastest freshman mark in the country.

– Senior Natasha LaBeaud, who has decided to redshirt the outdoor season in order to have eligibility in both cross country and track next year, ran unattached and notched a big personal record in the 10,000 meters, finishing second in her section.

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