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Schedule and Results

Result: 16th of 87 teams -- Donson Cook-Gallardo (All-America: 2nd place in both 1500m and 800m) / Ben Withbroe (10th place in 800m)

Men's Track and Field at NCAA Outdoor Championships

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 – 10:30 a.m. EDT at Geneva, Ohio - SPIRE Institute

Donson Cook-Gallardo pulls off All-America double in 1500M and 800M

Donson Cook-Gallardo
Donson Cook-Gallardo
Photo: Larry Radloff/d3photography.com

GENEVA, Ohio – Donson Cook-Gallardo (Jr./Moscow, Idaho/Moscow) wrapped up a fantastic weekend at the 2017 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships by earning All-America status in the 1500 and 800-meter runs. He was the national runner up in both races and used a blistering finishing kick to create a photo finish at the shorter distance. When the 800-meter results were posted, the Carleton College junior had missed the national title by only 0.01 second.

Earning All-America status when competing against the top athletes in the country in one event is tough enough, but Cook-Gallardo not only pulled off this tough track double… he did so by running both races within a 90-minute span.

These are the third and fourth career All-America awards for Cook-Gallardo, adding to his fourth-place finish in the indoor 800-meter run in 2016 and his third-place result in the indoor mile earlier this year.

These are the highest finishes by Carleton male at the NCAA Track and Field Championships since Dan Casper placed second in the 1500-meter run in 1989. Cook-Gallardo becomes the first member of the Carleton men’s program to post a pair of top-two finishes at the same NCAA Championships.

“Donson had two outstanding performances,” said Carleton assistant coach Josh Schoen. “Great to see him show off his finishing speed in both races. We are very happy with his performances and glad that he’s a junior, because he is going to come back really hungry next year after a couple second-place finishes today.”

At the beginning of the day, Cook-Gallardo was not sure how things would go. “Before the 1500, I felt fairly nauseous from racing the two days before. I just went out and competed.”

The tightly compact 14-runner field led to jockeying for position in the early portion of the race, but Cook-Gallardo maintained his top-five position throughout the four laps. He sat fourth after the opening lap and advanced to third midway through the race. With 500 meters remaining he maneuvered into second, and with 200 meters to go, it was time to make one more push.

Cook-Gallardo slid to the inside and began to close on race leader Isaac Garcia-Cassani of SUNY-Geneseo. It was a still a 10-meter margin with 100 meters left. Cook-Gallardo used a late kick to close within five meters by the finish line, which Garcia-Cassini crossed at 3:52.59. Cook-Gallardo finished less than a half-second behind at 3:53.05.

After a brief stop at the awards podium to be recognized for his All-America performance, Cook-Gallardo turned his focus to his last race of the season.

“I had a confidence boost after the 1,500,” Cook-Gallardo said. “I wasn’t thinking about how sore I was at that point. My strategy was to take the lead and relax a little bit because that would be ideal for me later on.”

As soon as the starting gun went off for the 800-meter run, Cook-Gallardo sprinted to the lead as was followed closely by Deko Ricketts of Washington (Mo.) University and Ohio Northern’s Matt Molinaro. That trio entered the weekend ranked fourth, third, and first in the event this season, and stayed close the entire race.

At the beginning of the final lap, Ricketts pushed ahead with Molinaro right behind. With about 150 meters remaining Cook-Gallardo got boxed in and dropped to fourth behind John Decker of Babson College.

“With 100 meters to go, I thought to myself that if I really wanted to have a chance of doing well, I need to make a move now. So, I moved up to lane three to pass those guys,” Cook-Gallardo said.

With a little more than 50 meters remaining Cook-Gallardo still trailed Ricketts by nearly five meters, but the Knight found an extra gear that the others did not have.

He passed Decker with 40 meters left… and overtook Molinaro with 10 meters still to go… and caught Ricketts at the finish line in a true photo finish.

Ultimately, it was determined that Ricketts won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:51.30, with Cook-Gallardo finishing at 1:51.31. Molinaro was third at 1:51.39.

“I was feeling good at the end,” Cook-Gallardo said. “If the race had been few more meters longer, I think I’d have had it. Overall, I’m really happy with how I finished.”

 Donson Cook-Gallardo, men's track and field action, NCAA Championships, 2017-05-27

Donson Cook-Gallardo (middle) and Deko Ricketts (far right) crossed the finish line 0.01 second apart.

Below is a screen shot of the finish displayed on the timing computer used to determine official race times.
Cook-Gallardo is toward the top of the screen. [image courtesy Delta Timing]

Donson Cook-Gallardo, men's track and field action, NCAA Championships, 2017-05-27

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