Lange bows out in 1,500m Prelims at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Photo provided by Michigan Tech University Michigan Tech distance runner Sam Lange runs in the 1,500m Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Welch Stadium in Emporia, Kansas.

EMPORIA, Kan. — Michigan Tech senior Sam Lange concluded his track career as a Husky finishing 15th in the 1,500m at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Welch Stadium in Emporia, Kansas, Thursday evening. 

“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but Sam did so much right in that race,” coach Robert Young said. “We had talked about the likelihood that it would be a slow start and very fast finish type of race and planned for what he would do in that scenario. He recognized the situation and executed the plan very well. Unfortunately, when the very fast part came at the end his excellent positioning wasn’t enough as he just couldn’t quite find the gear. When you’re racing competition at this level, being just a little off when it comes time to kick makes a huge difference as we saw.”

Young was proud of what Lange accomplished, even if his final race didn’t go as planned.

“It’s always tough when an athlete’s last race doesn’t go well, but we can’t forget what an honor it is to be at this meet and just how difficult and impressive it is to be here,” Young said. “Sam is such a grounded and well rounded person he will bounce back from a tough day here and continue to be a force for us come cross country season in the fall.

“He had a great season he can be proud of for the rest of his life and I’m sure he will cherish the memories he made along the way.”

“I did everything I could and that’s all I can ask for. My positioning was perfect,” Lange mentioned. “But the kick just wasn’t there when I needed it. I’m just super thankful to have made it to nationals and receive an immense amount of support from friends and family. The people are what this sport is about and I couldn’t have found better people.”

The Washington, Illinois, native took to the track in the second event of the evening session on the opening day of the NCAA Championships on a humid but breezy 83 degree evening at Welch Stadium in the first of two heats of the 1,500m. 

Lange stayed towards the back of the pack in a pedestrian first lap before overtaking half the field from 300m to 700m with a big move on the backstretch, clocking a 1:03.61. He moved up another spot on the home stretch of the third lap to head into the bell within qualifying position.  

He held with the field for the first 200m of the final lap before the competition continued to shift gears down the home stretch, seeing Lange take eighth in 3:58.96, the final spot to get in on time if the second heat ran slower. 

However, the second heat claimed the four fastest to advance to Saturday’s championship race. Of note, it took at least a 56.4 final lap to make the 1,500m finals. 

Lange capped his career on the track an NCAA Qualifier, a two-time GLIAC runner-up in the 1,500m, where he also placed fourth and sixth, respectively in his sophomore and freshman seasons.


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