RALEIGH, N.C. – Two years after breaking the Belmont University record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Declan McManus cracked the heralded 9-minute mark Friday at the Raleigh Relays on the way to resetting his own record.
Running in the prestigious North Carolina State-hosted meet, McManus (Worcestershire, England) finished in 8:59.90 to place seventh in a field of 34 racers from around the region. Entering this week's competition, no athlete in the East Region let alone the Ohio Valley Conference had surpassed 9 minutes in the 3,000 steeplechase.
"Being in the fast heat with guys to pull me along really helped, but after feeling so good in practice I knew I could run well," said McManus, a redshirt sophomore. "It's nice to see the results in the race."
McManus ran a 9:04.37 at the 2016 Mt. SAC Relays in California as a true freshman, the previous best time in program history.
"Declan ran a great steeple and he really battled well against a strong field," said Belmont Track and Field Program Director Jeff Langdon. "That's the kind of time that should get him to Regionals and he deserves it after a performance like that."
The top 48 times at the end of the year in the East Region earn a spot at the NCAA East Preliminary. The regional meet is scheduled for May 24-26 at Tampa, Fla.
Senior teammate Matthew Blivin (Durham, N.C.) finished in 27th in the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:31.05.
Senior Anthony Didion (LaPorte, Ind.) set a personal best in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:52.02. He finished 44th out of a field of more than 110 in the event. Junior Kaden Eaton (Columbus, Ind.) was the team's top finisher in the 5,000 meters where his 14:52.77 earned him 92nd out of 160 racers.
On the women's side, freshman Payton Barlow was Belmont's top finisher by place when she finished 28th in the 400 meters. The event featured more than 60 competitors.
Sophomore Kortney Schardt (Lindenhurst, Ill.) was 83rd out of 145 runners in the 5,000 in a personal best time of 17:35.22, a full five seconds better than she'd ran in the event previously.
Several other Belmont athletes competed in Austin, Texas at the Texas Relays on Friday. The whole Bruins squad reunites for the Hilltopper Relays hosted by Western Kentucky next week.
BELMONT MEN'S RESULTS
44. Anthony Didion, sr. — 3:52.02*
7. Declan McManus, so. — 8:59.90*^
27. Matthew Blivin, sr. — 9:31.05
92. Kaden Eaton, jr. — 14:52.77
108. Matt Edwards, sr. — 14:58.24
140. Taylor Vroon, fr. — 15:32.26*
BELMONT WOMEN'S RESULTS
28. Payton Barlow, fr. — 58.00
98. Kiera Weems, sr. — 4:41.78
83. Kortney Schardt, so. — 17:35.22*
59. Ali White, fr. — 37:46.57*
-- Sally Larson, sr. — DNF