EUGENE, Ore. – Colby Gilbert had to wait a long time to officially wear the Husky singlet, but the Vancouver, Wash. native made his debut one to remember, as Gilbert ran to a victory in the U.S. Junior Championships this evening at Hayward Field. Gilbert also secured himself a spot at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships which will take him back to Eugene in a couple weeks where he’ll swap his UW jersey for the Team USA colors.
Gilbert, a SkyviewHigh School product, won the 5,000-meters with a time of 14:21.46, edging Brian Barraza of Houston by half a second, as the two were five seconds ahead of Stanford’s Jack Keelan who took third in the 15-man field.
It’s been about as impressive a first season for Gilbert as any redshirt could hope for. He ran great unattached during the fall cross country season, finishing 20th at the Bill Dellinger Invite which would have been second among UW finishers, and then he got the win at the Emerald City Open at Woodland Park. Gilbert ran the 1,500-meters at the Portland Track Festival last month and clocked a strong time of 3:45.41, unattached again.
Now Gilbert will run the 5k at World Juniors, which will be in the U.S. for the first time ever, with Hayward Field playing host. It will be Gilbert’s fourth time running at Hayward since March.
“I was actually stoked because I’m used to (Hayward) and my family can come watch me since we live kind of close," said Gilbert about qualifying for Junior Worlds.
Earlier in the day, incoming Husky Rose Christen moved through the preliminary rounds into Sunday’s final in the 800-meters, as she took second in her heat in 2:07.97, the fifth-fastest time of the day. The Central Kitsap High School talent has had a terrific senior season, ranking among the nation’s fastest half-milers.
Also competing on Sunday will be freshman javelin thrower Ashley Alexander, who took eighth at Pac-12s this season and made it to NCAA West Prelims.