PALO ALTO, Calif. – Stumping a seasoned color commentator is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Recording the world's fastest time, for 2013, in the 10k, and in a runner's debut for the event, is a greater one.
Doing both at the same time is even better.
"Who is that guy- Gilbertson? And where is The Master's College?" echoed over the live-streaming feed of the 2013 Stanford Invitational. "I think it's a Division III school, or something. If anybody out there knows, please contact us."
"That guy" is John Gilbertson.
Gilbertson's time of 28:30.35 seconds in the 10k surpasses Elroy Gelant of South Africa, who previously held the world's fastest 10k mark in 2013 at 28:50.24.
In his 10k debut at the 2013 Stanford Invitational, Gilbertson won first-place in the event. In the first 22 laps, Gilbertson paced himself, keeping a close eye on the leaders. Gilbertson made a huge push in the final 400 meters when he closed with a 57 on his final lap.
"I felt the race went pretty well," said Gilbertson. "I tried to stay relaxed throughout the entirety of the race, and to hang with the "rabbits". Half way through, the leaders broke off and things started picking up. I was able to make a final push when it came down to the finish. Praise the Lord for this victory!"
As impressive as Gilbertson's time was, he barely missed the USA Outdoor National Championship "A standard" (28:30.00) by .35 seconds, but achieved the "B standard", and has a very high chance of competing in the US Championships in June. His mark easily qualifies him for the NAIA Outdoor National Championships in May. Gilbertson currently holds the fastest 10k time in the NAIA, to date.
Close on his heels was Parker Stinson from the University of Oregon. Stinson finished second at 28:34.71.
"Gilbertson is a guy who practices excellence in every area of life," commented Mustang track and field head coach Zach Schroeder. "To be an athlete that produces a top mark in the world, you have to be extremely disciplined. John has a consistent testimony in his commitment to the sport, but more importantly in his commitment to the Lord. He's setting the standard of the ideal athlete that we look for at The Master's College."
Friday was Gilbertson's first victory of the season as he has placed second behind a professional athlete in each race in which he has competed.
Gilbertson is no stranger to Stanford. Last fall, he won the 2012 Stanford Cross Country Invitational, his third consecutive first-place victory en route to an undefeated campaign that was capped-off by being named the 2012 NAIA National Champion on November 17.
And while track is often times considered an individual sport, three other Mustang track and field athletes worked in tandem in separate events that placed The Master's College in the limelight.
Jason Logan was the first of four Mustangs to compete in the Stanford Invitational. Logan, who is TMC's lone multi-sport athlete (men's basketball), placed 12th overall in the second heat of the high jump. Logan cleared 1.86m (6.1 ft.) on his first jump, cleared 1.91 (6.2 ft.) on his second jump, and went out on 1.96m (6.4 ft.) on his third jump.
In the in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase, Matthew Crichton and David Eller competed in the Invitational's third heat. Crichton set a new school record at 9:20.19, and was .19 seconds off of making the NAIA's "A Standard" (9.20 flat). Eller finished shortly behind Crichton at 9:32.99.
Crichton, a junior at The Master's College, is expected to hit the "A standard" by the end of the season. Notably, Crichton's time qualified him for his sixth national championship appearance, and has the potential to appear eight times in the national championships before he graduates, a feat never before accomplished by an athlete at The Master's College.
"By God's grace, today was huge for The Master's track program," assessed Schroeder. "Lord willing, this will open a lot of doors for the college and we're excited to send more guys than ever before to nationals. A lot of people are now talking about Mustang track."
The Mustangs now face an onslaught of races as the next five weekends carry the bulk of their campaign. Next up for both the men's and women's track teams is a trip to Riverside to compete in the Magnum Invitational, hosted by Cal State San Marcos, on April 6.