Distance runner Ansu Sowe makes it to the national qualifiers
- Monday, 02 April 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The Monroe Mustangs track team opened their outdoor season on Saturday, March 24 at the Monmouth Season Opener in Monmouth, NJ with a bang with distance runner Ansu Sowe from Gambia, running in his very first race for Monroe, the men's 10,000m run (over 6 miles), earned himself a berth in the nationals.
Then later in the day the popular Lithuanian Tatvydas Kieras finished second in the discus and qualified for the outdoor track meet, which will be held May 15-17 in Lubbock Texas. These two performances helped to set the tone for what should be a thrilling outdoor track season for Monroe, laced with achievement.
“Just qualifying for nationals isn’t really our goal anymore,” said Coach Mark Goodman. “It’s more of an expectation now that athletes will qualify, so our goal is to have athletes perform at a level that will allow them to score points at the national meet. With Ansu and TK getting us going in the first meet of the season, we are preparing to do very well this spring.”
Because of his necessary grueling high mileage training, Sowe had recently suffered a hip injury. So according to Coach Goodman, the goal was for him was to run his first race at a comfortable pace. But he did more than just that.
For the first thirteen laps, Sowe stayed back, in third place, allowing others to set the pace. But at about the 5,000m mark, as the leaders picked up their pace, Sowe went with them. Because of his injury, he let the leader have about a 100m lead, but never more than that.
At about lap seventeen, the pace quickened and Sowe did not blink. He stayed with them. On the bell lap (24 laps), Sowe made a decision. His first race at Monroe was to be a dandy. So he sprinted the bell lap passed the third place runner and went for the leader. He finished second... by a hair... with a time of 31:51.97, which qualified him for the nationals.
Kieras has been training very hard all year waiting for his opportunity to throw discus outdoors. He did not disappoint. He finished second in the event with a throw of 173’9”, a full thirty feet over the qualifying distance.