WALNUT, Calif. – Junior Kinsey Gomez, running her first-ever 10K, demolished the school record at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. on Thursday night, finishing in 34:37.80.
With the performance, Gomez has put herself in strong position to earn a berth at this year’s NCAA West Regional in Fayetteville, Ark. at the end of May. A 10K of 34:37 would have placed in the region’s top 35 each of the last two seasons. That time is also 50 seconds better than Sandra Martinez’s previous OSU best of 35:27.82 from 2010, which also came at these Mt. SAC Relays.
“I am ecstatic that this is her first 10K experience,” Oregon State assistant coach Laura Harmon said. “It’s a great time and now she can stop worrying about qualifying for regionals. It is out of the back of her mind and Kinsey can instead focus on training, having fun with our home meet on May 2 and the conference championships.”
In an elite heat which was won in 32:40, the 30 on the starting line went out conservatively through the first lap and then pushed from there.
Gomez, who is seasoned in the 5K, may have felt the group was going a bit slow despite it actually pushing a fairly quick pace for this distance. But the junior ran a much smarter race than her 5K from April 4 at the Stanford Invite, displaying the patience required in a 10,000-meter competition.
“You have to have the patience to know people are going to come back to you,” Harmon said. “Consistency is key. You are going to start to build momentum, while others are starting to fade. It really is a race of patience.”
At the halfway point, Gomez fell off a few strides from a pack of about 10. Forced to run alone for the better part of two laps, she rallied, remained strong both physically and mentally, and used her consistent splits to pick people off and get back into the race. She eventually finished 16th in the 30-person field.
“Kinsey wanted to run 34 minutes,” Harmon added. “But she knows what she is capable of doing and what will come with experience. She learned a lot, knows how it feels, what to expect and had a really good showing for her first 10K.”
Gomez’s effort was Oregon State’s second school record in less than a week. At last Friday’s John Knight Twilight in Monmouth, Ore., sophomore Michele Turney bested her own triple jump PR to strengthen her hold on the top spot in the Beaver record books with a leap of 39’ 6.50”.
Turney, along with the rest of Gomez’s teammates, will be in action Friday and Saturday at the Oregon Relays in Eugene.