National Champ Cam Levins Brings SUU First NCAA TitleJune 07, 2012
Southern Utah University picked up its first individual NCAA national title in track & field on Wednesday night as Cameron Levins blazed to a first-place time of 28:07.14 in the men's 10,000-meters. Levins earned the title by running his final lap in 58.1 seconds.
Levins entered the race with the second-fastest time in NCAA history, running 27:27.96 earlier in the year. True to form, Levins remained with the leaders from start to finish.
The race opened with an average pace of 67 seconds per lap but then dropped to 64 seconds per lap as Arizona's Stephen Sambu, Oregon's Luke Puskedra, Stanford's Chris Derrick and Levins, each an All-American this season, formed a lead pack of four.
Sambu led a majority of the laps during the middle of the race, with Levins hanging in fourth place before Levins, Derrick and Sambu made another break with three laps to go. The trio stayed bunched entering the final lap, but Sambu and Levins broke away with 300-meters remaining.
Explaining his strategy, Levins said, "I knew who the contenders were going to be and I felt like I had the strongest finishing speed. I just wanted to wait around; everyone else had to build their strategy off my finish."
Levins dropped the hammer at 200-meters and finished more than two seconds ahead of Sambu (28:09.52) and breaking the 32-year-old Drake Stadium record (28:07.40) with his 28:07.14 finish. Derrick finished in third behind Levins and Sambu with a time of 28:17.28.
Levins' finish earned his fourth All-American citation this year after finishing fourth at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships, fourth in the men's 5,000-meters and third in the men's 3,000-meters at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
The finish also puts Southern Utah University (10) in fourth place in the team standings, trailing Texas (17), Nebraska (13) and LSU (11).
This is Levins' first NCAA title as well as the first NCAA title for the University. Of this, Levins said, "This was the big goal for me. I wanted to leave SUU with that. They gave me the opportunity to run and improve. I am so thankful for that and to give back to them."
In return, the entire campus community as well as the whole of Southern Utah eagerly awaits Levins second NCAA championship race on Friday, June 8, in the hunt for the men's 5,000-meter title. Levins will enter that race with the fastest time in the NCAA this year (13:18.47).
The SUU senior and Black Creek, B.C. native will then represent Canada in this year's Olympic Summer Games in London.