Steve Flint looked to his right at the starting line of the 3,000-meter steeplechase final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
He saw the University of Texas El-Paso’s Anthony Rotich, the two-time defending national champion.
“It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before racing,” said Flint, a 2006 graduate of Bayfield High School. “Just lining up next to a guy like that at the biggest stage at the biggest track – this track is kind of the Mecca of track – to be running with these guys is a dream come true.”
Flint, a 26-year-old Brigham Young University senior, finished 10th Friday in Eugene, Oregon, completing the race in 8 minutes, 54.8 seconds.
That effort earned him second-team All-America honors.
“Honestly, it was kind of a rough race. I was a bit more tired from the prelim than I thought I was,” Flint said. “All things in consideration, I was very pleased with how the season as a whole went. If you had told me at the beginning of the season I’d be 10th in the nation, I’d have taken it.”
Rotich won his third consecutive national title in 8:33.9, holding off Arkansas’ Stanley Kebenei in the final stretch.
Flint was at the back of the pack for most of the race but passed two runners on the final lap.
“I’m proud of Steve. To walk on and then end up in the NCAA final is a great achievement. He told me that during today’s race he felt the wear of Wednesday’s race and just didn’t have his typical strength,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said in a news release. “Again though, he’s been great to coach, and to be able to make the team, run a great qualifying time at the NCAA Preliminaries and then end up 10th is remarkable. I’m glad to see him take home Second-Team All-America honors as well.”
With his collegiate career at an end, Flint will move to Denver with his wife, Jessica, and begin work at a consulting firm.
“In terms of running, I’ll take some time off from competitive running and do it recreationally,” Flint said. “Run for fun.”