David Adams is one of two Huskers to break the 4-minute mile barrier.
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By Randy York
The David Adams Story continues tonight in the finals of the men’s steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. The race begins at 8:30 p.m. CT. Adams, 23, and a 2012 Nebraska graduate in Electrical Engineering, would be considered a dark horse to finish among the top three finishers and qualify for the Olympic Games in London.
“I think David has an excellent chance to finish in the top six,” said Nebraska assistant track coach and head cross country coach David Harris, who’s in day 5 at Eugene with Ashley Miller, NU’s 2012 Student-Athlete of the Year who will run her preliminary 1,500-meter heat at 5:50 p.m. today. Earlier this week, Miller made the 800-meter semifinals, but did not qualify for the finals.
Adams now competes for Team Nebraska, a development club for post-collegiate runners, and Harris has enjoyed keeping track of the second Husker in history to break the 4-minute mile barrier. “When David ran that time (3:58.44) at the KU Relays last April, I think it gave him great confidence,” Harris said. “Finishing in the top three would go beyond anything he’s done, but he has a shot. If he runs the right race, you never know what might happen.”
That’s especially true in the steeplechase, a grueling 3,000-meter, 7½-lap race with 35 barriers that require a variety of jumps and the ability to clear hurdles and avoid water hazards. The slightly built Adams, who runs an average of 80 miles a week, is a psychological rock and uses a deep and abiding faith to reduce if not eliminate the inherent pressure of the Olympic Trials. Adams, the NU record-holder at both 3,000 and 5,000 meters, has won one Big 12 championship, one All-America honor and six All-Big 12 honors.
Harris said Miller has another goal besides qualifying for the 1,500-meter semifinal tonight. “She has a legitimate shot of breaking the school record in the 1,500 meters,” the NU assistant coach said. “The school record is 4:11-plus, and Ashley has a chance to run 4:10 or under. If she does, she might get some financial help when she goes on to graduate school and focuses on her next four years of training.”
Harris is still camped out in Eugene and hopes Miller qualifies for the 1,500-meter finals this weekend. Three more Nebraska staff members are stationed around the world supporting Husker athletes eying Olympic bids. Assistant Kris Grimes is in Helsinki following several Husker athletes in the European Championships. Assistant Carrie Lane is in Jamaica helping Nebraska NCAA discus champion Chad Wright compete for the honor of representing his country in the Olympics. Matt Martin, another NU assistant, is in Barbados helping Husker sophomore sprinter Mara Weekes train for the same goal to represent her country.
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