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Early-leader Collins 17th in NCAA 5K
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Early-leader Collins 17th in NCAA 5K

Kyle Collins in the lead.

Seconds after finishing his final collegiate event, the NCAA Division III Men's 5,000 meters, Fredonia fifth-year senior Kyle Collins (Suffern/Suffern) started shaking hands.

Here and there, a fellow competitor had sat down to take a much-needed rest. Collins went over to a couple of them and helped them to their feet.

And when, one by one, the men left the infield at The Spire Institute, Collins was one of the last to leave. He was favoring every final second.

"It's an honor," Collins said. "You look at the history of this program and we've had some amazing runners that have come through here... To be on the record books, to be in championships wearing the Fredonia State jersey is an honor. I don't know where I'd be without this program."

It may not have been the placement he had hoped for -- 17th place in a field of 20 men from across the country. His time of 15:10.69 was over 35 seconds slower than his personal-best.

Yet he did own the limelight -- albeit briefly. Collins went out quickly and grabbed the lead before the second lap was completed. He stayed there for three more laps before giving way.

"At least people got to see me on the big (video) board," he joked afterward.

Grabbing the early lead -- or getting close to it -- was Collins's pre-race strategy. He was hoping to click off a series of 68-second laps and then hang on for dear life.

"I knew that many of these guys in this race have a better kick than I do," he said. "So holding to the lead was the big strategy to outrun these guys."

Peter Hale of Williams was the national champ in 14:15.38, outkicking Benjamin Fazio of RPI by one-quarter second.

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