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March 6, 2017

Wake up to Lawi Lalang vs. Chris Derrick at NCAA Indoors 2012

As we give NCAAs Week a try here on Citius, let’s start our morning with a little throwback. Lawi Lalang and Chris Derrick had a serious of epic duels during the 2012 track season, but none was maybe as heated as the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Setting the scene: These two guys had probably seen too much of each other in the proceeding few years having battled at multiple conference, regional and national championship meets. And nearly every time, it was Lalang who managed to emerge as the victorious party.

Just a day earlier in the 5000 meter final, Lalang and Derrick traded leads over the final 800 meters, but Lalang pulled away on the last lap to claim the victory by nearly two seconds.

Derrick, who was still clamoring for his first NCAA title, came back even more determined the next evening in the 3,000 meter final.

Like the previous night, the two Pac-12 conference rivals traded leads late into the race. Despite his best efforts, Derrick was unable to slip past Lalang on the final straightaway and had to settle for second place again.

It’s still remarkable to me that Derrick left Stanford with one of the most storied NCAA careers in history, including 14 All-American awards, but never won a national championship. Sports can work out in strange ways like that.

P.S. The guys who finished behind Lalang and Derrick are a who’s who of distance running royalty looking back at it five years later — Cam Levins, Paul Chelimo, Ryan Hill, Stephen Sambu, Diego Estrada, Leonard Korir and Tom Farrell.

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