2015 Kenai Central graduate Jonah Theisen used a withering last-lap kick to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships in Bradenton, Florida.
Theisen, a freshman at Black Hills State in Spearfish, South Dakota, was near the back of the back at the start of the seven-lap race, which features four hurdles and a water barrier on each lap.
In the middle of the race, Theisen began to make his move. When the bell sounded to signal the final lap, he was in third place.
Theisen then buried the 12-man field by running his fastest lap of the race at 1 minute, 3.30 seconds.
His finishing time of 8:53.29 topped runner-up Austin Steagall of Mount Olive by over two seconds.
Theisen had the second-fastest time coming into the meet, but his 9:03.74 was tops in Thursday’s preliminary round.
He is the first national champion for the Yellow Jackets since their move to the NCAA, which was complete in 2013.