Whanganui Collegiate old boy and New Zealand's current top-ranked middle distance runner Geordie Beamish has continued his strong form with victory in the 5000m race at the NCAA West Preliminary meeting at the weekend.
Competing in Sacramento, California on Saturday, or Sunday NZ time, Beamish had only needed a Top 5 finish in his heat to qualify for the NCAA Final, being held in Austin, Texas in a fortnight.
However, the third-year Northern Arizona University student launched an all out sprint on the final back stretch to drive past the leaders for a resounding victory.
Beamish told noted running coach and sports writer that he couldn't resist.
"I felt good, and needed the work," said Beamish.
"There will be a lot of good kickers in that [Texas] race – Morgan McDonald and Grant Fischer. But I'll be ready."
McDonald and Fischer are based in Wisconsin and Stanford respectively.
Lautenslager said Beamish managed a 55s final circuit of the track on a cool night, clearing the 24-man field by 15m to complete the race in 14m 6s.
"He covered his final 1600m in 4m 6s. That and his NCAA Indoor mile victory in March gives him confidence heading to Austin."
Beamish was the only New Zealander competing for NCAA schools to survive the West preliminary round.
Also studying at Northern Arizona, runner Theo Quax, the son of the late Kiwi running legend Dick Quax, entered the 1500m and was leading with 200m to go, but was then passed by five runners to miss the quarterfinals, finishing in 3m 49.77s.
Representing the University of Wyoming, Harry Ewing battled with the leaders for over half of his 3000m, before succumbing to the pace and dropping back to eighth.
Ewing told Lautenslager he had a recent bout of food poisoning which affected his performance, but he was looking forward to representing New Zealand in the World University Games this winter.