Blankenbaker 12th in college cross country debut
By Joe Naiman
Dylan Blankenbaker made his college cross country debut Sept. 21 at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo., and finished 12th among the 196 runners in the men’s university race.
Blankenbaker, a 2012 Ramona High School graduate, is at the University of Oklahoma, which won the meet as a team. Blankenbaker’s first-ever race on an 8,000-meter course produced a time of 25:08.70, and he was fifth among runners from NCAA Division I schools.
“It was a smaller meet,” Blankenbaker said. “It was good to bring home the hardware, but it really wasn’t a true test.”
The cross country race was the first for Blankenbaker since he closed out his high school career with the Nike Nationals meet in December 2011. Knee surgery caused him to miss the 2012 track and field season, and he redshirted during the 2012-13 cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track seasons. Blankenbaker’s first competitive run since high school was the Jim Bush Classic track and field meet June 1 at UCLA, where he ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finished sixth.
High school championship meets are run on a 5,000-meter course. College cross country runners race for 8,000 meters.
“I think it went well for my first 8K. I think that I got out well,” Blankenbaker said of his college debut.
Blankenbaker was the third Oklahoma runner across the finish line.
“I kind of lost contact with my teammates in the middle miles,” Blankenbaker said. “I definitely would have liked to have kept contact with my two teammates in front of me.”
Blankenbaker considered that to be part of the adjustment from high school to college competition.
“I think it was just a matter of race experience,” he said.
“We ran together for a little bit,” Blankenbaker said. “I think with some more races and some more time under my belt running that I’ll be able to have some better performances in the future.”
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- Athlete of the Week: Dylan Blankenbaker wins Palomar League championship
- Blankenbaker runs 1,600 in 4:15.33 to place 19th at state
- Unexpected course hampers Bulldog girls in league cross country meet
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