Last night, Rich ran in the NCAA West Region Championships in Austin, Texas, and had an awesome race. The top 3 runners in each heat of the steeplechase qualified for Nationals, and then the top 3 times after that, coming to a total of 12 runners from each region. Rich ran in the final heat and knew what he had to do to qualify for Nationals. So, don't worry, he decided to win the race and have the fastest time of the day.
It was a really fun race to watch. I was at my parents' house in Ogden, and we had a lot of family over for dinner: my aunt and 3 of her boys from Arizona (plus my cousin's friend who joined them for the trip), Grandma and Grandpa Burnham, and my brother Tyson and his wife Krystle and their baby Khloe. We all crammed into my dad's small study and crowded around 3 computers to watch the race (a grand total of 13 people - a tight fit). It got so loud in there as we were all yelling and clapping and cheering for Nelly. And it was well worth it!
I talked to Rich a little bit later about the race, and he told me something funny. The guy with the fastest time going into Regions was Hillary Bor from Iowa State. He was at the front for all of this race, and Rich caught up to him with around a lap and a half to go. He was debating about whether it was enough to just qualify or if he should try to pass Bor at the end. At the last water jump (a little over a 1/4 of a lap to the finish line), Rich noticed that Bor was missing a shoe. Rich's pride kicked in, and he wasn't going to let a guy with one shoe beat him. Rich pushed in front (at this point the floors and walls were shaking in my dad's study from all of the cheering) and won the race.
Rich got an interview with the Flotrack guys after the race. You should watch it. Don't mind that fact that he is drenched in sweat. Give him a break - Texas is HOT and HUMID, and he just won a race. You can see Hillary Bor in background of the video, still wearing only one shoe.
So now, Rich is going to Eugene, Oregon (Track Town, USA), for Nationals and a shot at the national steeplechase title.
But wait, this post is called "We're Going to Oregon," and by we I do not mean Rich only. I get to go with him to cheer him on! Sweet! I am so excited that I get to be there! Rich's parents (and sister Andrea, too, I think) will be joining us as well. We're looking forward to a great week in Eugene.