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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Runner sets sights on Olympics

Sophomore Kyle Medina runs around the track during practice, displaying his Chico State Wildcat tattoo. Photo credit: Cam Lesslie

After breaking the school record for the 1,500-meter race with a time of 3 minutes, 41 seconds at the Brian Clay Invitational, sophomore Kyle Medina has set his sights on the Olympic trials.

The time set by Medina was one second faster than the previous record of 3:42 set by Scott Bauhs in 2008. Medina’s own previous personal best for this season was five seconds slower.

Medina’s time shocked him and his teammates according to junior 5K runner Aaron Mora, who told Medina the results of the race.

“When I heard about that time I couldn’t believe it,” Mora said. “I honestly don’t even think he could believe how fast he ran.”

Sophomore Kyle Medina warms up during practice with fellow teammate senior Olivia Watt. Photo credit: Cam Lesslie

Qualifying for the Olympic trials would require shaving off a minimum of two seconds on Medina’s record. Despite this, head coach Gary Towne is convinced that Medina will reach his desired time this year.

“With his experience and training, he’s got all the tools he needs to compete at the U.S. level,” Towne said.

The time set by Medina is currently the fastest 1,500-meter time in the Division II league by nine seconds and is currently sixth in the nation. He also has already met the mark for nationals.

Although the goal of nationals has already been reached in the 1,500-meter race, Towne is also pushing Medina to qualify for the 800-meter event. Medina is currently ranked 34th for NCAA Division II athletes in the 800-meter event with a time of 1:52.36.

“We’re taking shots at these races. He has a good chance to make it because of the work that he’s put in and his ability to feel comfortable and confident,” Towne said.

Sophomore Kyle Medina watches his other teammates while warming up before practice. Photo credit: Cam Lesslie

Despite breaking the school record and leading the NCAA Division II with his 1,500-meter time, Medina was only focused on gaining a qualifying time for the Olympic trials.

“It’s cool to have broken the record, but I’m not trying to make too much out of it. My goal is just to get a mark that will get me into the Olympic trials,” Medina said.

Although Medina did not compete in the Wildcats’ most recent event, he still has the CCAA championship race and the national race to reach his time.

With the NCAA Division II championships on May 26 and the Olympic trials for track and field on July 1, Medina is racing against time.

While the final date to qualify inches closer, Towne is unconcerned as he said he believes in Medina’s abilities as a runner.

“He is a student of the sport. He’s a track junkie and he wants to be there. With his drive, he will make it,” Towne said.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.

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