WESTPORT, Conn. — Staples High graduate and Westport native Henry Wynne capped his junior year at the University of Virginia with a third-place finish in in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday at the University of Oregon.
The result booked his place as a first-team All-American. He finished in at 3:38.35, just behind Clayton Murphy of Akron and Izaic Yorks of Washington.
Wynne and Yorks traded the lead through the first three laps, just like they did in the semifinal on Wednesday. In the final 200 meters, Murphy out-kicked Wynne and Yorks to win in a time of 3:36.38. Yorks was second in 3:38.06.
"I think I did what I could," Wynne said in a statement from UVA. "I knew I wanted to take it out fast and keep it an honest pace. And I figured Izaic (Yorks) would come around at some point and if not, I was going to keep the pace myself. I'm a little disappointed with the last 200 meters, but Clayton (Murphy) and Izaic both had a great kick, so I have nothing to complain about.
"It was the fastest race and best competition I have ever faced, which was fun. Even though I did not win, I was still happy with my performance."
"Henry ran a great race," UVA distance coach Pete Watson said. "Honestly, he should be very proud of the effort as I am very proud of him as an athlete. I think everyone knew there were three great student-athletes that were going to battle it out today and that is what took place. He tried to win 250 meters out and came up a little short. He had a special season and it has been amazing to watch him progress."
Wynne had won his heat and entered Friday’s final with the top time of 3:40.62. His third-place finish helped lead the Virginia men's track and field team to its best-ever outdoor national finish, placing seventh at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Wynne is also the indoor NCAA champion in the mile.
"I am blessed to have a great staff and a team that has grown into a family with two incredible leaders and role models in Henry (Wynne) and Filip (Mihaljevic) who will continue to lead the program next year," UVA director of track and field/cross country Bryan Fetzer said.
James Randon, a junior at Yale and a New Canaan native, placed eighth in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:43.84. He had run 3:41.22 in the same heat as Wynne and had the seventh fastest time among the 12 qualifiers for the final.
Randon is the first Yale runner to reach the finals of an NCAA event since 2005. He attended Middlesex School in Massachusetts during high school. He had a breakout season at Yale, breaking multiple Yale records and becoming the first athlete in school history to run a mile in under four minutes. He won the 1,500-meter run at the Ivy League championships.