Another huge steeplechase race for Elizabethtown junior Samuel Gerstenbacher of Schalick Monday night in cold, rainy conditions at the Swarthmore Last-Chance Meet.
Gerstenbacher beat a field of 30 runners in the 3,000-meter steeple in a personal-best 9:00.21. He finished 20 meters ahead of second-place Greg Jaindl of Moravian, who PR’d in 9:03.89.
Gerstenbacher’s time is No. 4 this year in NCAA Division 3, and Jaindl’s is No. 7.
Gerstenbacher broke his own school record of 9:08.71, which he ran at the Penn Relays. Before that it was 9:11.20 from the same Swarthmore meet last spring.
So he’s dropped 11 seconds off his PR in the last month.
Gerstenbacher tripled at the Landmark Conference Championships earlier this month at Goucher College in Baltimore, cruising to wins in the 1,500 in 3:59.02, the 5,000 in 15:08.09 and the steeple in 9:27.35. Jaindl finished second in all three races. They also finished 1-2 in the Landmark Conference XC Championships this past fall and in the 3,000 at the indoor conference meet.
Next for Gerstenbacher is the NCAA Division 3 Championships May 23-25 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, outside Cleveland. The steeplechase qualifying rounds are scheduled for 5:50 p.m. that Thursday, May 23, with the finals following at 11:45 a.m. two days later.
Gerstenbacher ran 1:56.33, 4:20.31 and 9:40.31 at Schalick. He ran one steeplechase, at the 2016 Woodbury Relays, with no water jump, and took third in 9:47.30