With 300 meters left in Saturday’s Dr. Sanders 3,000 meter race at New York’s Millrose Games, one of the most prestigious indoor track and field competitions in the world, senior Grant Fisher, a nine-time All-American, surged to the lead with Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald and Campbell’s Amon Kemboi in hot pursuit.
As the leaders entered the bell-lap on the 200-meter track at The Armory, McDonald challenged Fisher for the lead. The two collegiate competitors battled for positioning down the back straight away, with Kemboi struggling to hold on. Fisher maintained the inside lane advantage over McDonald as they rounded the final curve in full spirit. Despite McDonald’s final surge on the home straight away, it was Fisher’s dominant closing speed that ultimately decided the race in his favor.
Shattering his personal best by six seconds, Fisher (7:42.62) set an American collegiate record in the 3,000 meters, breaking Galen Rupp’s record (7:44.69) set in 2009 as a senior at Oregon.
“Grant’s race was historic, both in the context of winning the prestigious Millrose Games and setting the American collegiate and Stanford records,” head coach Chris Miltenberg said. “But most of all, I’m really excited with the way he raced today.”
The Stanford standout closed in 26.5 seconds during the final 200 meters to also break the school record (7:46.81) set by Chris Derrick in a runner-up finish at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Fisher previously sat in second (7:48.56) on Stanford’s all-time list after finishing second in the event at last year’s Iowa State Classic.
Miltenberg said, “He ran with incredible maturity and composure, and was bold and decisive when he made his move to take the lead. This shows how much he continues to grow in his racing savvy.”
“I really wanted to be in first with a lap to go,” Fisher said in an interview with Milesplit after the race. “I’ve made the mistake on 200-meter banked tracks like this where I expect it to be as easy as an outdoor 400-meter track to pass, and it’s just not.”
The senior sits atop the NCAA in the event, qualifying for the NCAA Championships on March 8-9 in Birmingham, Alabama. At last year’s championships, Fisher placed fourth in the 3,000 meters and anchored the distance medley relay to a fourth place finish.
“As long as I was with the leaders, I knew the NCAA qualifier would take care of itself,” Fisher said. “I just came here to race.”
Saturday wasn’t the first time Fisher had dueled with McDonald at the finish. At the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the two collegiate foes found themselves challenging each other in the final stretch of the 10-kilometer Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin. However, it was McDonald who surged to the lead for the NCAA title win with Fisher finishing in second. The two veterans met for the first time this weekend since that thrilling finish in December.
“I wouldn’t call it revenge,” Fisher said. “I would just call it competitiveness. He’s a great guy to race and always makes it a real race.”
Fisher returned to The Armory for the first time in four years since setting a meet record in the men’s mile (4:03.54) at the 2015 New Balance Nationals as a senior at Grand Blanc High School.
The ninth-ranked Cardinal men moved up one spot in this week’s rankings, while the women dropped down to No. 29, as the two teams look ahead to the Alex Wilson Invitational this upcoming weekend, followed by the MPSF Championships next weekend.
Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.