By Matt Haile —
Patrick Jenkins (Sr, Cambridge, Wis.), a member of the University of Wisconsin–Stout men’s track and field team, qualified for nationals for his eighth consecutive appearance. Patrick has qualified for every national meet since he began competing for the Blue Devils in 2012.
Except this time was special, this was only Jenkins’ third time qualifying to compete in more than one event at a national meet. Jenkins qualified for both the 5000 meter and the 3000 meter.
At nationals this year Jenkins took second place in the 5000 meter, meaning he received All-America honors. Jenkins failed to stay in podium contention in the 3000 meter due to the fatigue of running two races back to back in two days.
Jenkins, an environmental science major, was also excited to share this feat with fellow teammate Paul Van Grinsven (Fr, Little Chute, Wis.) who competed in his first indoor national meet.
“It was fun to have him along on the trip and compete in the same national race together,” stated Jenkins.
The pair attempted to control the race using an “honest pace” as opposed to the more commonly used “sit-and-kick” type of race that is used in championship racing.
The coaching staff and both runners felt as though the honest pace gave them the best chance to succeed.
Jenkins had a few butterflies before the 5000 meter race despite having been there before.
“I was more nervous for the 5000 meter race than any other national race I’ve competed in. This was my first national race that I really believed I could win,” stated the All-American. “I think I was putting a lot of pressure on myself during the weeks leading up to the race, and that brought out a lot of nerves.”
Jenkins was able to put these nerves to rest and find success in the 5000 meter.
“Van Grinsven and I took turns leading the race early on. After running 4:40 and 4:44 for our first two miles of the race I was able to run the last mile in 4:46,” said Jenkins. “I lead for a lot of the race, but I was beat in the last 800 meters by Travis Morrison from North Central College.”
Patrick has a decorated career competing for the Blue Devils and has earned the label of a track star with eight All-America honors, two of which were in cross country and the other six in track. Alongside his All-America honors he has earned a total of five WIAC titles in cross country, indoor 3000 meter, indoor 5000 meter, outdoor 5000 meter and outdoor 10000 meter.