Bergeron Erases Own State 5K Mark At New Balance

Paul Bergeron wasn’t expected to win the 5,000-meter run at Saturday’s New Balance Nationals. Neither were the other top competitors at Saturday’s race with American Fork (AK) senior Daniel Simmons on the line. The American Fork (AK) senior, an overwhelming favorite, annihilated the national record with an astonishing 13 minutes, 38.86 on the Reggie Lewis oval.

But in the race for second, the more competitive one in this event, it was Bergeron that earned that coveted runner-up spot, breaking his own state record with a time of 14:14.57.

“I think I just got my event,” he said. “That was surreal, man. I felt phenomenal the whole time, honestly. I was just biding my time, just focus on place. I don’t think I looked at the clock once. The first time I saw where it was at was after I finished. I was just going out there to compete at nationals. Obviously, Danny is in a class of his own right now. There’s definitely things I could have improved in that race, but that was amazing.”

Simmons was indeed in a class by himself. With the aid of a rabbit, the Brigham Young commit was paced to a 4:26 for the first 1,600m. From there, Simmons took over and continued to rattle off consistent 200m splits between 32 and 33 seconds. He was 8:50 at 3,200m and covered his final 400m in 61 seconds.

Bergeron admitted that while his training has been very good this winter, it wasn’t completely smooth leading up to Saturday’s race.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “In the cross-country season, I was out for a full month with a nerve thing. I was scared that I wasn’t going to be able to return to my form my senior year. Even the last couple of weeks, my mileage has been cut in half. I have just been on the bike and swimming and doing what I can because I have a little issue, a little tendonitis. Honestly I wasn’t sure where I was at.”

The Stanford-bound Bergeron indicated that he did not feel any effects from his injury in a near perfect race. He was in third or fourth throughout most of 24-plus laps, and didn’t move into second until the final 200m. He was 9:09 at 3,200m and ran his last 400m in 65 seconds to secure his runner-up finish and lower his previous state record of 14:17.78 from the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational early last month.

“I think at BU i was 9:09 at 3,200 meter, too, so that was cool I closed a little harder,” he said. “Honestly at BU, like coming through the 2K I sort of hurt. At 3K, I was dying. I wasn’t sure I was going to finish the race. This one, with I K to go I felt so good. I never feel that good with a 1,000 to go. (It) was a great race. I did everything I could do to prep for it, especially with the injury. I am just really proud with the performance today. Really happy and excited for the outdoor season.”

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Bergeron’s teammate, Jack Graffeo, just missed a spot on the podium, placing seventh overall with a solid 14:49.17. Like Bergeron, Graffeo is coming off a cross-country season that concluded in San Diego at the Foot Locker Nationals.


In the girls’ pentathlon, which concluded on Saturday night, the Bay State had two of its athletes among the top six. Franklin’s Sarah Dumas was third overall with 3,449 points. Giuliano Ligor of North Reading was fifth overall with 3,427 points. For Dumas, it was her third straight time earning All-American status in the pentathlon since last year’s meet when she finished fourth. She was second at the outdoor nationals.

“I am thrilled. It’s a really competitive field this year,: she said. “It was up and down today, but it was really exciting to meet some cool people and get third on the way to that.”

Dumas scored her most points (908) in the 55m hurdles, where he was timed in 9.08 seconds. She also achieved a new PR in the shot by placing first in the event with a heave of 36-6.75.

The versatile Ligor, who won the 600m at the Meet of Champions a few weeks ago, was competing in her first pentathlon. She also collected her most points in the hurdles, where she was second in 9.03. She was also a runner-up in the 800m (2:26.05).

“Today was really exciting,” she said. “I PR’d in the hurdles, so it started off really good with that. I had a personal best in the shot, a season best in the 800. The long (jump) didn’t go that well, but we all have our ups and down. But I had a great time doing it.”

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