Craig Engels Wins His First USATF National Championship

Photo courtesy of Joe Hale

FloTrack Interview With Engels Postrace

Craig Engels, a Reagan High School grad and current Nike Oregon Project member, won his first USATF National Title yesterday in the Mile at the Toyata USATF Indoor Championships.

Coming into the race, Engels held the best seasons best Mile on the indoor season with his 3:54.18.

The race would have no prelims and was just one final heat to decide the national champion. 

It would go out tactically with the whole field waiting until someone decided to pick up the pace.  The field went through the 409m in 1:04 and 2:06 through the 809m marks.  Engels would sit in the top four throughout the race until he was ready to make his final move gunning for his first national championship as a pro.   

As the cross the line for the bell lap Engels had just made a big first step to move ahead of lead Johnny Gregorek (ASICS) and would not look back.  Engels final lap would be 26.19 and he would hold off Henry Wynne (Brooks) and Gregorek down the homestretch to claim the USA title in 3:59.69.

He told FloTrack post race the race plan went just as he had hoped where he could make a move late in the race off of a slower pace.  

Engels says he'll head up to Boston next week to attempt to get the World Outdoor 1500m Standard of 3:53.  

His Nike Oregon Project teammates Donavan Brazier and Clayton Murphy would go on to sweep the mid-distance events at with Brazier winning the 600m and Murphy the 1000m.