Stadler caps stellar career with national title in 5K

DELAWARE, Ohio - Haverford College senior Christopher Stadler capped his stellar career in storybook fashion as he claimed the national championship in the 5,000-meter run on the last day of the 2014 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University.

Running in the last individual event of the national meet, Stadler delivered one more lasting memory in a Haverford uniform as he crossed the line in 14 minutes, 11.28 seconds to nip defending champion John Crain of North Central College (14:11.72) at the finish. Stadler's performance, which resulted in the eighth All-America certificate of his career, established a new Selby Stadium record.

Stadler, Crain and Central College's Eli Horton wasted no time in breaking away from the rest of the field at the beginning of the race. Horton led the group of three for most of the race before Crain made his move to the front of the pack.

Stadler and Crain were no strangers to each other as the duo had battled several times on the national stage. When Stadler won the national championship in the indoor 5,000 as a junior, it was Crain who took second. On Thursday, the final of the 10,000m came down to Crain and Stadler with Crain fighting off Stadler at the finish.

Competing in his final collegiate race on Saturday, Stadler, one of the most decorated runners in Haverford history, would not be denied. Recently named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Mideast Region Outdoor Athlete of the Year, Stadler remained on Crain's heels as the bell lap began. Crain kept stealing glances over his shoulder and with good reason as Stadler, the owner of the top D-III time in the event in 2014, was far from finished. Stadler's final kick propelled him past Crain to the national title.

Earlier in the day, senior Avi Bregman ran to All-America status by finishing fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the second consecutive year. Bregman, the program record holder and three-time Centennial Conference champion in the event, finished in 8:56.68. Junior David Roza just missed earning All-America honors with a ninth-place finish (9:12.43).

The points earned by Stadler and Bregman on Saturday helped the Fords tie for sixth in the final team standings with the University of La Verne (23 points). Mount Union College claimed the team title with 47 points.

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