Penn-Trafford grad Poole earns All-American status again
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Chansler Poole made St. Vincent history last season, when he became the first athlete in the college's track and field program's history to become an All-American.
It turned out once wasn't enough for Poole.
Poole, a 2010 Penn-Trafford graduate, earned All-American status again last month when he placed eighth in the 1,500-meter run at the NCAA Division III Championships at Ohio Wesleyan University. The top eight finishers earn All-American honors.
“It means a lot,” said Poole, who finished seventh in the 1,500 last season. “At least in my event, only two people (repeated as All-Americans) from last year, and I think we had six of the guys that were returning. It's very competitive, and it seems like everybody else is always getting faster. It's getting harder and harder to get to the top, so I'm very pleased. I can't really ask for anything more.”
At the national championships, runners compete in one of two preliminary heats before the finals. The top four in each heat qualify for the finals, along with the next four best times.
Last season, Poole received a wild-card bid into the finals after running a good-enough time in his preliminary heat. This time around, he earned an automatic bid to the finals by placing second in his heat with a time of 3 minutes, 49.88 seconds.
“I knew what to expect going in,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a pretty fast last lap. ... It usually comes down to a sprint in the last lap, so I was ready for that and mentally prepared for that.”
St. Vincent coach Andrew Herr said Poole came into this year's meet with more confidence after earning All-American honors last year.
“I think that showed in his preliminary race and then in his race in the finals,” Herr said. “Last year, we were just thrilled that he got on to the finals. Every step was kind of a surprise ... everything was just kind of icing on the cake. This year, I think he came in expecting to get into the finals. His preliminary race was just phenomenal. He ran really a perfect race.”
In the finals, Poole ran a time of 3:50.54. He ran the last lap in 59 seconds after running it in 56 seconds during the preliminaries.
“I was definitely feeling it in my legs when I was running on Saturday,” he said. “I wasn't nearly as fresh as I was when I was running on Thursday, so that kind of played a factor of why I wasn't able to go as fast at the end. Trust me, I wanted to go 55 or 56, but my legs were holding me back a little bit.”
Poole graduated from St. Vincent recently and is waiting to hear back from a few medical schools about beginning in the fall. He said he would like to become a surgeon.
“He did things right at St. Vincent,” Herr said. “He was truly a student-athlete. He was a great student in the classroom. He actually got a minor in music. He's multi-talented and really a great guy. He's sort of the model of what we would (like). We'd love to have 10 of him. We could do something with that.”
Herr said he thought Poole's All-American status could help the St. Vincent track and field program in future years. He said Poole improved in his four years at St. Vincent.
“I definitely feel like I did the best I could,” Poole said. “I think the coaches did a phenomenal job of bringing me in with the condition I was in and really transforming me into an elite runner by the end. ... I just hope I showed people that if I can do it, they can do it.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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