This weekend was a big one for two Connecticut track alumni. Eric van der Els won the Pan American JR championship in the 1500m. The Norwalk native, who is a rising sophomore at the University of Connecticut, won in a meet record of 3:43.16, His performance broke Canadian Mike Wood's record 12 year old record by over two seconds.
"Winning the Pan American 1500m is a huge step forward in my career." van der Els stated by email. "Running a 3:43.16 (4:00.95 converted 1 Mile) just proves to myself how much all of my first year of training and hard work payed off. It also means to me that I hopefully in the near future can put myself amongst the top guys in the NCAA and continue to progress from there. "
Van der Els will make an appearance at The Running Academy cross country camp in Torrington, CT to share stories of his victory in Peru. The camp runs from August 14-19th.
On Saturday, Samantha Drop, who ran for Coginchaug High School and is entering her sophomore year at the University of Georgia finished 3rd in the 5000m. She set her outdoor personal record of 16:44.01.
In high school Drop was All American in the distance medley relay at New Balance Indoor Nationals. At Georgia, she earned All-Freshman honors at the 6K SEC Championships after running a 21:15.6 for 24th place, and All-Region honors with a 17th place finish (20:45.2) at the 6K NCAA South Regionals.