In his third season as a professional training in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., Scott Bauhs finally got what he most wanted: a top three placing at the U.S. Championships, earning him a spot on the American team for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Bauhs’s first breakthrough on the track came when he ran 27:48.06 for 10,000 meters in 2008 while still a senior at Division II powerhouse Chico State. Since turning pro the next season, success has not come easily for Bauhs. He struggled at USA’s in both 2009 and 2010 and vowed to make a change this year, the major one being skipping the World Cross Country Championships.
“I love World Cross but I’ve gotten smoked at U.S. Championships in track every time I go. I’ve got to change something to be ready for the track,” Bauhs told Letsrun.com after the Great Edinburgh Cross Country Race in January.
The 10,000 meter final on Thursday evening went out pedestrian from the start and set up to be a kicker’s affair. While Abdi Abdirahman led the field through the halfway point in a painfully slow 14:39, Bauhs was well back in the pack in 15th place but gradually moved up as the pace quickened.
With one lap remaining, Bauhs sat in fourth place in the front pack behind Galen Rupp, Matt Tegenkamp and Tim Nelson and in prime contention for a spot to the World Championships. Bauhs passed Nelson into third place over the final 400 meters, closing in 56.17 seconds for the last lap, and managed to hang on for the final qualifying position.
“I wanted to sit on third place as long as possible, but I felt so good that I went around Nelson with around 200 to go,” Bauhs commented on his last lap strategy.
Rupp won his third consecutive U.S. title in a time of 28:38.17 with Tegenkamp second in 28:39.97 and Bauhs in third in 28:40.51. Since Rupp and Tegenkamp both have ‘A’ standards for Worlds, Bauhs will be allowed to represent Team USA with his ‘B’ standard time.
“Anyone who has been paying attention knows I’ve gone through some growing pains the last few years. Coming into this race, I told myself to run hard from as soon as people started going hard,” Bauhs said about making his first World track team.
When asked if it was the best race of his life, Bauhs tersely answered, “Absolutely, absolutely.”