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Penn Relays Credit: Ilana Wurman , Ilana Wurman, Ilana Wurman

After breaking the Penn and Ivy League records for the mile back in February, senior distance runner Thomas Awad finished in third place at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Ala.

With a time of 4:06.97, Awad became just the fifth Penn athlete to earn All-American status during the indoor season.

While he finished nearly 10 seconds slower than his record-setting 3:57.03 time from the Millrose Games, Awad, in just his first trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships, was able to lock down a spot in the podium.

Out of the gates, Awad was not in the front of the pack. In fact, he was in dead last after 209 meters.

Over the next 800 meters, the senior would begin to close the gap, moving into eighth place and passing the 1,009-meter mark only 0.3 seconds behind the leader, Jonah Koech of Texas El-Paso.

It was then that he made his move.

With less than half the race to go, Awad turned on the jets. He posted his three best splits over the final 600 meters and passed three runners down the stretch to surge his way to his impressive third-place finish.

Awad, who had the second fastest time of the preliminary round on Friday with a time of 4:07.51, was the only member of the Red and Blue to make the trip down south.

Of course as the spring season begins Awad will have at least two teammates joining him as threats to go All-American. Junior javelin thrower Kelsey Hay and senior defending national champion discus thrower Sam Mattis began their seasons just as Awad was competing in the final meet of his. The two were both crowned champions in their respective disciplines at the South Florida Invitational on Saturday.

Awad has earned some rest before he gets back to work, but their’s no question he will be hungry to join his teammates for the upcoming spring season.

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