By Nathan Call
BYU track star Nathan Robison finished in sixth place in the 1500-meter race Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Sacramento, Calif., with a time of 3:40.99, just missing Olympic qualification.
Team Nike member Alan Webb came in first place with a time of 3:36.13 and will represent the United States next month in Athens, Greece. Charlie Gruber, who took second place, and Rob Myers, who took third place, will be joining Webb at the Olympics.
“It was a thrill. The first round I was scared to death,” Robison said. “I felt like I was in there with all these guys, you know, the big leagues, and I was pretty scared. But after each round, I felt a little more confident and a little more ready.”
Running against Olympic competition, Robison ran close to his personal-best time of 3:40.89, which was recorded at the Mt. SAC Relays just this year.
Mark Robison, BYU head men”s track and field coach and Nathan”s dad, said his son was ranked 26th going into the race.
“There was about 400 meters to go, one lap, and I knew I had to take off,” Nathan Robison said. “I ended up finishing in sixth place. I was really pleased about that. That was one of my goals going into it.”
Nathan Robison took first in his heat at the semifinal race Friday and seventh overall.
Mark Robison said one of the obstacles for Nathan Robison to overcome was the heat, which reached 115 degrees on the track. Another obstacle was the fact that he had to run three rounds, which he had never done.
“This was the first time he has ever had to run three rounds,” Mark Robison said. “He has to run three races in four days. He looked very good in that whole process.”
As Nathan Robison”s dad and coach, Mark Robison is proud of his son”s performance at the Olympic trials.
“It is always a thrill when one of your athletes do well,” Mark Robison said. “When it is your son, it is a little more special.”
BYU track is a tradition in the Robison family. Nathan Robison”s grandfather, Clarence Robison, coached BYU track for 40 years. Now, Mark Robison is in his 19th year as a coach at BYU and his 12th year as the head coach.
Nathan Robison had an opportunity to talk with his grandfather before he left for the Olympic trials.
“It feels great,” Nathan Robison said of his BYU track heritage. “Talking to my grandfather before I left, they are all really supportive. I could not do it without them. There has never been any pressure to perform.”