Keith Gerrard has continued his good form on the American cross-country scene, taking sixth place in the Notre Dame Invitational at South Bend, Indiana on Friday.
Less than a week after finishing sixth at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota the Manx Sports Aid recipient finished in the same position but this time against much higher-ranked opposition.
With valuable points to be gained towards qualification for the NCAA cross-country final, over 160 athletes from 21 institutions lined up to contest this prestigious event.
Keith was representing the University of New Mexico team (ranked 16) who were aware that they would have to be on their best form if they were to challenge the powerful squads from Oregon (ranked 3) Alabama (ranked 5) and Villanova, Pennsylvania (ranked 14).
In contrast to last week’s undulating and muddy conditions, which were to his liking, the Notre Dame course was firm underfoot and almost flat for the eight-kilometre distance.
From the gun Keith quickly established himself with the leading athletes and up to the halfway mark was sharing the lead with Luke Puskedra (Oregon), followed closely behind by three New Mexico team-mates.
Keith was unable to keep his position when there was a break-away by Puskedra and Nicholas Kipruto (New Mexico) and slipped to his sixth place, which he held to the finishing line.
The race was won by Puskedra in 23:39 with Keith completing the course in 24:03.
When interviewed Keith said, "It was good to see my team-mates around me, it helped me push on. I like it to be an honest race, tough from the start."