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The first time was a charm for Elliott Heath.

The recently graduated Winona Senior High runner won the junior men’s 5,000 meter on Thursday night in Indianapolis at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships.

It was the first time Heath ran the 5,000 meter race on a track. Still, distance running is nothing new to Heath, a cross country runner who also won the national junior championship in a 6K race earlier this year in Boulder, Colo.

Heath beat out a field which included collegiate runners from Oregon, the University of California-Los Angeles and Illinois with a time of 14 minutes, 36.32 seconds, ahead of Oregon’s Kenny Klotz who recorded a time of 14 minutes, 37.42 seconds.

“This puts him among the very best times ever run at that age group,” said John Ruggeberg, who coached Heath last year at Winona Senior High School. “There is an especially talented group of distance runners in the U.S. right now.”

According to eliterunning. com, Heath credits his brother, Garrett, for giving him advice to help win. He told the online journal, “I talked to my brother before the race and he told me if it was a slow race, I should make sure I was in a position to cover any moves.”

Heath took the race as he ran past Klotz on the homestretch.

Garrett Heath was also a Winona Senior High standout who is now a mile runner at Stanford University. Elliott Heat will join his brother there next year.

Last weekend, Elliott Heath finished third this past weekend in the 2-mile run at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. Heath set a personal best in the event, finishing in 8 minutes, 46.12 seconds at North Carolina A&T University.

A week before the Nike Outdoor Nationals, Elliott Heath won his second consecutive Minnesota Class AA state title in the 3,200 meters.

Staff members Chris Hubbuch and Jeff Bersch also contributed to this report.
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