By Tim Glon
LACROSSE, Wis. — Senior national champion and 4-time All-American Matt Molinaro (Sterling Heights, Mich./DeLaSalle) suffered an injury and finished 12th in the 1,500-meter run on the final day of the NCAA III Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships on a hot Saturday afternoon at Roger Harring Stadium.
Molinaro was comfortably in the middle of a tightly bound pack when he appeared to get tangled up with another runner and suffered a leg injury on the third lap. He fought through the injury, but fell to the back of the pack and finished in 4:00.62, well off of his qualifying time of 3:54.03.
"I got tangled up on lap 3," Molinaro said. "I caught myself, but landed funny and felt it."
He then scratched in the men's 800.
"It's a tough way to end a career for sure," ONU head coach Jason Maus said. "It's a part of sports, but it's still tough to swallow. He's had a first-ballot Hall of Fame career and is one of the best track athletes in ONU history. He has been tremendous for us for four years. I feel bad for him that this is the way his career came to an end."
Molinaro won the 800-meter run at the 2018 Indoor Championships and was an All-American in the 800 indoors in 2016 and 17 and at the outdoor championships in 2017.
The top eight finishers in each event earn All-America honors.
On Thursday, Molinaro was second in his heat and second overall in the prelims of the 1,500-meter run in 3:54.03. This was his first appearance at the NCAA Championships in the 1,500.
He finished his heat of the 800 in second place in 1:50.99 on Friday evening to advance to the finals.