Garrett Heath is sitting right where he wants to be right now.
The 2004 Winona Senior High graduate ran a personal-best time of 13 minutes and 45.33 seconds to finish fifth in his heat on Thursday night in the 5,000 meter run at the Olympic Trials preliminaries in Eugene, Ore.
He’s now one of just 16 runners who will compete in Sunday’s U.S. Olympic Trials finals for a chance to represent the United States at the Olympic Games next month in Tokyo.
Heath, 35, finished 2.15 seconds behind heat winner Eric Jenkins.
The top five finishers in each heat Thursday night qualified, as did the next six-best times overall.
Heath will race at noon Sunday with an Olympic berth at stake. He runs for the Brooks Beast team, a professional team that includes Olympic hopefuls in distances from 800 to 5,000 meters and is based in Seattle.
Heath was a star cross country and track and field runner for the Winhawks. He won back-to-back cross country state championships in 2002 and 2003, and he won four track and field state championships during his high school career. He was also a state champion in Nordic skiing.
Heath went on to run cross country and track and field at Stanford University, where he was a nine-time All-American, earning those honors by placing in the top eight at the NCAA Division 1 track and field championships or in the top 35 at the Division 1 cross country championships. He ran the leadoff leg on Stanford’s national champion distance-medley relay team at the 2007 Indoor National Championships.
Garrett and his brother Elliott, who was a five-time state champion at Winona and ran at Stanford, both met with Winona Senior High students over Zoom last April to speak to Winona’s student athletes in an effort to give mental health tips during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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