As Northport's Mike Brannigan sprinted the final 50 meters of his 5-kilometer race during the New Balance National Championships at the Armory in Manhattan on Friday, it looked as if he was about to capture the second individual championship of his career.
Brannigan dueled with Elijah Armstrong of Pocatello, Idaho, for the final 3,400 meters as the two distanced themselves from the pack.
But Brannigan was not able to hold off Amrstrong's final kick and finished second in 14 minutes, 42.33 seconds. Not bad considering it was his first indoor race at the distance.
Armstrong finished in 14:41.72. Casey Comber of Maple Glen, Pennsylvania, was third in 14:51.83.
Brannigan knew he would have to keep up with Armstrong, who won the event two years ago.
"I saw the prerace and the results from the past couple of years and I knew that was his race," Brannigan said.
Brannigan took the lead with about 100 meters remaining before Armstrong's final push won the race.
"I was impressed with myself," Brannigan said. "This was all part of the plan and my training. I just want to go out and set a personal best and leave it all out there on the track."
Brannigan, a senior, will run his final indoor race, the 3,200, Sunday at the Armory. He won a national title at that distance last June in the New Balance Outdoors, Northport coach Jason Strom said.
"Mike can run any race. He can run a half mile or a 5k and he can cover the distances better than anybody," Strom said. "I haven't ever come across a kid that has that range of abilities and is as consistent and as successful as Mike has been."