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New Alpha in the US RW scene


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  • New Alpha in the US RW scene

    Dan Nehnevaj, formerly of WVU Tech & now w/ the Raleigh Walkers, essentially crushed the field today at the Pan Am Cup Trials in Philadelphia this morning. His 1:26:00 in only the 2nd attempt at the 20 km distance was a PR by over 7:00 and easily dispatched Nick Christie and Emmanuel Corvera by over 2 minutes. The converted 5000m runner only began walking in 2017 as a secondary event, but soon realized the opportunity that was in front of him.

    The following is from Bruce Cox, the Dir of T&F at WVU Tech:

    Since this morning, we’ve received several messages from the Race Walking Community, like the one above!!!
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Earlier today, WVU TECH alum & current Assistant Coach, Dan Nehnevaj, won the 20K Race Walk at the Pan Am Cup Trials in Philadelphia! To many in the US Race Walking Community around the country, this might be considered a major upset! But, to those of us close to the Golden Bear Program, there was only marginal surprise, as Dan’s rapid ascension has been brewing, although his story is somewhat unique!

    During the 2016-17 recruiting cycle, Dan was recruited to WVU TECH to bolster our already emerging Men’s Distance “Running” Squad! He arrived after his sophomore season at Clark College, a community college located in Vancouver, WA, close to his home! With running PR’s that included a 15:22.28 for 5000 Meters, there was little doubt he would make an impact, However, knowing it would take 3 years to graduate in Chemical Engineering, Dan was red-shirted the Fall 2017 XC Season, but did earn a spot in the NAIA Indoor Nationals @ the 5000, while improving his 5K to 15:17.60, also winning RSC Championship during the 2018 Outdoor Season!

    During that timeframe, Dan also started “playing around” with race walking for the first time with his teammates, our Nationally Ranked Race Walkers, Luke Jobson, AJ Gruttadauro & Steven Smith! But at that point, it really was more of a fun thing, as he still had major goals as a runner!

    Then, following the Fall 2018 XC season at WVU TECH, where he won the RSC Championship, while leading the Men’s Squad to their first Conference Championship in 49 years, Dan started putting a little more emphasis towards the Race Walk, and, in only his 3rd-ever Race Walk Competition, in March of 2019, he earned NAIA All-American honors, with a 6th Place finish at the Indoor Nationals, with a 13:38 for 3000 Meters, joining Steven (2nd), Luke (3rd) & AJ (4th) on the A-A Podium! He then red-shirted the 2019 Outdoor Season, saving a full year of competition for his Senior Year!

    Now, with this success behind him, Dan starting “finding” more training time for race walking, with virtually all of his morning workouts in the Fall of 2019 of the “walking variety”, although he still played a major role in that squads XC repeat at the RSC Championship! But this time, following XC, his training was being geared more to the Race Walk! He was a natural, and thus went on to win the 2020 NAIA Indoor National Championship 3000, this time in a considerably more respectable 12:09.95!

    If not for COVID-19, Dan would have certainly been the prohibitive favorite to add the NAIA Outdoor 5000 RW Championship to his accomplishments!

    With the realization that he might just have a future at RW’ing, Dan made the decision last Summer to postpone his career in Chemical Engineering to test his potential at the longer distances! With the “mileage emphasis” of the training of the Golden Bear Distance Squad, he’s now serving as our Assistant Coach, and continuing to flourish as he rises up the ranks in the US Race Walking elite!

    Two weeks ago, Dan put down a solo US #1 / 20:36.96 5000 on the track, so the only remaining question was whether his “long walks” were paying the dividends as hoped & planned!
    This morning, that question was answered, as Dan ultimately, “walked away” from the field in the 20K at the Pan Am Cup Trials, winning going away in a solid time of 1:26:00 in his first serious attempt at this distance! And he did so while looking completely comfortable the entire distance, boding well for his future attempts!

    Results here:

  • #2
    Originally posted by MJR View Post
    Dan Nehnevaj . . . improving his 5K to 15:17.60
    Has a sub-14 5K runner ever spent time learning the RW? We saw what a runner like Taylor Ewert did at RW.


    • #3
      There's 1 in SC now. Only been going for a few months, but showing promise. Running pace isn't the only factor, mastering movement patterns is critical.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Atticus View Post
        Has a sub-14 5K runner ever spent time learning the RW? We saw what a runner like Taylor Ewert did at RW.
        How about the other way around? Volha Mazuronak went from a top-class junior walker (4th WYC 2005, 5th WJC 2006) to a top-class marathon runner (Euro champion 2018, 5th OG 2016, 5th WC 2019).
        Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...


        • #5
          I don't have my TFN handy, but I seem to recall that in 1977, a pretty good runner (30 min 10k guy?) named Neal Pyke made a splash on the US race walking scene.


          • #6
            A friend of mine in town here ran under 28 for 6 miles...later turned to RW and made the Trials in both the marathon and the RW....his daughter was a top national walker a few years ago.


            • #7
              Taylor Ewert first became known as a walker in high school.
              Only later did she show promise as a runner!


              • #8
                Great news!