The University of Oregon sophomore is competing in the men’s 5,000-meter run that begins at 4:10 p.m. ADT in Des Moines, Iowa.
Dunbar, a 2009 Kodiak High School graduate, is seeded 21st in the 24-person field.
He qualified for his first outdoor track and field championships with a time of 14 minutes, 17.81 seconds in late May at the West Preliminary Rounds.
Dunbar finished 18th at last year’s West rounds with a quicker time of 13:53.71 while running for the University of Portland.
The pace was slower this year as Dunbar managed to finish third in his heat, which was good enough to earn a trip to nationals.
“The first mile was slow, which we were thinking it would be,” Dunbar said in a video interview on flotrack.com. “Coaches did a good job of mapping out the race plan with us. We were in fighting contention once people started moving.”
Dunbar is one of 31 Oregon athletes to qualify for nationals. His sophomore teammate Parker Stinson is also in the 5,000.
“When you see certain athletes doing really spectacular performances it inspires you to match that and get up there as well … excellence brings other excellence and we are lucky to be a part of it,” Dunbar said.
Paul Chelimo of UNC-Greensboro is seeded first in the 5,000 with a 14:00.51. Dunbar’s fastest time this season is 13:51.79.
Dunbar is no stranger to big meets.
He has competed three times in the NCAA Cross Country Championships and is coming off a 10th-place finish in the 3,000 meters at the men’s Indoor National Championships in March.
During Dunbar’s time at KHS, he was a three-time cross country and a two-time 1,600 and 3,200 state champion.
• In May, Western Washington’s Karsten Schick was named to the GNAC Academic Track and Field Team.
The biology major had a 3.43 grade point average in his sophomore year.
Mirror writere Derek Clarkston can be reached at email@example.com.