Kelly Walsh graduate and current Colorado Christian University athlete Josh Pierantoni takes part in a race earlier this year. Pierantoni was named an All-American after a stellar showing at the NCAA Championship meet. (Josh Kutcher, Submitted Photo)

CASPER, Wyo. — Entering the 2023 track and field season, former Kelly Walsh Trojan and current Colorado Christian University Cougar Josh Pierantoni had lofty goals and expectations. By the end of the season, he hadn’t only met his goals — he surpassed them.

An NCAA All-American honoree multiple times over in cross-country, Pierantoni had never earned the distinction in his other sport, and he looked to change that. When all was said and done, he’d earned the All-American honor he sought following a stellar showing at the NCAA Championship meet.

Prior to the championship meet, however, Pierantoni said he hadn’t attended many races, choosing instead to work on honing his craft.

“I honestly kept my racing minimal this season,” Pierantoni said. “Me and my coach decided to really put an emphasis on being 100% for nationals, and make that my focus. So a lot of the midseason was just training and focusing on the process.

“I raced in a 10K in late March, a 5,000-meter race and a 1,500-meter race as a tune-up, but that was really it.”

Heading into the national championships, Pierantoni was well-rested, and his hard work reflected in his results. He placed fifth in the 10K and third in the 5K.

“I’m really happy with those results,” he said. “I wanted to medal, and I was able to do that.”

The races weren’t without a fair deal of drama, however. In the 5K, race officials rang the bell a lap early, forcing Pierantoni and his other competitors to run another lap. In a sport where getting into a rhythm is everything, the referees’ miscue was a test of Pierantoni’s composure.

“I was so spent, because I had used up the last of my strength on what I had thought would be the last lap,” he said. “I could barely run. At that point, I was more concerned with just finishing the race than where I would place.”

Despite the challenge, Pierantoni still managed to finish as one of the best in the nation at the event.

The 10K was not as controversial as the 5K, and Pierantoni used a strong and steady performance to finish fifth, one spot behind teammate and friend Matthew Storer.

By finishing top-five in two events, Pierantoni was able to accomplish the goal at the season’s start, earning a spot on the All-American team.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “Last year, I was really close but just barely missed it. It’d been eating at me, so it feels great to finally accomplish that and mark that off my list.”

Because a year was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pierantoni still has one more season of track and field eligibility. And with his goal of making an All-American team officially accomplished, he now has his eyes set even higher.

“I’ve placed really well at a lot of events over the years here at Colorado Christian,” he said. “I want to place first and finally win one. I want to be at the top of the podium.”

(Josh Kutcher, Submitted Photo)
(Josh Kutcher, Submitted Photo)
(Josh Kutcher, Submitted Photo)
(Josh Kutcher, Submitted Photo)
(Josh Kutcher, Submitted Photo)