Hundreds of Glastonbury residents packed into the auditorium Sunday afternoon to watch hometown Olympian Donn Cabral compete in the finals of the 3000-meter steeplechase.
Cabral finished eighth overall in the 15-man race, with a final time of 8 minutes, 25.91 seconds.
GHS opened the doors of its auditorium so that residents could watch Cabral race on the big screen, cheering along with their neighbors and showing support for the 22-year-old Glastonbury native. Each time Cabral appeared on the screen or was mentioned by name during the NBC broadcast the entire auditorium roared and screamed in excitement, standing up in their chairs and waving American flags to show their support for Cabral.
“He’s everything you’d ever want in an athlete to represent your town,” Boys Track Head Coach Tracy Hollenbaugh said. “There’s no better ambassador for Glastonbury than Donn.”
Cross Country Coach Howie Breinan worked with Donn since he first joined the cross country team in his sophomore year at GHS, describing his drive and ability as “intense.”
“He had incredible strength of will,” Breinan said. “Phenomenal. So goal-oriented. And I think this was one of his goals.”
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya took first place in Sunday’s Olympic finals with a time of 8:15.56. Kemboi won the Olympic gold in 2004 in the Athens games. France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi – Benabbad placed second with a finishing time of 8:19.08, his second straight silver medal. Kenya’s Abel Kiprop Mutai took the bronze with a time of 8:19.73.
Cabral and fellow Team USA member Evan Jager led the race early on, holding first and second place after clearing the water pit for the first time.
The two runners were attempting to be the first Americans to earn a medal in the steeplechase—which combines distance running, hurdles, obstacles, and water pits—since Brian Diemer in 1984.
Cabral dropped to fifth with three laps to go, ultimately coming in eighth place. Jager finished in sixth with a time of 8:23.87.
Cabral graduated from Glastonbury High School in 2008, where he still holds multiple records for distance running.
After high school Cabral attended Princeton, where he first ran in the steeplechase, a grueling race that combines distance running, hurdles, barriers and water to get past. He led Princeton to its first NCAA title since 1934 in June, and soon thereafter qualified for the Olympics.
Now Cabral is eighth in the world in the steeplechase, having completed his very first Olympic games.