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NCAA champ Ben Flanagan may be the underdog at the Bix 7 but don't count him out

Ben Flanagan will be a decided underdog when he steps to the starting line in Saturday’s 44th annual Quad-City Times Bix 7. After all, the 23-year-old Canadian hasn’t run a road race of any distance since he was in the ninth grade. He certainly hasn’t run a race full of steep hills in the sometimes suffocating heat of late July against a field filled with battle-hardened Kenyans and Ethiopians, many of whom are very familiar with a course he’s never even seen before. But you get the feeling Flanagan kind of likes being the underdog. And he often responds positively when placed in that role. You needn’t look any further than the 10,000-meter race at the NCAA Division I track and field meet about seven weeks ago. Flanagan, a fifth-year senior at the University of Michigan, was seeded 19th in the race. He hadn’t even qualified for the NCAA meet the previous year because of a litany of injuries. He ran in the wake of Alabama star Vincent Kiprop the entire way but on the 25th and final lap, he found the strength to surge past Kiprop and spring one of the biggest upsets in recent NCAA history. He admitted he probably even surprised himself that day. (07/26/2018) ⚡AMP

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