DES MOINES, Iowa — Matt McClintock geared up for one of the biggest races of his career by hoping for a slow start.

Yes, slow.

“I wanted to get to the back of the pack,” he said, “and then I wanted to come back fast.”

And that’s just what the Athens native and Purdue University student did to win the 10,000-meter U.S. Junior National title Friday at the United States Track & Field championships.

McClintock, who just finished his freshman year at Purdue, finished the race in 31 minutes, 14.31 seconds. His time was more than a minute faster than his previous best, which he set at the Big Ten outdoor championships.

McClintock ran the first 5,000 meters in 16:04 and the second 5,000 meters in an impressive 15:10.

“I didn’t want to be the guy who everyone would chase,” said McClintock, a Madison graduate. “I knew I could do it.”

McClintock, a Madison graduate and Big Ten freshman of the year in cross country, will represent the United States at the Pan Am Junior Championships in Medellin, Columbia in August.

Daniell Lennon, of Syracuse, finished second while Brandon Shemonia, of Southern Illinois, was third in 32:15.99.

“I’m going to take a little time off now and then get ready for that,” McClintock said.