Trevor Dunbar tweeted his goal before the 5,000-meter preliminaries Monday at the U.S. Olympic Trials -- #makethefinal -- and then went out and achieved it.
The 21-year-old running sensation from Kodiak finished third in his heat to qualify for Thursday's 16-man finals at the track and field championships in Eugene, Ore.
The meet is the biggest in Dunbar's still-young career. In the finals, he'll run in a star-studded field that includes Galen Rupp, who already won the 10,000 meters at the Trials; Bernard Lagat, the former Kenyan who has won multiple world and Olympic medals; and Lopez Lomong, the former Sudanese who was the flag bearer for the U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Dunbar ran in the slower of the two preliminary heats.
Andrew Bumbalough set the pace in 13 minutes, 46.80 seconds for a narrow win over Rupp (13:46.82). Dunbar finished in 13:49:19, well off the 13:36.86 time that qualified him for the Trials.
In the other heat, Lomong nipped Lagat by .01, winning in 13:42.81.
Dunbar, who dominated as a high school runner, just concluded his sophomore season at Oregon. He's a three-time NCAA All-American who finished sixth in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month.
He didn't learn until Saturday that he made the cut for the Olympic trials.
"Happy but not satisfied to just participate," he tweeted. "I'm here to compete."