Bottom line is that Chris Derrick ran another great race. Similar to pre-nats, Derrick stuck with the other key Stanford runners through 5K, then just opened it up gradually and took the victory. There were a lot of extremely good runners in this race- Bethke, Puskedra, Centro, Acosta - and these guys ran well. Let's not take anything away from them. But let's give Derrick credit where credit is due. "Derrick is scary good".
This doesn't surprise those of us from Illinois. Derrick ran 13:52 as a senior in H.S. on the famed Detweiller course; and likely didn't go all out. His NXN race was a stronger effort. Yet 13:52 is amongst the best of all-time (Virgin holds the official record of 13:50.6) - and Derrick has continued to improve under the Stanford program.
From watching the video on both pre-nats and the Pac-10 race, I don't think Chris has gone all out in either. I've met Chris, and I'm confident that Stanford's goal in the NCAA meet is more important to him than any individual goal as well.
He's a top notch runner - and there's no way I'd bet against him in the NCAA finals. Let's just enjoy that the U.S. has a genuine talent who is motivated, trains smart, and has a good head on his shoulders.