Four Score for Stanford
EUGENE, Ore. – Four Stanford women – Fiona O'Keeffe, Rebecca Mehra, Christina Aragon, and Olivia Baker -- scored and earned All-America first-team honors by placing among the top eight in their running events Saturday on the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
O'Keeffe placed fifth in the 5,000 in 15:46.93, running a lifetime best by nine seconds, and became the second Stanford freshman to earn first-team honors Saturday, following Aragon, who was seventh in the 1,500. Rebecca Mehra, a fifth-year senior, was sixth in the 1,500, and junior Baker was eighth in the 800.
The Stanford women placed 13th, scoring 15 points, and extended a streak of top-15 finishes to seven years. The Cardinal placed 26th in the men's competition, which concluded Friday, with 10 points.
O'Keeffe was the top true freshman in the 5,000 field. It marked the 19th time a Stanford woman has placed among the top five in the 5,000 at NCAA's and the 16th time in 17 years that the Cardinal has had a finalist in the event.
O'Keeffe remained in main pack throughout the race. Missouri's Karissa Schweizer broke away with three laps to go, but O'Keeffe remained focused near the front of the chase pack. At the bell, the pack began to splinter and O'Keeffe pushed hard with 200 to go and finished strong.
Her time moved her past Lauren Fleshman, who would become a three-time outdoor 5,000 champ, on Stanford's all-time freshmen list, into the No. 3 position.
In the 1,500, Mehra ran a lifetime best by 2 ½ seconds to finish in 4:14.52, placing her No. 8 on Stanford's all-time performers' list. Aragon was next in 4:14.79.
The pace was slow as expected, but Mehra charged through the final 800 in 2:11.54. Her final lap of 1:02.46 was the second-fastest in the field. While a wall of five runners dueled to the finish, Mehra was a step behind. Just behind, Aragon beat the next group of runners, finishing as the second freshman.
In the 800, Baker, racing in the final for the second consecutive year, was as high as fourth with 150 meters to go. Her time was 2:04.21.
Team score – 13, Stanford, 15.
800 – 8, Olivia Baker, 2:04.21.
1,500 – 6, Rebecca Mehra, 4:14.52; 7, Christina Aragon, 4:14.79.
5,000 – 5, Fiona O'Keeffe, 15:46.93.
First team: Grant Fisher (5,000).
First team: Christina Aragon (1,500), Olivia Baker (800), Mackenzie Little (javelin), Rebecca Mehra (1,500), Fiona O'Keeffe (5,000).
Second team: Jenna Gray (javelin).
Honorable mention: Lena Giger (shot put).