Freshman Kaitlyn Fischer
Nov. 15, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Memorable performances closed out an equally memorable season for the Tigers on Friday as the men finished eighth and the women sixth at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Ames, IA. For one Tiger, however, the season will continue as freshman Kaitlyn Fischer once again rose to the occasion to place sixth in the meet and secure her spot at the NCAA Championship.
Fischer battled to the line with the chase pack, crossing in 20:26.4 to add an All-Midwest Region finish to her All-SEC and SEC Freshman of the Year honors. She is the first Tiger woman to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet since 2009 when Kaitie Vanatta went on to finish 54th overall as the fifth-fastest freshman in the field.
"It's an exciting thing, I'm really pumped," said Fischer. "I don't like to look at rankings, really, but I did yesterday and saw I was ranked 22nd. But I really wanted to qualify for Nationals and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to go, so the middle of the race I just told myself 'I'm going to try and do this'."
Fellow-freshman Nicole Mello turned in the second-fastest time for the Tigers, crossing in 21:44.6 for 56th overall followed by junior Courtney Brown in 21:44.7 and junior Liz Reida in 21:47.2. Freshman Kaelyn Balch rounded out the top five with her final time of 21:55.1, placing 80th.
The women made big strides this year, improving on their 13th-place finish at the 2012 SEC Championship with a seventh-place finish this year, then bringing down their 16th-place finish at the 2012 Midwest Regional by ten places on Friday. They also made their highest appearance yet on the NCAA Regional Rankings after the win at Bradley in October, coming in at No. 4. All seven of the women who competed in Ames will return next year.
The men will also return most of their team next year, with Hayden Legg being the sole senior on the Regional squad. Legg earned his second career All-Regional finish on Friday, finishing 22nd in 31:00.4. His first All-Region finish came in 2011, when he finished 20th in the field.
"I'm glad that I finished [the season] well, even though I really wanted to make Nationals," said Legg. "[The pace] was kind of yo-yo-ing, and then at about 7k it really picked up. I think I only had three guys pass me in the last 3k, which was good."
Four of the seven Tiger men had their first 10k experience in Ames on Friday, starting with SEC Freshman of the Year T.J. Carey who clocked in at 31:13.3 for 34th overall. Freshman Drew White was next with 31:22.4 for his career-first 10k. Junior Sam Dickerson and sophomore Tyler Schneider rounded out the Tiger’s top five in 31:31.1 and 31:31.2, respectively.
"It's good that these guys came out here and got experience," said Legg. "I'm happy about how we went out there and executed the race plan, we just didn't have it today."
Kaitlyn Fischer will be back in action next weekend for the black and gold as she takes on the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, IN, on Saturday November 23rd. For the latest on your Tigers stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.
|6.||Kaitlyn Fischer||20:26.4||22.||Hayden Legg||31:00.4|
|56.||Nicole Mello||21:44.6||34.||T.J. Carey||31:13.3|
|57.||Courtney Brown||21:44.7||47.||Drew White||31:22.4|
|62.||Liz Reida||21:47.2||54.||Sam Dickerson||31:31.1|
|80.||Kaelyn Balch||21:55.1||55.||Tyler Schneider||31:31.2|
|81.||Courtney Wood||21:55.4||59.||Evan Chiplock||31:37.9|
|96.||Sam Garrett||22:04.9||139.||Kenny Cushing||33:08.6|
|Full Team Results|
|1.||Iowa State||39||1.||Oklahoma State||45|
|3.||Oklahoma State||192||3.||Iowa State||113|
|10.||Loyola||277||10.||South Dakota State||328|
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