Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hail the Conquering Hero -- Reid Completes Historic Double with 1500 Win

Sheila Reid became the first woman in NCAA history to win the 5000/1500 double at an NCAA meet. This is Reid's 4th national title (cross country, indoor DMR, 5000, and 1500) in the last seven months.

Place Athlete Name Yr Affiliation Time Pts
1 Sheila Reid JR Villanova 4:14.57 10
2 Lucy Van Dalen JR Stony Brook 4:15.33 8
3 Kate Van Buskirk SR Duke 4:15.37 6
4 Renee Tomlin SR Georgetown 4:16.17 5
5 Becca Friday SO Oregon 4:16.76 4
6 Hannah Brooks SR Florida State 4:16.81 3
7 Morgane Gay JR Virginia 4:17.40 2
8 Jordan Hasay SO Oregon 4:17.67 1
9 Lea Wallace SR Sacramento St. 4:18.73
10 Cory McGee FR Florida 4:19.18
11 Kristen Gillespie JR Arkansas 4:21.75
12 Brittany Sheffey JR Tennessee 4:22.50
DNS Rachel Schneider SO Georgetown

Here's the official release from Villanova athletics:

DES MOINES, Iowa--It was a different race on a different day but the same incredible kick in the last 100 meters which propelled senior Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ont.) to a national championship in the 1500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Drake Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Reid becomes the first women's athlete to ever win both the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters in the same year, as she adds to the 5000 meters crown she won last night.

"It was not easy to double up in both events but it was a lot of fun and it is a terrific feeling to have won both races. I would not have entered both events if I didn't think I had a chance to win both but once I got here I just had to take it one day at a time. Having one race each day was actually a welcome distraction in a way because there was something for me to focus on each day.

In the last 400 meters of today's race Reid was in a battle for the lead with Jordan Hasay of Oregon and Lucy Van Dalen of Stony Brook. As the bell sounded for the final lap Hasay moved just in front of Reid, who at that point was on the verge of sliding back to the middle of the pack. That changed with 250 meters left when Reid found an opening on the rail and put herself back in position to capture the victory.

She took the lead with 200 meters remaining and then in the final straightaway burst away from the rest of the field just as she had at the same point in yesterday's 5000 meters championship race. Reid has now won four national titles this season, including the individual cross country crown and the indoor distance medley relay title. She is the sixth athlete in program history with four or more national championships.

Reid wound up with a winning time of 4:14.57 in her second-fastest race of the season. Van Dalen was second (4:15.33) and Kate Van Buskirk of Duke (4:15.37) finished third. The rest of the top eight scoring positions included Renee Tomlin of Georgetown (4:16.17), Becca Friday of Oregon (4:16.76), Hannah Brooks of Florida State (4:16.81), Morgane Gay of Virginia (4:17.40) and Hasay (4:17.67).

"It was just phenomenal to watch Sheila the last two days," Villanova head coach Gina Procaccio said. "I am speechless. I am truly blown away by how much power she has at the end of the race and now there is absolutely no doubt that she can kick past anybody in any race. The 1500 meters is a race that means a lot to me. I have always wanted to coach a 1500 meters champion."

The race went out comparatively slower than the longer distance 5000 meters race last night, as the leading pack turned in a pace of 1:11 over the first 400 meters. Reid was never far from the lead, standing in third place after 300 meters and in fourth place at the midway point of the race. She stayed on the rail during the first half of the race but was jostling for position in the middle of the pack during the home stretch when the opening appeared back on the inside.

Reid also won the individual titles in both events at the BIG EAST Championships earlier this season. Counting the cross country and indoor and outdoor seasons she is now a four-time national champion, nine-time All-American and 11-time BIG EAST champion.

The only other women in program history with at least four national titles are Vicki Huber (8), Jennifer Rhines (6), Carrie Tollefson (5), Sonia O'Sullivan (5) and Carole Zajac (4). Reid and Tollefson are in particularly special company, as Tollefson previously was the first NCAA women's athlete to win both the 3000 meters and the 5000 meters at the same championship.

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