For the first time in her collegiate career, Missouri runner Karissa Schweizer participated in two events at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships: the 10,000 and 5,000 meters. And until the final moments of Saturday’s 5K, it appeared Mizzou’s most-decorated athlete would leave Eugene, Ore., without winning a national championship in either event this week.
Schweizer, a senior, had already finished third in the 10K on Thursday, and she lost her lead early in the final lap of Saturday’s 5K. But then she showed she had listened to her coach, Marc Burns, who told her to “keep one last gear” available.
In the final stretch of the 5,000 meters, Schweizer surpassed Stanford’s Vanessa Fraser, separated herself from all other competitors and won her sixth national championship in her career — four of which have come in the 5,000 meters. She’s won two each in the indoor and outdoor events.
“I knew this was my last collegiate race, and I wanted to leave it all out on the track,” Schweizer said in an interview with ESPN after her win. “As I came down that final stretch, I couldn’t feel my legs.”
Schweizer’s time of 15 minutes, 41.58 seconds was about 2 seconds slower than her national-title winning 5K performance in the 2017 outdoor championships, but it was good enough on Saturday.
As she crossed the finish line and began to process what she had just done — earn her 10th All-American honor, overcome the wear of the 10K she ran just a couple of days earlier — Schweizer briefly placed her hands over her face.
“It’s amazing,” she said to ESPN. “It doesn’t feel right. it doesn’t feel real.”
Furman’s Allie Buchalski (15:42.77) finished second, and Oregon’s Lilli Burdon (15:43.22) finished third.
Also on Saturday, Mizzou’s Gabi Jacobs finished fifth in the discus for the second straight year to earn her first-team All-American honors. The Missouri women's team score of 20 tied the Tigers with Arkansas for 11th place at the championship meet, which is the MU program's best finish ever at the outdoor meet.
Southern California won the women's team national title. Georgia won the team national championship on the men's side.