Missouri junior Karissa Schweizer collected her third national title of the year Saturday during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
But she did it in unusual fashion by Schweizer’s standards.
During her two previous title-winning runs, Schweizer patiently bided her time until the closing stretch, when she kicked into a gear the rest of the field didn’t have in pulling away.
This time, Schweizer blasted to the front of the field with roughly eight laps remaining in the 5,000 meters and never looked back in a nearly 5-second victory.
“It was a little nerve-racking for me being out there in the front,” Schweizer said. “I don’t normally race like that, but I just trusted my coach and trusted my fitness.”
Schweizer finished in a school-record 15 minutes and 39.93 seconds.
Eastern Michigan junior Alsu Bogdanova (15:43.84), a native of Russia, was the runner-up after edging Indiana sophomore Katherine Receveur.
The victory adds to Schweizer’s record-setting national-title haul, which also includes the NCAA cross country championship in November and the 5,000 crown at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March.
“It’s truly unbelievable,” Schweizer said. “I never would have thought this would happen, but it just means so much to me and means so much to my team and my school and my coaches. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
Schweizer is only the fourth woman in NCAA history to sweep those three races in a single year. She joins Villanova’s Jennifer Rhines (1994-95), Arizona’s Amy Skieresz (1996-97) and Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego (2007-08).
With the title, Schweizer also becomes the first Tigers female to win three national championships.
Three-time NCAA champion wrestler J’den Cox is the only other three-time national champion in Mizzou history.
Next up, Schweizer will try to earn a berth in the IAAF World Championships by competing in the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships are June 23-25 in Sacramento, Calif.
“I’m going to try to go to USA (Nationals),” Schweizer said. “That will be my next race. I’ll just kind of go out there with no expectations and see how it goes.”
Schweizer was the Tigers’ second All-American of the day after sophomore Gabi Jacobs finished fourth in the women’s discus with a throw of 184 feet and 7 inches.
Kansas State sophomore Shadae Lawrence won the discus title (201-4).
Missouri’s women finished 17th overall, which is the best team result in program history, eclipsing a 21st-place finish in 1989.
Earlier in the week, junior Alex Pascal also earned first-team All-American honors — awarded to the top eight finishers in each event — with a fourth-place finish in the javelin (247-4).
Finally, Tigers sophomore Jamie Kempfer was a second-team All-American after finishing ninth on Thursday in the women’s 10,000 meters (33:10.41).