May 31, 2014
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – UAB’s Elinor Kirk, who already punched her ticket to the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Ore. after Thursday night’s 10,000-meter run, secured her spot in the 5K at the championship meet after capping off competition at the NCAA East Preliminary meet on Saturday.
“Today's first priority objective was to advance to Eugene and the other bonus objective was to win convincingly,” assistant coach Tony Houchin said. “We were lucky that we were able to do both. It has been so fun to have such a special student-athlete like Eli on the team and we get to have two more races with her.”
The graduate student from Swansea, Wales will make her second-straight appearance in the 5,000 championship race at the upcoming June 11-14 finals after running a 15:53.93, the fastest qualifying time of any runner in each of the two heats.
Her time, which was five seconds faster than any runner in her race, and three seconds faster than the closest qualifier, is the second-best for her in the 5K this season (15:42.13 at Mt. SAC Relays – she entered Saturday with the 11th-fastest time in the NCAA).
Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino, the defending NCAA champion in the 5,000, was second Saturday, finishing with a time of 15:57.37.
The All-American ran a 33:55.60 on Thursday in the 10K to book her return trip to Eugene and will look to cap her illustrious career by running for titles in the 5K and 10K at the championship meet. Graduate student Neal Tisher will join her in Oregon after qualifying for the NCAA Finals in the pole vault on Friday.
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