March 15, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – UAB distance runner Elinor Kirk capped an outstanding indoor season on Saturday with a podium third place finish in the 3,000m run at the NCAA Championships.
"This was an amazing race," head coach Kurt Thomas said. "To be third at the NCAA Championships meet is one of the highest levels to compete at. Coach (Tony) Houchin and Eli's goal was to really go for something big in the 5000m, and Eli raced really well and finished 10th. She really had nothing to lose in the 3000m, she raced really smart and finished third. We knew she was as good as everyone else in the field and she belonged. She raced like it and proved it."
Just a day after finishing 10th in the women’s 5,000m run, Kirk came back for a top-three finish to claim podium honors. Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth, the winner of Friday’s 5,000m, took top honors in Saturday’s 3,000m with a time of 9:14.47, just three seconds ahead of Kirk.
The graduate student from Swansea, Wales ran the race in a 9:17.00 (9:03.28 NCAA conversion). Just eight tenths of a second separated Kirk from the fourth through seventh place finishers, but she edged runners from Boise, Georgetown, Arkansas and Stanford to take the podium finish.
"Eli represented UAB so well and raced like a champion," Thomas said. "It was a great culmination to a great indoor season for Eli. Tony has done a tremendous job with her and the whole distance program. Eli has been a great student-athlete, and we are looking forward to a great outdoor season from her and the rest of the team."
Kirk will now look to build off her indoor success and turn her attention to the outdoor season, which continues next weekend at the Alabama Relays.
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