WMU - McDaniel Caps Off Freshman Season With Top 20 Finish

WMU - McDaniel Caps Off Freshman Season With Top 20 Finish

Provided by WMU

EUGENE, Ore. -- Western Michigan track and field's Maria McDaniel finished 17th overall and just one spot shy of All-American Honors in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Oregon University's Hayward Field on Saturday evening.

McDaniel battled her way through traffic after a slow start to finish with a time of 16:27.28 and was one of just two freshmen to finish in the nation's top 20.

"She did a really nice job as a freshman," said head coach Kelly Lycan. "She has had a great first season and top 20 in the nation is not too bad. This is the best it gets in collegiate track and field and she did a really great job of battling out there."

McDaniel started off at the back of the pack but towards the tail end of the race started picking off runner left and right to move up.

"Coach (Rebekah) Smeltzer did a great job guiding her throughout the year," Lycan added. "She did a great job of handling herself with all the hoopla and attention here just like she did at the Cross Country Nationals back in November. She definitely has some goals to complete, including breaking that 16-minute barrier in this event. Just finishing shy of All-American will definitely give her some motivation for next season."

The collegiate season may have come to an end but Ayiana Gaines, Jade Madison and McDaniel still have the USTAF Junior National Championships left to compete in back in Eugene in two weeks.