From UAB Sports Information:
UAB's Elinor Kirk went toe-to-toe with Emma Bates of Boise State in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field 10,000-meter championship and finished as runner-up to claim All-America honors with a 32:32.99, just six one-hundredths behind the race winner Bates.
"That race was simply incredible," assistant track and field coach Tony Houchin said. "If you don't have a horse in the race, that is the kind of race you want to watch. We are just lucky to have been in contention. We cannot be at all disappointed with that result. We are all just so proud of Eli."
Kirk, the Swansea, Wales native, began the race mid-pack, but charged her way to the front as the final laps approached. The graduate student stayed with the final six runners through the last few laps and eventually ended in a foot race with Bates of Boise State down to the final stripe to claim All-America honors.
Bates and Kirk finished just four seconds off the NCAA meet record of 32:28.57 set back in 1998.
Thursday's performance caps Kirk's illustrious run of 10K races this season after she set one of the all-time top-10 collegiate times in NCAA history and also broke the UAB record back in April when she ran a 32:17.05, the nation's fastest 10,000-meter time during the regular season.
Kirk will have one more shot at a national title on Saturday in the 5,000-meter run at 3:24 p.m. PT/5:24 p.m. CT at Hayward Field. UAB pole vaulter Neal Tisher will compete for a national championship at 3:15 p.m. PT/5:15 p.m. CT in Eugene.