May 26, 2011
TURLOCK, Calif. - Western Washington University distance runner Sarah Porter had the greatest accomplishment of her illustrious career, winning the women's 10,000 meters in opening-day action Thursday at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at Al Brenda Track at Warrior Stadium on the campus of host Cal State Stanislaus.
Porter's time of 33:17.39 was the fourth fastest in NCAA II history. It broke her own school and Great Northwest Athletic Conference records as well as bettering meet and stadium standards. The old meet record was 33:24.24 set by Robyn Root from Cal Poly SLO in 1985.
Porter's clocking, which was just over 12 seconds off the all-time NCAA II standard of 33:05.80 set by Seattle Pacific's Bente Moe in 1987, qualified her automatically for the USA Championships later this summer.
Porter, who entered the event with the nation's top clocking of 33:48.12, led the entire way on a windy evening. She crossed the finish line nearly a half lap ahead of runner-up Lauren Kleppin from Western State, who was clocked in 33:47.06.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet, but it feels really awesome," said Porter, a senior from Hockinson. "I know that I wanted to go out from the gun, and I figured going off by myself would be the best way to go."
While making a school-record 12 national appearances, four each in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track; Porter had never won previously though coming close on numerous occasions. She placed second in the outdoor 10,000 as a junior, and was runner-up at the national cross country championships in both 2009 and 2010.
Porter becomes the 10th Western track and field athlete to win an individual title and just the fourth since the Vikings joined the NCAA in 1998.
On Saturday (8:35 p.m.), Porter competes in the 5,000 where she has posted the nation's third fastest time this spring.
The school record is Porter's fourth this season. The others were in the 1,500 (4:30.32), 3,000 (9:35.75) and 5,000 (15:17.16).
Following Porter's race, two Vikings competed in the men's 10,000, Jordan Welling (Sr., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) finishing 11th in 30:13.87 and Bennett Grimes (Sr., Pocatello, ID/Century) 14th in 30:40.71.
Earlier Thursday, Western's Michael Hoffman (Jr., Bellingham/Sehome) placed 14th in the men's hammer with a mark of 185-5 (56.51). He ranked sixth nationally coming into the competition with a school-record 206-5.
On Saturday, the Vikings' Monika Gruszecki (Sr., Edmonds/Meadowdale) takes part in the women's javelin at 6:05 p.m., Ryan Brown (Sr., Bellingham/Squalicum) in the men's pole vault at 6:15 p.m. and Grimes and Welling in the 5,000 at 9 p.m.
Q&A with Monika Gruszecki
Former WWU javelin thrower Monika Gruszecki now works an an intern with the NCAA
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