Senior Leah O’Connor came through with another record-setting race and won her second career individual national title on Saturday as the Michigan State track and field squad wrapped up its 2015 indoor season at the NCAA Championship meet.
O’Connor was able to pull away from a loaded field of runners during the final 200 meters of the women’s mile race as she clocked in with a time of 4:27.18, the fastest time in NCAA Track & Field Championships history and the second-fastest overall time in the history of the NCAA. O’Connor also broke her previous MSU school record from the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Championships (4:32.29) by more than five seconds. She was recognized as a first-team All-American for the second consecutive year after finishing seventh with a time of 4:40.86 in 2014.
The championship was the second individual title of O’Connor’s career as she also won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She is the first-ever national champion in the women’s mile run from MSU and just the second women’s indoor national champion in program history, joining Sevetheda Fynes (1997). To view O’Connor’s post-race interview with Flotrack, click here.
“Unbelievable performance by Leah. It’s not easy to lead a championship race wire-to-wire like she did, especially against a phenomenal field that included last year’s 1,500 meter champion,” said Michigan State Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Walt Drenth. “She was patient and followed the plan flawlessly and just showed great poise throughout the entire race.
“She continues to get better every time she takes the track it seems. I have no doubt there’s more great performances to come from her in the outdoor season and the sky really is the limit for her. Not only has she been an exceptional leader, but she’s been an equally great person for our team and that’s just a testament to her and her family.”
Source : “Leah O’Connor Claims Women’s Mile Title At NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships”, MSU Track and Field Blog, March 14, 2015.