(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – Sarah Berger and Andra Lehotay capped off a spectacular indoor season for Walsh with a third and fourth place finish at the national championships today. Both raced in the mile event with Berger crossing the finish line at 4:42:38 for a new school record and Lehotay clocking in at 4:45.04, just .15 ahead of Adams State's Roisin Flanagan.
Berger earned six points and Lehotay earned five to give the Cavaliers 22 points in the final team standings. Walsh entered the national championships ranked No. 16 in the nation and finished tied for ninth with Lincoln (Mo.) with 22 points.
"What can I say? When you go into a national meet, you set goals for every event. For us this weekend, every one of our athletes stepped up and outperformed their goal," said Head Coach Rob Mizicko. "Without a doubt, this meet proved that Walsh track and field is starting to be recognized as a contender at the national level. Words cannot describe how excited everyone within our program is as we move onto outdoor season. Finishing ninth on this stage is so exciting. As we like to say, Walsh Track & Field is 'On The Rise!'"
Adams State won the national championship with 47 points. Grand Valley State was second with 39. Chadron State finished third with 38, Pittsburg State was fourth with 35.83, and West Texas A&M rounded out the top five with 35 points. Johnson C. Smith took sixth with 31 points, Merrimack claimed seventh with 25 points, and Western State edged into eighth with 24 points.
Alicja Konieczek of Western State won the mile event with a time of 4:37.42. Minnesota-Duluth's Emilee Trost finished second with a time of 4:40.96. Konieczek also won the 3,000 meter race to give her team 10 more points to pass the Cavaliers.
Off the start Berger jumped into second place behind Trost before Konieczek overtook her in the second lap. From there she was able to hold off the rest of the competition.
Lehotay had a little more work to catch up as she sat in sixth place for the duration of the race until the final lap. During that final stretch, she passed Stonehill's Nicole Borofski before edging out Flanagan in the last 10 meters.
Berger and Lehotay were two-time All-Americans on the weekend. Berger's All-American count now stands at four in her incredible collegiate career.
Another impressive note for the Walsh track & field team is that it is a perfect eight-for-eight in participants earning All-American status along with the Kaitlyn Barber in the pole vault, Jetaiya Smith and Tori Reeves in the distance medley relay with Berger and Lehotay, and Marcus Myers on the men's side in the weight throw.
"This meet was such a fun experience! The national stage can be intimidating, but having my teammates with me in every race made it so much better," said Lehotay after the race. "I'm so excited to be a part of this team and I'm excited to see what we can do in outdoor."
"It was such a successful national meet for Walsh," added Berger. "I couldn't be more proud of my teammates this weekend."