June 8, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. -
Natalja Piliusina made an incredible charge on the home stretch to win the women’s 1,500 meter national title on the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.
Piliusina becomes the second women’s individual outdoor NCAA champion in school history, joining Jackie Goodman, who won the 10,000 meters in 1989. She is the 10th OSU athlete to win an outdoor NCAA title overall.
Piliusina (4:13.25) stayed in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race and was boxed in on the inside of the track heading into the final turn, but with a huge kick, she was able to fight to the front and win her first NCAA title.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Piliusina said. “I was in sixth or seventh on the last turn, and I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I wanted to win so badly. I started to kick and I was able to win. I can’t believe it.”
Piliusina already had two NCAA-runner-up finishes in the 800 meters to her name, and was disappointed with her 10th place finish in this event at the outdoor championships in 2012, but was able to get it done this time around.
“What an incredible race,” OSU Coach Dave Smith said. “The plan going in, was to not get boxed in, be in second or third on the final lap and don’t give up that position. She broke all of those rules and still won because she is such a great athlete. Last year was so important. She was the favorite, but she wasn’t emotionally ready to win. Because of that, she was ready this time. She is an incredible athlete, she always does the right thing and she is so fun to coach. It couldn’t happen to a better person.
The 10 team points Piliusina earned has the OSU women’s team a tie for 21st with one event remaining in the championships.
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
June 5-8, 2013/ Hayward Field/ Eugene, Ore.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Women’s Individual Results
1.>Natalja Piliusina – 4:13.25*
* - Denotes NCAA Outdoor Champion
Team Standings (One event remaining)
1) Kansas 52
2) Oregon 38
3) Arizona State 28
4) UCF 27
5) LSU 26
6) Stanford 25
7) Florida 24
8) Texas A&M 21
9) Georgia 20
10) Arizona 19
T-21) Oklahoma State 10