LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The third trip to the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship was the charm for Albion College senior Jessica Shaw.
The Allegan, Mich., native was the 30th runner to reach the finish line, completing the 6K course in 21:15 to become the first female All-American in Albion cross country history.
Shaw made steady progress in her previous trips to the NCAA Championship, advancing from a fall in the race her sophomore year to 52nd last year and now All-America status.
Coach Derick Lawrence wanted Shaw to run patiently, and that's what she did. She settled in with the top 60 runners for the first mile, with a goal of getting into the top 35 by the 5K mark.
"It was a cold and windy day so the pack was great for me to draft off the other runners," Shaw said. "At the 5K I started to go with absolutely everything I had in me. With 400 meters left, I heard Coach Lawrence tell me I was 36th and the coaches started screaming 'kick' as loud as they could. So I took off sprinting, faster than I even thought possible.
"I walked away with a he personal record, a new school record and All-America status," she added. "A dream of mine was accomplished today. It's a feeling like nothing I've ever experienced.
"I wanted to make my teammates and all the people who have supported me proud today, and I think I managed to do just that," she concluded. "I am beyond blessed and proud to have been able to accomplish what I have in these four seasons."