June 8, 2013
Site: Eugene, Ore. (Hayward Field)
Event: NCAA Outdoor Championships (Day 4 of 4)
U-M Team Finish: Tie-47th Place (4 points)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete
EUGENE, Ore. -- Fifth-year senior Amanda Eccleston (Adrian, Mich./Tecumseh) of the University of Michigan women's track and field team finished fifth in the 1,500-meter run final to earn All-America first team honors on the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Saturday (June 8) at the University of Oregon's historic Hayward Field.
She settled in the back of the 12-woman pack for the first two laps and began to work her way up and with a little more than 200 meters to go, she was toggling for the eighth or ninth position. Her strong kick allowed her to pass runners on the final straightaway and cross the finish line in fifth place in a career-best time of 4:14.56.
Eccleston was the NCAA Division II national champion in the 1,500-meter run in 2012 while running at Hillsdale College, and she has now earned All-America honors at the Division II and Division I level. She is the first U-M runner to earn All-America honors in the 1,500-meter run since former Wolverine Nicole (Edwards) Sifuents took sixth in 2008.
She finished the race just 1.31 seconds behind Oklahoma State's Natalja Piliusina, who won the national title in a time of 4:13.25.
Event Winners/U-M Finishers (Day 4)
1,500-meter Run (Finals) 1. Natalja Piliusina, Oklahoma State 4:13.25 5. Amanda Eccleston, U-M 4:14.56
Amanda Eccleston -- 1,500m (4:14.56)
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach James Henry
On having four Wolverines compete at nationals ... "I was really happy with the girls that did qualify, and we had a few that came very close. Our team just keeps getting better, but we'll have a veteran group next year. I was really happy with the performances we had this week in Eugene -- they were all very competitive. Kiley Tobel came away with a new school record and a personal best of course. And the highlight for us was Amanda (Eccleston) getting on the board and getting us points. It was a great finish after a long season, especially for Amanda and Becca Addison, who are finishing up their third season with cross country as well. I think of all sports, to compete in all three seasons, nearly year round, is very tough. I'm very proud of those girls -- especially for representing Michigan at the highest level."
On having three graduating seniors spend their last week in Eugene ... "They'll definitely be missed, starting with Amanda (Eccleston), who was a one-year competitor for us. She stepped right in and showed leadership on and off the track. It's very challenging to qualify for this meet and to be able to compete in Track Town USA made it even better. We're very proud of these ladies -- they've accomplished a lot for us over the last four years, and they'll be greatly missed. They made me a proud coach. I'm very happy with how Mike McGuire continues to be steady and bring along talented young ladies, and Sandy Fowler has also done a great job and will continue to bring kids to that level. We have some significant spots to fill with those three leaving, but I think we'll have people step up as we continue to get better and get more balanced."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Amanda Eccleston
On being a DI All-American after winning the DII national title in 2012 ... "This is really exciting -- I never dreamed that I would be in a Division I national final. It's been exciting working toward this all year. I knew it was at Hayward Field, so that was a goal of mine to get here. This year has definitely been a learning curve. It's a lot more competitive and a lot more intense in the actually races. Even though I've gotten a lot faster, everyone else has too. It's made me step up my game and has made me a better runner."
On the success she had during cross county, indoor and outdoor track ... "This was the perfect year. I couldn't have asked for a better experience for my last year of college. Walking away with the Big Ten title in cross country, placing fifth at nationals -- that was such a great team thing, and we continued that with the DMR national title and Penn Relays title. I really couldn't have has for anything more in any event this entire year. It's been such a great opportunity to run with these girls and have Mike (McGuire) coach me. I've loved every minute of it."
On competing her fifth year at Michigan ... "It was so nice for Mike (McGuire) to give me the chance to run here. I think he knew that it would help me to have people to push me. When I visited my schools, I knew right away that this school had a team I could fit in with perfectly, and that's exactly how it's been. I feel like I've known these girls for the last four years instead of just one year. It was an incredible fit. I'm going to have Mike continue coaching me while I'm at Michigan for my last year of graduate school, so that's going to be a great fit. He's had many Olympians, so he obviously knows what he's doing. I'm really looking forward to continuing my training with him."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423