COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Furman senior Allie Buchalski became the first female indoor track and field All-American in Paladin history after setting a program record in the 5,000-meter run on Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Samford’s Karisa Nelson, a junior, was the first finisher in the preliminary round for the women’s mile, while junior pole vaulter Tray Oates placed eighth overall in the event at the nation’s premiere collegiate meet of the season.
Buchalski, a native of Johns Creek, Georgia, posted a time of 15:41.69 to place fourth in the event, earning a first team All-American citation. She entered Friday’s race ranked fifth nationally after recording a time of 15:46.86, the previous Paladin record, in the event at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 10.
“Allie ran an absolutely brilliant race,” said Furman head coach Robert Gary. “As usual, she ran beyond her ranking of fifth heading into a major championship. Fourth place is a wonderful finish, the three who finished in front of her are incredible athletes.”
Buchalski will compete in the women’s 3,000-meter run on Saturday. Her school record time of 9:02.04, which she ran at the Camel City Invitational on Feb. 4, is the second-best time in the nation this year.
In 2015, Buchalski became the first All-American in the history of the Paladin cross country program after placing seventh with a time of 20:02.6 at the NCAA Championships. Last spring, she also became the first All-American in Furman women’s outdoor track and field history after recording a 14th-place finish with a time of 16:22.64 in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Championships.
Samford’s Nelson posted a time of 4:35.31 in the women’s mile during her heat of the preliminary rounds Friday. Her mark proved to be the fastest of all 16 competitors in the event.
With her performance, Nelson advanced to the championship final where she will compete against seven others for the national title in the women’s mile. The championship race will be held at 5 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
Oates turned in a height of 17’-10.50” (5.45m) in the men’s pole vault Friday to earn eighth place in the nation. The All-SoCon standout finished the indoor season as one of the top competitors in the country.
ESPN3 will stream the national meet live on Saturday beginning at 4:55 p.m. (ET). A re-air of the championship will take place on Sunday, March 12 starting at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. A full list this year’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships participants and live results can be found on ncaa.com.