COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Samford University track and field standout Karisa Nelson won the national championship in the women’s mile as she posted a title run of 4:31.24 at the 2017 NCAA Indoor National Championships, besting her career-record by more than four seconds. Additionally, Furman's Allie Buchalski garnered First Team All-American honors after recording a seventh-place finish in the women's 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:13.39.
Nelson turned in a tactical race Saturday, hanging in the second tier of runners for the first couple of laps before making her move on the final lap. Down the stretch, Samford’s tall, athletic distance runner used her long stride and daring outside-lane tactic to surpass both Penn State’s Danae Rivers and New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier for the championship title.
In the final 50 yards, the Bulldogs’ Nelson pulled away from the competition and coasted to the national championship.
On Friday, Nelson posted a brilliant 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.
Nelson’s title capped off a brilliant performance from the Samford women’s track and field teams in the indoor season. Earlier this year, the Bulldogs earned their second straight Southern Conference championship.
The first female NCAA qualifier in the history of the Paladin indoor track and field program, Buchalski, a native of Johns Creek, Georgia, placed seventh in the event with a time of 9:13.39. 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.
On Friday Buchalski earned a first team All-American citation and set a new Paladin record in the 5,000-meter run at the championships. She posted a time of 15:41.69 to place fourth in the event. Buchalski entered the 5,000-meter race ranked fifth nationally after posting a time of 15:46.86, the previous Paladin record, in the event at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 10.
Buchalski totalled seven points in the two events at the meet, giving the Paladins a 33rd-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
“Allie ran for the win in a very tactical race, and we are so proud of her effort,” said Furman assistant coach Rita Gary at the conclusion of the meet. “To go from 14th at last year’s outdoor championships, to now fourth and seventh in the 5,000m and 3,000m, respectively, is a cornerstone of our program -- continual progression. There is no doubt that Allie will figure out how to improve on this weekend like she has improved on every race during her time at Furman.”
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.
A re-air of the championship will take place on Sunday, March 12, starting at 6 p.m. (ET), on ESPN2.