Rieger sprints to fourth place, earns All-American honors
Tue, Mar. 15, 2011 - [Women's Indoor Track & Field]
NCAA III Track/Field  Champions RESULTS

The road to Columbus, Ohio was a long one. Over 550 miles for 2+ minutes and 800 meters of running. But it was all worth it in the end for Duhawk senior Laura Rieger.

"I was presently surprised how I ended up," Rieger said upon her return to Dubuque.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota native entered the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio as the seventh fastest 800 Meter runner in the country this season and Loras College record holder in the event. She qualified with a2:13.66.

During the preliminary round, some expected butterflies crept in, but Rieger remained confident in her training and the abilities which pushed her to Ohio in the first place.

"I knew it could get messy and crowded," Rieger said of the first race on Friday night.

She ran the third fastest time in her heat (2:14.59) and was off her school record by a second or so, but qualified in the eighth and final spot to reach Saturday's finals. That meant a spot on the All-American stand and a chance to push herself as far up the list as possible in the finals and challenging the previously achieved school record.

"It was exciting going in to the finals knowing I was (an) All-American," Rieger said. "It let me relax enough that I could just go out hard and see where (my final race of the season) got me. I was looking for a PR and a top-five finish."

Done and done.

Rieger kept pace with the frantic group early on and recognized she was well ahead of her traditional pace at the halfway point.

"I was a little worried in the moment when I saw the time, but I also realized I had nothing to lose," Rieger recalled.

She came to the finish line in fourth place in a school record time of 2:12.52.

"I am really proud of Laura's fourth place finish at the Indoor National Championships and earning All-American honors," head track and field coach Bob Schultz said.

"It was great to see her run a school-record and lifetime PR in her final indoor race as a Duhawk.  She represented Loras very well."

This was Rieger's second trip to the All-American stand. In 2009 she was a member of the indoor Distance Medley Relay team that finished in fifth place.

The Duhawks begin their official outdoor season on April 2 in Waverly, Iowa at the Wartburg Select meet. On March 26, they'll host their annual Alumni Meet at Manatt Track inside the Rock Bowl.