"Small, but gifted class" finishes at NCAA Championships
PHOTO COURTESY: Wartburg  College Sports Information
PHOTO COURTESY: Wartburg College Sports Information
Tue, May. 31, 2011 - [Women's Indoor Track & Field]
NCAA Div. III Outdoor Championships RESULTS

It was their bell lap as a group.

Four seniors, four events, four days in Ohio.

The Loras College women's track and field team's senior quartet of Tara Kilburg, Danielle McNally, Laura Rieger, and Heidi Tobin each qualified and performed with a bookend feeling throughout Memorial Day Weekend in their respective events.

"We left wanting a little bit more, but we were all able to get here, and we were able to perform together," Heidi Tobin shared at the conclusion of the meet.

Each Duhawk finished among the top 20 in the country in their event after qualifying at different points in the season.

In the 800 Meter Run, Rieger posted a 2:15.26 in her preliminary race. That time was the 18th best among the qualifiers.

"Obviously getting to nationals is a goal, and these girls have all had a great four years," Rieger said Saturday.

"Track at Loras has been the most memorable part of my experience over the last four years. My education and friends have been a big part in that, too. We've been together four years…hanging out with the coaches, there is a good level of friendship that takes place."

As far as her performance, Rieger shared mixed emotions.

"I've done better with my time, but going into the race with an injury and not being able to practice at 100% (I was a bit) worried how I was going to perform. It was a bit bittersweet in the last 150 (meters) around the corner…it felt a little like it was coming to an end."

In the 1500, Tara Kilburg was one spot from qualifying for the finals in 13th place with her 4:33.31 P.R. in the prelims.

"Went out fast, I hung in for the ride, and it turned into a lifetime P.R. but it was close. It was my best effort," Kilburg said. "For all four of us, we've been through it together, so (this trip to nationals) has been a good mix of fun and spending time together."

Tobin's best toss in the Hammer Throw was her second, 159'-11". That distance was good for 17th place.

"I think it has been a great four years," Tobin added. "Those last chance meets set us up for this trip with all four of us. The down time allows you to get to know each other better…nationals is a great place to do that. It made it that much more fun."

Danielle McNally's best effort in the Discus was a 128'-07" on her first throw. She finished in 20th place.

Rieger departs as an NCAA All-American after her effort in the Indoor 800 this year and as part of the Indoor Distance Medley Relay team in 2009. Kilburg was also on that 2009 DMR team.

"I'm really happy things ended here for them," head coach Bob Schultz said on Saturday. "This is a small but gifted class."