Mizzou Track & Field claimed two All-America honors on the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, as senior Karissa Schweizer (Urbandale, Iowa) won her fourth career national championship in the 5000m run, while redshirt freshman Ja’Mari Ward (Cahokia, Ill.) finished seventh in the men’s long jump. With the national title, Schweizer becomes the first student-athlete in Mizzou Athletics history to win four NCAA Titles, surpassing Mizzou Wrestling’s J’den Cox (2014, 16-17).
Courtesy Mizzou Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Mizzou Athletics
Schweizer led the race wire-to-wire, as she pulled away from 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Champion Ednah Kurgat (New Mexico) with two laps remaining to finish at 15:43.23 and secure her fourth national title. Schweizer’s 2018 title is the fourth 5000m run national title in program history, as she is preceded by Sabrina Dornhoefer’s 1985 outdoor title, as well as her own indoor and outdoor titles in 2017. With the win, the Tiger senior becomes the fifth female in NCAA history to win back-to-back indoor 5000m run national championships (event began in 1989), and the first since Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino won in 2013 and 2014.
It’s the sixth overall 5000m run All-America honor in program history, as the four title-performances are joined by a sixth-place finish from Ann Marie Brooks at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Meet, and third-place finish from Schweizer at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Meet. The race was Schweizer’s final indoor 5000m run in her collegiate career, as her time of 15:17.31, which she set at the BU Season Opener (Dec. 2), currently ranks as the fifth-best time in collegiate history.
Mizzou senior Karissa Schweizer
On her performance in the race…
“I feel very good about it. I’m never really comfortable leading the whole thing, but I think I did better than I have done in the past, and I was excited about that. I had a lot of confidence in the pace I was running and I had to make sure I was feeling comfortable, and was ready at the end.”
Mizzou Track & Field senior Karissa Schweizer (Urbandale, Iowa) won her fifth career national title and second in as many days as the Tiger senior won the 3000m run at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday in College Station. Schweizer becomes the fifth female in NCAA history to win the 3000m and 5000m national titles in the same NCAA Indoor meet, as she joins Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel (2016), Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino (2013 & 2014), Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego (2007) and Providence’s Kim Smith (2004).
Schweizer’s two national titles led Mizzou to a ninth place finish with 20 points, its fourth-best finish in program history. The finish only trails Mizzou’s seventh-place finish in 2001, and its eighth-place finishes in 1989 and 2017. The ninth-place finish marks the fourth time in the last five seasons Mizzou has finished in the top-20 at the NCAA Indoor Meet, a feat that only 11 female programs have accomplished.
Just like the night prior, Schweizer led for a vast majority of the race, as she took the lead a few laps into the 3000m race, and never looked back. Boise State’s Allie Ostrander stayed near Schweizer for much of the race before the Tiger senior pulled away in the final lap to take the victory at 8:53.36, the third-fastest 3000m time at the NCAA Indoor meet. Schweizer’s title is the first 3000m run national title in program history, and the eighth overall 3000m run All-America honor in program history, as Schweizer is preceded by a Sabrina Dornhoefer (second at 1984 indoor, fourth at 1984 outdoor), Susan Bliss (eighth at 1990 Indoor, ninth at 1990 outdoor, 11th at 1991 indoor), Ann Marie Brooks (second at 2001 indoor) and herself (second at 2017 indoor). Schweizer’s eight overall All-America honors match Dornhoefer for the second-most in program history, regardless of gender, and only trails Kearsten Peoples‘ 10 All-America honors.
The two national titles cap a dominant 2018 indoor campaign in distance running for Schweizer, who set collegiate top-five times in the mile run, 3000m run and 5000m run in 2018. Schweizer set the collegiate record in the 3000m run at the Millrose Games (Feb. 3), winning USTFCCCA Division I Women’s National Athlete of the Week and the Southeastern Conference Women’s Runner of the Week honors in the process. Schweizer was the top collegiate finisher in the race, as she crossed the finish line fourth at 8:41.60. Schweizer’s time surpassed the previous collegiate record from 2009 by Colorado’s Jenny (Barringer) Simpson (8:42.03), as well as the Mizzou school record mark of 9:06.39, which was set by Sabrina Dornhoefer in 1984. She also clocked a time of 4:27.54 in the mile run at the Columbia Challenge (Jan. 27), the fifth-fastest time in NCAA history, and a 15:17.31 in the 5000m run at the BU Season Opener (Dec. 2, 2017), the fifth-fastest time in NCAA history.
At the 2018 SEC Indoor Championships, Schweizer captured her sixth and seventh conference titles in the 3000m run and distance medley relay. Schweizer set a conference meet record in the 3000m run, clocking a time of 9:00.56, while her 4:25.56 anchor leg split gave the Tigers the DMR title. The Tiger senior’s seven career conference titles match Dornhoefer’s seven for the most conference championships by a female in program history.
Mizzou senior Karissa Schweizer
On her strategy in the race…
“Try to just get out and stay relaxed in the beginning. I tried not to lead right away, then just push hard with a mile-out.”
On Allie Ostrander staying with her…
“When someone is on you like glue, you are always going to be worried. Seeing that someone was still with me, I just had to keep the confidence that pressing from this far out was going to kill a lot of people’s kicks. And I knew even if my kick wasn’t the best, I knew I was going to fight and use every bit of strength in me to get that last 200 in.
On her success during the indoor season…
“This year is a high, way higher than I expected it to be. It’s been awesome and I’m just taking it all in.”
Mizzou will now turn to the outdoor season, beginning with the Arkansas Spring Invitational, March 23-24 in Fayetteville, Ark. Last season, the Mizzou women recorded an eighth-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which matched its 1989 team for its best finish in program history.