Radiers’ Spence sets DII 5K record
WALNUT, Cal. -- Shippensburg junior Neely Spence recorded the fastest 5K time in NCAA Division II history on Friday night at the prestigious Mt. Sac Relays in California with a time of 15:33.83.
Spence’s effort – simply put – is among the greatest individual athletic performances in the history of Shippensburg University. She was the fastest collegiate athlete in a field loaded with many of the best runners in America and finished 10th overall.
Among those in the field was Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, who finished 11th with a time of 15:37.29. Colorado graduate student Jessica Pixler, the 2011 Division I 5K leader who competed in several memorable races against Spence while at Division II Seattle Pacific, was originally listed among the entries but did not race.
The previous Division II record was set by Grand Valley State’s Mandi Zemba on Apr. 13, 2007 – also at the Mt. Sac Relays. Spence’s previous outdoor PR was 16:13.34 at last year’s Penn Relays – she ran 16:13.01 during the 2011 indoor season.
Her remarkable time is 15 seconds faster than the U.S. Track and Field qualifying standard of 15:48; 25 seconds faster than the 26-year-old PSAC record of West Chester’s Julie Bowers, and 65 seconds faster than the 2011 NCAA Division II championships automatic qualifying standard of 16:39.30.
Molly Huddle won Friday night’s race with a time of 15:10.63. Huddle, who ran collegiately at Notre Dame, holds the American 5K record with a time of 14:44.76. She also won last year’s USATF 5 kilometer championship with a time of 15:48.