Bates' finish was second only to the 32:28.57 run by Sylvia Mosqueda of Cal State Los Angeles in 1988. Bates is the first women to win an NCAA outdoor title for the Broncos.
UAB senior Elinor Kirk was second in the race that capped the second day of the championships at Oregon's Hayward Field.
Georgia sophomore Maicel Uibo won the decathlon with 8,182 points, and Texas' Johannes Hock was second at 8,092.
Uibo overtook Hock with a third-place finish in the final event, the 1,500. Hock finished in 12th.