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John Reger | | June 13, 2014

Reger: Hall's switch helps Texas

  Marielle Hall reached the NCAA semifinals in the 1,500 meter as a sophomore.

EUGENE, Ore. -- Sacrificing for the team is often preached but not often followed. Texas senior Marielle Hall is one example of the team coming first.

Despite being an All-Big 12 runner in the 1,500 meter, Hall decided not to run the race this season and focus solely on the 5,000.

“I came into the year wanting to compete in the 5K from the fall and most of the planning has to take place early,” Hall said. “I wanted to concentrate on the 5K. The 1,500 was just to enjoy a race and work on competing.”

Modest words from Hall, an honorable-mention All-American for reaching the 1,500 semifinals at the NCAA championships as a sophomore and had the best time in the nation this March.

But she knew that putting her efforts on the 5,000 would ultimately be in the best interests of the team, especially at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where the team is one of the favorites for the title.

“I always wanted to be in the 5K and wanted to get in the NCAAs,” Hall said. “It would have been nice to be in both but it came down to whether I could help the team in both races and get some extra points. My heart has always been in the 5K and I think I can contribute more points if I am just in this race.”

One of her coaches, Brad Herbster, an assistant coach working with distance and cross country runners, came to the college last year and was immediately impressed with Hall.

“She is such a unique athlete because she does everything the right way,” Herbster said. “I know that coaches always say that, but she really does everything the right way. She really gets after it. Some athletes will cut corners, but she just doesn’t do that.

“She has great parents who really support her and it shows in what she does. She’s not a selfish person, very humble. She’s a great leader.

"I always tell her if I could recreate her and bring her back I would. I wish cloning was legal because she’s that special of a person.”

A majority of Hall’s accolades have been in cross country. She was the 2013 cross country champion, a two-time All-American and three-time All-Big 12 athlete.

“You get a little something competing in cross country and I wanted to bring that over to the 5K,” Hall said. “I wanted to get stronger and be able to compete in the 5K.”

Though she was fairly new to the 5,000, she took to it almost immediately. Hall set the school record in the race at April’s Stanford Invitational. Her time of 15 minutes, 19.26 seconds shattered the previous Texas record of 15:46.00 by Annie Schweitzer in 1987.

If she wins the 5,000 on Saturday at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, she will join Schweitzer as the only other Longhorn female runner to bring home an NCAA title.

Of course that is the furthest thing from her mind.

“It would be so special to win a national championship with my team,” Hall said. “My teammates mean so much to me and if I could win and get those points for the team, it would mean so much to me. I think I found the most happiness watching my teammates compete and reach new levels. It’s exciting to be a part of something a little bigger than myself here at Texas.”

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