As outdoor track rapidly approaches, the Cardinal traveled to Texas A&M this past weekend to put a final cap on their indoor winter season at NCAA Indoor Nationals.
As a team, Stanford did no better than coming in 10th on the women’s side, but individually, there were some high marks certainly worth acknowledging.
The women’s Distance Medley Relay team of Vanessa Fraser, Missy Mongiovi, Malika Waschmann, and Elise Cranny rallied back from behind to earn themselves a 2nd place finish and 2nd team All-America honors. Finishing in 11:00.34s, they barely edged out 3rd place Oregon by 0.38s for Stanford’s third runner-up finish in the last four years.
1600m anchor leg Elise Cranny rallied from 9th to 1st in one swing on a turn, but was just beat out by Colorado at the line, losing the gold by 0.02s. However, this was an anomaly from past years because it typically was the Cardinal leading the way up until the final leg, and not the other way around. In 2015, Cranny was on that same leg and got chased down by Arkansas’ Dominque Scott. This time, it was her turn to do the chasing.
Flaring out into the outside lanes, she quickly passed 5 runners and moved into 3rd to see Indiana’s Katherine Receveur lose grip of the baton and fall out of 2nd. With one lap to go, Cranny got on the heels of Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger and ultimately took her on the final straightaway but could not stop Colorado’s Dani Jones from basically coming out of nowhere to take the crown. Cranny’s final split was 4:33.76s.
Her only regret: wishing she had been more cognizant of Jones, instead of just Rainsberger.
"By the time I saw her, she passed me and it was too late to react," she said.
Fraser opened the race with a 3:25.85s 1200m split, followed by Mongiovi’s Nationals debut of 53.87s in the 400m. At this point, Stanford was 6th and managed to move up a spot thanks to Waschmann’s 2:06.90s 800m.
Next on the list was Harrison Williams’s 6th place finish in the men’s heptathlon. Now, while maybe not shiny on the surface, his 6th place was the best 6th place finish… ever—literally. His new personal best of 5,970 was the highest-ever score for an NCAA 6th place finisher and nearly broke the record for 5th place as well.
Unfortunately for him, the competition was just that stiff this year, but he still managed to pull out a stellar performance. He broke his last year’s NCAA mark of 5,937, resetting his own school record for the event. Additionally, he earned himself a new personal best in the 1000m: 2:39.45s.
Vanessa Fraser came back the next day after the DMR to earn 1st team All-America honors with her 5th place finish in the women’s 3000m. In what became a tactical race, she put it upon herself to be the one to turn up the gear. She strategically picked up the pace early and pushed the pack because she knew she could not win a kicker’s race, and the strategy seemed to work out quite well for her as she climbed up 5 spots from her 10th place finish last year.
Olivia Baker took 7th in the women’s 800m, also earning 1st team All-America honors. She ran the fastest time ever by a Stanford athlete at that meet, 2:04.45s, but just did not have enough left in the tank at the end to make it a personal best and the podium finish that she was capable of.
This now marks the beginning of our long-anticipated outdoor season, and meets begin right away with some athletes participating in the Hornet Invitational in Sacramento as soon as next Saturday.