Stack an All-American in 10,000-meter race


Dani Stack and Betsy Saina run together during the 10,000-meter final. The race was run June 8 as part of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Zach Gourley

ISU women’s track and field runner Dani Stack became an All-American Wednesday after placing fourth in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

“It’s awesome, it was my goal all season,” Stack said of being an All-American. “My goal today was to be in the top five and I achieved that. It just makes me want to do more and it makes me really excited for next year to see what I can do, because I think I can only go up from here.”

Stack had a meteoric rise this year, bursting on to the national scene after not even qualifying for the NCAA West Regional last year.

The sophomore ran the 10,000-meter race with fellow Cyclone Betsy Saina.

The duo stayed close for much of the race, even flirting with the top spot occasionally, until Saina dropped out of the race for medical reasons.

After her teammate went down, collapsing in the infield of Drake Stadium’s blue oval, Stack made a push for the front of the pack, taking the lead with 500 meters left.

“It’s kind of a surreal experience,” Stack said of taking the lead. “I felt that same thing when I was leading at Big 12’s for awhile. It was an exciting experience just to lead a field of such talented runners and girls that last year I would not even be able to compete with.”

Juliet Bottorff of Duke won the race on a strong final kick in a time of 34 minutes 25.86 seconds, pulling away from the pack in the final 200 meters.

Stack said that she knew her finishing kick would not be as strong as some of the other runners in the field, which is why she made her move early in the race.

“I probably should have gone even earlier,” Stack said. “[Bottorff] has an awesome kick and it was anyone’s race to win today. There’s a lot of great girls out there, so I’m pretty happy with fourth.”

For Stack, just finishing the race redeemed her from her disappointing outing at the NCAA cross country meet last season.

“It was my first NCAA track meet and I had come off not actually finishing the cross country track meet, I collapsed 200 meters from the finish line,” Stack said. “It was just a great experience and it makes me hungry for more.”