The Ferris State University women's track and field team sent two student-athletes to the 2009 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships and both earned All-America honors with fourth-place finishes in their respective events during final round competition Saturday (May 23) at the LeGrand Sports Complex in San Angelo, Texas.
FSU senior Mikinzie Stuart (Saginaw/Nouvel) placed fourth in the 1,500 meters and sophomore Tina Muir (St. Albans, U.K.) took fourth place as well in the 5,000 meters to claim All-America recognition. The top eight finishers in each event at the national meet received All-America acclaim.
Stuart clocked 4:31.67 in the 1,500-meter finals Saturday evening after previously posting the 10th-fastest qualifying time (4:33.84) during preliminary action on Thursday (May 21) at the national meet. Seattle Pacific's (Wash.) Jessica Pixler won the event in a time of 4:26.75 among the 12 runners taking part in the final round.
Meanwhile, Muir ran the 5,000 meters in 16:56.92 during the final round late Saturday night. Neely Spence of Shippensburg (Pa.) placed first overall in a time of 16:35.36. Muir qualified for the finals by winning her heat and posting the second-fastest qualifying effort (17:20.22) during Friday's (May 22) prelims.
A total of 620 student-athletes qualified for the national meet by reaching the automatic or provisional standards established for each event. Angelo State University served as host of the championships and all the track and field action took place at the LeGrand Sports Complex.
This year marked both Stuart's and Muir's initial appearances at the national outdoor track and field championships. Both competitors previously competed at this year's NCAA-II Indoor Track and Field Championships (March 13-14) in Houston, Texas, where Stuart earned All-America honors by placing seventh for the Bulldogs in the women's one mile run (4:58.59). Muir, who finished 12th overall in the women's 5,000 meters (17:28.90) at the indoor nationals, previously claimed All-America honors last fall by finishing 12th overall at the NCAA-II National Cross Country Championships held in Slippery Rock, Pa. Stuart also earned indoor All-America accolades in 2006 as a member of FSU's record-setting distance medley relay team.
Earlier this season, Muir won the 5,000 meters (16:56.48) at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Outdoor Championships (April 30-May 1) while setting a new GLIAC meet record. Start received runner-up honors in the 1,500 meters (4:34.89) at the league meet. Muir was also the conference indoor champion in two events as she won both the 3,000 meters (9:59.32) and the 5,000 meters (16:58.38). Stuart won the mile run (4:57.94) at the conference indoor meet and ran on FSU's distance medley relay team that placed second (12:10.01) overall.
With the two fourth-place performances, the Bulldogs concluded the national meet with 10 points in the team standings. Stuart and Muir are the first FSU student-athletes to earn All-America recognition at the national outdoor championships since Jenny Irwin also placed fourth in the 1,500 meters (4:38.11) in 2006 at Emporia, Kan.