Gulf Shores, Ala. – Saint Xavier University senior Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) turned in a time of 3:10:15.10 to finish third place overall in the marathon (26.2 miles) Saturday in the final day of the 2014 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. The third-place finish tied SXU's best individual finish in any event for the program at the national meet when former standout Rachael Dean took third in the 3,000-meter run at the 2011 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships. Shares also took NAIA All-American honors for her impressive finish in the marathon.
In addition to Shares, the Cougars also had a 4x800 meter relay team compete and senior Jordan Wallace
(Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) run the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Wallace finished 26th overall in the steeplechase with a time of 11:41.97. It was the third straight season she has qualified for the national meet in the event. The relay team consisted of senior Leslie Rosario
(Fort Myers, Fla./Neosho County CC/North Fort Myers), freshman Nicole Watkins
(Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett), sophomore Lexi McDermid
(Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) and senior Anna Galvez
(Glenview, Ill./Oakton CC/Maine East). The team finished 24th overall in the field with a time of 9:47.91.
"Ashley ran a very smart race in hot conditions and moved up steadily throughout the course," said Saint Xavier University women's track & field coach Lisa Ebel
. "I'm so proud of her and excited that she gets the All-American honor that she deserves to finish out her impressive career. She is the most dedicated and hardest working athlete I have ever coached.
"Jordan is the best steeplechase runner our program has ever had and I'm thrilled she got to end her collegiate career at Nationals," continued Ebel. "We have had strong relay teams over the years and a large part of that is because of the efforts of seniors Leslie Rosario
and Anna Galvez
. They have been repeat national qualifiers in the 4x800 and helped our program establish itself as a regular participant in the event. Lexi ran in her first national meet this weekend and really had a great sophomore season. Along with freshman Nicole Watkins
, we expect big things from this pair in the future."