Stanford women third at NCAA track and field finals

Vanessa Fraser (30) placed fourth in the 5000 meters at the NCAA Division I Women's Track and Field Championships in Eugene on Saturday. Photo by Harjanto Sumali.

The Stanford women matched their highest finish in program history, placing a close third at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Hayward Field.

In windy and chilly conditions that ranged from drizzle to downpour, Stanford picked up five top-five finishes on the meet’s final day, and led through 16 of the 21 events, only to fall two points shy. Stanford scored 51, to finish just behind USC (53) and Georgia (52).

Olivia Baker/Stanford Athletics
It was the first time in meet history that the top-three placing teams finished within two points of each other.

With two events remaining – the 5,000 meters followed by the 4x400 relay – Stanford trailed only Georgia, 50-46, with USC in third with 43.

Vanessa Fraser captured fourth in the 5,000 for five points for Stanford, but Georgia nabbed two points for seventh place to stay in front, 52-51, with the Cardinal done for the day.

The meet came down to the relay, but Stanford and Georgia were not in the final, which meant USC had to win to capture the team title, and the Trojans did, by 0.07, dropping the Cardinal to third.

With the women third and the men placing eighth on Friday, Stanford’s median place of 5.5 tied the 1998 team (men second, women ninth) as the highest combined finish in program history. Their 79 points were the most combined since 2000, when the Cardinal men won the championship and the teams totaled 80 between them.

The Stanford men and women combined for four school records, two victories, a second place, five thirds, two fourths, and a fifth. Fifteen individuals contributed to Stanford’s scoring. And 22 athletes competing were the most for Stanford since 2005.

Elise Cranny earned her 11th All-America honor and set a school record by placing third in the 1,500 in 4:09.49, with Christina Aragon a close fourth in 4:09.59. The sophomore Aragon now trails only Cranny, a senior, as the fastest in school history.

Valarie Allman placed third in the discus at 194-3 (59.20 meters), which led through five of the six rounds in a rain-delayed competition.

Olivia Baker placed fifth in her third consecutive NCAA outdoor 800 final, in 2:06.18.

In the 5,000, Fraser took the lead with 300 to go on the way to running 15:43.77 for fourth, her highest NCAA outdoor finish.

— David Kiefer

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