Redshirt junior Emma Bates can now add a national championship to her extensive running resume.
Bates edged out Alabama-Birmingham’s Elinor Kirk by five meters to win the NCAA 10,000m race 32:32.35 to Kirk’s 32:32.39 at Oregon’s legendary Hayward Field.
Bates’ time is the second fastest 10,000m recorded at an NCAA Championship meet. Her title is the first outdoor national title won by a Broncos woman, and the first outdoor title since Kurt Felix won the decathlon in 2012.
The Elk River, Minn. native was in the lead pack for the entire race, putting her in good contention to break away from the pack when Kirk and Duke’s Juliet Bottorff made a move with a mile to go.
With only 300 meters remaining, Bates and Kirk began their drives to the finish line before Bates was able to barely outdistance Kirk entering the home stretch.
“(The last 100 meters) was a complete blur,” Bates told Flotrack.org after her race. “That last 10 meters I just really dug deep.”
Bates’ was able to run a 4:53 last mile which included a blistering 67 second last lap to give her the victory.
With the win, Bates earned her first ever NCAA championship after placing 3rd in the 10,000m last spring, and 2nd in the NCAA cross country championship this past fall.
Bates’ national title is the seventh in Broncos history, second for women’s track and field, and was also the eighth All-American honors of her career, making her the most decorated athlete in Boise State history.
Bates will conclude her season on Saturday with the 5,000m at 3:24 p.m (PT). She, along with NCAA cross country champion Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth, are among the favorites in the race.
D’Agostino won the NCAA 5,000m last spring while Bates finished seventh.
Boise State’s Marissa Howard will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase final today at 5:35 p.m. (PT).
Races can be watched live through Watch ESPN and ESPNU.