The Anne Sullivan show ended its first season in the big time with a strong final episode that is sure to solicit demands for repeats. The freshman from Rhode Island placed 14th among 263 competitors in the women's national cross-country meet at the University of Texas at Austin on Saturday, earning herself the distinction of All-American.
Kathy Mills of Penn State won the race at 16:50 leaving the old course record 11/2 minutes behind. Radcliffe coach Pappy Hunt said. "Mills's time was remarkable. There has never been a college runner with that kind of speed over 5,000 meters. She has been tremendous all year."
Hunt also praised Sullivan's performance as "an extremely well run race and really a fantastic finish for a seventeen year old freshman."
In the Squeeze
Sullivan reacted quickly to the starting gun but was caught in the squeeze at 1/4 mile where the track funnelled down a path. After the first mile she was in 25th position.
By the second mile Sullivan had worked her way past the 20th spot and Pappy Hunt was getting excited. He knew that she was within reach of the magic top 15 needed for All-American honors.
Hunt said. "I was out there screaming when she went by me because I was afraid she didn't realize how close she was to the top 15."
The rookie star did the needed leg work on her final time around. She pulled to 15th position with 1/2 mile to go and churned past Kathy Banks of Penn State in the last 50 yards to finish as 14th fastest woman in the country.
Sullivan said, "I was fighting all the way after I fell back where the course narrowed and was pretty tired at the two mile mark. But it sure felt great to finish in the top 15."
Hunt's praise for the All-American flowed on." She has great potential that she hasn't used yet and is very natural. There is no reason why she won't stay at this high caliber. I think by her senior year she could be the best in the country at 10,000 meters."
For Sullivan the work continues; she will run with her amatuer track club from Rhode Island in the AAU nationals next weekend in California.