Fleet of foot, strong of heart
Dana Boyle wins NCAA III cross country nationals
By Robin Hamilton
Puget Sound senior Dana Boyle took the lead with 600 meters remaining and sprinted to the NCAA III Individual National Championship Nov. 17 in Rock Island, Ill. Boyle’s time was the second fastest in NCAA III championship history.
Boyle completed the race 26 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Her time of 16:46 was just one second shy of the all-time NCAA III record. The field numbered 213 runners.
Boyle, who did not lose a race during the 2001 cross country season, established a new Puget Sound record by becoming the first woman to race 5,000 meters in less than 17 minutes. The previous record was 17:01, held by Kate Schmidt (1997).
“We are obviously all very excited for Dana,” said Coach Mike Orechia. “It was not just the fact that she won, but the margin, and that she won the race with that great a time. She showed a great deal of composure and ran the race just the way we had talked about.
“We wanted her to stay with the leader at least until the 2 1/2-mile mark. It was a two-person race at that point and Dana took off up the hill and left the field behind.”
Boyle has battled injuries the past two years after finishing second at the NAIA National Meet as a freshman in 1998. The Carbondale, Colo., native becomes the third UPS Individual National Cross Country champion. Dave Davis ’00 won the men’s NCAA III meet in 1999 and Wanda Howlett ’91 earned the women’s NAIA National Title in 1989. Boyle was named the USTCA National Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year for her performance and earned NCAA III All-America honors.