March 10, 2012
NAMPA, Idaho - For a second-straight night Chris Derrick appeared on the verge of breaking through to win his first individual NCAA title. However, Derrick again settled for second-place, this time in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships, leading the Cardinal men to an 11th-place finish. On the women's side Katerina Stefanidi placed third in the pole vault to lead Stanford to a 13th-place finish.
The Stanford men scored 21 points for the meet and just missed the top-10 by a single point. Derrick scored 16 of the 21 points on his own as Florida took the team title with 52. The Cardinal women scored 18 points to place 13th. Oregon won the NCAA title with 49 points.
Derrick led the Cardinal men with his second runner-up finish of the meet, this time by mere hundredths of a second. The Cardinal senior set the Stanford record in the 3K with a time of 7:46.81, but it was not quite enough as Lawi Lelang of Arizona ran 7:46.64. Derrick again took the lead on Lelang late in the race and had him on the ropes, but could not hold off a furious kick.
Although just missing a pair of titles will be tough to swallow, Derrick ran two of the most courageous races in recent memory, attacking Lelang with everything he had.
Elliott Heath also ran strong in the 3K, but could not hold the blistering pace of the leaders. Heath, who won the event last season, settled for 11th in 8:00.67. It was the last race in a Stanford uniform for Heath who will now turn his attention to the U.S. Olympic Trials later this summer.
On the women's side, Stanford was led by Stefanidi who placed third in the pole vault. Stefanidi matched her season best with a vault of 14-3 ¼. She will earn the fifth All-America honor of her career when they are announced next week.
She was not Stanford's only point scorer, however, as Kathy Kroeger
placed sixth in the 3,000 meters. Kroeger ran a in a tight bunch of elite women to finish in a time of 9:17.21. Emily Infield of Georgetown won in 9:15.44.
Aisling Cuffe also competed in the event, placing 14th in 9:27.57. The Cardinal freshmen will earn second team All-America honors for the second time in the meet.
The Stanford track and field teams will now have some time off for dead week and finals, but will be back at it for the outdoor season, beginning March 28 at the Texas Relays.