Palo Alto, Calif. — Iowa State’s Betsy Saina raced to a 10,000-meter Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational title late Sunday, winning in 31:37.22, the third-fastest time ever run by a collegiate performer. Saina’s time is the second-fastest clocking in the world this season, trailing only U.S. Olympic Trials champion Shalane Flanagan’s 31:04.85.
Former Iowa Stater Lisa Uhl, now running for Nike, finished 15th in the event in 32:31.98. Uhl is the all-time collegiate 10,000-meter record-holder with a 31:18.07 mark set in 2010. Cyclone Meaghan Nelson placed 17th in the race in 33:05.71. Nelson was one of only four collegians in the race.
Saina traded the lead on and off with eventual fourth-place finisher Kim Smith throughout the first 8,000 meters before asserting supremacy. Saina ran under the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard of 31:45, meaning if she qualifies for run for her native Kenya later this year, she will make the meet which is in Moscow in August.
“I felt good,” Saina said. “I could have gone a little faster but I achieved the “A” standard which was important to me. I can concentrate on running strong for Iowa State the rest of the season.”
Iowa State head coach Corey Ihmels commended his runners.
“Betsy wanted to run a little faster and take a shot at the collegiate records but in the end she came out on top of what was a top-flight field and that in and of itself is impressive. Meghan has been a little dinged up but battled hard and did a good job. Now we get ready for the Big 12 Championships.”
Iowa State will compete in the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Friday through Sunday in Waco, Texas.