Becker Rewrites School Record at Stanford Invitational
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Kansas senior Natalie Becker ran the fastest 5,000-meter race in school history on a rainy Friday night at the Stanford Invitational. The St. Louis, Mo., native crossed the finish line in a blistering time of 16:20.80, which topped the previous KU record, held by All-American Lauren Bonds, by three seconds. In addition to etching her name in the record book, Becker jumped moved inside the top-25 of the NCAA rankings for the 2014 outdoor season.
Becker, who was competing in her second event since breaking the school’s indoor 3,000-meter record at the Big 12 Indoor Championships four weeks ago, found herself up against one of the most competitive 5,000-meter fields of the season when she toed the start line inside the Cobb Track Facility. Despite competing on a surface that had endured rain showers for the majority of the night, Becker managed to complete her 3.1-mile race with one of the best times in the nation this season. The senior posted a 19th-place finish in the race that produced 20 of the top-25 5,000-meter times in the collegiate ranks this year. Becker’s school record mark of 16:20.80 also improved upon her previous career best by over 37 seconds.
Becker was joined in Palo Alto by fellow distance specialist Reid Buchanan, who also turned in a personal best in his own 5,000-meter race. The junior out of Manhattan, Kan., finished seventh in his event after crossing the finish in 13:59.40. Buchanan bettered his previous personal best by over 30 seconds and moved himself up among the top-20 in this year’s national standings. The time also made him just the seventh Jayhawk to break the 14-minute barrier in the event and marked the fastest 5,000 meters by a Kansas runner in almost nine years.
The rest of the Kansas track & field squad will be in action on Saturday, April 5 at the Battle of the Bayou in Baton Rouge, La. The day’s events from Bernie Moore Track Stadium will begin at 10 a.m., and conclude at 4:30 p.m. Follow all the Jayhawks’ progress by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
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