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DeGenero Captures Mile National Championship

Mar 12, 2022

BIRMINGHAM – Colorado track and field senior Micaela DeGenero captured the mile national title here Saturday, storming from last to first in the final quarter-mile to close out the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships on the highest of notes for the Buffs.
 
DeGenero fought with the 10-woman field throughout the first 1200-meters of the race but settled in the back to avoid the congestion. With 420 meters to go, DeGenero put on the burners and never looked back. She took the lead before she even crossed the line with two laps remaining and built a 10-meter lead by the time she rounded the curve to the backstretch. No one was able to match her move as she closed the final 400 in 61 seconds.
 
With the title, DeGenero joins an illustrious group of NCAA mile indoor champions with the 2013 champion Emma Coburn and last year's champion Sage Hurta. This is the first time in NCAA history a school has won back-to-back NCAA women's mile national titles with two different student-athletes. It is the second time a school has gone back-to-back since the first NCAA championship for the women in 1983, as Suzy Favor won her second and third NCAA mile national titles for Wisconsin in 1989 and 1990.
 
Originally scheduled to be a 12-woman final, CU entered the race with a quarter of the finalists with Madie Boreman and Rachel McArthur joining DeGenero. Oddly enough, DeGenero nearly didn't make the final as she was the final time qualifier out of the first heat, but thankfully Boreman led the second heat to a slower time to assist DeGenero to get into the final. DeGenero is the first NCAA women's mile champion that made it from the last chance time qualifier position since at least 2005.
 
Only 10 women started the race with all three CU women entered in the back of the inside alley. McArthur took the early lead for the Buffs through the first quarter with Boreman and DeGenero in sixth and seventh. Halfway through the race, Boreman took her turn leading the trio as she was third on the inside while McArthur slid to sixth and DeGenero fell to ninth. At the 1,200-meter mark, DeGenero made her move with Boreman in fourth and McArthur in sixth coming down the home straight away. McArthur closed in 62 seconds for fourth at 4:35.66, while Boreman finished eighth at 4:38.32.
 
The women picked up 16 points in the event, tying them for the third-most in a single event at the NCAA championships. Florida and Ole Miss both picked up 18 points in the triple jump and weight throw, respectfully. Virginia Tech tied the Buffs by picking up 16 points in the pole vault.
 
Earlier in the evening, Eduardo Herrera picked up his first NCAA Indoor First Team All-America honor after finishing fifth in the men's 3,000-meter final in 8:00.58.
 
Herrera started out the race in sixth then began climbing up the pack, running mostly in the second lane. He began battling Arkansas' Amon Kemboi for the lead at the five-minute mark. He made a move to second with 400-meters remaining with NAU's Abdihamid Nur who won the 5,000-meter national title. Herrera was never able to take the lead outright, working from the outside lane on the final curve. Giving it his all, Herrera was caught by three runners in the final straight to finish fifth overall.
 
Herrera's lone performance tied the Buffs for 41st in the team title while the women finished the meet with 17 points to finish tied for 11th. Texas took home the men's title with 47 points, beating North Carolina A&T by 11 points. Florida had the title wrapped up before the 4x400-meter relay ever started, finishing with 68 points over Texas' 56. The CU women finished tied with Oregon for 11th as the top women's teams from the Pac-12.
 
With the indoor season completed, the Buffaloes move outdoors and start their season at home for the 2022 Jerry Quiller Classic this upcoming Friday and Saturday.
 
RESULTS
SATURDAY
Womens' Mile Final: 1. Micaela DeGenero (COLO) 4:33.92; 4. Rachel McArthur (COLO) 4:35.66; 8. Madie Boreman (COLO) 4:38.32
Men's 3,000-Meter Final: 1. Abdihamid Nur (NAU) 7:59.88; 5. Eduardo Herrera (COLO) 8:00.58
 
FRIDAY
Women's Pentathlon: 1. Anna Hall (FLORIDA) 4,586 points; 8. Avery McMullen (COLO) 4,176 points
Women's Mile Prelims: 1. Sintayehu Vissa (OLE MISS) 4:33.13 Q; 4. Rachel McArthur (COLO) 4:33.25 Q; 6. Micaela DeGenero (COLO) 4:34.19 q; 9. Madie Boreman (COLO) 4:36.23 Q
Women's 5,000-meter Final: 1. Courtney Wayment (BYU) 15:30.17; 10. Emily Covert (COLO) 15:56.66
 
Women's Team Score:
1. Florida 68 
2. Texas 56
3. Kentucky 44
4. Arkansas 40
5. LSU 29.5
T6. Virginia Tech 29
T6. Ole Miss 29
8. BYU 26.2
9. NC State 25
T11. Colorado 17

Men's Team Score:
1. Texas 47
2. North Carolina A&T 36
3. Tennessee 31
4. Northern Arizona 29
T5. Texas A&M 26
T5. Princton 26
7. Arkansas 24
8. Georgia 23
9. Oregon 22
T10. TCU 20
T10. Ole Miss 20
T41. Colorado 4 points
 
QUOTES
Micaela DeGenero
On Being A National Champion
It feels amazing. It really is still kind of setting it on me. It's surreal and it's really exciting. Yeah, I'm over the moon right now.
 
On Making Her Move At 450 To Go
Honestly, I don't know how much I was thinking when I made that move. The pace was slow early, and I felt like that really played into my hands. I had a really strong close. I knew a lot of other women in the field have really strong kicks as well. People were starting to swing wide with 500-600 to go. So I knew someone was going to go eventually and I was kind of out in lane two already, so I figured I might as well go. The best thing to do when you make a move like that is to be as definitive as you can and just hope that no one comes back.
 
On Racing From The Back
It wasn't necessarily preplanned to go back. Coach Burroughs before just told me to go to where I feel the most comfortable and often times for me that is in the back. I don't like getting pushed around and I knew that on a small track, especially if it was slow, it could get pretty physical and pretty risky to be kind of in the middle of the pack. So I kind of made sure to go find a spot that was comfortable, which ended up being in the back but in such a small field you're really not that far back. I just made sure to keep an eye on the front and be ready to make a move when someone else did and cover anyone else's moves as well.
 
On Waiting To Make The Final Yesterday
I had kind of a sluggish, not great day yesterday. I think there are probably a lot of reasons that that happened. I was definitely nervous, waiting and watching that heat and kudos to Madie for running such a perfectly controlled heat at the perfect pace that let me sneak into the final. I'm really grateful for her to do that. It just happened to be that way. Two weeks ago, I didn't even know if I was going to make the national meet, I've kind of had a rough indoor season up until this point. I got really sick with COVID back in January. I really struggled with training for a few weeks and didn't really know what was going to happen. At that point, going through my mind, I was just like, I don't make the final it's okay, I'm just happy to be here and happy to be sharing this moment with two of my teammates.
 
On Becoming The First School To Go Back-To-Back In Women's Mile National Titles With Different Athletes
That is really cool. CU has such a rich history in women's running and so many great role models to look up to and to come after. It means so much to be a part of that history myself and follow in their footsteps
 
Associate Head Coach Heather Burroughs
On The Meet
We qualified six, and for all six, it was their first time individually at this meet. I don't know if we've ever brought a group of 100% rookies to this meet and everyone ran well. I'm really impressed and proud of how they manage the pressure and how intensely competitive this meet is. The women ended up tied for 11th in the team scores which ties for the highest Pac-12 school and it's one of our best finishes.
 
On If Slowing The Second Prelim Heat Was Planned
First in the prelims, no (it wasn't planned for Madie to slow it down). I basically said, have a plan, adapt as things change and make it happen. You're all seniors. This is the last chance. They each had individual plans, and I think Madie would even say, I didn't plan to lead I just ended up in the lead and that's a perfect example of adapting to the situation and making it happen. She ran beautifully. We were all joking afterwards that 100% of us were thinking don't make it too fast Madie, but she was just controlling it at a pace that she knew she could kick off of.
 
On DeGenero Going From Last Qualifier To Champion
Well, if you asked me in June or November of last year, can Micaela win indoors I'd say absolutely. That's our goal. It's certainly a possibility, and then she's had some interruptions. It's been a really rough winter and she qualified for the nationals on the last day that you can qualify. She goes to the prelims and she gets the final qualifying spot, and so it's rare. I think it speaks volumes to how she was able to just pack away yesterday and say today is a blank slate and anything can happen. She's a great closer. So I mean last year she ran very well in the NCAA final when it was fast. This year she was brilliant when it was slow. She can run either way, but we always know she's a good kicker and she was really happy in the first couple laps when they were jogging.
 
On Becoming The First School To Go Back-To-Back In Women's Mile National Titles With Different Athletes
First it's a surprising stat. I like the mile, we all like the mile. The mile is are really fun event to race. It's a fun event to coach. I think it was only a couple years ago too that Dani dove at the line and and just barely lost to Elle Purrier so we've almost had I think three of the last four champions. We've gotten good talent and good racers and I think we've done good work together. It's a total team effort. The women milers today, I was so proud, we were the only team that had more than one in the final and we had three and they were all First Team All-American, they all scored team points, they were all on podium. Yeah, we like the mile.